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Martin wins opening David Leslie Trophy race at Knockhill

Ross Martin notched up another Scottish Formula Ford victory in the first David Leslie Trophy race at Knockhill, though had to contend with Jordan Gronkowski on his tail throughout.

Though he secured a lights-to-flag victory it was far from a dominant performance from championship leader Martin, as Gronkowski tracked his every move.

Gronkowski had several good runs out of Clark’s and towards the hairpin. Each time Martin was swift to move right and defend the inside, holding first place during all 12 laps to secure victory by 0.385s from second placed Gronkowski.

Martin’s Graham Brunton Racing team-mate Sebastian Melrose pulled off a lightning start, recovering from a difficult qualifying session to jump from sixth to third after the first lap.

Despite a trip through the travel exiting McIntyre’s on the penultimate lap his gap was large enough that he remained unchallenged for his podium position.

Melrose had been allowed to escape quickly thanks to two factors. National Formula Ford regular Josh Smith’s car suffered a rotor round failure on the formation lap and plummeted from third to last in the first two laps. He pulled into the pits on lap three to retire the car.

Gary Sykes made the most of a great start and a poor getaway from fourth placed starter Matthew Chisholm, moving into fourth place and forming a queue that allowed Melrose to drive into the distance.

A good start from Ross Howe meant Chisholm started his race battling him to avoid losing further ground. After fending Howe off and passing James Clarke, Chisholm then made his way past Sykes around the half-way mark, comfortably finishing fourth by race end.

Clarke had no such luck and was unable to find a way past Sykes after several attempts at the hairpin. Sykes clung on to fifth place, finishing 0.492s ahead of sixth placed Clarke.

Howe ran wide exiting the hairpin shortly after his battle with Chisholm, knocking front bodywork off his Van Diemen. He spent most of the race successfully defending seventh place from Steven Barlow thereafter, Howe pipping Barlow by 0.897s.

Fraser Gray was the final finisher in ninth position, one lap down on leading pair Martin and Gronkowski.

Result

Pos Class Driver Car Gap
1 Ross Martin Ray 12 laps
2 Jordan Gronkowski Van Diemen +0.385
3 Sebastian Melrose Ray +9.772
4 Matthew Chisholm Van Diemen +12.642
5 Gary Sykes Ray +18.696
6 James Clarke Mygale +19.188
7 Ross Howe Van Diemen +22.021
8 Steve Barlow Ray +22.918
9 Fraser Gray Ray + 1 lap
FL Gronkowski 54.615

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