Oldfield Motorsport driver Josh Smith secured his first Avon Tyres National FF1600 Championship race victory this season at Croft, while championship leader Niall Murray retired.
A bad start by second placed qualifier Michael Eastwell allowed Smith an unchallenged run into Clervaux, extending his gap out to two seconds in the opening laps before settling down and managing his gap to Eastwell.
Eastwell’s start had been so poor that Carter Williams had jumped to second by the start, though his spell near the front was extremely short lived. He began dropping positions at Tower Bend, his Ray then grinding to a halt further round the lap at the Complex.
Sixth placed qualifier Joey Foster mastered the tricky wet conditions, making up two places at the start and stealing second away from Eastwell on the final lap, an excellent run through the Jim Clark Esses allowing him to slip past at Sunny.
That trio were a class apart from their rival with third placed Eastwell finishing 6.287s ahead of fourth placed Rory Smith. Surprisingly absent from the victory battle was Eastwell’s title rival Niall Murray.
Murray failed to progress from his ninth placed grid slot before his car ground to a halt around the halfway mark, breaking a push rod on his Van Diemen going over a kerb.
B-M Racing driver Smith briefly held second on the opening lap after passing Williams but had no answer for Eastwell or Foster, although he managed to break away late on from a titanic scrap over the final top five position.
James Clarke surged from 10th to fifth on his Cliff Dempsey Racing debut, picking off rivals in the closing laps. Series returnee Jordan Dempsey got past Team Dolan’s Jack Wolfenden on the opening lap, but could not match Clarke’s pace and was demoted to sixth place at the end.
Matt Round-Garrido was seventh, ahead of a recovering Nico Gruber in eighth, who had started well down the order due to a crash in qualifying. Jamie Thorburn recovered from 15th to finish ninth, while Luke Cooper took the final significant points haul in 10th, still struggling to bed in a brand new engine.
Wolfenden was the biggest loser in the large midfield scrap, dropping from seventh to 11th in the closing stages after battling with Round-Garrido.
|1||Pro||Josh Smith||Van Diemen||9 laps|
|6||Pro||Jordan Dempsey||Van Diemen||+11.001|
|11||Pro||Jack Wolfenden||Van Diemen||+27.805|
|12||Pro||David McArthur||Van Diemen||+42.985|
|13||Pro||Sebastian Job||Van Diemen||+43.079|
|DNF||Pro||Niall Murray||Van Diemen|
|Fastest lap: Foster, 1:43.492|
|1 Murray 473 2 Eastwell 378 3 Round-Garrido 326 4 Foster 319 5 Cooper 294 6 Thorburn 269 7 R Smith 207 8 Neil Maclennan 195 9 Gruber 192 10 Hugo Bentley-Ellis 156|
|1 Jay 455 2 Morris 341 3 Daniel O’Beirne 106 4 Felix Fisher 104 5 John Svensson 97 6 John Ferguson 94 7 Sam Street 74 8 George McDonald 62 9 Henry Chart 53|
|1 Simon Fleet 174 NC Alan Davidson NC Nicky Gibson NC Ian McCulla NC Ashley McCulla NC Jim Campbell|