Team Dolan’s Chris Middlehurst took victory in a wild Walter Hayes Trophy grand final which was red-flagged halfway through and featured a lead clash.
Middlehurst led home KMR Sport duo Michael Eastwell and Andrew Rackstraw in the restarted nine-lap contest, with Eastwell having earlier been involved in a collision which put Simon Hadfield Motorsport’s Michael Moyers out.
There was drama even before the start, with Wayne Poole Racing’s Josh Fisher demoted further from 18th on the grid to 24th after his penalty for a semi-final collision with Jason Smyth and Rory Smith was doubled to 10 seconds.
Alex Ames pulled out before the start, having been due to line up 15th, with a pre-race rain shower leaving the circuit wet.
Eastwell that made good use of pole position to lead into Copse from Middlehurst, who was given a slight nudge from behind by Moyers.
Foster maintained fourth but then found himself sandwiched between Julian Van der Watt and Andrew Rackstraw into Brooklands but remained ahead.
Middlehurst got sideways on the outside of Becketts on lap two, allowing Moyers to briefly draw alongside. After tucking back in behind, Moyers then capitalised on Middlehurst getting out of shape under braking for Brooklands to sweep around the outside, completing the move despite a moment of his own on a wet kerb.
As the cars bunched up behind them, Van der Watt ended up off the road at Luffield and dropped to the rear of the field.
Foster meanwhile nipped inside Middlehurst before moving alongside Moyers through Woodcote, with Middlehurst making it three-wide as they completed the second lap. Moyers prevailed to hold on to second into Copse, while Team Dolan’s Jonathan Kotyk spun while trying to pass Rackstraw for fifth.
Foster made another bid for second at Brooklands but got ran wide, allowing Middlehurst to challenge him into Luffield, but Foster used the inside line to remain ahead.
The squabble for second increased to four cars as Rackstraw joined the action, while Eastwell pulled out a one-second lead at the front.
The battle settled down over the next couple of laps, allowing the second-placed train to close back in on Eastwell before a number of incidents further down the field caused the safety car to be deployed before officials decided to red flag proceedings.
Ammonite Motorsport’s Hugh Esterson retired in the gravel at Luffield, while Lewis Fox and Isaac Canto da Silva’s races ended at Brooklands.
Following a short delay the action was restarted in improved conditions, with Eastwell repeating his earlier start to lead once more with Moyers slotting into second ahead of Foster, while Middlehurst dropped behind Rackstraw and Luke Cooper into fifth.
Moyers dived inside Eastwell to snatch the lead at Brooklands, with Eastwell then fighting back through Luffield and Woodcote. Remaining wheel-to-wheel, the pair collided into Copse, with Moyers becoming slightly airborne and spinning into the barriers with suspension damage.
Middlehurst emerged from the chaos alongside Eastwell approaching Becketts but the pair ran wide allowing Josh Fisher – who had made his way up to 12th before the red flag and continued to make up ground at the restart – to incredibly snatch the lead on the inside. The safety car was then deployed again seconds later, with Sam Street having joined Moyers in crashing out.
Green flags were waved with four laps to go with Fisher still leading from Middlehurst while Eastwell and Rackstraw diced for third. Middlehurst tried to outbrake Fisher into Brooklands but ran wide, while Cooper took fourth away from Rackstraw and Josh Le Roux climbed to sixth.
Fisher and Middlehurst battled into Brooklands again on the next lap and Eastwell dived inside the pair but couldn’t make it stick, with Middlehurst emerging with the lead ahead of Eastwell and Fisher.
Rackstraw challenged Fisher for third towards the end of the penultimate lap, eventually getting by as the pair crossed the line, but his team-mate Le Roux spun down the order at Luffield. Cooper moved to the outside of Fisher into Copse but got sideways on the grass and ran wide, dropping down to ninth.
Middlehurst led the final lap to seal victory ahead of Eastwell and Rackstraw, the trio separated by less than one second.
Fisher finished fourth ahead of Joey Foster and Team Canada scholar Logan Placza. Adam Higgins was seventh ahead of Cooper and Charlie Mann, with Brandon McCaughan coming from 25th on the original grid to 10th.
Restarted race result (9 laps)
|1||Chris Middlehurst||Team Dolan||12m30.006s|
|2||Michael Eastwell||KMR Sport||+0.366s|
|3||Andrew Rackstraw||KMR Sport||+0.722s|
|4||Josh Fisher||Wayne Poole Racing||+1.647s|
|5||Joey Foster||Don Hardman Racing||+2.137s|
|6||Logan Pacza||Graham Brunton Racing||+2.269s|
|8||Luke Cooper||Swift Cooper||+3.108s|
|9||Charlie Mann||Mann Motorsport||+3.896s|
|10||Brandon McCaughan||Oldfield Motorsport||+3.923s|
|11||Robert Wolk||KMR Sport||+4.718s|
|12||Jordan Kelly||Team Dolan||+4.732s|
|13||Ben Mitchell||Wayne Poole Racing||+4.850s|
|14||Ayrton Houk||Ammonite Motorsport||+7.932s|
|15||Ben Cox||Souley Motorsport||+8.298s|
|16||Tom Bradshaw||Nigel Grant Motorsport||+8.465s|
|17||Julian Van der Watt||KMR Sport||+8.927s|
|18||James Clarke||Enigma Motorsport||+11.017s|
|19||Tom Hawkins||TM Racing||+11.101s|
|20||Chris Acton||Souley Motorsport||+16.718s|
|21||Jonathan Kotyk||Team Dolan||+20.712s|
|22||Joe Ahrens||Enigma Motorsport||+20.944s|
|23||Felix Fisher||TM Racing||+27.933s|
|24||Nolan Allaer||Ammonite Motorsport||+32.522s|
|Ret||Tom McArthur||B-M Racing|
|Ret||Josh Le Roux||KMR Sport|
|Ret||Alex Berg||Graham Brunton Racing|
|Ret||Michael Moyers||Simon Hadfield Motorsport|
|Ret||Sam Street||KMR Sport|
|Ret||James Littlejohn||Simon Hadfield Motorsport|
|Ret||Jeremy Fairbairn||PWR1 Racing|
|Ret||Lewis Fox||Team Fox Racing|
|Ret||Hugh Esterson||Ammonite Motorsport|
|Ret||Spencer Shinner||Oldfield Motorsport|
|Ret||Isaac Canto da Silva||Team Dolan|
|Ret||Alex Ames||Sema Racing|
|Fastest lap: Rackstraw, 1m08.154s|