Home Featured Team USA scholar Max Esterson wins the Walter Hayes Trophy

Team USA scholar Max Esterson wins the Walter Hayes Trophy

by Steve Whitfield

Photo: Ida Wood

Team USA Scholarship driver Max Esterson won the Walter Hayes trophy after leading from start to finish in a close final.

The Low Dempsey Racing driver converted pole into the lead into Copse ahead of two-time winner Michael Moyers.

B-M Racing’s Rory Smith made early progress from fifth, passing Wayne Poole Racing’s Ben Mitchell and Team Dolan’s Chris Middlehurst into third.

Smith tried to pass Kevin Mills Racing’s Moyers for second around the outside of Brooklands on a couple of occasions, enabling Esterson to pull out a small advantage.

On lap five of 15, Smith tried to make the move at Brooklands again, but then collided with Moyers into Luffield, putting both off the circuit. Smith was forced to retire, while Moyers rejoined at the back of the field.

Middlehurst and Souley Motorsport’s Ollie White were promoted to second and third, while Esterson pulled out a 1.3 second lead by half-distance.

In the race’s second half, Middlehurst started to eradicate Esterson’s advantage,  closely followed by White, Mitchell, Oldfield Motorsport’s Lucas Romanek and WPR’s Josh Fisher.

The five-car train caught Esterson by the start of the final lap, with Middlehurst trying to snatch the lead into Becketts. But the National FF1600 champion ran wide onto the Wellington Straight, allowing White to snatch second.

Esterson held on to beat last year’s winner White by 0.249s, while Mitchell took third from Middlehurst through the final two corners.

Fisher passed Romanek late on to take fifth, while Don Hardman Racing’s Joey Foster and Dolan’s Matt Cowley recovered from their incident in the semi-finals to finish 0.070s apart in seventh and eighth.

Mills was handed a 13s time penalty for the incident with Cowley and Foster in the semi-final, leaving him 23rd on the grid for a delayed final following an unsuccessful appeal.  But the 16-year old’s eventful weekend continued with a 19th place finish after a collision with B-M’s Jonny McMullan, who retired after losing a wheel in the incident.

David McCullough was ninth for Team DDR, while TM Racing’s Felix Fisher came out on top in a great scrap with KMR’s Megan Gilkes to finish 10th.

Gilkes held on to 11th by 0.090s from B-M’s David McArthur, with Dolan’s Ben Cochran just behind. DDR’s Ivan McCullough was 14th ahead of Graham Brunton Racing’s Logan Hannah and Swift Cooper’s Luke Cooper.

A misfire put LDR’s Team USA Scholar Andre Castro out early on, while Moyers finished 29th.

Race results (15 laps)

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Max Esterson Low Dempsey Racing 15m31.122s
2 Ollie White Souley Motorsport +0.249s
3 Ben Mitchell Wayne Poole Racing +0.638s
4 Chris Middlehurst Team Dolan +0.844s
5 Josh Fisher Wayne Poole Racing +0.972s
6 Lucas Romanek Oldfield Motorsport +1.083s
7 Joey Foster Don Hardman Racing +4.264s
8 Matt Cowley Team Dolan +4.334s
9 David McCullough Team DDR +7.563s
10 Felix Fisher TM Racing +9.857s
11 Megan Gilkes Kevin Mills Racing +10.256s
12 David McArthur B-M Racing +10.346s
13 Ben Cochran Team Dolan +10.518s
14 Ivor McCullough Team DDR +12.800s
15 Logan Hannah Graham Brunton Racing +14.771s
16 Luke Cooper Swift Cooper +15.171s
17 Lewis Fox Team Fox Racing +15.719s
18 Callum Grant Nigel Grant Motorsport +16.164s
19 Tom Mills Kevin Mills Racing +17.301s
20 Nick Gilkes Kevin Mills Racing +18.207s
21 Michael Gray Graham Brunton Racing +20.657s
22 James Tucker Tucker Motorsport +21.070s
23 Ben Tinkler +21.261s
24 Kieran Attwood Souley Motorsport +22.015s
25 Brandon McCaughan Hugh Ried Racing +22.111s
26 James Hadfield B-M Racing +22.396s
27 Jordan Harrison Shaws Motorsport +22.873s
28 Ian Gough Oldfield Motorsport +23.770s
29 Michael Moyers Kevin Mills Racing +25.619s
30 Nathan Ward Kevin MIlls Racing +28.058s
31 Ben Tilley Simon Hadfield Motorsport +30.919s
32 Joe Watts +30.951s
Ret Jonny McMullan B-M Racing
Ret Rory Smith B-M Racing
Ret James Clarke PWR1 Racing
Ret Andre Castro Low Dempsey Racing
Fastest lap: Cowley, 1m01.321s