Junior Blue – Jake Calvert wins at Forest Edge

Junior Blue 1-2-0

Jake Calvert (Nr. 0)

S & B Automotive Academy Blue Challenge Round 4
at Forest Edge on 3rd May
2015 NKRA ‚0‘ PLATE for Junior Blue & Formula Blue

A who’s who list of present and past ‘0’ Plate winners congregated on the Forest Edge Circuit in Hampshire for the 2015 ‘0’ Plate Championship for Junior Blue and Formula Blue. These included Stuart Gray from Scotland, Jake Calvert and Nigel Pritchard from the North of England, Duncan McLeod, Chris Derrick, Anthony Cleal and Ron Shone, from the south. One notable absentee was the current Formula Blue ‘0’ plate Champion Martin Wheele. The academic constraints of field trips in Scotland ( during his 1st year at University) prevented him from attending, much to his disdain !
Saturday practice was dry and sunny with Derrick and Gray setting the pace in the Seniors. The Junior result looked most likely to come from Calvert or Thomas Massarella. In the evening the social side of the championship became evident, with many a racing story being swapped over the varying barbeques around the pits. In the early hours of Sunday a weather front passed over dropping a serious amount of rain causing a few to contemplate changes to chassis set up. The forecast however, advised clear skies by 10am. Sure enough the rain stopped and the track turned dry. Too late however for the deluded father and son pair, Mark & Toby Cook, who ‘upped sticks’ and went home because it wet !! The irony of the situation became evident when, at drivers briefing, Toby won one of the free tyre sets, provided by S & B Automotive Academy ( the series sponsor). The subsequent redraw was won by Thomas Masserrella. The other free tyre sets in the draw were won by Nigel Pritchard and Duncan McLeod.
Massarella won the first heat in a dominant manner with Calvert 5 seconds adrift in 2nd. The tables were reversed in heat 2, with Calvert finishing 4 seconds ahead of Massarella. The all important 3rd heat (for pole position) was taken by Calvert, from Masserrella. This gave the reigning ‘0’ plate champion Pole Position for the Final with Massarella alongside. The second row was filled by Luke Lattimer and Lee Chamberlain.
After 2 rolling laps, the lights changed, Calvert got the edge on Massarella to take the lead. In the process, Lattimer followed Calvert through the pit complex forcing Massarella back to 3rd spot. These two would battle it out for a few laps. Whilst in the lead, Calvert was putting in a flawless performance to open a safety cushion. Behind this leading trio Chamberlain was harassing Taylor Waldron, eventually finding a way past then setting off in pursuit.
By Half distance, Massarella had finally accounted for Lattimer and focussed his attention on reducing the distance to Calvert. Lattimer in turn was being dragged along in the pursuit. Calvert, however, was having none of it and continued with his impressive performance at the front. Due to the increased pace, Chamberlain found it difficult to close in on the racers at the front. He did move away from Waldron in 5th spot, who was now coming under the attention of Mitchell McLeod.
The latter part of the race unfolded without any drama. Calvert continued on to the win, thereby claiming his second ‘0’ plate title ! Massarella and Lattimer closed the gap slightly on him but insufficient to make any difference. Chamberlain came home in a respectable 4th place. Behind him there was a last bend drama as McLeod made a final unsuccessful effort to pass Waldron.
1ST Jake Calvert 0 + 0 = 0
2nd Thomas Massarella 2 + 2 = 4
3rd Luke Lattimer 3 + 3 = 6
Sam Dible was the clear winner of heat one from Ian Branfield and Chris Derrick. Branfield set the tone for the rest of the day, having moved forwards from a grid start of 18th. It was Branfield who took heat two from Derrick and Stuart Gray. The charger in this heat was Anthony Cleal, finishing 5th from 12th. The last heat was won by Gray with Kaite Crowther in his slipstream. A short distance behind, Dible took 3rd place. In 4thplace was this Heat’s charger in the form of Duncan McLeod, having started in 18th place.
The shape of the grid for the Final could now be confirmed with Branfield on pole and Derrick alongside. The second row was filled by Gray and Dible whilst behind them sat McLeod and Matthew Parr.
From the off, Branfield, with the task already completed, shot into the lead with a real sense of determination, McLeod made the most of the first bend jostling using his experience to the full, slotting into 2nd place, displacing Derrick in the process. Gray and Dible emerged in 4th and 5th respectively. Further back Kevin Ford and Cleal passed Rob Mortimore, while still further back Rich Wilkes passed Ron Shone and Ryan Griffiths.Into lap two and Dible gets the better of Gray for 4th spot. Robin Stoddart-Stones, who appears to be on a roll at the moment, passed Matthew Parr to take up 6th place. Cleal making up from a poor grid position – the result of a heat DNF, was on a charge passing both Crowther and Ford to move up to 8th. Next lap and although the race at the front stabilises for a lap, the race for 8th place continues with Ford retaking Cleal. David Waldron, still on nocice places was adapting to the pace, passing both Pritchard and Goode.
-At one third distance Branfield had opened up a small lead over McLeod, with Derrick a few metres further back. Parr and Stoddart-Stones continued their battle as Parr outbraked him to re-establish 6th position. Not far behind this battle the Cleal / Ford ding- dong, carried on with Cleal making the move that stuck and stayed in 8thspot. Back in 13th place, Pritchard slid a little wide into ‘wingers dip’ , David Goode sniffed a half chance and drive inside The resulting contact forcing Pritchard off the circuit into retirement with a thrown chain.
By the halfway mark it was now Branfield’s to lose as he stamped his authority on the lead gradually easing away from McLeod. Dible made a successful pass on Derrick and was up into third.
Next lap and Gray passed both Derrick and Dible after Derrick received a warning for contact driving. Cleal, starting to find his form of some 15 year ago, passed Stoddart-Stones to sit in 7th place. Rob Mortimore moved past Kaite Crowther for 10th.
With 4 laps to go, Cleal gradually come to a halt with a misfire from a frayed coil wire. Near the back the racing was equally hard fought and Ryan Griffiths out manoeuvred Rich Wilkes. 3 laps from the flag and Branfield was several seconds clear of McLeod and Gray had put distance between the Dibble / Derrick battle. Barring a serious incident, the winner was going to come from these front five. A little way back, Crowther had found a second wind, passing Mortimore and homing in on Ford for 8th place.
By the penultimate lap, the front group had a safety gap between each other, except for the Dibble and Derrick battle. Dible, no doubt, putting in extra concentration to ensure that a repeat of the previous Clay Pigeon meeting didn’t happen. Waldron in 12th place, began to suffer fuel surge as his petrol tank had gradually emptied, thereby allowing , first Goode and then Shone to pass him.
Last lap and Branfield, already having gained the Pole position start, could smell victory and the accompanying ‘0’ Plate title. Crowther had caught Ford and made the move. Unfortunately, in getting alongside, she put a wheel off the track and threw her chain. So to the flag, with a jubilant Ian Branfield crossing the line with a 5 seconds gap over McLeod. He in turn had one second over Gray. A short distance back, Dible drove a flawless last lap to beat Derrick by the narrowest of margins. Once the race had ended, Goode was excluded for contact driving as a result of his error of judgement with the incident with Pritchard.

The competitors now focus on the next Challenge rounds at Whilton Mill for the Southern drivers.
1st Jake Calvert 0 + 0 = 0
2nd Thomas Massarella 2 + 2 = 4

1st Ian Branfield 0 + 0 = 0
2nd Stuart Gray 3 + 3 = 6
1st Stuart Gray 3 + 3 = 6
2nd Duncan McLeod 5 + 2 = 7
1st Stuart Gray 3 + 3 = 6
2nd Duncan McLeod 5 + 2 = 7
1st Robin Stoddart -Stones 7 + 7 = 14
2nd Ron Shone 15 + 11 = 26
1st Ian Branfield 0 + 0 = 0
2nd Duncan McLeod 5 + 2 = 7

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