Grossbritanien: Grande Finals 2015 – NRKA Classes and Formula Blue on the three Sisters Circuit

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Having completed the Regional Rounds in all the NKRA classes, the Grande Finals for Cadet Honda, Junior Blue and Formula Blue moved on to the Three Sisters circuit, in August. The weather for Friday practice and the weekend’s racing remained dry. There was however, a sting in the tail for the Finals !

A small Cadet Honda grid contested the heats with the Scottish and North regional winners fighting it out for pole position in the actual Final. In the end it was Luke Sharf from Scotland who shaded Darren Dawson for the front row. The Final however turned out to be a different affair ! Dawson took the lead which, despite all the efforts of Scharf, he held to the end. The two circulated locked together until in an effort to take the lead Scharf slid out and the tow was broken. Their times were within 0/04 seconds of each other. At the flag, Dawson claimed a fine win but because of his, earlier in the year, non-attendance penalty points was unable to take the overall Championship title. This in turn, went to Sharf, who was able to take the massive winner’s trophy back up to Scotland.

1st Luke sharf 0 + 2 = 2
2nd Darren Dawson 2 + 0 = 2

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The top four Juniors turned up for these finals knowing that throughout the Regionals the racing had been very close and the win could be anyone’s. Jake Calvert held a narrow points lead over Thomas Massarella, which he fully intended to hang on to, over the weekend’s racing. This was a promise that he lived up to, winning all four heats. Massarella took three of the second places available with Mitchell McLeod the other one.

As Calvert sat on pole position, he know that by virtue of his accrued points, he could afford to finish 2nd and still be the overall Champion. As the lights changed Calvert raced into the lead chased by Massarella. McLeod got the better of Waldron who was suffering from a continued carburettor problem. Over the next 12 laps the title contenders became slightly spread out, with Calvert dominant at the front. Then it happened, Calvert suffered a chain problem allowing the others to pass by as he coasted to a halt at the side of the circuit. Over the remaining 3 laps Massarella, having taken over the lead, forged on to the flag and thereby the title. However, all was not last for Calvert. His pole position stood him in good stead as, despite not completing the last three 3 laps, he was able to claim 2nd place overall.
1st Thomas Massarella 2 + 0 = 2
2nd Jake Calvert 0 + 4 = 4
3rd Mitchell McLeod 3 + 3 = 3

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All three regions ( Scotland, North & South) had their Regional winners present at these Grande Finals. Stuart Gray, Nigel Pritchard & Chris Derrick intent on maximising their Regional points.
Heat 1 – Derrick took an immediate lead followed by Kevin Ford with David Waldron out braking himself from 3rd. Into lap 2 with Derrick and Ford holding the front, Gray passed Luke Lattimer for 3rd place and Duncan McLeod moved up to 5th. Next lap and Gray was passed by Ford. Sam Dible, recovering from an opening lap incident, accounted for Brotherwood into 6th place. Anthony Cleal, returning after a substantial lay off period, moved into 8th place passing Serita Shone. Further back Rob Mortimore and Kaite Crowther overtook Andrew Greenway for 11th and 12th respectively. Over the next 3 laps things settled down at the front with the action taking place a little way back. Cleal and Ian Branfield passing Brotherwood moving into 7th and 8th place. Crowther and Greenway forced their way past Mortimore for 11th and 12th position. Ryan Griffiths would, as a late entry have to start all four heats from the back. This however, didn’t deter him and by lap 7 he was up to 16th. With 3 laps to go , Gray outgunned Derrick for the lead, Lattimer passed Ford for 3rd and David Goode making up for bad start passed Ron Shone and Richard Wilkes to take up 17th spot. Last lap and McLeod was into 3rd and past Lattimer whilst Cleal took 7th place off Banfield. At the flag it was Gray from Derrick, McLeod, Lattimer and Ford. At post race scrutineering Gray was excluded for a technical infringement, promoting the rest of the order.
Heat 2 – was an unchallenged win from lights to flag for Branfield. He was followed in the early stages by Crowther. Cleal, after an incident at the start, slipped to 10th promoting Nigel Pritchard into 3rd place. McLeod used the opening laps to move up from 12th to 4th. He was followed by Gray and Sam Dible. Ford was also on a charge now in 9th spot. Derrick having a rear of grid start, was up to 12th. Over the next 3 laps, Pritchard pulled off with carburettor problems. McLeod was up to 2nd and Gray up to 3rd. Both of them displacing Crowther in the process. Ford passed Serita shone and Derrick accounted for Greenway. Griffiths and Brotherwood went past Goode. Between laps 6 & 9 , Gray slip by McLeod for 2nd place and Dible moved up to 4th passing Crowther. Both Ford and Cleal took Mortimore. Lattimer, recovering from an ‚off‘ earlier in the race had moved up to 16th spot. Into the last lap and Brandfield took the flag with clean air between himself and the Gray / McLeod battle for 2nd and 3rd. Close behind was a fast finishing Dible in 4th.
Heat 3 – and Dible took the lead followed by McLeod. It took 3 laps for the race to settle down with Gray having to watch from trackside, having oiled up on the rolling lap. During these early frantic laps McLeod had passed Dible for the lead. Branfield was up to 3rd followed by Lattimer and Ford. Derrick forged forward from 10th to 6th. Serita Shone was starting to get the measure of the track and had climbed from 17th to 13th place. Over the next few laps the race for the lead became a spectacle as Dible and McLeod swapped the lead on almost every straight. Branfield sat in 3rd thinking the front two would tangle, presenting him with the lead. Behind him Lattimer set the fastest lap in his effort to reach this battle for the front. Brotherwood claimed 8th place from Goode whilst Greenway passed Waldron for 13th. Near the back Pritchard, making up for a bad opening lap, had caught up and passed Griffiths and Wilkes. At the flag it was McLeod, who had made his last move on Dible stick, Dible a mere 0.25 seconds behind.

Heat 4 – into the last heat and it was Serita Shone who took the lead, which she held until lap 5. Behind her Cleal kept a watchful brief. Branfield was up to 4th with Ford behind, in 5th position. Dible had a meteoric first few laps moving from 13th up to 6th. McLeod’s progress from 16th was equally impressive reaching 9th by lap 3. Gray tried following him through but „only“ reached 11th place. Cleal had, by lap 5, finally to passed Serita Shone. By lap 6, Ford moved up to 3rd spot passing Branfield on route. Dible was now in 5th place having passed Greenway. Gray had got it all together and was up to 7th taking both Derrick and McLeod. McLeod, by this time knowing what he had to do to secure pole, was not taking any risks. Lattimer was up to 10th disposing of Pritchard and Mortimore on the way. Brotherwood was having a better race and passed Mortimore and Waldron to get up to 12th. Four laps to go and Cleal continued unchallenged to the flag. Dible moved up to 2nd followed by Ford, Branfield and Serita Shone. Gray, a few seconds adrift was in 5th shadowed by McLeod. Lattimer, just up from Juniors, accounted for Derrick. Further back Griffiths was having a personal duel with Waldron, the pair of them swapping places for 15th spot. At the flag, it was Cleal from Dible, Ford, Branfield and Serita Shone. The race for Lattimer was not over until he crossed the line, just passing Greenway and taking 8th spot. The battle between Waldron and Griffiths ended in Waldron’s favour for 15th place.
So after four fantastic heats the grid for the Final was sorted. McLeod had secured Pole position with Dible alongside. The second row comprised of Branfield and Ford, with Derrick and cleal on row three. The eventual winner would, no doubt come from these front rows. ! However, the infamous changeable weather at Three Sisters would still play its part. Whilst the racers sorted themselves out on the Dummy Grid, dark clouds were swiftly rolling over and everyone raced back to the their pits to collect their wet tyres. At the designated time to start the race it was still dry and no-one took the risk of fitting wet tyres.Two rolling laps were needed to ensure that the grid was compact and ready for the Green light. From the ‚off‘ McLeod took the lead followed by Branfield forcing Dible off-line into 3rd. Derrick out-gunned Ford but was retaken on lap 2. Gray made an impressive start, going from 12th to 7th in the opening lap. By lap 4 it was McLeod from Branfield and Dible. Derrick had won his mini-duel with Ford and was into 4th. Over the next 2 laps Gray moved forward passing both Cleal and Ford who were involved in a side by side tangle which would see them both withdraw from the race. Into lap 7 and Branfield snatched the lead only for McLeod to take it back next lap. By lap 10 Gray had passed Dible. Goode and Pritchard started a battle which would see them swap position several times a lap, for 13th place, right up to the flag. By lap 11 it has started to spit with rain. Branfiled took advantage and slipped by McLeod who then came under pressure from Derrick. Brotherwood passed Crowther and latched on to Serita shone, but was unable to find a way past. Mortimore revelling in the slippery conditions passed first Griffiths and then Greenway. Behind them Goode made the last move on Pritchard and held it to the line. At the flag it was Branfield clear from McLeod who had gradually eased away from Derrick. In fourth place it was Gray who was almost retaken by Dible on the line with Lattimer immediately behind. When the points were tallied up it was McLeod who became the Grande Finals Winner by virtue of his pole position in the Final and 2nd place finish in the Final. 2nd was Branfield with third on the grid for the final and a Win. 3rd was Dible with 7 points from a second on the grid for the Final and 5th on the track.

1st Duncan McLeod 0 + 2 = 2
2nd Ian Branfield 3 + 0 = 3
3rd Sam Dible 2 + 5 = 7
4th Chris Derrick 6 + 3 = 9
5th Serita Shone 3 + 8 + 7 = 18
1st Duncan McLeod 0 + 2 = 2
2nd Chris Derrick 6 + 3 = 9
3rd Rob Mortimore 12 + 10 = 22
1st Duncan McLeod 0 + 2 = 2
2nd Kevin Ford 4 + 18 = 22
3rd Stuart Gray 12 + 4 = 29
1st Nigel Pritchard 15 + 14 = 29
2nd David Goode 17 + 13 = 30
3rd Ron Shone 19 + 19 = 38
1st Duncan McLeod 0 + 2 = 2
2nd Ian Branfield 3 + 0 = 3
3rd Rob Mortimore 12 + 10 = 22

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