Round 2 of the Essex Winter Series took place this weekend. Despite low temperatures outside, the fully heated indoor tennis centre facility left most spending the day in t-shirts and the large carpet circuit offering high levels of grip from the start.
The format for the series is five qualifying rounds, with the best 3 to count, and single leg finals. In the Super Stock 13.5 class, the five rounds of qualifying produced some incredibly close racing, with positions between the top drivers often changing lap-by-lap.
Schumacher drivers Ashley Wiffen, Darren Lee and Paul Pinkney were likely to be contendors to secure the pole position, but would also be challenged by the likes of Tony Broad, the winner of the opening round of the series, Dean Gibbs and mutliple STCC champion Bryan Loynes.
Darren Lee took his Mi4 CXL to the top of the timesheets in the first round of qualifying, with Tony Broad topping round 2. The defending champion, Paul Pinkney, was quickest in rounds 3 and 4, and Darren returned was fastest in the final round. This left the A final grid as a Schuamcher 1-2, with Paul on pole from Darren, and Tony completing the top 3. Ashley also put his Schumacher into the A final with fifth overall.
In the A Final, the first three drivers broke off from the chasing pack fairly quickly, with Dean Gibbs starting fourth and just about hanging on for the first few minutes. The leaders circulated nose-to-tail at high speeds for the first half of the race, with Darren trying to find a way to pass Paul, but Paul keeping the door shut at every opportunity, and Darren wary of Tony behind. Just past the half distance mark, Paul made a mistake going around the large carousel in the centre of the circuit, dropping to third as Darren took off in the race lead. Paul sat on Tony's rear bumper, and a few laps later made a great move, placing his car inside Tony going into a slow hairpin. Paul then set off after Darren, but Darren made a mistake through the high speed esses whilst under no pressure from Paul. This allowed Paul to re-take the lead and Tony to also take second. Paul then held onto the lead for the final three laps to take the win and get his championship challenge back on track.
13.5 SUPER STOCK A FINAL RESULTS
1 Paul Pinkney – Schumacher
2 Tony Broad
3 Darren Lee – Schumacher
4 Dean Gibbs
5 Jimmy Maddison
6 Daniel Veness
7 Bryan Loynes
8 Richard King
9 Max Guerola
10 Ashley Wiffen – Schumacher
In the 21.5 Stock class, Andrew Carter, in his first major meeting with a 21.5 turn motor, secured fourth on the A final grid with his Schumacher, and battled through to make the podium with a fine third place finish.
The series, which is supported by Schumacher and uses the Sorex 32 JB control tyre package, continues with Round 3 in December, where multiple UK champion Chris Grainger will join Paul and Darren's assult on the Super Stock class.