The opening round of the 2010 Ginetta Junior Championship saw a pair of new winners in the series: Tom Ingram, who has returned for his second season in the Championship with newcomers Hillspeed, who took their first victory in their first race.
A grid of 18 Ginetta G40’s took to the 2.35 mile Thruxton circuit for opening race of the season in challenging track conditions.
The start of the race saw TJ Motorsport's Louise Richardson make a storming start, attempting to pass Ingram, while Jake Hill shot up the inside of the duo taking the lead. Ingram then spun at the Complex after putting the power down too quickly.
This gave the rest of the field a chance to pass the High Wycombe youngster who would recover to cross the line on lap one inside the top ten.
Up at the front pole man Hill was trying to break away from the chasing pack. Lap two saw David Moore pass Richardson for third, and on the following lap second from Swanwick, a position he held until the fifth lap. As Swanwick went up the inside of Hill to take the lead at the Complex, Richardson and Moore came together with Moore spinning out and Richardson taking third.
Ingram meanwhile was the biggest beneficiary of all the excitement at the Complex, as he climbed from fifth to second and set about closing the gap to leader Swanwick.
Lap seven saw Ingram make the decisive move as he passed Swanwick on the run down to Noble, and wasn't passed during the final couple of laps to secure his maiden victory and a debut victory for Hillspeed. On the final three laps, Ingram said: “Those last three laps felt like 30 laps – they seemed to go so slowly! Going into the chicane for the last time, all I could think was 'I'm going to win this; I'm going to win this!' When I crossed the line I was crying and shouting so loud I reckon they probably heard me up on the pit wall – I almost ripped the steering wheel off too with shaking it so much!”
Behind Ingram, Swanwick led home a delighted Richardson, who took her maiden podium finish in third.
Speaking after the race, Swanwick said: “All weekend we've been in the top three so to take a podium form the first race is good and gives us some good points. I want to win the championship this year, that's my aim, so if we can be in the top three again tomorrow and stay consistent, that'll be good.”
Richardson said about her maiden podium result: “It was an interesting race, quite a few people went off and the conditions were very tricky, but it's the best finish I've had yet so I'm really pleased. To have started the new season with a podium is great; I absolutely love the new car. Thruxton wasn't one of my favourite circuits before today – but it is now!”
It wasn't all smiles for Richardson though; after the race she was penalised eight and a half seconds for gaining an unfair advantage, which demoted her to fourth and gave David Moore his first podium of the season.
- Tom Ingram – 9 laps in 15m33.817s
- Chris Swanwick @ 0.795s
- David Moore @ 12.058s
- Louise Richardson @ 12.173s
- Jake Hill @ 12.215s
- Adam Bonham @ 13.203s
Fastest Lap: Jody Fannin – 1m41.632 on lap 9
Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography