Tom Howard secured his maiden win in the Ginetta Junior Championship with a controlled performance and led home team mate Louise Richardson for a one-two finish.
The fifteen year old's job was made easier for him on the opening lap when pole sitter Jake Hill spun down at Deene, holding the rest of the field up in the process. From here, Howard got his head down and was never challenged.
The TJ Motorsport runners had been in dominant form throughout the weekend, and qualifying saw rookie driver Jody Fannin line up second alongside Hill, with team mates Howard and Richardson filling out the second row.
At the start, Hill and Fannin made even getaways and the Tollbar Racing driver held the lead going through the banked turn one, ahead of Howard as Fannin started to drop back. Richardson was also dropping back as she suffered a gear selection problem, and by the time the field arrived at Deene, the seventeen-year-old second year racer was outside the top six.
Exiting Deene, Hill spun and this gave Howard the chance to take the lead, and he set about building up an advantage, and he led from Chris Swanwick and Jake Giddings – who had climbed up from thirteenth on the grid – and as the race leader started the third lap, he had a gap of over four seconds.
Lap four saw Richardson take second away from Swanwick at Deene. Turning into the hairpin, the cars were four abreast – with Richardson coming out on top, ahead of Giddings, Swanwick and David Moore.
Richardson set about chasing down her team mate, meaning the battle for third was between Giddings and Moore, who made his move on lap six at Deene. Moore then went on to take his third podium in as many races and with it a narrow Championship lead of a point over Ingram.
Thruxton race one victor, High Wycombe's Tom Ingram was on a charge and over the last three laps went from seventh to fourth place, while Giddings dropped back to sixth by the end after his team mate, Alex Austin took fifth before the end.
Rounding out the top ten were Adam Bonham, Swanwick, Fannin and pole sitter Hill. It wasn't all bad news for Hill, as he set a new lap record during his recovery drive, setting a time of 1:39.470.
After taking his first win in the series, Howard said: “That was a great race for me. I was helped by Jake (Hill) spinning and a few people held up my team-mate Louise (Richardson) so that helped too. I just had to hold everything together, keep driving well and make sure I didn't make any mistakes. It's fantastic to take the win.”
Richardson picked up her first official podium finish of the season during round three of twenty and she said: “I mucked up the start as I couldn't get second gear, so I lost about four or five places around Turn One. To come back through to finish on the podium though is a fantastic feeling.”
For Moore, third place meant three podiums in three races and he said afterwards: “It was a good race, up to now we've had a lot of issues with the car and I haven't been all that happy but things were better today. It could still have been better and we do need to improve but I'm pretty happy to be on the podium again.”
Race One Result:
- Tom Howard: 8 laps in 13:32.898
- Louise Richardson: +6.710
- David Moore: +10.735
- Tom Ingram: +12.172
- Alex Austin: +13.299
- Jake Giddings: +13.721
- Adam Bonham: +14.120
- Chris Swanwick: +15.721
- Jody Fannin: + 15.908
- Jake Hill: +20.434
Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography