Both Sean Huyton and Matt Flowers formally sealed their Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge titles this weekend as the season drew to a close at Donington Park.
The first race of the meeting entailed twelve laps of furious excitement as Huyton fought with Will Burns, Luke Davenport and Ryan Ratcliffe over the three podium positions. These four, along with pole sitter Mike Robinson led the initial charge from the front and it was not long before this quintet had created a gap between themselves and the sixth-placed man.
Ratcliffe lunged for the first position on lap two to demote the initial leader, and Huyton shadowed the leading pair after himself overtaking Davenport- who then slipped down behind the now advancing Burns.
These five were lapping so close to one another that soon Burns was in a position to challenge for the lead and he did so on lap four – only for Huyton to pull the place back two laps later. Ratcliffe and Davenport watched intently, until Huyton slipped off the track further around the lap which allowed Ratcliffe into the lead and Davenport into third.
Davenport and Burns then squabbled over second place until the end of the race, with Burns eventually claiming second from new team-mate Huyton and Ratcliffe overcoming all of his contemporaries, albeit only just; the top three were covered by just over half a second at the flag. That result, however, meant that Huyton could not be beaten in the championship, and so the newly crowned champion looked to taking home some more silverware in the second race of the day.
Further down the grid in the G20 class, Stuart Pearson impressed on his return to the grid by splitting rivals Matt Flowers and Brian Murphy. It was not long before Pearson took the lead of the class from Flowers, and from then on it was game over as he took a commanding lead until the end of the race.
The second race got underway with Robinson leading the pack away withDavenportin a close second. However, the latter skidded off the track at the old hairpin and became beached in the gravel, necessitating a safety car appearance whilst his car was removed. Once the safety car returned to the pits on lap three, Robinson replicated his original start by charging away, this time form Huyton in second and Ratcliffe in the final podium position.
Huyton was not in second for long, though, as Ratcliffe pounced into the Melbournehairpin and then Burns did the same further around the lap, only for the places to revert one lap later. Ratcliffe then set about chasing Robinson, and his efforts were fruitful; he took first place on the next lap. Huyton then tried to also pass Robinson, but with less success. The two cars tangled and span out of contention whilst Brad Bailey and Rick Parfitt claimed second and third respectively.
That order stayed the same until the chequered flag, but there was still drama to come; Ratcliffe was deemed to have overtaken under yellow flags and so was penalised, affording Bailey his first G40 win, and disqualifying Ratcliffe from the result.
Drama and action in other categories caused the third and final race of the weekend to be cancelled owing to time restrictions on the circuit itself, resulting in a slightly diminished end to the season, yet not tarnishing the fantastic racing that had gone before it.