Middleton Wins As Title Rivals Come To Blows

by Simon Paice

Stuart Middleton has taken back the 2016 Ginetta Junior Championship points lead after taking a lights-to-flag victory in the opening encounter at Croft, a race which saw title protagonists Will Tregurtha and Dave Wooder make contact on the opening lap.

As Middleton led the field through Clervaux and Hawthorns for the first time, a touch on the rear of Tregurtha’s car sent the erstwhile championship leader sideways, with himself, Wooder and Seb Perez all losing momentum in the process.

That elevated Rookie contenders Seb Priaulx and Daniel Harper into the podium positions, with Charlie Fagg gaining ground to fourth despite a slow launch off the line, while Olli Caldwell slotted into fifth position on his championship debut.

An early gap at the front would prove to be crucial for Middleton as he was able to keep Priaulx and co at arms length throughout the race, with his composed drive securing him a fourth win of the season by nearly eight tenths of a second.

Behind, Priaulx had Harper in his mirrors from start-to-finish, but an impressive drive saw him take his best result of the season so far with second, while Harper bounced back from a troubled Oulton Park meeting with his fourth outright podium of the campaign.

Fagg and Caldwell ran in formation to complete the top five, though Cameron Roberts wasn’t far behind as he set the fastest lap of the race en-route to sixth ahead of the battling HHC Motorsport duo of Tom Gamble and Lewis Brown.

Behind Kyle Hornby in ninth, there was a thrilling battle over the final position in the top ten, with nine cars in close competition at one stage. Impressively picking his way through them was Tregurtha to complete a strong recovery drive ahead of Tom Wood and Geri Nicosia.

While Tregurtha was able to get some crucial championship points in tenth, Wooder saw his race come to an end on lap two when he pulled off circuit with a mechanical problem, while a late spin at the hairpin for Perez left him down in eighteenth.

Full race results can be found here.

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