Murray Crashes Out as Fisher and Foster Win Semis


Credit: Nick Smith / TheImageTeam.com

A dramatic qualification race for the Walter Hayes Trophy saw Niall Murray punted off in his Semi-Final ensuring he would not have the chance to defend his crown at Silverstone.

Murray’s heat was won by Josh Foster as he was side-by-side across the line from Oliver White, with the latter putting in a spectacular second half charge after the red flag. The second Semi was far more tame, as Joey Foster won a race long battle with polesitter Michael Moyers. The result ensures Foster will line up on pole for the final.

Going into the day, Murray had received the news that he would be promoted a few spots as Keith Donegan was dropped from first to fifth in his heat.

Prior to the Semis though, much of the field qualified due to their results in the Progression Race and the subsequent Last-Chance event, giving the big names a chance to recover their grid positions.

Last-Chance Race

Winner: David McCollough

David McCollough retained the lead as the lights went out as Ben Tinkler joined him at the head of the field, with Peter Daly and Nigel Dolan also in the group during the opening laps. Dolan was on a charge though, working his way up to second with half the race to run.

Daly had fallen back allowing Michelangelo Amendola into the fight for second. Other drivers soon dropped off allowing Amendola up to second, though he couldn’t do anything about McCollough who took a commanding win. Jaap Blijeven rounded out the podium as Tinkler and Dolan.

David McCollough won the Last-Chance Race from start to finish after breaking away early on (Credit: Nick Smith / TheImageTeam.com)

Semi-Final 1

Grid Fisher / Kotyk / R.Martin / Gough / Murray / O’Hara

Winner: Josh Fisher

A poor start by Jonathan Kotyk ensured that Josh Fisher could break in the opening lap as Kotyk desperately held off the advancing Murray. The American was soon caught up in the mayhem allowing Stuart Gough into second, making it four cars for one place.

Murray knew he needed to get past Oliver White and Gough in order to challenge the leader, but a failed overtake by last years champion saw Murray running over the curbs. He was hit by Sebastian Melrose, with Robert Barrable also involved at coming to a stop at Brooklands.

The field scattered with a red flag called after four laps. The race was restarted for a seven lap sprint as Fisher once again lead away. He would be under greater pressure though, with White and Gough hounding him in the breaking zones.

Kotyk and Josh Smith would battle over fourth with Ross Martin narrowly behind. Gaps between the drivers would not grow more than a second as White made a last chance lunge on Fisher.

The pair would be side by side over the line as Fisher held on by 0.027 seconds. Gough held back and took a solid third, while Smith and Kotyk ensuring that five drivers finished within a second of each other.

Martin relatively dropped back (by half a second) to secure sixth while solid drives up the order saw Luke Cooper and Chris Middlehurst rounded out the top eight.

A tight second Semi-Final saw Josh Fisher (#81) come out on top (Credit: Nick Smith / TheImageTeam)

Semi-Final 2

GridMoyers / Foster / Round-Garrido / Orgee / Dempsey / Raven

Winner: Michael Moyers

After a quiet Saturday Michael Moyers would have been hoping for a similar Semi-Final, but with Festival winner Joey Foster on his inside knew that he’d have to work hard to hold on after the opening lap. Moyers remained in control though, despite the pressure from the encroaching Foster.

The battle for third proved to be just as intense with Roger Orgee holding on the place as Matt Round-Garrido and James Raven constantly trading blows.

On the sixth lap Foster finally made a move into Brooklands, taking the lead off Moyers, only for the Spectrum 011C to take it back a few laps later. The battling pair brought three more drivers into the fight as the five crossed the finish line within a second.

The win ultimately went to Foster after a final lap dive saw the #155 edge out Moyers with Orgee just behind. Raven eventually beat Round-Garrido to secure fourth.

Behind the top five, Michael Eastwell worked his way up to sixth, despite a broken front nose. The aerodynamic disadvantage saw Jack Wolfenden and Matthew Cowley pressure, but both had to settle just behind.