The end of season finals give the drivers a chance to race against people of similar age/ ability from all over the country who have qualified by racing in their respective regions. The event is split up into 4 categories, F2’s, Under 13’s, Under 16’s and Veteran’s over 2 days, 2wd on Saturday and 4wd on Sunday.
In the 2wd class Callum Niblett and Connor Cocker were given the new Durango DEX210 to run in their respective age groups (U13 and U16). For Callum, it would be a trial by fire, as he had never raced 2wd before. For Connor, it would be just be a completely new Chassis for the event, a car which he hadn’t turned a wheel with before the event.
Practice would be on a very damp track and with only 1 round of practice, the emphasis would be on learning the tricky Silverstone layout.
In the under 13 class, Callum was up against defending double champion Jack Neal, who has ‘much’ more experience than Callum at this type of racing. Callum soon got to grips with the DEX210 chassis and regularly topped the fastest lap times for the class, whilst also giving Jack a run for his money in a couple of the rounds. However, Jack’s experience came through and he took overall TQ for the class, with Callum second on the grid.
The three leg finals would still give Callum the chance to beat Jack and take the title, all it needed was an error from Jack and with Callum’s confidence growing and his lap times dropping this was by no means over. Callum’s luck seemed to be holding and in leg 2 Jack made a couple of costly errors giving Callum the lead, but Jack put down some awesome laps and hauled Callum back in and with a tooth and nail battle to the finish line, Jack took the leg to go with his leg one win and with it the meeting.
Connor’s day got off to a awful start with his personal transponder details being duplicated and the ensuing timing issues meaning he lost out on the TQ for the first round. This would come into play later in the day and would mean that Connor would line up 2nd on the grid when in theory he should have been TQ. This seemed to knock Connor’s confidence, but with the slate wiped clean and 3 legs of finals to come, the chance of victory was still there. Ashley Caunt took the overall TQ and seems to have been one of the most improved drivers over this last year and his confidence with the 2wd chassis would make him hard to beat.
Connor gave it everything he had in all three legs of the final, putting in some excellent driving keeping Ashley honest and really making him work for the title, but in the end he just came up short with Connor having to settle for 2nd place.
Never have I seen two such disappointed faces after finishing 2nd!
Callum and Connor were now both on more familiar grounds with 4wd, Callum has been a regular at Stotfold and Herts, giving the locals a run for their money on club nights, whilst Connor has forced his dad to retire this year after a couple of sound beatings at nationals and regionals!!
Callum and Jack were the class of the field again and resumed where they had left off the day before. Jack again though put in an awesome display taking all 4 rounds of qualifying with Callum hot on his heels in all four rounds.
The finals were another close set of race’s with Jack looking under real pressure from Callum right from the outset of leg 1 and pushing each other to go ever faster. Leg 1 went to Jack, but Callum responded by taking leg 2 and heading Jack for the first time in the weekend. So it was down to the final leg to decide the overall champion. Callum made an early mistake, dropping him to 3rd on the opening lap, but soon settled into a rhythm and started reeling off some of his fastest laps of the meeting in a bid to catch Jack. In the end though time ran out for Callum and he had to settle for 2nd as Jack took the final leg and with it the U13 title. Daniel Town rounded out the podium with his DEX410.
Daniel Town – 3rd DEX410, Jack Neal – 1st, Callum Niblett – 2nd DEX410
Connor was on form right from the outset in 4wd, and took rounds 1 and 2 with times that would have seen him 3rd and 5th overall in the entire meeting!. Rounds 3 and 4 were nail biters for his dad as Ashley Caunt came back and took the last two rounds only missing out on overall TQ by 0.06secs!
With Connor on pole, the task was ‘simple’, keep it clean.. That’s exactly what he did! Driving some of the most mature races of the day he kept his nerve and his car rubber side down on the difficult Silverstone layout. Ashley put in the fastest laps, but with that also came errors and Connor just kept within his comfort zone and gave the track a little bit of respect. Leg’s one and two were soon in the books as wins for Connor who drove without being headed and finally we saw the glimmer of a smile!! With the pressure off Connor went out for leg 3 wanting to keep a perfect score in the finals by racing it out with Ashley in a much closer battle and still coming out on top.
Connor Cocker (Centre) TQ & 1st – DEX410
Durango were well represented throughout the F2 class. Tony Truman was once again the class of the field as was the case in 2wd. He wouldn’t get it all his own way with Adam Mackman taking TQ in round 3 and making Tony fight for overall TQ. Adam would line up 2nd on the grid for the final with Paul Fox 6th.
The Truman-show once again dominated the first two legs, adding the 4wd title to the 2wd title. Adam Mackman couldn’t quite match his qualifying performance in the finals and took 5th, whilst Paul Fox finished 7th.