Jenkins the winner; Bagley the star

09.05.15 2201 (640x367) A weekend of sensational action ends with a twist.

It’s always an exciting prospect to have semi-finals. Though it’s been an issue much debated over the seasons since their introduction, for a spectator there’s no downside to two extra races for the top drivers in what is arguably the favourite class, and the racing this weekend was superb.
At 61, the number of entrants was only just over the threshold, and where we experienced countless stoppages and unnecessarily poor driving standards at times last year, the behaviour here was excellent.
One of the stars of the weekend was Craig Bagley; the young Cwmdu star having changed his previous supercharged Honda-engined Mini for a twin-engined pickup to excellent effect. On what was only a slightly undulating track the car looked like an animal, but there has been no denying Bagley’s pace in pre-season events, and his competitiveness this weekend suggests a strong year ahead. It was no surprise to see him win his semi- then lead in the final, but he was ultimately racing under a green flag when the race went full distance for taking out the cones, so despite the win he came away with points for third.
Craig Kampschulte was the winner of the other semi-final after having qualified joint second with Bagley and Aaron Middleton but he ultimately finished fifth in the final, which was red flagged when pre-race favourite Andy Holtby’s wheel broke, sending him out towards the barrier collecting Mark Grice in the process.
The predictions of Holtby as the winner were widespread, but in his absence – he was excluded from the rerun – the prediction then arguably changed to reigning champion Grice. When it became apparent soon into the final that he had a puncture it threw the result wide open, with Andy Jefferson the only one to have previously won a final.
Grice took the lead initially but was soon overtaken by Bagley as he struggled to maintain race speed. Keith Kelly and Alun Jenkins held third and fourth respectively, but both were past Grice fairly quickly, with Jefferson on their tail. At the front Bagley was enjoying himself with a huge lead, but because of his penalty the attention was focused on the chasing pack and who would inherit the win at the chequer.
As Grice wrestled for control and went backwards through the field, Jenkins and Jeffo stayed close together in pursuit of Kelly who was set to inherit the win. Despite an impressive effort from the Dales driver he was unable to unseat the Welshman and it looked as though the positions were fairly settled, but a wide line on the last lap by Kelly let Jenkins and Jeffo through into second and third, so it was the Welshman who took the victory which was a just reward for a determined drive.
Behind the demoted Bagley and unfortunate Kelly was Kampschulte in fifth, who stayed out of the dices for position ahead and is thoroughly deserving of an overall third place in the points.
Fellow Welshman Jake Roberts was originally a finalist too but was stationary when the reds came out in the first run and wasn’t allowed in the restarted race.

With two wins and a third place in qualifying, Michaela Dance was top of the table but it was good to see Charlie Wright take command of the final. She gave a great performance and led most of the way, but ultimately couldn’t hold Dance back.
Jodie Faulkner slotted into second initially with Dance behind her, but at the end of the first lap the Welsh lady was past and in pursuit of the leader. Wright’s tidy drive, staying on a tight line, enabled her to keep the lead, but a wide line on the third lap allowed Dance to sneak up the inside out of the pits bend and claim the position into the next corner.
As Dance then pulled away up front to eventually take victory, Faulkner briefly pressured Wright for second before being overtaken by Sue Herdman and dropped to fourth, with Lyn Olsson and second qualifier Nicola Mackenzie not far adrift in the subsequent positions.
On the last lap Mackenzie spun off with broken suspension leaving Olsson as the tail ender. Then at the chequer Herdman’s hard work was undone too as she received a black flag for running over the cones, which promoted Faulkner back to third behind Wright, with Olsson fourth.
Jo Thompson was the last qualifier for the final but her run ended on the first lap when her right rear wheel came off and she sat stationary on the pits bend. Donna Smith was impressive in the ferocious sounding V6 machine but was also a non-finisher.

Main: Jenkins worked his way through the pack to benefit from Bagley's flag. Above: Dance took the new car to it's first final win - probably the first of many.