The Great Gadsby

12.05.15 2341 (640x427) After an exciting opening lap, Ben Gadsby steals the win.

It wasn’t really a surprise to see Martyn James at the top of the table after the heats, but at the end of the final we had a first time winner.
Gadsby was the last qualifier for the final with 128 points, which is a fairly high points threshold for this class and he took the lead on lap two as the race settled down, because the first lap had been a fairly frantic affair.
Stuart Thompson was the one who initially took the lead but ran wide through the first turn allowing Sam French and Ben Gould through up the inside and the trio ran three abreast on the finish straight, though Tommo quickly eased off before the pits bend to set up his next manoeuvre.
Gould held the inside line so was best placed to take the lead, but Tommo’s wide line up the straight enabled him to execute a perfect undercut and he went up the inside of Gould, meaning that the trio ran three abreast once more through the pits turn. As they started the second lap however, Tommo pulled to the infield, with Gould and French coming to grief allowing Gadsby through into the lead. The Pennine pilot had been a little way adrift of the warring trio and was perfectly placed to grab the position, which was then unchallenged thereafter.
Gould recovered to second with French out of the running, but was too far adrift of the leader so settled into the runner up spot, as third placed Andrew Davidson was too far behind to be a worry too.
Davidson was mightily impressive here, and seemed to fully capture the excellent form that has been hinted at with the occasional good result in seasons past; he was fairly level with Gadsby at the start of the race and had a good battle with James as the race progressed.
Initially occupying third, he lost the position to the Welshman in the closing stages, only to take it back by the end of the race. For James, fourth place was enough, on top of his maximum qualifying score, to keep a slim lead in the points.
Micky Manning had been joint second qualifier with Tommo, but was an early casualty as he pulled to the outside of the track with broken steering. That left reigning national champion Tom Hall as the last remaining driver running, and he was on James’s tail by the time the chequer fell.

The heat wins were shared by Leanne Lewis, Yvonne Dockray and Angela Evans in one to three respectively, but in the final once Dockray had claimed the lead she was uncatchable, putting in a characteristically tidy drive.
In the end the three heat winners were the only ones to compete in the final, as both Hannah Johnson and Gina Fackrell only took points from the first heat, and Tracey Burrell – usually a frontrunner – suffered a knock in qualifying that meant she left Stroud with no score.
Dockray, Evans and Lewis were all equidistant in the final, though Dockray’s winning margin wasn’t huge over Evans, whose Fiesta-bodied machine continues to sound delightful with its five-cylinder motor.

Top: Gadsby was in the right place at the right time to take advantage of the melee ahead. Middle: The first lap was a cracker as the leaders went three abreast. Above: Dockray's win was a fairly straightforward one.