On the way to eleven?

14.05.15 1510 (640x427) Cooper took his tenth title in ten years in 2014; will this be his 11th?

This was one of the weekend’s more exciting finals in which a couple of drivers played a starring role. 
Ian Spencer put in a sensational drive in the first run of the final with a manoeuvre for the lead round the outside of Phil Cooper, but the race was then stopped and he was a casualty in the rerun, ultimately taking no points from the final.
Cooper’s progress was slowed in the first run by Phil Barleyman after they clashed wheels, but after a briefly airborne moment (pictured), the multiple champion continued in the lead. In the rerun, things were no less exciting, and ultimately a little messier.
The rerun also starred Dek Traylor who took the lead at the end of the first lap, and for a while it looked like we were in for a repeat of last year’s class eight final, where Traylor beat Cooper with a tidy drive, but this time Cooper was equal to the task.
Traylor had what looked to be a fairly comfortable lead at one point, and Barleyman had also moved past Cooper into second, negating the pre-race predictions of a Cooper victory. All it took was a brief moment of understeer for Barleyman, however, and Cooper was back up his inside through a narrow gap and in pursuit of the new Border Counties machine.
Cooper then rapidly closed on Traylor and passed him going into the pits bend at the start of the fourth lap, with Barleyman on a charge too following Cooper through the gap and immediately drew alongside him as he went up the start straight. This time the manoeuvre came to nothing, but then Barleyman tried again on the last lap.
Into the pits bend the Pennine driver tried to pass Cooper up the inside once more, and again he couldn’t complete the manoeuvre; but as they rounded the final turn, a repeat of the move ended with Barleyman climbing over Cooper’s car and he sat stationary as Cooper escaped to take the chequer.
Traylor had held third place with a great view of the fight up ahead and so inherited second from Barleyman who was black flagged for the incident. The runner up spot was an excellent result for Traylor as he hadn’t raced the car prior to the weekend.
Behind him was Nick Aldridge, for whom this was the first time back racing for nine years and his first ever BAS round as a registered driver, and the fact that Traylor hasn’t registered means that Aldridge sits in second overall in the points, which is an impressive position after so long out of the seat.
With Barleyman’s exclusion, the loss of Spencer from the rerun, along with top qualifier Steve Lindsay and second in line Stuart Taylor, meant that there were just four cars who took points from the final. The returning Rob Schofield bought Sean Power’s old car a few months back, has completely rebuilt it and was rewarded with a fine fifth place on track, which of course became fourth due to Barleyman’s penalty.

Kelly Paines led into the first turn in the ladies final, but a half-spin midway through the bend not only slowed Angie Chilvers’ momentum, but also allowed Jade Russell a chance at the lead.
It’s great to see the former British and national champion back in the BAS and she was able to get a run on the outside of Paines and Chilvers through the corner, then pull ahead up the finish straight to lead the field into the pits bend for the first time. As the pack fought amongst themselves behind, Russell was able to pull away for what surely will be the first of many wins this season.
Chilvers held second from 2013 champion Tracey Aldridge, with Paines on a terrific comeback drive through the pack. By the end of the first lap she was bunched among the midfielders, and quickly promoted herself back to second, with Chilvers and Aldridge still behind her.
Jade Dyke ran with Aldridge briefly but settled back in fifth in the end, with Sharon Barker and Jodie Paskell behind her. Charlene Hankey had a good start to her race but was ultimately a non-finisher.

Top: Cooper tripped over Barleyman in the first run... Middle: ...and then came under pressure from Traylor too in the restart before his eventual win. Above: Russell took a clear victory in the final.