Mighty Manning

22.10.15 602 (640x414) Close battles feature in both classes.

After a hat-trick of titles, there’s no doubt that Jabez Smith was the favourite for the title this season, and he almost claimed his fourth. However, Matt Manning was his equal all season and where Smith had engine trouble at the final round, Manning’s great form continued, giving him his first BAS title.
It was Smith who took the first final win of the year but after that Manning took control of the leader board, winning the next two finals, outscoring his title rival overall from round two onwards and finishing the season as the only driver to have raced in all five finals. The Evesham driver has been on great form over the past years, looking every inch a title challenger, and this year’s trophy is a just reward and realisation of seasons of potential.
Had it not been for a black flag in heat two of the first round then Colin Chilvers would not have missed the final at round one, and he too would have raced in every final; a statistic that you could speculatively apply to Jenny Shepherd too.
The rapid Southern League lady missed the first round completely, so can only rely purely on those scores posted instead of having the luxury of dropping the worst five from the whole season; had she been able to contest the whole season she would almost certainly have been a little higher up than fifth in the points.
Her run through the Series from round two onwards was impressive nonetheless, and included a win at the fourth round in front of the television cameras, beating the best in the sport from bungee to flag.
Chilvers’ moment of glory came at round five where he took the win, but his highest score had come at round two on the strength of a third place in the heats then the same result in the final, and he finished the year in third place overall too, with John Wilde sandwiched between him and Shepherd.
Wilde missed the final at rounds one and four, but for his pace and consistency elsewhere a fourth overall is a just reward.

At the start of the year, no-one would have argued against Alice Bevans being the prediction for class champion. On the strength of a series of excellent performances in both BAS and Nationals in her own Class One Mini and Rob Corbett’s Class Four, she looked every inch the kind of driver whose skill would transfer well to rear-wheel drive.
She delivered on that promise, but reigning champion Sarah Bateman was more than a match for her.
Bevans’ scores at rounds one and two were significantly less than Bateman’s, despite the Welsh lady’s win on home ground at the latter. A great drive at Evesham went some way to levelling the scores, but Bateman’s pace was too great, too consistent for Bevans to overcome in championship terms and Bateman took her second title in a row, adding it to her Nationals title from a month earlier and the title in 2012, too.
Sarah Farrar was also mightily impressive this season, taking a maximum score at round three on her way to third overall, 46 points behind Bevans. Farrar completes the trio of drivers to have raced in all three finals, with Jenny Brown the best of the rest in fourth, only seven points ahead of Holly Downing. Danielle Phillips raced Tom Ellis’s car to a second place in the event and the standings at round one, but had a disappointing season thereafter after being a title contender in previous seasons.

Main: Manning was on superb form all season... Above: was Bateman, in the rusty, ratrod liveried machine.