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Down to the wire

17.11.15 1461 (640x427) Tommo takes the title at the final round.

With no disrespect to Ben Gould, because his performance was sensational, you couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed for Stuart Thompson at the Nationals. For so long his looked to be a winning run, denied by Gould at the last moment. However, the tables turned in the BAS at the final round, and ‘Tommo’ claimed this title instead.
We reserve considerable sympathy and disappointment for Ben Gadsby too, because for much of the year he has looked every inch the title challenger with a series of brilliant performances. He continued his good form at the final round to keep his title aspirations alive until a roll in the third heat brought an abrupt end to his chances, leaving him third overall in the standings.
A win at the first and second rounds meant he was the driver of the moment at the start of the season. It would be unfair to say his form tailed off thereafter because he was always among the top of the class, but the final victories were shared between Gould at round three, Tommo at round four – the York driver particularly impressive as he took the only maximum score of the whole season in the class here – and Andrew Davidson at the final round. Davidson has been on pace for several seasons and an overall win is a just reward for the affable Solway driver.
Both Tommo and Gadsby took a trio of heat wins at rounds three and four respectively, but ultimately it is Tommo’s late season charge to secure the title that is most memorable because of its paradoxical nature compared to the Nationals final, which makes him all the more deserving of the BAS crown.
It is this trio who will be most closely associated with the 2015 season in hindsight, but that is not to discount several other top names who had their glorious moments throughout the year.
Sam French and Martyn James were top qualifiers at the first round, though French was a non-starter in the final. James took a fourth place behind Davidson before selling his beautifully prepared self-built machine to Dalton Thomas, who wrecked it in a hefty roll at Evesham.
At round two Craig Tovey was the only driver to go to the final unbeaten and took a fourth behind 2014 title challenger Nicky Newton. Tovey was rapid again at Evesham but his BAS campaign came to an end after the first heat at round four, leaving him seventh in the points behind Davidson and French. Micky Manning was frantically fast at times, and remains one of the best drivers in the class to watch: his consistency through the year and participation in three finals has left him in fourth overall.

Like a couple of other classes, Ladies Six was disappointingly undersubscribed again, but nonetheless interesting for the Series of attrition that it became.
Hannah Johnson took the class lead initially then Gina Fackrell stole the position with a better run at round two.
There was always the threat of Sarah Haigh and the new Martyn James-built machine making an appearance at some point in the season, and both Johnson and Fackrell were lucky that she didn’t debut the car until round three, because she would undoubtedly have been the champion otherwise.
Instead, the two leaders fought for the title between them, whilst keeping a watchful eye on Haigh’s progress as she raced her way up the points table with a series of characteristically great drives.
In the end, it was Fackrell who triumphed and took the title after a series of consistent performances, with Johnson only 26 points behind and Haigh a further six points adrift in third.


Main: This year's Tommo vs. Gould battle was particularly memorable. Middle: Gadsby was every inch a contender until this unfortunate end in the third heat of the final round. Above: Fackrell's consistency paid dividends for a narrow title win. (Photos: Dan Moffatt & Sam Barrett).