Only 0.546 secs covered the top six in qualifying at Croft, with 20Ten Racing’s Spencer Stevenson third quickest, from Luke Pinder in sixth.
As the lights went out Stevenson lost out initially, as a four-car break ensued, with Pinder in fourth.
Stevenson had dropped to sixth, but was soon making inroads on the cars ahead as Pinder had begun to challenge Rob Smith for third. He decided to try and make his move on lap three, as they arrived at the Hairpin. They were alongside, with Pinder on the inside, but as they powered away on the exit, Smith still had a nose ahead.
Stevenson had briefly lost another place into Clervaux, but back into sixth on lap five, he then managed to close in to join a three-car fight for fourth, after Zachary Lucas had retired from second place.
Pinder attacked Smith again into Tower on lap 7 for what was now second, but his duel had allowed it to become a six car lead battle.
Two laps later another attempt at Tower was more successful and not only did Pinder then consolidated second, he was only 0.354 secs away from a dramatic last lap victory.
“I had hoped we had dropped the others, but then I got backed up. I wish I’d had one more lap as I had real pace at the end,” said Pinder.
“It was my first start in these cars and I didn’t want to mess it up. I had to attack to catch the big scrap ahead, but lost too much time at the start,” Stevenson added after taking fifth.
In the ST150 class Ethan Rogers took a win for 20Ten. “I lost a bit at the start, but had pace and the car felt great,” he said.
Rosie Hunt was third in class on her car racing debut.
There was drama before the start of the second race, when Pinder headed pitwards on the green flag lap. “The brake pedal went solid half way around the lap,” he explained.
Stevenson had been sixth on the opening lap, but was soon into a duel for fifth with Jamie Going. The first attempt to pass at the Complex on lap 4 resulted in a slight touch, but Going was still ahead.
He continued to try every move in the book to breach Going’s defence and finally got through into the Hairpin two laps later, after arriving at the Complex side by side.
The gap soon opened and Simon Horrobin was his next target and a podium place. He closed considerably but was still 0.215 secs shy of further progress and had to settle for fourth.
Pinder’s charge from his pitlane start finally netted, fifth after a last lap challenge on Going paid off. But he had been lucky to get away with an off on the Clervaux Straight, sending him bouncing along the grass before rejoining. “That one was all of my own doing,” he admitted.
Rogers took his second class win of the day with a dominant performance and Hunt recovered from a first lap slip to take fourth.
Report by Scherer Race & Rally News, on 16th May 2021.