Michael Watton kicked off his 2018 title defence in commanding fashion, taking a hat trick of wins at the opening Speed Group F1000 race weekend at Brands Hatch. The reigning Champion Started Race 1 from pole and was never challenged as he built up a solid lead amounting to over 6 seconds at the chequered flag.
Further behind though the race between Paul Butcher and Dan Clowes was a lot closer as the two were nose to tail for the duration of the race. Clowes seemed to have the upper edge on his rival, however Butcher found a way through on lap 12 and then maintained the position to take second place, but only two and a half tenths in front of Clowes. Alok Iyengar had a solid drive to fourth position comfortably ahead of Adam Walker with veteran driver Peter Lague, completing the top six.
Walker arguably was the star of the reversed grid Race 2. After taking the lead from a fourth place starting position, Walker held his own at the front and started to extend his lead ahead of the chasing group of Watton, Clowes and Butcher. That is until a group of back markers came into play and a slight hesitation on the part of Walker enabled Watton to snatch the lead. Although demoted to second, Walker had to keep up the fight to stay ahead of those behind and that is exactly what he did following Watton home to finish second, his best ever result. Clowes and Butcher again found themselves embroiled in another race long battle. Again Butcher found a way past Clowes as Iyengar decided to join the party, also getting past Clowes with a handful of racing laps to go. Butcher took the last podium spot with Iyengar fourth and Clowes fifth. Post race however Iyengar received a 5 second track limits penalty promoting Clowes back up to fourth. Elliot Mitchell brought home a sixth place finish after being kept busy with Dax Ward for much of the race.
After setting the fastest lap in Race 2, Watton found himself on pole again for the final race of the weekend and, as in Race 1, he converted the advantage into another solid lead and his third win of the weekend. Walker had another superb race to finish runner up after again having to hold off Butcher and Clowes, whose saga again continued, although this time round Clowes got past Butcher during the last few laps, with Butcher then retiring with one lap to go with mechanical woes. As Clowes took third at the finish, Mitchell finished Fourth again ahead of Ward, with Lague taking another top six result.
Invitation honours went to Dave Wheal, who won the Sonic Equipment Invitation Cup after overcoming a qualifying accident. A credit to his team of mechanics getting the car repaired for the races, Wheal’s Team 83 also took home the Sonic Equipment Technician of the meeting award.
After taking two second places, his best ever results in the championship, and strong competitive performances over the weekend, Adam Walker was named the Sonic Equipment Driver of the meeting.