A return to Croft after eight years away produced some great racing over the weekend, as three different winners emerged from the three races, with the drivers having to deal with changeable weather.
Dan Clowes took the victory in a rain soaked first race after getting the jump on championship leader and rival Michael Watton at the start. Clowes, although under constant pressure from Watton, lead from start to finish, even enduring a mid-race safety car period so that Paul Butcher’s stranded car could be moved. The leading pair crossed the finish line only half a second apart and were followed home by newcomer Reece Lycett. Lycett put in a great wet weather drive on his circuit racing debut to take the final podium place after starting from sixth place on the grid and having a great mid race battle with Elliot Mitchell. Alok Iyengar was left disappointed: after holding third for most of the race, he span out of on the final lap defending from Lycett. Mitchell crossed the line in fourth ahead of Adam Walker, with Dax Ward only seven tenths behind and taking a top six finish.
Lee Morgan took an early race two lead on a drying track and was looking dominant until a mistake on the third lap saw the former champion spin. Falling down the order after recovering, he handed the lead to Mitchell. Mitchell held the lead until getting caught and passed at mid-distance by Watton, and once out front the championship leader was never put under threat as he won by an impressive ten and a half seconds. This time Clowes finished second after having a tight battle with Mitchell, who in turn had to retire with an electrical issue. Morgan put in a great recovery drive to finish third, as Lycett continued to impress by taking fourth. Rob Bailey had a fairly lonely race, but produced a solid fifth place finish, his best to date, whilst Ward again took sixth.
Morgan made up for his race two mistake by taking the win in race three, seeing him return to the top step of the podium for the first time this season. Watton held the early lead, but after Morgan got past, struggled with a gear linkage issue which forced him to park the car two laps from the end. Hoping to have wrapped the 2018 Championship up, the DNF means Watton will still have to protect his points lead going into the final race meeting of the season at Donington. Mitchell came out on top after another race long battle with Clowes to produce his best finish of second -a great result, while Clowes kept himself in the title fight with third. Ward and Bailey had also kept each other busy for the entire race duration as the pair finished fourth and fifth. With fourth, Ward produced his best result of the season as Bailey equalled his personal best race two finish. Walker had another consistent finish to complete the top six.
Photo: Naiad Photography