Race Report: Fletcher Dominates at Pontrilas Round Five Thursday 25 July, 2013
Fletcher Racing’s Tom Fletcher had an incredible round five, taking all three wins after a disappointing previous day at the Pontrilas track. Organised by NORA SXS, competitors had been treated to a barbecue and karaoke on the Saturday night before embarking on another gruelling day’s racing.
It was Fletcher who put in the best time in qualifying with James Chorlton, Sam Berry and Paul Rowlands within three seconds. That determined the grid positions for race one which saw Fletcher take the holeshot and immediately carve out a lead at the front. All the front runners held their positions up to fourth. The battle for fifth, sixth and seventh was intense as Berry, Jamie Thwaites, Oli Beswick and Richard Avis (driving in a spare RZR) tussled for position. Moving up from 12th after the first lap, Chorlton was looking quick as he worked his way through, by lap eight he had got into seventh.
But with a fastest lap of 1.47 minutes and consistently fast laps, Fletcher roared through the chequered flag a clear 36 seconds in front. Rowlands took second followed by Mark McCann and round four’s RZR Challenge Cup champion Paul Severn in fourth after deciding to race round five for championship points. Avis took fifth with another great performance from Berry in sixth.
After a riders meeting following race one, it was agreed that race two and three should be reduced to 15 minutes due to extreme temperatures causing fatigue. Fletcher again took the holeshot, hotly pursued by Rowlands and McCann. With battles for positions running throughout the pack, there was plenty of action on track for spectators to enjoy. It was Chorlton most notably who was making the most progress. In lap 8 he put in the fastest lap of the day with 1.46 as he made three passes to move into third. Meanwhile Beswick pulled an incredible pass on Berry getting up from tenth to seventh. A delighted Fletcher held his position to win race two ahead of Rowlands and Chorlton. Avis claimed fourth ahead of Josh Barrett and Severn finished sixth.
After a weekend that had seen five exhilarating races at a relentless pace, race three was guaranteed to be a cracker! Fletcher got away first. The first corner was dusty and through the confusion Rowlands had been rolled as he battled for second place into the first corner. Chorlton made it though, followed closely by Avis and Beswick who had just repeated the same incredible pass on Berry as in race two. Beswick went on to pass Avis and moved into third while a breakdown for Severn handed Berry fifth position.
Simon Deaton suffered from technical problems and had missed races one and two but was more than making up for it in race three as he stormed through to sixth in a spare RZR. Fletcher took his third win of the day and with it, maximum points. Chorlton was 5.9 second behind in second with an impressive Beswick in third followed by Avis, Berry and Deaton.
Fletcher won overall with Chorlton and Rowlands joint on points but Chorlton having a better finish in the final race gave him the second place position.
British SXS Championship Overall Round 5: 1 Tom Fletcher 40 + 40 + 40 =120, 2 James Chorlton 28 + 35 + 37 =100, 3 Paul Rowlands 37 + 37 + 26 =100, 4 Richard Avis 31 + 33 + 33 =97, 5 Park Lane Group 25 + 28 + 35 =88, 6 Sam Berry 29 + 27 + 31 =87
RZR Challenge Cup
John Thorne won the RZR Challenge cup with wins in race one and three. Despite some issues in qualifying which left him at the back of the grid, Thorne overcame this with a superb days driving. Adrian Loveridge won race two and insured his overall second place finish. Joe Bennett did just enough to beat Scott Hughes to third place with a fantastic second place finish in the final race.
RZR Challenge Cup Results: 1 John Thorne 40 + 37 + 40 =117, 2 Adrian Loveridge 35 + 40 + 33 =108, 3 Joe Bennett 33 + 33 + 37 =103, 4 Scott Hughes 31 + 35 + 35 =101
Race Report by Alistair Plant
Photos by Catherine Hopwood