James Kellett has further extended his lead of the Ginetta GT5 Challenge after a trio of wins from the former Ginetta Junior racer puts him 44 points ahead of his closest rival, Ollie Chadwick.
Kellett started what was an eventful weekend opener for the Ginetta GT5 Challenge drivers from pole position and led into turn one before an opening lap tangle in the mid-pack between GRDC+ racers John Wall, Usmaan Mughal and Malcolm Joyce brought out the red flag.
On the restart, Kellett once again had to work hard to keep title challenger Callum Pointon behind, but a strong run into Copse for the first time saw him hold off his rival, whilst James Robinson sliced past Chadwick to take third.
With the race limited to 10 minutes and the final place on the podium up for grabs, Robinson and Chadwick enjoyed a great fight for the silverware, trading places throughout the opening stages, before Chadwick grabbed the spot at Aintree and pulled away, running almost six seconds up the road from fourth by the time the flag fell.
Just behind, an equally exciting battle unfolded between former championship leader Stewart Linn and Ginetta Junior graduate Ryan Hadfield, with the pair running nose to tail in the fight for fifth. Linn looked set to claim the points, but a last lap spin for the 2004 G20 Champion saw him gift the place to Hadfield, and ultimately finish seventh.
In GRDC+ there was the usual excitement as Ben Hyland, Rob Keogh and Charles Ferguson battled between themselves at the front, with each leading the race at some point, resulting in a great last lap tussle between the trio, which ultimately saw Hyland take the win from Ferguson, with Keogh just 0.3s behind. Further down, Shawn Fleming and Gary Wager rounded out the top five, whilst Andy Marshall, Andy Bradshaw and Chris Babington challenged each other for sixth, but finished in that order.
The first race of Sunday took place on a drenched circuit, with spray hampering play for much of the field. Pointon and Kellett started on the front row of the grid, with the TCR teammates both making a storming start.
Kellett led into Copse for the first time, as Pointon was left to defend from Chadwick for second on the road. Linn climbed from sixth to fourth on the opening lap, but was dropped to seventh following a spin at Luffield along with Pointon.
The excursion allowed Kellett and Chadwick to extend their advantage up front, whist James Robinson found himself in the top three melee as a result. Once again dicing with Chadwick, it was the Xentek Motorsport car which took the position at Brooklands on lap two, where he remained to the flag, despite a last minute charge on Kellett.
In the midfield, Nick Zapolski, Ryan Hadfield, Ian Robinson and Matt Palmer raced for fifth, whilst behind them; an epic battle between Luca Hirst, Jack Minshaw and Russ Simpson was the only place to look during the last lap, with Hirst keeping the pair behind to the flag.
In the GRDC+ class, Hyland was once again a force to be reckoned with, almost untouchable out front as his teammate Keogh battled with Ferguson, the pair indulging in a synchronised spin on the penultimate lap in the wet conditions but holding their place.
In the final race of the weekend, Chadwick made a lightening start to snatch the lead into Copse for the first time, but running wide a few corners later saw Kellett back in charge by Club, with Pointon promoted to second.
Linn jumped from fifth to third on the opening lap, whist Hirst, Zapolski, Palmer, Robinson and Minshaw begun what would become a race-long fight for sixth. Between the two packs, Hadfield made progress to pass Linn at Maggotts, but the pair were hounded by Chadwick behind.
The Xentek Motorsport racer eventually found a way around Hadfield and Linn to move into third, and on a roll, swept past Pointon on the penultimate lap to move into second. Despite a considerable gap to Kellett in the lead, Chadwick pushed forwards and managed to slash the gap to just 0.2s as the pair took the flag for a photo finish.
In the GRDC+ class, last year’s unbeaten winner Ferguson had the early lead from Hyland and Keogh, but a trip into the gravel after four laps ended his race early and promoted Keith Sinclair into a potential podium position.
Seeing the chance to claim some silverware, Shawn Fleming drove onwards, and made a move on Sinclair to snatch third, before challenging the want2race teammates up front and providing one of the closest battles of the weekend! Keogh claimed the win, with Hyland behind and Fleming third, the three split by 0.5s much to the delight of the crowd.
It wasn’t just at the head of the GRDC+ pack where the close racing was happening, as former top three driver Sinclair, battled with Chris Babington, Guy Redwood and Andy Bradshaw for the ‘best of the rest’ honours.
The drivers now have a month’s break before they turn their attentions to their only non-UK encounter of the year, with the field travelling to Spa Francorchamps in Belgium for rounds 10, 11 and 12 on July 10/11.