Having only won his first AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup race earlier today, it was a case of déjà vu for Josh Cook as he once again held off a pressuring nose-to-tail train to claim a second consecutive win of the weekend and tighten his grip on the Rookie Trophy.
With Paul Rivett (Banstead) getting a poor start off the line, Cook seized the opportunity and moved into second place behind ex-Ginetta Junior driver Adam Bonham (Kibworth). Cook was close on Bonham’s tail before getting the better of him heading down the start/finish line edging it by 0.038secs across the line. Heading into turn one, Cook had the inside line and was able to comfortablyhold onto first place.
With Cook heading a five-car queue all battling for the lead, it wasn’t long before his skills would be severely tested as, similar to the previous race, Cook had to fend off yet another experienced one-make driver, this time in the form of a black and orange Clio being driven by Rivett. Rivett was constantly snapping at Cook’s heels biding his time to overtake, but Cook produced a flawless race and took the chequered flag for the second time this weekend.
‘I was not really expecting that to be honest,’ said a delighted Cook. ‘We were a little of the pace in the first race earlier today, but we managed to get back to the front after a good start and then I had to try and maintain a little bit of a gap. Towards the end Paul did get real close and I think he had a good handful of opportunities to lunge for the lead, but obviously he didn’t for the sake of the championship. It would be fantastic to get the Rookie Trophy in my first year. I think we’re sitting fifth in the championship so I want to get as high as I can and then look forward to next year. A big thanks to the team again for building me a fantastic car and I’m looking forward to Brands.’
After a slow start off the line with too much wheel spin, many were expecting Rivett to take the race win after impressive dry pace during qualifying on Saturday, but unfortunately he was forced to settle for second place. The three-time champion still continued to cut championship rival Jack Goff’s lead, bringing the gap down to just three points after the High Wycombe driver brought his car home in fourth place having started down in seventh. Rivett has set his sights on snatching the lead from Goff and winning the title for a fourth time and becoming the first Englishman to win both championships on land and sea.
‘It wasn’t as good as I had hoped for as I got a poor start which was all my fault with too much wheel spin as there was a long line of mud on the circuit, but that’s the way it goes,’ said a disappointed Rivett. ‘After that I dropped back down to third and then up to second, from there I could have pushed Josh a bit harder for the lead but I didn’t want to risk anything so I settled for second. It was not the weekend I was hoping for, but we are now only just three points behind Jack. I’m looking forward to Brands Hatch now, I love racing there and it’s going to be a good fight that’s for sure.’
Rounding off the top three was 22-year old James Dixon (Maidstone). He also produced a flawless race and was constantly threatening Rivett for second position, but had to concede and bring the car home in a well deserved third much to the delight of his adoring fans and the Total Control Racing team. Dixon has been scoring consistently throughout the season, but conceded that his hopes of winning the title are all but over as he sits third in the championship 54 points adrift of Goff.
‘Another podium, that race was a lot of good fun,’ exclaimed a pleased Dixon. ‘There was a little bit on contact between me and Stefan Hodgetts halfway through the race, which wasn’t ideal and that dropped me back a bit. Once Stefan had gone past he then drove off the track so I was then able to maintain my gap again and get myself back up to the front pack. I managed to catch up to the back of Paul and Josh towards the end, but to be honest I don’t think a win was possible as Josh was inch perfect today, so was Paul. It was another podium and a handful ofpoints so I’m happy but to win the championship now I don’t think is going to happen, but we’ve got to go for two wins at Brands Hatch now.’
Completing the podium with another case of déjà vu was Handy Motorsport with Pyro’s Simon Belcher (Swindon). The ex-jet ski racer brought the car home in sixteenth place much to the disappointment of himself, but still remained upbeat as he collected his second ELF Masters trophy of the weekend, his fourth on the bounce. With another handful of points in the bag this weekend for Belcher, he now leads the Masters Cup by 44 points from nearest rival Finlay Crocker.
‘We seem to keep collecting these Masters trophies, which is nice, and another trip to the podium,’ said Belcher. ‘It was not such a good race for me, I made a little mistake on the first corner and I was sideways, which was not very comfortable when you’re looking at a whole grid coming at you. I managed to pick it all up and gather the pieces and bring it home in sixteenth. It could have been worse but I’m happy to pick up another Masters win and hopefully we can tie thechampionship up at the next meeting.’
Elsewhere, it was an impressive debut weekend for Irishman David Dickenson (Keatingstown), who on both occasions this weekend stayed out of the mid-pack trouble and brought the car home in one piece in twelfth and sixteenth respectively.
With no titles yet decided, the championship will go down to the wire at Kent’s Brands Hatch in two weeks time where all attention will be on main title protagonists Jack Goff and Paul Rivett. Who will get the better of the other? No one knows, but it will certainly make for some edge of your seat racing.
Round 12 Classification
1. Josh COOK 20Ten Racing Laps 18 19:48.266
2. Paul RIVETT PER HIRE/SVE +0.234
3. James DIXON Total ControlRacing +0.565
4. Jack GOFF Team Pyro +0.952
5. Adam BONHAM Team Pyro +1.169
6. Ant WHORTON-EALES Westbourne Motorsport +1.494
7. Ignas GELZINIS Juta Racing +3.175
8. Stefan HODGETTS Scuderia Vittoria +3.374
9. James COLBURN Westbourne Motorsport +3.874
10. Josh FILES Team Pyro +4.077