King reigns as Norfolk team clinch double at Brands Hatch
PUBLISHED: 10:56 16 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:56 16 October 2019
After a tense finale to the Ginetta GT4 SuperCup series at Brands Hatch, Elite Motorsport celebrated becoming double title winners after earlier securing the Ginetta Junior crown with two races to spare.
"We did it," shouted an elated Harry King after the final race confirmed him as champion.
"What a feeling and so grateful for the support from Elite Motorsport across the four years I've been competing in the Ginetta Series."
King has been the dominant force in the GT4 series, for the Shipdham-based team, and held a slim seven-point advantage going into the final three races.
From a front row start the yellow Elite car dominated the opening encounter, which stretched his lead over rival Will Burnes to 12 points while his 11th series victory, almost 50pc of the races run, in race two gave him an 18-point buffer with a third place in the finale sufficient to take the title.
An impressive drive in the opening Ginetta Junior race confirmed James Hedley as the champion in a series in which the Elite Motorsport driver has led throughout.
"The season was tough," said Hedley. "Consistently strong results and podiums was the key. Elite Motorsport gave me an amazing car in a series where all the cars are basically the same."
Races two and three yielded fifth places each time, with Hedley jumping three places on the last lap of race two while he was squeezed out of second place on the last lap of the final race.
An inspired early pit stop for wet weather tyres in the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Brands Hatch put Sam Osborne in a strong position to score the best result of the season for the EXCELR8 Motorsport team.
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Sadly, the MG6 slid off the road while in 17th place and in a position to pick off the slick-shod cars ahead of him and the moment was gone for the locally-based outfit.
Osborne also failed to finish the third and final race, having ended up 22nd in the middle race.
"That's it for my first year in the BTCC - we have had some ups and downs, but most of all we have come away with more knowledge for whatever comes our way next year," said the Wera Tool-supported racer.
The second MG6 of Rob Smith managed, in the changeable conditions, to finish all three events at the Kent track, claiming 20th place in the opening two races with a 22nd-place finish in the finale.
"It's been one hell of a learning curve for all of us with every weekend providing a new challenge, but we've laid a solid foundation for the future," said the Draper Tools-supported racer.
Attleborough's Ray Honeybone was delighted to secure a pair of podium places in the Armed Forces Challenge races at Snetterton, but was unable to trouble Darren Berris in either.
Matt Stubbington from Banham just missed out on a podium in both of the Classic Stock Hatch races, having lost third place on the final lap of race one while Ryan Polley, from March, made sure of the Clio 182 Cup title by winning the opening encounter.
Robert Welham proved uncatchable in the pair of wet F1000 races after Dan Clowes claimed the honours in the first contest.
A three-way battle for the Mini JCW Challenge will be resolved this weekend at Snetterton with Dereham's Dan Zelos needing series leader James Gornall to slip up to topple him at his home circuit with Nathan Harrison the third driver in the mix while Litcham's Lewis Galer is hoping for a top ten placing.
Shipdham's James Hillery is fresh from his best result in the Mini Cooper Pro/Am Challenge and the local youngest is keen to claim his first series victory on home soil as Robbie Dalgleish and Toby Goodman battle for the title with racing from 11.40am on Saturday resuming at 9.30am on Sunday.