NATHAN EDWARDS ADDS TO WIN TALLY WITH FURTHER SILVERSTONE SUCCESS
Nathan Edwards continued his rich vein of form in the Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE Trophy with a second victory of the weekend after doubling up at Silverstone.
Edwards had grabbed his second victory of the campaign in a hard-fought opening race having qualified on pole, with his race one success meaning he would again lead the field away from the start.
The EXCELR8 driver was given a boost prior to the start when fellow front-row started Sam Gornall was forced to pull off on the way to the grid with a broken gearbox mount, which left Edwards with a clear run down to Copse for the first time.
Edwards duly held the lead from Harry Hickton, who was able to fend off the attack of Gabe Fairbrother through the opening lap to retain second spot before turning his focus towards the leader – having a look at Becketts on lap two before making a move stick to hit the front on lap three.
Hickton’s time at the front wouldn’t last for long as he found himself almost being pushed along by Edwards, who reclaimed the lead going into Copse at the start of the fifth lap.
From that point on, a huge fight over second spot would provide Edwards with the chance to break the tow at the front and he was able to secure the win in relatively comfortable fashion – in Silverstone terms at least – by just under a second.
“It was hard work with Harry early on in the race but when I got back to the front I was able to break the tow, which I couldn’t believe,” he said. “Once I got away it was a case of making sure I got the line first and that was probably the best car I’ve had as I was only a tenth or so off my lap times with a tow – so massive credit to the team.
“After Thruxton earlier in the season, my championship hopes were pretty much over so the nice thing now is that I can race with no real pressure on my shoulders. You put so much into this and the Coopers are probably the most competitive championship in the UK, so to be winning races like this is the best feeling ever.
“From P4 on the reverse grid, it would be great it we can do the triple but if we don’t, we’ve taken two wins and shown we’re the quickest car.”
With Edwards easing away, Hickton would find himself under huge pressure from Fairbrother, Rhys Hurd and Alex Solley with the four drivers pretty much locked together throughout.
Fairbrother managed to get ahead of Hickton at the start of lap eight only to then lose two spots to Hickton and Solley, with the Solley then finding himself being attacked by Fairbrother and Hurd – both of whom nipped ahead at Brooklands on the following lap.
Hurd moved ahead of Fairbrother at the same place on lap ten to move into the podium places and within half a lap had grabbed second from Hickton going into Copse, with Fairbrother following him through.
Solley then attacked Hickton for fourth at Becketts only for Hickton was able to hold on on the run down to Brooklands, but the places would be swapped at Copse as Solley made a move stick and then turned focus to Fairbrother ahead.
As Hurd followed Edwards home to take second spot and the Rookie Cup win, Solley managed to get the inside line into Brooklands on the final lap to sneak ahead of Fairbrother and secure third, enabling him to gain ground on Tom Ovenden in the points as the championship leader was forced to start at the back following his race one DNF.
“A podium wasn’t really the focus in that one as the goal was just to stay out of trouble and bag the points,” he said. “With the issue Tom had yesterday, it was all about the championship but I was able to make up some places and we’ve come away with a good result.”
Fairbrother would have to settle for fourth having held a podium spot for all but two laps of the race, with Alex Keens grabbing fifth on the final lap from Hickton on the final of the race.
Behind, Nicky Taylor would prove to be one of the stars of the race as he looked to fight back from his race one dramas, where a puncture had dropped him off the lead lap and left him to start from the back of the pack.
Grabbing seven spots on the opening lap alone, the Graves Motorsport man rocketed through the field to charge his way into the top ten before securing seventh spot ahead of team-mate Jack Byrne and points leader Ovenden. James Black rounded out the top ten, with the top Directors Cup runner being Paul Manning in 17th.