Harry Hickton secured a third win of the Vertu MINI CHALLENGE Trophy season with victory in the final race of the weekend at Pembrey.

The race had got underway with Alex Keens on pole after a fine showing from the Graves Motorsport driver in Saturday’s qualifying session, and he was able to hold the lead going into turn one for the first time as James Black and Hickman went side-by-side along the pit wall on the run down to Hatchets.

Black was able to retain second spot through the opening lap but then came under pressure from Hickton at the start of lap two, with the Westbourne Motorsport man trying to go around the outside into turn one.

Although Black was able to hold on, Hickton had the inside line for Dibeni and slid through into second spot and then chased down Keens before taking the lead at Brooklands on lap three – seconds before Keens slowed with a clutch issue on his car.

That issue for Keens moved rookie Ronnie Smith up into second place and Sam Gornall into third, with Gornall moving ahead for the Chandler Motorsport man on lap four before setting off after his team-mate out front.

A small error from Hickton allowed Gornall to close in behind and the pair would run together through to the finish, with Gornall giving his team-mate the hurry-up more than once as they moved clear of the battle for third.

“I’m really happy with the result and it’s good points,” he said. “I made some good moves early on but I made a mistake that let Sam close in a bit, but I was able to hold him off. We brought a lot of confidence into the weekend were able to build on it, which I think is why we are the team to beat at the moment.”

Gornall admitted he had been keen to push Hickton on to allow the pair to escape the pack behind, although in truth, the battle that developed between Smith and Black for third spot allowed the front two to escape.

Black heaped pressure on Smith throughout and tried more than once to steal third, but Smith was able to hold on to secure his maiden top three finish and a fifth rookie cup win from six this season.

“I’m delighted to get my first overall podium finish in my second weekend in the MINI CHALLENGE,” he said. “After a DNF in the earlier race you almost feel like you could just pack up the car and go home, so to come back out in race three and get a result like that is brilliant, and a good boost going into Thruxton.”

Another heated battle followed behind over fifth place, which was settled in favour of race two winner Alex Solley.

Solley had been chasing the squabbling trio of Gabe Fairbrother, Jamie Keates and Luca Marinoni Osborne and having cleared Marinoni Osborne, then moved ahead of Fairbrother – who had just lost a spot to Keates.

Solley then attacked Keates into turn one on the penultimate lap to grab fifth spot, with Fairbrother following him through to take sixth. Keates and Marinoni Osborne rounded out the top eight, with Callum Eason in a solid ninth and Rhys Hurd in tenth as he ended the weekend with a positive result following his exclusion from race two.

Post race however, a change to the result saw Fairbrother penalised for contact with Eason earlier in the race, dropping him back down to ninth behind the PerformanceTek Racing man.

Another DNF for Matt Hammond following a clash with Ashley Gregory – who was also amongst the list of retirements – meant that top honours in the Directors Cup went to Ben Taylor for the second time this season, having also scored a class win on home soil at Snetterton.