Tim Crighton and Harry Ormerod took a maiden victory for themselves and James Thomas’s JTM Engineering outfit in an unpredictable opening Gaz Shocks 116 Trophy race of 2022 at Croft.
Crighton was part of a breakaway group of three also involving Jack Godden and Sam Carrington-Yates who led the opening stages prior to the first of two mandatory 60-second pit stops for all crews.
With a record 36-stong entry, the tight Croft pit lane which requires cars to park at a 45-degree angle to their garage, became very cramped indeed.
Having set a new lap record, Godden’s pace eventually helped his father Chris to emerge as leader entering the closing stages, whilst, after an impressive middle stint, Ormerod handed back to Crighton in second.
Mercilessly, Crighton moved in on Godden Snr and made the winning move at Tower Bend with just 15 of the 90 minutes to run. Godden would then be cruelly denied a podium as Carvell, Sibley and Seddon also came past in the dying minutes.
Indeed, the top 12 finishers all completed the distance on the same lap – a pointer as to how close the season ahead could be…
“That was 90 minutes of sprint racing!” reflected Crighton. “The early laps with Sam and Jack were incredibly close. Harry’s strong driving then gave me the chance at the end.”
Ormerod added: “There was quite a bit of debris on the track – I made sure I kept it in one piece to hand back to Tim.”
Thomas said: “It’s great to start 2022 with a first win and it’s as much credit should go to the team in the pit lane – the category puts a lot of focus on the driver and pit stop strategy.”
One drive of note was that of Louis Woodward: damage to his car’s right front suspension at the very first corner cost him four laps in the pits whilst his crew determinedly made repairs. His pace thereafter suggested a podium result might not have been out of reach….
Article credit – Carl McKellar
Photography Courtesy of Robert Willsmore Photography
Click here to see the full race results