It was a race that saw high drama from the moment the course setting was finished. Yet it was Aldershot Racing’s Craig Speed that did the hard work on the first two runs and then made the rest of the field play catch up as he won the Ipswich Vikings Club National. Oliver Weeks capped a great weekend in taking second place and Toby Case made it a great trip east for Aldershot as he placed third overall for his first podium in a Club National. Callum Witts and Luke Feneley rounded out the top five finishers.
David Hatcher had the lead after the first run from Speed by just four hundredths of a second. these two held a commanding lead after the first run as Weeks, Case and Witts all failed to finish. Feneley was in second, half a second back from Speed with another Aldershot racer, Jake Shemmans in third, just one hundredth of a second behind Feneley.
Behind these racers the times were close as Tommy Dade lead a group of five racers all within sixteen hundredths of each other. Could they all hold on to their great placings or would the experienced racers all push them down the leaderboard?
The second run saw Weeks go faster than Speed had gone in the first run but Speed went faster too to hold onto his lead. Case also went under fourteen seconds to go into third with Witts making it four under the fourteen second mark in fourth. Hatcher failed to finish and his first run time was only good enough to place him in third at this stage of the race.
Run three and Jake Shemmans, seventh after the first two runs, went faster than his first run time but still unable to break into the sub fourteen second mark. Feneley then smashed the fourteen second mark and grabbed the lead with five to go. Had Feneley managed to post this sort of time (13.51) on the second run, he would have been in third and this would have given him a much stronger platform to launch his assault on the podium in the third run.
Next down was Callum Witts and while not as fast as Feneley on the third run, he had enough in reserve to take the Overall lead with four to go.
Toby Case then produced a devastating run, the joint fastest time of the day (with Craig Speed) to give the remaining racers something to think about. Half a second off the lead going into the final run, Case left nothing to chance and produced a run he has been threatening to deliver for some time. There is more to come from Case but this was a real confidence builder of a run, showing not only the rest of the field but himself, what he is capable of.
The pressure was mounting and next down was David Hatcher. Hatcher has his own all or nothing style and he tries to eke out every hundredth of a second. There are no points for style, there is only the clock to judge the racer on. Hatcher lives on the edge and this time the edge won as he straddled a fate after the cross slope verticale and was out. Two to go.
Oliver Weeks had won in Norwich the day before and was after making it two wins from two. He went faster than his second run with a combined time faster than Case but would it be enough to hold off the Aldershot racer?
In the end it was not. Speed, although slower on the third run than both Case and Weeks, had enough to hold on for the win by just 0.05 seconds. Speed has grown in stature and strength in the last few years and this win was testament to time spent training during the winter.
The age groups were won by Ryan Bunton (Under 14, 21st Overall), Toby Case (Under 16, 3rd Overall), Oliver Weeks (Under 18, 2nd Overall), Craig Speed (Under 21, Race Winner), Oliver Wells (Senior, 12th) and Simon Bannister (Masters, 14th Overall)
Race pictures are up on www.racerready.zenfolio.com