The scene was set for a final showdown to decide the 2018 Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup Champion.
Championship challenger Ruaridh Clark started the race on pole position with Mark Wakefield in 2nd. Championship Leader Jamie Bond started the race down in 15th place so it was all to play for to secure the Championship.
After a slow start from Depper, Walker shot up to 2nd from 5th on the grid. Simon Walton went sideways, onto grass, and back onto the track. Wilson also had a slow start from 10th, as Bond moved up the field.
Clark was leading 2nd placed Walker by 1.603 secs at the end of the first lap, as there were battles taking place behind. As Depper pulled an undertaking manoeuvre on Wakefield, Joyce and Lewis were also able to get past at Coppice. Bond was battling with Wilson at the Chicane, taking 9th place at the Melbourne Loop.
On lap 2, Matthew Evans had a trip into the gravel at McLeans, making a visit to the pits with a puncture, changing his tyres to slicks on front and wets on the rear. Bond was chasing Wakefield and Joyce as Coggan was getting closer to Walker. Onboard cameras clearly show Bond struggling with his steering but that didn’t deter him from taking 8th place from Wakefield on lap 4, but he took the place straight back. For periods of the race, rookie Lewis Ryder was consistently setting quicker times than the rest of the field.
With Bond keen to get past, he made his feelings clear in the cockpit to let Wakefield know that he wanted to get through.
By lap 6 Clark was 3.463 seconds ahead of the chasing pack. Coggan right behind Walker cutting under at the Melbourne loop but Walker had the line at Goddards, Walker stayed ahead. M Depper took 4th from Taylor as Coggan was again right behind Walker, taking the place at Coppice. Depper also challenged Walker, taking 3rd place at the Melbourne Loop. Lewis Ryder in 16th, was lapping 5 seconds quicker than the cars in front!
With Walker going losing places, Wakefield was charging thru the pack as Owen Walton also started to pick up places. VAG Trophy Champion Simon Tomlinson unfortunately had to visit the pits but was not able to continue with the race. On lap 9 M Depper challenged Coggan with a drag race down the straight with Coggan losing out. Wacker was right behind Taylor as M Depper was chasing down Clark. Wakefield took the Melbourne Loop sideways, but held it.
On the penultimate lap, O Walton took 7th place from Walker, Wakefield jumped up into 2nd place, Bond was in 13th really struggling with his steering as Ryder and Jack Walker-Tully were having their own battle. Depper made a mistake at the final corner allowing Wakefield to take 2nd place and set off to chase Clark. M Depper was issued with a 5 second penalty for exceeding track limits.
The excitement continued as Wakefield caught and overtook Clark on the last lap, crossing the line and taking the chequered flag for a fantastic win. Five cars followed behind all battling for 2nd place. The final result was:
1st Wakefield, Clark in 2nd with Coggan in 3rd.
Jamie Bond crossed the line in 13th place, doing enough to secure the 2018 Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup Championship. He was clearly very happy and emotional as the realisation kicked in.
After the race we spoke to him:
Tell me about your weekend.
It was awful and amazing! Qualifying 5th was basically pole to us and then race one the gearbox blew up and we crawled the car home in 15th. I was the lowest of the low I think and then today we started 15th. We thought we’d go forward but we made the wrong tyre choice going out on wets and then, we didn’t know at the time, but know now that the ball joint had snapped. Only one bolt was holding the actual whole mechanism on so I had no steering; it was just a constant battle with the car. I was just praying to see the chequered flag and I didn't know where I was. We had great pace to start and obviously then no steering and it wasn't until I saw all the Team HARD guys and girls hanging off the wall that I knew I’d done it! I can’t thank Wrightsure Car Insurance, Oakleaf Heating, Team-HARD Racing, my family and friends enough.
Can you sum up your feelings at this stage?
I don’t know what to say really. I’m beyond cloud 9 right now. Just an amazing result. So, we’ve got to work on next year now.
So, what are the plans for next year?
I’d like to defend my title but then also like to see if we can go somewhere else. But I don't know. We'll see what we can do with the team and the sponsors. We’ve just got to sit down have a chat and see what we can do.