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Mixed weekend for KF3 Champ Barnicoat
18 October 2010
Having sewn up the KF3 title at Three Sisters Ben Barnicoat didn't have to race at Ellough Park and the fact that he chose to, against the smallest grid of the year to boot, gave a real indication about the calibre of this year's champion.
With Matthew Graham in Monaco Barnicoat's teammate Charlie Robertson was eyeing second in the standings while Alex Gill could still claim the fifth and final place on the upcoming Ginetta Junior Scholarship shootout over the also absent Dylon Phibbs.
Robertson's quest to overhaul Graham started well with fastest time in qualifying, three tenths better than Barnicoat with Gill third after Sam Macleod's kart stopped on his out-lap. But Barnicoat was irresistible in the heats, winning the opener by two seconds after sitting on Robertson's rear bumper for the first seven laps of the 18-lapper. Macleod took a distant third after Gill retired on the opening lap.
Robertson's luck was also out in heat two as he retired shortly after losing the lead to Barnicoat, who won by three seconds from Macleod with Gill a close third.
Barnicoat effectively won the final in the first few corners, taking advantage of pole position to build a gap while Robertson duelled with Macleod for second. No sooner had Robertson got the place, he was given the mechanical flag for a collapsed Nassau Panel.
Barnicoat duly reeled off the 23-laps to cross the line four seconds ahead of Macleod with Gill a further three seconds adrift in third.
Sunday began with Barnicoat setting the quickest ever KF3 lap at Ellough to take pole from Robertson and when Robertson got caught behind Macleod in the opening laps of heat one, leaving Barnicoat to sail away to another victory, the champion appeared to be en-route towards his eighth win.
But Robertson struck back in heat two, latching onto Barnicoat's bumper immediately. At mid distance Robertson pounced, taking the lead into the tricky, cambered turn nine and inching away over the closing laps to win by seven tenths.
By virtue of his win in the first heat Barnicoat had pole for the final over Robertson and duly converted it into the lead as Robertson scrabbled clear of Macleod for second. With Gill and Macleod fighting over third, Robertson quickly reduced Barnicoat's early advantage to nothing.
For 20-laps Robertson pressured his teammate but Barnicoat wouldn't budge. On the final lap Robertson could wait no more and, spying half a gap going into his favoured turn nine, made his inevitable bid for victory. Just as inevitably the gap disappeared and contact was made. Robertson bounced into the tyre barriers while, several seconds behind this battle, Macleod and Gill swamped Barnicoat as he hobbled to the line.
Macleod nosed ahead of Barnicoat by two tenths to take his first FKS triumph with Gill less than half a second behind Barnicoat in third. Despite finishing in the tyres Robertson had done enough to take second in the championship from Graham while Gill missed out on the final place in the Ginetta Shootout by nine points.
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