Professional race preparation and management

Reports > 2016 Walter Hayes Trophy

Fisher grabs last gasp podium at WHT

The Wayne Poole Racing team were at Silverstone for the annual Walter Hayes Trophy meeting on November 5th and 6th 2016 with a slightly smaller team than in previous years. Nevertheless, the team were still anticipating a competitive showing from Josh Fisher in the Hudson-Evans’ Van Diemen RF99. Josh was backed up by Steve Bracegirdle, Ray Smith and late entry, Wayne Poole, in their RF89 versions along with Nathan Parton in the team’s RF88 in which had previously competed at Oulton Park.

Josh qualified 5th for heat three with Ray back in 15th place. A strong third (behind Boyd and Murray) saw Josh well placed for a good semi final start and Ray improved to 14th Steve qualified 13th in heat 4 and finished in the same spot. Nathan was in Heat 5, qualifying 13th and finishing 11th while Wayne qualified 14th in heat 6 and improved to 11th in the race. All four did well enough for places in the Last Chance race.

Wayne made a good start from the fourth row in the Last Chance race and was up to a strong second by lap 4. Unfortunately there were some quick drivers in modern cars coming through from the back of the field so, as Wayne tired, he slowly dropped back to 11th by the end. Ray began by making good progress but an incident on Lap 7 when he was hit from hehind, buckling a rear wheel, saw him drop to the back of the field and retire. Steve had a handling issue and wasn’t able to make much progress while Nathan, after making a good start to run 15th on the opening lap, quickly found himself in the middle of a large mid field pack and did well to finish 17th and earn himself a place at the back of Semi 1.

From his seventh place starting spot Josh made excellent early progress in Semi 1 moving up to third on Lap 6 ahead of a large bunch of fancied runners. He held third until the final lap when he was tapped from behind and dropped back to a disappointing 10th after such a strong showing. With so many cars ahead of him it was an uphill task for Wayne managed to finish 28th and ‘totally cream crackered’ with Nathan a few places back.

Wayne’s fortunes improved in the Historic Formula Ford race, by which time it was raining. Eighth at the end of Lap 1 became a good fifth by the finish. Similarly Ray also had a good race improving from 18th at the end of the first lap to 11th at the end. Nathan had another good mid field run finishing 18th while Steve’s handling problems prevented him making much progress.

So to the Grand Final. Josh’s hopes may have been dented by his worse than expected start position but as the conditions had turned wet so had his chances of a good showing. Josh was 13th at the end of Lap 1and steadily picked off the cars ahead of him as he followed one of the US Scholarship drivers (Kirkwood) through the field. Josh was past Kirkwood on Lap 6 but behind again the next lap. At the start of the las t lap they were third and fourth but Josh used his experience to get past and take a very well deserved podium.

In the allcomers closed wheel race Steve Bracegirdle gave his Nemesis GT an outing and qualified well to take fourth on the grid. Steve made a good start, getting up to third which he held for the first half of the race. It began to drizzle and, as he was on slicks, Steve dropped back to finish fifth overall, taking the win in Class B along with fastest lap in Class.