Harry Senior was back to winning ways in the latest rounds of the Caterham Academy Series as he charged to victories in both races at Snetterton on the 200 circuit earlier this week.

His return to form began in qualifying as he took pole by almost two tenths from James Wingfield, who had been quick all week in practice and looked to continue this advantage. Race winners David Rowe and Matthew Lewis lined up for the first race behind them on the second row followed by Guy Crawford and Steve McMaster, while Will Rossetti and Blair McConachie made up the third row ahead of Will Rossetti, Blair McConachie, James Murphy and Chris Skillicorn. Further back, the format of two “B” grid races had seen Geoff Newman take to the wheel of the green and black factory liveried Caterham after he won the promotion spot to the A grid.

Senior got the jump on the field to lead into Riches at the start of the first race, but Wingfield wasn’t able to follow him as he was overhauled by both Rowe and Lewis to push him to fourth place before the first corner. Just behind them, a big dive from Rossetti on the inside of several cars into the Wilson hairpin and while he moved up to 5th initially, skipping across the grass on the exit onto the Bentley Straight only undid his efforts and pushed him back to 8th. Rowe moved past Lewis entering the Brundle-Nelson complex, so the order at the end of Lap 1 was Senior, Rowe, Lewis, Wingfield and a fast-starting James Murphy who had made up four places to 5th.

The lead that Senior was pulling out early doors ensured he had a 1.5-second advantage after just the opening two laps, leaving Rowe and Lewis to skirmish over the podium spots while Murphy, McMaster and Rossetti. The order changed when the 2nd place battle ended as Lewis tagged Rowe in a failed passing attempt, leaving both cars spinning at Nelson and dropping them down to 9th and 5th respectively. Through all this, James “Superman” Murphy had charged his way into 2nd place but came under attack from Wingfield and McMaster. Soon enough, the two cars behind Murphy started duelling over the final podium place which only initially helped him get away. However, McMaster’s quick disposal of Wingfield allowed him to close up to the rear of Murphy’s car and after consistent pressure for over a lap and a half, a pass was completed heading down the Bentley Straight. Murphy looked to repass on the final lap, but didn’t have enough to reclaim the place.

In the lead, Senior had cantered away from the rest and ended up winning by almost 10 seconds in the end. McMaster had too much for Murphy in the end for 2nd place, with Rowe recovering to 4th place after his spin ahead of front-row man Wingfield. Lewis also made up places to take 6th ahead of McConachie and Rossetti, with Crawford and Tom Wyllys completing the top 10.

Even though Senior repeated his perfect start in the second race, there was a feeling that he wouldn’t dominate quite as much this time with McMaster starting alongside him on the front row. Indeed, the bright yellow Caterham of McMaster stayed with Senior on the opening lap as Murphy, Rowe and Lewis came next in the train, with the top five already beginning to draw away from the rest of the pack. Wingfield wasn’t able to keep up with them and had attention from Rossetti to deal with as they battled for 6th place.

Rowe and Murphy began swapping 3rd between each other with Lewis watching on and soon enough he was able to join in the fun. Rowe considered trying to make a move around the outside at Coram which lost him momentum, and further round the lap Lewis had a look at Brundle but may have had memories of their incident in Race 1, so thought better of it. By now, Wingfield had dropped Rossetti and had joined the fray to make it a trio for 4th place. Rowe then managed to start breaking away to leave Lewis and Wingfield to contest the final top 5 spot as the race entered its final five minutes, with Wingfield slotting past into Nelson. Lewis forced the issue down the pit straight and despite getting squeezed towards the pit wall, he managed to repass before the Wilson Hairpin. Wingfield got him back at Nelson once more before Lewis tried again into Coram, but instead tried once more towards Riches. While this was happening, a mistake from Murphy dropped him out of the top three and into the clutches of the duelling pair behind him, but they appeared more interested in fighting each other than challenging cars around them. They spent the opening corners of the last lap almost glued together before Lewis dared to drive around the outside at Nelson to finally put the battle to bed.

Once again, it was total dominance for Senior as he led from lights to flag, but this time his winning margin was only just shy of 2.5 seconds as McMaster at the finish, while Rowe managed to claim the final podium place after Murphy’s slip-up dropped him to 4th. Lewis finally beat Wingfield to 5th place as the pair drag raced to the line, with Crawford claiming 7th ahead of Rossetti and Wyllys, while Belgian sim racer Tim Vanhee marked his first evening of racing in the series with a well-worked top 10 finish in 10th place.

Scott Woodwiss


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