Earlier pace-setters Jack Goff and Kenneth Andrews shared the front row of the grid for Saturday’s Junior Max Final, followed by the consistent Chris Smiley and Max Hawkins, Robert Gilmore, David Pittard, Kalvin Quinn and Tom Ingram. Troubled heats saw expected front-runners Gemma Stephenson and Daniel Lloyd Jnr line up well down the order in 13th and 16th respectively.
With a frantic battle in prospect, two of the leading contenders were eliminated practically from the word go, as 2006 Mini Max title rivals Smiley and Hawkins tripped over each other through the opening complex of turns. Back on-track, meanwhile, Andrews immediately seized the lead from the pole-sitter, with the flying Quinn also deposing Goff before the second lap was out and Ross Dougan up into fourth – a massive ten-place leap on his grid position.
The leading trip began to edge away from the chasing pack, led by Dougan, James Robinson, Gilmore and Pittard. Although Quinn and Goff did their best to put pressure on Andrews at the head of the field, the Orsett ace always looked to be in control. Indeed, by mid-race the focus had shifted more onto the tussle over the runner-up spot, with Dougan fighting his way past Goff for third and then Quinn for second.
Their no-holds barred scrap, though, had the effect of allowing Gilmore to haul himself onto the back of them, and the Scot was irrefutably a man on a mission as he scythed his way through into second place. A little further back, Lloyd too was on a charge, battling his way up through the order into sixth.
All the shenanigans going on behind him, however, enabled Andrews to breathe easily out front, and the 15-year-old crossed the finish line a comfortable two seconds ahead of his pursuers, led by the impressive Gilmore and Dougan, who also had the honour of setting the race’s fastest lap. Quinn ultimately held off Goff by the skin of his teeth for fourth, with Lloyd almost on their tail in sixth as the chequered flag fell.