Title glory for Richardson Racing in dramatic Silverstone finale
The Richardson Racing team enjoyed a dream end to the 2020 Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge season after successfully wrapping up the championship title following a dramatic finale at Silverstone.
The Corby-based team headed into the event sitting pretty at the top of the standings after rising star Josh Malin secured the championship lead on the shorter Silverstone National Circuit in the penultimate meeting of the year, with team-mate Blake Angliss hoping to end his own part-season by challenging for more points finishes.
Qualifying on the full Grand Prix layout saw Josh secure pole position at the wheel of the #90 car, beating title rival James Taylor by three-tenths of a second and also securing top spot on the grid for race two ahead of Taylor - with those positions determined by the second fastest laps in the session.
Team-mate Blake looked set to break into the top six in qualifying but lost his fastest lap to a track limits infringement, which left him seventh on the grid for race one, with his second quickest time being good enough to take eighth on the grid for race two.
The opening race saw a dramatic start as Josh went wheel-to-wheel with title rival James Taylor when the lights went out, but was then run wide mid-way through the opening lap - slipping down to eighth place in the train of cars as a result.
Aware of the need to make up places to keep himself right in the mix for the championship, Josh quickly battled his way back up the order and a series of solid overtaking moves saw him into the podium places by the end of lap four.
From there, he would push hard to chase down Taylor and John Bennett ahead, taking the flag in third place to ensure he would head into the final race of the year a point behind Taylor in the standings.
A solid opening race for Blake meanwhile saw him run inside the top eight throughout, battling with Rory McKean for the majority of the race en-route to another points finish despite suffering with a flat-spotted tyre in the later stages of the race.
From pole in race two, Josh knew he had to finish ahead of rival Taylor to lift the title and the pair went side-by-side through turn one for the first time before Josh swept into the lead at Becketts.
The pair then ran side-by-side again through Stowe in a move that allowed Gordie Mutch to jump into the lead, with Josh able to fend off Taylor’s challenge to hold onto second spot.
Josh got back ahead of Mutch at Becketts on lap two and established a slender lead over his title rival, who cleared Mutch later in the lap to leave the two contenders running in first and second.
Taylor took over at the front when he got the inside line into Vale on lap three, and Mutch then split the pair on lap four when he dived past Josh at Luffield before getting ahead of Taylor when he ran wide at Becketts on the following lap.
With under ten minutes of the season remaining, Josh once again found himself right behind his title rival and aware that he need to get ahead, a fine move around the outside at Village gave him the inside line for the next right-hander to take second - and the virtual points lead.
Josh went round the outside of Mutch at Stowe to briefly take the lead but when Mutch then fought back to reclaim the position, it gave Taylor the chance to split the pair and reclaim second spot.
When Taylor then made a move on Mutch at turn one at the start of lap seven, the pair delayed each other just enough to give Josh a run and the pair went three-wide on the run to Becketts - with Josh sweeping into the lead and Mutch again splitting the two rivals.
As Mutch then fought ahead, the final lap started with Josh running second with Taylor right on his tail, but Josh managed to break away from his rival and a second place finish wrapped up the title; a bonus point for fastest lap right at the end making him champion by four points.
For Blake, the final race of the campaign would see him rewarded with another strong finish to cap off his first part-season of car racing, with the karting star moving up from eighth on the grid to quickly make up a place.
As had been the case in race one, Blake would produce a consistent drive that showed his continued progress, and he battled his way up into the top five before an unfortunate spin on the final lap of the race saw him slip a position to sixth.
Blake Angliss, #84 Ginetta G40 GT5, said:
"I got a bit eager in the first race and lost the tow from the cars ahead after locking up, but that is just a racing driver thing as you always want more and we still picked up a decent finish. In race two, the aim was to get into the top five and we were on track for that until the final lap, which is a shame when we were so close to the finish.
"It was still a good race, and we showed strong pace which is encouraging as we found time from qualifying into the races. I'm happy with that as the way to finish my part-season in the series, particularly when the others have been racing for longer than me and it has been a case of learning every time I go out and trying to climb up the order.
"What happens next comes down to backing, but we've got a few ideas that we just need to sit down and work out to be back out racing next season."
Josh Malin, #90 Ginetta G40 GT5, said:
"Race one was a tough start to the weekend having qualified on pole, and it turned out to be a race where I had to fight hard to keep the title battle alive - and I just about managed to do it. Going into race two, I knew what I had to do, and it turned out to be the most stressful race I’ve done in a car in my life!
"Things were changing all the time between the three of us at the front and the battle was absolutely incredible. There were times when I was braking too early and it was really greasy if you got off line, and I think it all caught us out at on stage or another. To come out if all at the end with the championship title is just incredible and it’s hard to find the words to describe how I feel.
"I have to thank TheCarGuys.tv, Pioneer Shopfitting and Digital-Motorsports for their support, and also the whole Richardson Racing team for the work that they have put in. They have given me an incredible car all season and we’ve been rewarded in the end after a really hard-fought battle.
"Thank you as well to my friends and family for their kind words throughout the year and in particular my parents, as this wouldn’t have been possible without them. I’m forever grateful."