Sunday the 12th of February 2012 saw Stoke Nitro hold the penultimate round of the CML winter series. 79 drivers braved the freezing temperatures and the remains of left over snow to take part in what most consider, the midlands premier winter series. It seems that even the cold, fog, ice and snow can not put off some of the top drivers from attending this ever popular series.
Once again Andy Tobutt reports: The format for the day would be 5 minutes of practice bolted on, 3 rounds of qualifying and 15 min finals for F & E final, 18 min for the D, C & 19 min for the B and the A Final would be 22 minutes. As with every round of the CML Winter Series the controlled tyre was in use, with one of two legal tyres allowed. Track conditions were tough and very slippery so angle spikes were the choice of the day to try and find what little grip was available. Rd 1 got underway and it was HB's Graham Alsop taking the round over Jon Howells, and with Ashlee Owen made up the top three with only 6 seconds between them. They were also the only drivers to manage 8 laps in the round. Rd 2 and track conditions were tricky to say the least but Jon Howells found the grip he needed to take the round hitting 8 laps again. Graham Alsop was 2nd and once again Ashlee Owen was 3rd with just under two seconds separating the three. Rd 3 saw Team HB's Richard Greenough set his fastest time of the day to take the round in very slippery conditions. Second place was taking by Jon Howells who was the only other driver to manage 8 laps in every qualifying round despite having recent foot surgery. Graham Alsop completed the top three but he only managed 7 laps. The overall qualifying results after the third round and the positions on the grid were as follows: 1) Jon Howells 2) Graham Alsop - HB D8 / Optifuel 3) Richard Greenough - HB D8 4) Ashlee Owen 5) Richard Taylor 6) John Holmes - HB D8 / HPI F3.5 Pro / Optifuel 7) David Bailey 8) Lloyd Pitt 9) Ryan Donovan 10) Michell Booth 11) Stuart Mahon 12) Graham Howard As the A final got underway, pole man Graham Alsop was caught up in the usual first corner mayhem, allowing Jon Howells to get away clean. Richard Taylor had moved in to 2nd and John Holmes had jumped from 6th up to 3rd. Ashlee Owen held position and at the end of the first lap was running 4th. Fuel stops complete and by the end of Lap 15 Graham Alsop had worked his way back up to 1st despite the worsening conditions. Jon Howells was still running well in 2nd and Richard Taylor had dropped to 3rd with John Holmes and Ashlee Owen completing the top 5. By the end of the 22 minutes with light fading and the nitro smoke creating a fog over the track HB's Graham Alsop took the chequered flag managing to cross the line 1 lap ahead of the field. Second place went to Jon Howells 16 seconds ahead of 3rd place man John Holmes who qualified 6th. Richard Taylor and Ashlee Owen completed the top 5. 1) Graham Alsop - HB D8 / Optifuel 2) Jon Howells 3) John Holmes - HB D8 / HPI F3.5 Pro / Optifuel 4) Richard Taylor 5) Ashlee Owen 6) Stuart Mahon 7) Richard Greenough - HB D8 8) Collin Brennan 9) Ryam Donovan 10) Lloyd Pitt Thanks to Neobuggy.net for the use of the picture and race information!