Eddie’s encouraging progress continued at Bayford Meadows yesterday as he enjoyed his best career finish to date. A result made even better by the fact that he spent almost the entire final battling with the outgoing champion.
Eddie’s day got off to a good start when he jumped straight into the lead at turn 1 from third on the grid. With only three practice laps at a circuit he has not visited for a year, Eddie only managed to hold the lead for the opening lap before dropping back down to third on lap 2. He nevertheless drove a solid, consistent race to fourth, being passed by the ultimate champion Dave Peathers and eventual runaway A final winner Liam Hegarty.
Starting tenth in heat 2, he made a cracking start around the outside at turn 1 and got straight into the top 6. He picked up a few more places and enjoyed a good battle with Tim Hill, before the latter retired with ignition failure. Running fifth, he had a scare on the last lap when he was pushed wide and lost two places but regained them again when the same drivers collided at the last corner.
Heat 3 was even more spectacular. Starting down in eleventh, he again made a cracking start and was running in the top 6 by the end of the opening lap. He again drove solidly and picked off more drivers to finish a solid forth again.
His grid slots put him 17th on the grid for the A final, one place behind outgoing champion, Paul Hicks.
Making a cracking start, Eddie drove down the inside at turn 1 and two, getting the jump on both Hicks and Symonds. Battling hard, he broke into the top 10 by lap 2 but was passed at the second hairpin. He held position for 3 laps before being passed cleanly by Symonds. Sticking right with the leading pack, he did a good job of defending his position against reigning champion, Hicks.
Hicks managed to get past into turn 1 on lap 5, but was passed straight back by the charging Eddie, who managed to keep him at bay until the penultimate lap. Hicks finally managed to find a way past but Eddie crossed the line right on his bumper in 13th place, well in the mix of the leading pack where from forth to sixteenth were separated by only 5 seconds.
Eddie said of the race “It was fantastic – everything just seemed to go right today. To have the pace to mix it with some of the best drivers in the field is obviously a huge achievement and is a real confidence boost. I take great pride in managing to keep the reigning champion behind me for most of the race, and knowing that I wasn’t holding him up much because I was right behind the rest of the pack (and he certainly didn’t pull away when he finally did manage to pass me)”.
Eddie’s manager echoed these sentiments, adding “I’m really proud. He has made a huge improvement this year, especially in the last three races. The second race at Clay was really the turning point this year I think and his race performances have been excellent.”