Last weekend (1/2 July) saw 10 competitors from Great Britain, Poland and Estonia head to Stewartby, Bedford for the UIM GT30 European Championships. Competitors would compete over the weekend first battling for pole position during qualifying and then competing in four heats of racing with the best three heats to count.
Quickly getting down to business was Britain’s Thomas Mantripp who on his third lap of qualifying set the fastest lap time with a 1min 06second qualifying time seeing him secure pole position in a great start for the British Racer. Securing second on the starting grid was Estonia’s Aivar Kommisaar just ahead of Britain’s Elliot Fleet.
Heading into heat 1 and Thomas was determined to fight his way on to the podium top spot with his best international result to date being Bronze he was determined this year was going to see hi go one better. Thomas and Aivar Kommisaar went head to head into the first turn battling hard and as they rounded the course to head into the first full lap of the race the two lead boats headed towards the right hander in error as the rest of the fleet continued the correct course. Estonia’s Viktoria Soodla spotted her chance and led the fleet towards mark 5 as Aivar and Thomas realised their error and adjusted their course. Aivar managed to round the mark ahead of Viktoria with Thomas following round in third. The ten-lap race continued with Viktoria and Thomas continuing to bear down on Aivar with Britain’s Jonathan Brewer trying to move up from 4th position.
From second place on the starting grid for heat 2 Viktoria Soodla was set on proving to the boys she had the skill and speed to claim the European crown. As the lights went out for the second heat of the weekend she powered away from the start and as they rounded the first turn the female racer had claimed the lead. It was an Estonian 1 and 2 as Aivar pushed hard to catch his fellow Estonian but the lady racer managed to hold him at bay. Whilst Jonathan Brewer fought hard to boost himself in to the third placed spot. Disaster had struck for British hopeful Jack Pickles as an engine problem saw him forced to retire from heat 2 and a long night ahead of his team to replace the engine costing him his heat 1 points in the championship campaign.
Heat 3 and in pole position Viktoria knew that the best line to the turn and clear water could see her well on the way to claiming the crown if who’d just keep fellow her fellow countryman at bay. The lights went out and once more the the lady racer powered forward. Picking her lines around the course she was untouchable from start to finish in sow stealing performance. Meanwhile Aivar suffered engine gremlins forcing him to retire from the heat and leaving him with everything to do to make the podium as Brit Thomas Mantripp took second place in the heat and Elliot Fleet finished in third with the other British hopeful Jonathan Brewer docked a lap for missing a turn buoy.
The fourth and final heat of the weekend and once more on pole position Viktoria Soodla only needed to finish the race to secure herself the GT30 European crown. But not content with just finishing the race she once more took a clean lead heading into the lights and powered away from a chasing Thomas Mantripp and Jonathan Brewer who went head to head in a battle for second. Aivar still suffered get from engine problems was forced to settle for fourth in the race ahead of Jack Pickles shot was fighting hard to make up places following his engine replacement.
As the chequered flag was waved Viktoria Soodla was crowned UIM GT30 European Champion the first Estonian to take the European crown. It was 1st and 2ndto Estonia as Aivar Kommisaar claimed the silver medal spot ahead of Britain’s Thomas Mantripp who claimed Bronze.