The Ginetta Junior Championship returned to action after the summer break at Snetterton on the 29-30 July. Tom headed into the second half of the season on a positive note, after moving up into 2nd overall in the standings after the previous round at Croft.
In Timed Qualifying, the long straights at Snetterton meant getting a slipstream was critical to get a quick lap in the session. Tom and his HHC Motorsport teammate Jordan Collard worked together during the session too draft each other down the straights to help with top speed. Jordan made a small error on Tom’s second lap in the tow, meaning it infact hindered him by being so close. Tom decided to chase the pack in front and focus on hooking up the perfect lap.
Tom grabbed 4th position in qualifying with his last gasp effort – his second-best lap was good enough for 5th overall when second laps were counted. This meant Tom would start the opening race from 4th and the second race from 5th position.
Tom made a good getaway for his 4th position grid slot -however he was baulked into turn one due to starting on the outside of the flat out turn one. Tom took a gamble into the hairpin and managed to overtake Daniel Harper around the outside, putting him on the inside for the next corner to successfully defend his gained position.
One lap later at the first corner, Harper made a move up the inside, which demoted Tom to 5th. Later that lap, championship leader Seb Priaulx was turned around by Harper, which then grouped the leading group back up again. The next lap at Oggies corner saw Tom make a bold move on King for 4th and at the exact same corner a lap later, he repeated the manoeuvre on Adam Smalley in the exact same fashion to vault himself up to 3rd.
A few corners later, the front two cars tangled, giving Tom the opportunity to cut-back and gain the lead by half a car length over the line. This was short lived however due to Tom being on the outside Smalley followed the first two cars through demoting Tom to 6th. With only one lap left, Tom made a move on Tom Gamble at Oggies yet again! With only one corner left and Gamble breathing down his neck, Tom switched to the outside and performed a brilliant cut-back to the inside of Smalley and King to take 3rd by a nose length on the line!
Tom maintained his position at the start of race two. Around turn one he was squeezed onto the kerb which dented his momentum. Tom battled with Harper for 4th, swapping positions three times in two laps, albeit coming off worse and dropping to 6th. One lap later, following Jordan, Tom made a rare mistake by clipping the tyre stack around turn 5, sending him off and onto the grass dropping back down to 7th place with five laps left to run.
Tom got his head down - setting the fastest lap of the weekend in pursuit of his rivals, Tom managed to catch the group fighting for third place (after the lead two came together). He passed Jordan again for 4th place going on to the last lap, but Jordan hit back, causing both drivers to lose time on the group ahead. Tom made a move stick until the last but one corner – as overheated brakes caused Tom to misjudge an attempted overtaking move and unfortunately ending up in a collision with Jordan. Tom finished 4th on track but got a 5 second penalty for track limit, as well as a penalty for causing an incident on the last corner, pushing him down to 9th at the flag.
The final race saw another solid start, Tom managed to avoid a coming together between Jordan and Harry Dyson at the hairpin, gaining him two positions from his 9th position starting berth. At the end of lap one, Tom was up to 6th after passing Connor Grady into the Bombhole. A few corners later he overtook Priaulx and Gamble for 4th (the former hanging round the outside for 3 corners!) One corner later on the exit of Oggies, Tom continued his climb through the final as he went up the inside of Harper to move up to 3rd place.
Tom once again showed his raw pace around Snetterton, as he gapped the battling group behind whilst working with rival Gamble. Working with Gamble meant that they were able to reel in the two leaders of Kiern Jewiss and Adam Smalley. With 3 laps left, Gamble made a move on Smalley after closing the 1.5 second gap. Tom then followed through and took 3rd position.
Into the closing stages and with Jewiss defending, Gamble was trying his best to get around him but to no avail. With a lap to go, Tom still sat in 3rd, but got brilliant drive out of turn 3 and went for a bold my move on Gamble around the outside at turn 4! Tom got a very good run onto the main straight, pressuring the leader Jewiss. After forcing the leader to defend, Tom judged a brilliant overlap to take the lead around the outside of Bombhole, holding it to the flag to take his first ever race win in car racing and the Ginetta Junior Championship.
Tom Wood “I am absolutely delighted to take my first win in car racing. All credit to HHC Motosport who have helped me to where I am today. I was overwhelmed crossing the line to take the win. It’s the best feeling in the world. To also have my sponsors watching was the icing on the cake.”
The Ginetta Junior Championship heads to Knockhill on the 12-13 August for the next round of the championship. Tom Wood currently sits 5th overall in the championship standings after taking his first win at Snetterton.