The Richardson Racing team endured a tough end to the 2020 Michelin Tyres Ginetta Junior Championship season after a rain-affected finale at Brands Hatch.
The Corby-based team headed into the final round of the year hoping to end the campaign on a high, with rookie trio Georgi Dimitrov, Trennon Bettany and Rowan Vincent all chasing positive finishes to their maiden seasons of car racing.
Wet conditions in qualifying would make things hugely tricky for the three youngsters, with Trennon’s session coming to an early end when he slid off into the gravel at turn one to bring out the red flag.
A second red flag would hamper Georgi and Rowan in their bid to set a time when the circuit was at its best, with the weather preventing drivers from improving their times as the session wore on and resulting in a mixed up grid order.
Georgi would be quickest of the trio in 14th place, with Trennon ending up 18th and Rowan struggling to get a clear lap as he had to settle for 21st.
An astonishing start when the opening race kicked off saw Georgi rocket away from the line to move up seven places on the opening lap, with Trennon making up three places and Rowan two after the pair were able to avoid an incident at turn one.
That would ultimately lead to the race being halted so cars could be recovered from the gravel, but there was disappointment for Trennon on the restart when he went off into the gravel on the first lap after contact and was forced into retirement.
Another strong start for Georgi saw him climb up to fifth spot but after an early caution period, he found himself shuffled back to eighth – a lack of racing laps preventing him from then recovering his way back up the order.
The lack of racing laps would also hamper Rowan’s hopes of moving forwards too far as he crossed the line in 17th.
The second race of the weekend on Sunday morning would start in dramatic fashion when a car stalled on the grid, triggering a multi-car accident that would unfortunately include Rowan and which forced the race to be red-flagged.
The race restarted over a shortened distance of ten minutes but there would be further misfortune for the team when Trennon got out of shape at turn one and was then tipped into a spin that left him stuck in the gravel and out of the race.
The action resumed with just four minutes remaining, with Georgi left to carry the team’s challenge in ninth spot in tricky wet conditions. Making the most of clashes ahead, he quickly moved up into sixth spot and would hold the place through to the finish to end his campaign with another solid points score.
Georgi ends the year fourth in the championship standings, and second in the rookie championship, with Rowan and Trennon 18th and 19th.
Rowan Vincent, #19 (Woking, Surrey), said:
“This really wasn’t the way I wanted the season to end and it’s been tough. I didn’t get a clear lap in qualifying and then in race one, there was little time to try and make progress because of the safety car. Race two was over before it even started because of an incident outside my control, so it’s a shame that the year ended on a low.
“I really wanted to try and break into the top ten this season but this is such a competitive series, and I’ve really enjoyed the experience. I have to thank the Richardson Racing team, including our driver coaches Kieran Vernon and Mike Epps, for their support and hard work and also my sponsors, friends and family for their backing.”
Georgi Dimitrov, #23 (Newmarket, Suffolk), said:
“It would have been great to end the season with some silverware but we were on the back foot a little after qualifying, where I wasn’t able to get as much from the car as I would have liked. However, I’m over the moon with how the races went and it was mega to fight my way forwards like I did when we weren’t behind the safety car and I could get stuck in.
“To finish fourth overall and second of the rookie drivers in my first season of car racing has been fantastic as we have been at the sharp end all year. Huge thanks had to go to the team for their hard work, and also to my family and sponsors for their support. I’m looking forward to next season in F4 and am ready for the challenge.”
Trennon Bettany, #41 (Johannesburg, South Africa), said:
“I felt confident going into the final weekend and that wasn’t how I wanted to end the season as my goal was to try and get a rookie podium finish. We were up against it after qualifying when I got caught out by the conditions and I made a good start in both races, but got hit at turn one and ended up in the gravel.
“I’m happy with the way the season has gone as a whole because I think I have made good progress considering that I wasn’t able to do much testing before the racing started and have been learning all the time. It’s a shame we couldn’t end on a high, but I think I’ve laid good foundations for next year.”