Jack Goff converted pole position into a race one victory at a very wet Snetterton, beating reigning champion Ashley Sutton by one tenth of a second.
Goff got a great start and led into the unknown. Sutton got an even better one from ninth on the grid to move up to second ahead of Dan Cammish who had dropped to third place.
It didn’t take too long for the action to start, with this being the first real time all the cars had run in wet conditions. Jason Plato and Ollie Jackson came together as they went into turn one as the pair hit the brakes, with the later retiring.
Goff was increasing the gap over second place Sutton lap by lap as they headed into quarter race distance.
Championship contender Tom Ingram retired on lap three after suffering from a mechanical issue. British Touring Car returnee Ant Whorton-Eales got tagged by Aiden Moffat and was sent into a spin on lap four, however both managed to continue.
Matt Simpson also retired on lap five with a locked right rear wheel after contact with Dan Welch coming out of the final turn. However, Simpson’s Eurotech Racing teammate Jack Goff continued to lead without any problems holding out a couple second advantage over Sutton.
Meanwhile, championship leader Colin Turkington was battling Tom Chilton hard for fourteenth place with Turkington just holding on to the position. The two BTC Norlin cars of Chris Smiley and Dan Lloyd were moving forward after a disappointing qualifying session, getting into the top ten at the half-way stage.
Second place man Ashley Sutton set the fastest lap of the race as he tried to close down race leader Goff as they headed into the final four laps of the race, going about five tenths of a second quicker per lap.
The battle for sixth was hotting up with Rob Austin just holding off the Mac Tools Mercedes of Adam Morgan, whom locked his rear brakes and slid off at turn one.
As the race leaders came to start their final lap, Sutton was now right on the back of the Wix Racing with Eurotech Honda of Goff.
Goff got a poor run coming through Bomb Hole allowing Sutton to come around the outside at the sweeping right hander giving him the inside line for the final corner. Sutton clouted the inside kerb and took the race lead; however, Goff got a great run out of the final corner and moved to the outside of Sutton as they raced towards the chequered flag. Goff just manged to get his nose ahead beating the reigning champion Sutton by one tenth of a second!
After the race a jubilant Goff commented, “I wish it had been the last lap about three laps before! We knew we had to get a bit of a gap at the start with front wheel drive, and we did that, the Wix Racing with Eurotech Civic was on rails.”
He continued, “I knew he (Ashley Sutton) would start to close on me but about five laps from the end, he started closing by about eight tenths a lap and I thought we may struggle a bit here. We were quick in sector one and he was much faster in the final sector as you probably all saw.”
Speaking on the fight with Sutton, Goff said, “He wasn’t going to hold back now, mid- season but it was a great race, we had a little rub through Coram, but it was a great way to end the first race.”
Second place finisher Sutton said, “I knew where Jack (Goff) was weak and he had a little moment and I tried to be daring around the outside – there was a few little love taps but it was good racing, at the end of the day straight line speed won. It looked comfortably ours but then before you know it, I had a Honda coming on my outside.”
Sutton continued, “That’s what everyone watches the British Touring Cars for and for us, Adrian Flux Subaru Racing to come from ninth to second in the opening lap, that was a dream come true.”
Third place finisher Dan Cammish concluded, “I was happy I was lonely in those conditions, it was an interesting few laps trying to find your feet – those were the first laps we’ve done in the wet, FP1 was damp but only for a few laps, that was monsoon to start with. Fair play to the other two, I saw Sutton come past and he was on a mission – a sideways mission at times.”
Speaking about his own race, Cammish said, “I was happy with P3, just wanted to keep a nice gap to Josh (Cook), thankfully he didn’t have enough to catch me and I had a nice lonely race which I was happy with.”
It was a fantastic way to start the BTCC’s sixtieth birthday, let’s hope it continues that way.
By Jordan Hollands.