BRITAIN WEST’S BANNER SEASON CONTINUES WITH SWEEPS OF BOTH “A” AND “B” CLASS PODIUMS
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park was the scene for the penultimate round of the 2021 Toyo Tires F1600 Championship Series on September 18-19. Nick Gilkes and Jake Cowden were joined this weekend by guest driver Megan Gilkes, taking a quick break from her regular gig as a front runner in the British National Formula Ford Championship to come back to the series she ran so well in last year and see if she can best her younger brother on equal terms. It made for a very entertaining weekend of racing.
The weekend started off spectacularly with the trio snapping up the top 3 spots in qualifying and setting the tone for each of the weekends 3 races. “B” Class points leader Connor Clubine had some drama in qualifying and was forced to start race 1 from the back of the pack due to a radiator replacement.
Race 1 provided little in the way of opportunities for hard racing as the majority of the time was spent behind the safety car due to a full course caution. One attempt was made on lap 10 to get it restarted but another accident coming to the green forced the end of the race. Nick Gilkes took the checkered flag with teammate Cowden in tow. Megan Gilkes was passed by two competitors early in the race and with no attempt to work back around them had to settle for 5th. In “B” class, Clubine charged through the field from the drop of the green and was up 10 spots overall and in the lead of “B” Class when the yellow came out on lap 3 adding to his impressive win tally for the season.
In Race 2 Jake Cowden’s quick lap in Race 1 had him lined up outside pole for the second straight race. Nick Gilkes would start 3rd and Megan Gilkes 6th. Nick Gilkes took the lead on lap two and checked out after that, extending the gap to eight seconds by race end as Cowden was in a fierce battle for 2nd with two other competitors for half the race until teammate Megan Gilkes joined the fun. Those four positions swapped many times over the closing laps with Megan Gilkes crossing the line 4th and Cowden 5th. Clubine had another stellar performance winning the “B” Class race and the Hard Charger Award in the process.
Race 3 was an all-Gilkes, brother sister front row (first time ever? not sure have to check on that) with Nick on pole from Megan by less than a tenth. At the drop of the green the pair set off and battled hard for the first half of the race. Nick led early, but Megan grabbed the lead on lap ten. Their hard fight allowed teammate Cowden to get back into the battle for the top spot. The Gilkes siblings would trade the lead a couple of more times. Megan would manage to hold on for her first series win and Cowden would get around Nick Gilkes coming home in 3rd and extending his lead in the points. A Britain West sweep of the podium. Clubine put the icing on his successful weekend by sweeping the top step of the podium, mixing it up with the “A” Class competitors.
Next race report will cover the teams’ success at the Formula 1600 Canada series event at the beautiful Mont Tremblant circuit.