Malin (Richardson Racing) went into the last race of the season with a one point deficit to James Taylor (Elite Motorsport), however he edged out his rival in a thrilling winner-takes-all finale to secure his first Ginetta title by the smallest of margins.
It was Malin who held a seven point advantage over Taylor heading into the weekend and they started by filling the top two positions in qualifying on Saturday morning. In chilly conditions, Malin lapped three tenths of a second quicker than his rival en-route to a double pole position.
John Bennett (Elite Motorsport) finished up third quickest, while an impressive fourth on his return to the GT5 Challenge grid was the recently-crowned 2020 Ginetta G40 Cup champion Tom Golding (CTS Motorsport). Gordie Mutch (Fox Motorsport) completed the top five.
There was an action-packed start to race one that afternoon, with a wide moment for Malin dropping him back to eighth on the opening lap. Taylor grabbed the lead, with a fast-starting Golding moving up to second ahead of Bennett and Magnus Kriklywi (Race Car Consultants).
Bennett passed Golding for second next time around and soon set the fastest lap of the race as he started closing the gap to the race leader. Taylor was able to keep him at arm’s length though and picked up a third win of the season, with Bennett a seasons’ best second place.
Behind, a fired up Malin mounted an impressive recovery drive. Gaining three places on lap two alone, he then picked off Mutch and Golding to move into third place. The seven-time race-winner tried to close down the gap for the top two, but had to settle for third at the finish.
After dropping to seventh on lap two, Kriklywi produced a comeback drive of his own and passed Golding on the final tour for fourth place. Mutch completed the top six at the finish, but that result wasn’t enough to keep him in title contention heading into the final race.
Mutch had been part of an exciting battle through the race with Rory McKean (SVG Motorsport) and Blake Angliss (Richardson Racing), those two finished seventh and eighth respectively, while Daniel Budd (Elite Motorsport) and Conner Garlick (Xentek Motorsport) rounded out the top ten.
A rollercoaster race in the Am class saw four different drivers lead the way through the 11 lap encounter. Richard Tetlow (Privateer) converted pole position into the early lead, however Karim Sekkat (Elite Motorsport) got ahead on lap two.
Class champion Ian Duggan (Fox Motorsport) was the next to move to the front of the pack, but his spell at the front was short-lived too, with Phil McGarty (Xentek Motorsport) eventually coming through to a second win of the year. Duggan and Tetlow completed the podium.
The final race of the season took place in foggy conditions on Sunday morning, and what played out was one of the greatest title deciders in Ginetta history as Malin, Taylor and Mutch fought wheel-to-wheel for victory throughout the 20 minute encounter.
An eye-catching three abreast move into Vale for the first time set the tone for what was to come, with Mutch storming around the outside of both his rivals to show he wasn’t prepared to sit back and let the title protagonists have all the fun.
Pole-sitter Malin got back ahead into Maggots on lap two, but next time round it was Taylor’s turn to take the reins at the front. Mutch was back on the move then, fighting his way through to the lead by the end of lap five, before swapping places with Malin throughout the next tour.
Taylor made his final move for the lead into Copse on lap seven, however Malin pounced on his rivals losing momentum to storm past both into Maggotts. Mutch got back ahead at Abbey on the penultimate lap and went on to edge away to a superb third win of the year.
The Scotsman left behind a straight fight for second position and ultimately the title, with a faultless final lap from Malin seeing him keep Taylor at bay. The champion ends the year with more race wins, pole positions and fastest laps than anyone else, while Taylor’s successful season helped Elite Motorsport win the Teams’ title.
Outside of the epic lead battle, there was some close action for fourth place. Bennett and Golding both held the position early on before suffering misfortune, with Kriklywi coming through to match his race one result and complete his best weekend in the series so far.
On his series debut, Nat Hodgkiss (Race Car Consultants) bounced back from a tough first race to finish a great fifth. Angliss scored his second top six result of the year ahead of Budd and another debutant in Oliver Allwood (AB Motorsport), while after finishing 12th in race one, Ashley Marshall (Fox Motorsport) was an unfortunate retiree.
In the Am class, Tetlow led from pole position until the last lap when Duggan squeezed past in a photo-finish to cap off his title-winning campaign with an eighth win. Sekkat completed the podium ahead of Bal Sidhu (Xentek Motorsport) and McGarty.
Josh Malin – 2020 ‘Pro’ Champion: “That’s the most stressful thing I’ve ever done in a race car in my life. It was absolutely incredible and I can’t begin to come up with vocabulary to describe it. It’s been a fantastic season and I’d like to thank the team at Richardson Racing, my sponsors and my friends and family for all of their support this year.”
Ian Duggan – 2020 ‘Am’ Champion: “It’s been brilliant, a really good season. We got off to a good start and we’ve just gone from there really. Every race has been different so it’s not like it’s been easy, but it’s been nice and clean racing, with some good battles up with the Pro drivers too. It’s been great fun and Fox Motorsport have been mega.”
The incredible final race of the 2020 season can be watched back here: https://youtu.be/dloMjtEsdb8
Full race results for the weekend can be viewed here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/204505