Barber Motorsports Park has produced some of the best races the UK&I Skip Barber League has seen in recent seasons, but has often suffered in attendance.  With a grid of over three dozen this season for the 15 lap race and with less than a quarter of a second between first and tenth in qualifying, the sim racing was guaranteed to be tight for this penultimate round.  Championship challenger Sebastian Job took pole ahead of Matthew Daniels, while championship leader Tom Ward was stuck in fourth behind Wojciech Swirydowicz.

When the lights went green the top five maintained position into Turn One and through the completion of the opening lap.  In fact, the status quo remained in effect at the front for almost the entire first half of the race.  A gap eventually formed between the top four and the rest of the field, but for the most part the entire grid was nose-to-tail the entire time.

Job and Daniels lead the opening lap.

On Lap Seven and with Job beginning to break away, Swirydowicz got a bit more aggressive on the entry for Turn Seven which gave him oversteer and sent him over the curb.  He didn’t lose much to Daniels, but Ward was now just a couple of feet from his gearbox.

First mistake from Swirydowicz on Lap Seven.

Things got worse just a few corners later when Swirydowicz got all four wheels in the grass exiting of Turn 13 which put Ward along his inside.

Swirydowicz makes a second mistake on Lap Seven.

Ward braked later than Swirydowicz and with the inside line took third with eight laps remaining.  All this, of course, played nicely into the hands of Job who began building a gap.

Ward takes advantage and grabs third.

By Lap Nine, Job’s gap was large enough that Daniels was falling out the slipstream and into the clutches of Ward.  Ward waited for the penultimate corner where he made a carbon copy overtaking maneuver, with the inside line once again.

Ward on Daniels, Lap Nine.

At the end of Lap Ten, Swirydowicz got back into the mix with a nice run out of the final corner which allowed him to snag the inside line for Turn One.  He made short work of Daniels but Job was beyond catching at this point: Second place was the best Swirydowicz could hope for if Job didn’t make any mistakes.

Swirydowicz relegates Daniels to fourth as Job continues pulling away.

As the front-runners began the penultimate lap Job’s gap was easily five seconds or more, but Swirydowicz was hot on Ward’s tail and began pressuring as early as Turns Two and Three.  Ward went defensive at the Turn Five hairpin but the pair came out of the corner side- by-side, and this time Swirydowicz would have the inside line at Turn Seven.  It was very close between them coming on to the back straight, but Swirydowicz had taken second place.

Swirydowicz steals second at Turn Seven.

On the final lap, Ward made a dive for the inside line of the penultimate corner.  Unfortunately for him, though, he went into a four-wheel slide and made contact with Swirydowicz.  Swirydowicz was more or less unaffected but Ward did a 180 and came to a stop in the middle of the circuit, where he was nearly getting clipped by Daniels, Marc Mercer and Dominic Brennan.  Ward lost still another position to Adrian Bidewell while turning around, eventually finishing in P7.

Ward spins with just two corners left in the race.

Job’s win, in combination with Ward’s P7, gives him the lead of the championship with 213 points to Ward’s 211 with only one race remaining.  Swirydowicz’s second place finish moved him closer to Ward, but he’s still 29 points behind second place in the championship with 182 points.

The championship standings after 11 races.

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