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June 2018

Rockingham Race Report

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June 16

by Kerry Dunlop

Rockingham’s track layout is part-oval, rather like a Marmite jar.  And drivers tend to love it or loathe it – just like Marmite! That meant that quite a few drivers who usually race with the club chose to stay away, which was a pity, because more categories had to be amalgamated and grids appeared sadly depleted. But despite that there was some excellent racing to be found, particularly among the pre ’83 racers who definitely deserve a Dicers of the Day award.

Pre ’83 and Pre ’66 – Race 1: Qualifying gave us a clue as to the possible outcome with Stephen Primett on pole followed by Steve Cripps, Mark Cholerton and Mark Osborne. So that’s three Escorts for just one Dolly – lucky lady! Osborne’s Triumph made by far the best start from the second row and led into the first turn, chased by Cripps, Primett and Cholerton, but Primett was on a charge and soon made it through to the front. “I had quite a speed advantage coming off the banking which meant I could outbrake them afterwards” explained the pony-tailed pilot. Meanwhile Cripps set about attacking Osborne, kicking out the tail of the Escort as he did so. Then Cholerton decided to join the party and the trio battled for several laps before Osborne eased away to finish second, nine seconds behind Primett. “I didn’t want to throw it into the wall” said Mark pragmatically. Cripps pulled away from Cholerton to finish third, while Simon Jeffs and his Golf GTI finished fifth. Pre ’66 winner Alan Greenhalgh made the most of his power advantage, especially as his mighty V8 Falcon thundered around the banking, so he left the rather breathless Minis of Andy Messham and Neil Bray to finish second and third after a brilliant battle. Class winners: Alan Wilshire (2.8 Capri), Messham, Allan Weyman (Camaro), Luc Wilson (Austin A40), Michael Loveland (Hillman Imp).

Race 2: Once again Osborne made the best start, but Primett’s prodigious pace on the banking soon carried him through to the front with Osborne in hot pursuit, despite occasional gear selection problems. Behind them there was a titanic tussle between Cripps and Cholerton which became ever more desperate as the race wore on. The situation was only resolved as they came up to lap Allan Weyman’s Chevrolet on the approach to the chicane. Cholerton opted for the outside line while Cripps dived down the inside. Both Escorts arrived with sheets of tyre smoke pouring from the front wheels as Steve understeered wide of the apex and Mark took to the grass to avoid him. “I had to go for it” said Cripps “otherwise Allan would probably have blocked me as he moved over for Mark.” Anyway, that left Cripps with several lengths over his rival as he raced on to third place. Once again Jeffs chased them home, followed by Alan Wilshire in one of Malcolm Best’s Capris. Greenhalgh led the pre ‘66s all the way despite a ten-second penalty for a false start which left him with an advantage of only eleven seconds over Messham and Bray. Class winners: Wilshire, Messham, Weyman, Wilson, Loveland.

Pre ’93, ’03 and ’05 – Race 1: Although Ian Bower’s BMW led throughout the first race he had to fend off a determined challenge from Steve Barden (Civic) who was never more than a few lengths behind. Don Hughes held third place initially, but his Peugeot 306 failed to complete the first lap. That left Ross Craig (Civic) in an apparently secure third place until his awning-sharer, Luke Allen wound up his Civic and charged past Simon Ward’s Astra and then pipped Craig to the final (virtual) podium place. But there was a surprise twist to the tale when on the last lap Bower picked up a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits which place him second overall although he still won the ’93 category ahead of Ward. And to round off the Barden’s celebrations Anna beat Neil Bray in the Clio battle for the ‘05 win. Class winners: Bower, Ward, Gail Hill (Jaguar XJS), Andrew Sheraton (BMW 325i), Anna Barden.

Race 2:  Once again Bower made the best start, chased by Barden and Craig, but after seven laps the leading BMW was unable to maintain its pace and so Barden slipped past and went on to take his second win of the day. Bower kept going and was able to salvage second place overall (and first of the ‘93s) ahead of Allen who had found a way past Craig on lap 3. Eleventh overall was sufficient for Anna Barden to notch up her double in the ‘05 category. Simon Ward started in fourth place but after five laps his Astra ended up in the wall, badly damaged. Fortunately the driver was ok. Class winners: Bower, Sheraton, Hill, Anna Barden.

Classic Thunder and BOSS – Race 1: It is sad to relate that there were only four CT starters and six BOSS so the grid looked decidedly depleted. But that wouldn’t have worried Dave Cockell who claimed pole position with his potent Escort, now with a new engine after his expensive blow-up at Mallory. Dale Gent was able to complete only one lap before his Subaru’s brakes locked on, but that was still good enough for the second row, behind the smart Astra of Matthew Booth who had barely recovered from a nasty bout of glandular fever. Cockell led the opening lap until the big Scooby surged past and went on to win by eight seconds. Booth remained a solid third throughout and finished well clear of the first Blue Oval runner, Piers Grange (Escort) who now lies second in the series after his fine performances in the last two meetings. Malcom Wise (Sierra Cosworth) was the best of the rest. Class winners: Booth, Grange, Wise.

Race 2: Dale Gent led for less than a lap before he was forced to retire when his Subaru’s stoppers seized again. Booth took over in the lead for four laps until Cockell found a way past and went on to win by ten seconds. Once again Grange was the best of the BOSS boys in third place. Wise, Tom Abbott (Capri) and Ralph Higson (Escort RS200) rounded out the top six. Only seven cars finished. Class winners: Booth, Grange, Wise.

CTCRC race meeting at Mallory Park 2018

Mallory Park Race Report

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May 28

by Kerry Dunlop

Over a bank holiday weekend of extreme weather conditions the sun eventually shone through, just like the talent of Dale Gent and Ray West who were the only double winners at a meeting punctuated by some spectacular, but fortunately injury-free, accidents.

CTCRC race meeting at Mallory Park 2018

Pre ’83 – Race 1: David Howard’s Jaguar leaped off the line to lead until Mark Osborne’s Dolomite slipped past and started to pull away. Then Stephen Primett (Escort) found a way past as well and the current champion was clearly driving right on the limit as he set about reeling in the leader. By half-distance Primett was noticeably closer, but Osborne held on to win by less than one second. Mark Cholerton came through to finish third ahead of Howard who was honest enough to admit later that he had lost concentration as the race unfolded. Stuart Caie (Capri) fought long and hard until he found a way past Peter Winstone and David Hall to finish fifth. Class winners: Howard, Caie, Peter Millington (Hillman Avenger).

Race 2: Once again Osborne led for most of the race until Primett’s extra pace paid off; he squeezed by on lap 11 and then raced on to victory. Cholerton and Howard chased them home again, well clear of a cracking, race-long battle for fifth. Allan Weyman (Chevrolet Camaro) defended well under intense pressure to claim the place ahead of Caie, Cripps (whose Escort had started from the back of the grid) and Hall. Class winners: Howard, Caie, Millington. Driver of the Day: Hall.

CTCRC race meeting at Mallory Park 2018

Classic Thunder & BOSS – Race 1:  Although Dale Gent qualified on pole his Subaru Impreza set a time only one-tenth better than the Escort-Cosworth of Dave Cockell, so the stage was set for a classic battle. But on the second lap Cockell’s car dumped its oil smack in the middle of Gerards triggering total mayhem behind him. As Cockell gyrated onto the verge Paul Nevill, Neil Argrave and Paul Finney all slid to a stop, broadside across the track, and many more had to brake severely. So Gent raced on to victory with nothing in his mirrors. Adrian Hawkins made the best recovery and his Alfa 33 scored an impressive second place. All the others, even including Lee Penn (Alfa 33) and Andy Robinson (Ford Falcon) who finished third and fourth respectively, were lapped by the winner. Piers Grange (Escort Mk.2) finished fifth overall and was a clear winner of the BOSS category. Class winners: Hawkins, Penn, Grange, John Edwards-Parton (Fiesta XR2), Malcolm Wise (Sierra Cosworth), Ben Dewen (BMW 323i), Keith Harding (Capri 3.1).

Race 2: Once again Gent led from start to finish although Hawkins kept him honest throughout with another exciting display. This time the Aussie V8 style saloons were more to the fore as Andy Robinson (Ford) finished third ahead of Andy Wilson (Holden). Escorts dominated the BOSS event as Grange won again ahead of Scott Matthias and Neil Argrave. Class winners: Hawkins, Penn, Grange, Matthias, Edwards-Parton, Dewen. Drivers of the Day: Penn (Thunder), Ralph Higson (BOSS).

CTCRC race meeting at Mallory Park 2018

Pre ’66 – Race 1: The incredible 998 Imp of David Heale starred in a three-way thriller of a battle for the lead with Alan Greenhalgh (Ford Falcon) and David Hall (Lotus Cortina) – three very different cars with similar performance. Greenhalgh led all the way while the other two swapped places regularly. The Falcon developed a slight misfire over the last couple of laps and at the finish all three were covered by just a second with Hall just ahead of Heale. Class winners: Hall, Heale, Neil Bray (1293 Mini), Patrick Harris (Morris Minor), John Everard (Alfa Sprint GT), Michael Loveland (Imp).

Race 2: Greenhalgh was a non-starter this time so Heale’s press-on style paid off when he managed to build up a winning margin of five seconds over Hall. Once again Bray was the best of the rest. The Anglia attack for fourth place was led this time by Michael Sheraton from Alex Williams in a reversal of their earlier result. Andy Messham (1293 Mini) fought back to finish sixth after his retirement from race one. Class winners: Hall. Bray, Steve Dunne (Morris Minor), Everard, Loveland. Driver of the Day: Loveland.

CTCRC race meeting at Mallory Park 2018

Pre ‘93/03/05 – Race 1: Ray West has been winning CTCRC (nee CSCC) races for a long time now and after a few years of “retirement” he bounced back with a BMW M3 to claim pole position and resume his winning ways. He led from start to finish with apparent ease, although Steve Barden, the best of the ’03 runners, pushed him hard and his Civic was just over a second adrift at the finish. Simon Ward (Astra GTE) fought off a strong challenge from David Hunt (BMW E36) to finish third. Jason Brooks defeated Neil Bray and Anna Barden in the Clio contest for ’05 honours. Class winners: Barden, Ward, Gail Hill (Jaguar XJS), Brooks, Andrew Sheraton (BMW E30), Kevin Smiles (Hyundai).

Race 2: Once again West led all the way: in fact the leading quartet stayed the same as in Race 1 until the closing stages when Ward squeezed past Barden to snatch second place. Hunt finished fourth again, Luke Allen (Civic) improved to finish fifth and Graham Myers, returning to the sport with an unfamiliar BMW E36, was rewarded with sixth place. Barden again beat the other ’03 boys and this time it was Bray who picked up ’05 honours. Class winners: Ward, Barden Hill, Bray, Sheraton, Peter Kalpakiotis (Hyundai). Drivers of the Day: Myers (’93), Alford (‘03), Steve Barber (’05).

Now what was that in the introduction about spectacular accidents? The unfortunate winner of this particular category must be Theodore Bridgeman-Williams who was lucky to walk away from the wreckage after his Alfa 145 lost its brakes at the hairpin, charged up the bank and buried itself in the barrier. Commiserations go to him.