Race Reports

Snetterton: August 04/05

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by Kerry Dunlop

The two long straights on the 300 lay-out allowed the bigger, heavier cars to make the most of their extra power and so for once some of the regular winners in smaller, lighter machinery missed the top step of the podium. David Griffin was the only driver who remained unbeaten.

Pre ’66 – Race 1:  David Hall’s quick Lotus Cortina topped the timesheets by a healthy margin so it was no surprise when he led the first race from start to finish. “I pushed for a couple of laps and then I just made sure I kept it on the black stuff” he said. Michael Sheraton was going well in the little Anglia and held second place throughout despite losing second gear again. During the early laps Andy Messham looked threatening but his 1293 Mini was losing out on the long straights and he had to settle for the final place on the podium. “They were just too quick for me” he admitted. “The car was dancing all over the place.” Patrick Harris was enjoying fourth place until his Minor retired on the penultimate lap so Kevin O’Brien (Anglia) picked up fourth spot ahead of Nathan Scott Williams (Mini Cooper) and Luc Wilson (Austin A40). Class winners: Sheraton, Wilson, Michael Loveland (Imp).

Race 2: Hall started from pole position but never completed the first lap so Sheraton, whose gearbox problem resolved itself, went on to take a popular win by a healthy margin over Messham. O’Brien held third place initially but he retired with just a lap remaining so Williams was elevated to third place. Once again Wilson came out on top in a spirited battle for fourth with Steve Dunne (A35).  Paul Cooper’s Cortina GT rounded out the top six.

Pre ’83 – Race 1: The Group One touring cars can usually be relied upon to provide some cracking racing, but this time two of the chief protagonists were sorely missed: Steve Cripps was still trying to sort out his Escort’s persistent misfire and Mark Osborne’s Dolomite expired during qualifying. To make matters much, much worse Tony Crudgington’s Dolomite and Mark Fowler’s Escort collided at the first corner, then spun across the track through the middle of the pack until Stuart Caie’s Capri torpedoed the Escort amidships. “I never even had time to hit the brakes” said Stuart. The Capri’s long nose probably saved it from serious mechanical damage but the Escort will have to be re-shelled. The accident was particularly sad because it was Crudgington’s first race back with the CTCRC after an absence of several years, it was also Fowler’s first race for some time, and of course Caie was an entirely innocent victim of circumstance. David Howard’s big Jag was leading Primett’s Escort at the time of the accident, and after the safety car pulled in the XJ12 held off the Ford for the remaining three laps to win by a length. “I was lucky to hold on to that” said Howard. “On the last lap I selected the wrong gear and Stephen almost got by me.” Mark Cholerton had been pushing hard throughout and at the end his Escort was only a tenth down on Primett. Simon Jeffs (Golf GTI) finished a fine fourth ahead of the pretty BMW of Neal Mills. Class winners: Primett, Mills, Alan Wilshire (Capri), Tony Crates (Cortina Lotus).

Race 2: Once again Howard used the power of the Big Cat to leap into the lead, ahead of Primett, Cholerton and Alan Wilshire (Capri). But during the second lap an error by Howard allowed Cholerton and Primett to sneak ahead and next time around Primett hit the front for the first time. Once in front the reigning champion eased away to win by 12 seconds from Howard who had managed to find a way past Cholerton in the closing stages. Wilshire retired on lap six so it was Crudgington, whose car emerged relatively unscathed from the earlier accident, who finished fourth. Allan Weyman hustled the big Camaro into fifth place ahead of Mills. Class winners: Howard, Mills, Malcolm Best (Capri), Crates.

Classic Thunder & BOSS – Race 1: This was a thoroughly entertaining encounter with a developing theme of bouncing back from adversity. Matthew Evans (3.2 BMW) started from seventh on the grid, but he soon began to pick off his rivals and when the initial leader, Stuart Day (Escort WRC) made a mistake Evans seized a lead which he retained to the finish. Day admitted “I ran wide onto the dirt and had to fight my way past four cars” – he was rewarded with second place. Lee Spencer started from pole but ended the first lap back in fifth spot. Undeterred, he put his head down and fought back to second place until the last lap when his BMW M5 slowed to a crawl. Ilsa Cox maintained a strong pace throughout in her SEAT Leon, despite faster cars which overtook and then fell back again: she raced on to third place. “My best race of the year” she said. James Janicki (Nissan Skyline) was fourth, ahead of the BMWs of Lucky Khera and Jasver Sapra. Steve Scott was the quickest of the BOSS runners but his Sierra Cosworth retired after five laps and so Piers Grange (Escort Mk.2) took the no. 1 spot from Ashley Shelswell (Sierra XR4i). Class winners: Day, Cox, David Griffin (3.0 BMW), Simon Light (5.0 Capri), Grange, Shelswell, Alan Breck (5.0 Capri), Ben Dewen (3.2 BMW).

Race 2: Day made no mistake this time and he led this far less fraught affair from start to finish. Cox held a strong second place, shadowed by Janicki until the final drag to the flag when the 2.8 Nissan outgunned her 2.0 Leon. Griffin finished a fine fourth, comfortably clear of Light. Scott was sixth overall and  the best of the BOSS category, ahead of Shelswell and Grange. Class winners:  Cox, Griffin, Light, Scott, Grange, Breck, Dewen.

Pre ‘93/’03/’05 – Race 1: During qualifying it soon became apparent that the 2-litre Civic Type R of the pre ’03 championship leader, Steve Barden, was unable to match the pace of the 3-litre BMWs driven by David Griffin and Ian Bower.

Sure enough, in the race Bower seized the lead from Griffin and these two began to pull away from David Hunt (BMW) and Luke Allen (Civic Type R). Griffin was quick to take advantage when Bower slid wide onto the grass; he raced past and went on to win with a seven-second advantage over Bower. Hunt completed a 1-2-3 for BMW, while Pre ’03 winner Allen, James Alford and Ross Craig made up a 4-5-6 for Honda. Anna Barden (Clio) won the Pre ’05 category again, but husband Steve was forced to retire after three laps. Class winners: Allen, Gail Hill (Jaguar XJS), Andrew Sheraton (2.5 BMW), Barden, Theodore Bridgeman-Williams (Alfa 145).

Race 2: This race started well enough, if a little predictably, as the first four held the same positions as before. But after only four laps Bridgeman-Williams and Steve Barber (Clio) crashed and brought out the red flags. Unfortunately the race could not be re-started because of the curfew at Snetterton. It was a sad way to end the meeting. Class winners: Allen, Hill, Sheraton, A.Barden.

Pre83 Championship cars

Lydden Race Report

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July 08

by Kerry Dunlop

The club’s flagship event – the only one where we organise the whole meeting ourselves and where the entire programme is made up of CTCRC events – proved a great success with an array of entertaining races held under sunny skies. Stephen Primett was clearly the most successful driver of the day: not only did he win both Pre ’83 races in fine style but he also won a race against time to repair his car after a shunt during qualifying when he skidded off on an oil slick and hit the tyre wall at Chesson’s Drift.

Pre66 Championship carsPre ’66 – race 1: Despite the tight and twisty turns at Lydden Alan Greenhalgh and his mighty Ford Falcon reigned supreme throughout qualifying and the race. But Tim Harber put up a brave fight and was never more than a couple of lengths behind the leader until lap 7 when his Mini suddenly slowed and pulled off the track. That left the Minis of Neil Bray and Andy Messham to battle bravely in pursuit before Bray eased away to finish less than three seconds down on the big V8. Behind them there was an entertaining Anglia duel between Michael Sheraton and Martin Reynolds until Michael lost second gear and Martin went on to finish a fine fourth. Patrick Harris (Minor) and Luc Wilson (A40) rounded out the top six. Class winners: Bray, Harris, Michael Loveland (Imp).

Race 2: Greenhalgh led from the start, but his Falcon soon began to sound like a V4 and he eventually retired. Bray inherited the lead and once again he was chased by Messham until Andy half-spun at Paddock when he clipped the high kerb at the apex. Meanwhile Jim Burrows, whose Mini had started from the back of the grid due to his retirement from the first race, was making up ground fast and when Messham careered across the grass at Paddock he slipped past and went on to secure second place behind Bray. As Messham recovered he was also passed by Reynolds, but on the next lap the Anglia suddenly swapped ends and so Martin was forced to settle for fourth place behind Andy. Class winners: Harris, Loveland.

Pre83 Championship carsPre ’83 – race 1: Primett managed to secure pole position, despite his practice accident, ahead of the Escorts of Mark Cholerton and Steve Cripps and the Capri of Stuart Caie. But it was Cholerton who led into the first corner, chased by Primett and David Howard (XJ12). Two laps later Primett was in front and easing away to victory. Meanwhile Cripps, who had made an even worse start than Primett, was really on a charge: his black Escort plunged down Hairy Hill to pass Howard’s Jaguar and next time around he pulled the same move on Craie’s Capri. Then Cripps set his sights on second place and Cholerton: for the next few laps the pair were neck-and-neck until Steve found a tighter line at the exit of Paddock, pulled alongside and then slipped ahead as they skittered into Chesson’s. So that was the podium sorted. Simon Jeffs (Golf GTI) finished a fighting fourth with a late charge that carried him past Howard, Caie and fifth finisher Pete Winstone (Escort). Simon’s effort earned him the Pre ’83 Driver of the Day award. Class winners: Caie, Howard, Tony Crates (Cortina Lotus).

Race 2: As if to make up for his earlier start Cripps really did the business this time and stormed away from the start to lead into Chesson’s from Primett, Cholerton, Winstone and Caie. And the black Escort led for four laps before Primett prised the lead away with a really classy, slick outbraking move on the inside at the Devil’s Elbow. “I knew he was there” said Cripps “but I couldn’t believe he would be able to do it.” Undeterred, Steve continued to chase Stephen until they took the chequered flag just 1.2 seconds apart – brilliant driving by both drivers. Cholerton held third place throughout, with another fine fourth place from Jeffs ahead of Winstone and Caie. Class winners: Caie, Howard, Crates.

Pre93,03,05 Championship cars Pre’93/’03/’05 – race 1: Most of the action occurred on the opening lap. As polesitter Luke Allen (Civic Type R) led away from Rod Birley (Honda Integra) and novice Ian Bower (BMW M3) Steve Barden’s Civic Type R was pushed wide onto the grass at Chesson’s and dropped back. Then Steve Barber was nerfed off at the Elbow, prompting a long safety car period to enable his stricken Clio to be recovered. The 15-minute race duration allowed time for just three more racing laps until Allen took the chequered flag ahead of Birley and Bower. The battle-scarred Hondas of Ross Craig and Barden finished fourth and fifth after a fraught feud. Allen took top hours in the ’03 category, Bower was the best of the ‘93s and Neil Bray won the ’05 category. Class winners: Andrew Sheraton (BMW E30), Theodore Bridgeman-Williams (Alfa 145).

Race 2 – Rear wheel drive helped Bower’s BMW beat Allen’s Honda to the first corner and a lead which he never lost. Allen kept up the pressure and finished as the Pre ’03 winner only five seconds down, despite an unfortunate clash as he lapped Anna Barden. The Clio driver required medical treatment afterwards but fortunately she was released with nothing worse than a sprained neck. Her husband Steve, Trevor Keates and James Alford completed a 2-3-4-5 for Honda. Despite her collision Anna bravely battled on to finish second to Josh Barber in the Pre ’05 category. Class winners: Allen, Sheraton, Bridgeman-Williams.

BOSS Championship carsClassic Thunder & BOSS – race 1: A healthy entry was bolstered even further by several significant survivors from Lydden’s SEMSEC era, especially Rod Birley and Bill Richards. Birley’s recently rebuilt Escort WRC seized the lead for four laps until he was forced to retire due to a broken throttle pedal bracket. Richards, whose Mini Clubman had been harrying the leader anyway, went on to win by five seconds from the best BOSS runner, Piers Grange (Escort Mk.2). A little further back a similar Escort driven by Nigel Craig, another SEMSEC winner, finished third ahead of Malcolm Wise (Sapphire Cosworth). Fifth overall and a welcome addition was former Lydden FF1600 and Formule Libre champion Peter Thurston who enthusiastically drove a self-prepared Jaguar XJ6. “It’s got fantastic turn-in but it’s a scrap engine with no power” he said. Class winners: Grange, Craig, Chris Brown (Fiesta XR2), Ben Dewen (BMW 323i).

Race 2: Birley had to start from near the back of the grid due to his earlier retirement so Grange seized the lead from the start while Richards waited for an opportunity to pass. Next time around Richards dived past on the inside at Chesson’s and began to ease away from Grange, Craig, Tom Abbott (Capri) and Wise. Meanwhile Birley was romping through the field and after only three laps he took the lead at North Bend. Conversely, there were two notable retirements: Richards, whose Mini had flattened its battery and Thurston who had rooted his rubber so that his former precision tool now slid about like a beached seal. So Birley went on to win by half a minute from Grange, Craig and Abbott. Everyone else was lapped by the winner, including fifth finisher Mary Grinham (Maguire Mini) who put in a late charge to pass Brown and Wise. Class winners: Grange, Craig, Grinham, Brown, Dewen, Graham Myers (BMW M3).

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.

Croft Race Report

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April 21/22

by Kerry Dunlop

After having to dodge heavy showers at Silverstone it was a relief to arrive in North Yorkshire to find cloudy skies and mainly dry weather – apart from light drizzle at the very end of Sunday’s programme. Double winners Dale Gent and Philip House shared top billing over the weekend.

Classic Thunder & BOSS – race 1: Gent’s potent Subaru Impreza started from pole and soon built up a handy lead over Dave Cockell’s Escort-Cosworth before going on to win with a margin of seven seconds over the Ford driver. Andy Robinson took up the chase initially, but his mighty Ford Falcon was proving a bit of a handful around Croft’s challenging corners and on lap eight Adrian Hawkins’ well-sorted Alfa 33 16v slipped past and then went on to claim a solid third place. Paul Hand (Audi TT) finished further back in fifth ahead of Andrew Wilson and his 6.7 litre Falcon. Next up was Paul Nevill (Escort RS2000) who beat Neil Argrave and Tom Abbott to win the BOSS category. Class winners: Hawkins, Hand, Wilson, Nevill, Richard Askham (Jaguar XJR), Demetris Neophytou (Fiesta Mk.1).

Race 2: Once again Gent led all the way to continue his dominance of the category, but this time Robinson put his head down, stoked up his Aussie V8 and managed to finish only 14 seconds adrift at the finish. Cockell might have found his way to the podium but unfortunately his Escort expired after only two laps, so Hawkins picked up another third place, comfortably ahead of Hand. This time Argrave managed to turn the tables and beat Nevill in the race to be the best in BOSS. Class winners: Robinson, Hand, Argrave, John Edwards-Parton (Fiesta XR2).

Pre ’66 – race 1: The Lotus Cortinas of Philip House and Roger Stanford shared the front row, ahead of Alan Greenhalgh’s Falcon, and it was Stanford who seized the initiative, but after four laps House found a way past and went on to take a narrow victory. These three were chased for most of the race by the Minis of Neil Bray and Andy Messham, bit with less than two laps to go Bray was forced to retire so Messham finished fourth, well clear of Martin Reynolds’ Anglia. Class winners: Greenhalgh, Messham, Patrick Harris (Morris Minor), Freddie Brown (Hillman Imp), John Everard (Alfa Sprint).

Race 2: This time House led from the start, pressed on purposefully and went on to win by a healthy margin. Stanford led the chase initially but he was coming under threat from Greenhalgh and after a race-long, spirited scrap with plenty of place changes the Falcon driver managed to secure second place. Bray managed to fix his Cooper after its earlier retirement and he was rewarded with a fine fourth place, well clear of Reynolds. Class winners: Greenhalgh, Bray, Luc Wilson (Austin A40), Brown, Everard.

Group One Pre ’83 – race 1: Former champion Jim McLoughlin made a welcome return to the series with his charismatic Capri and he soon showed that he had lost none of his form when he lined up on the front row alongside the current champion and polesitter, Stephen Primett (Escort Mk.1). Indeed, Jim led the opening lap but it soon became apparent that he had a problem as the Capri lost ground and eventually retired after six laps.  Stephen soon hit the front and went on to win by five seconds from Mark Osborne (Dolomite Sprint) and Steve Cripps (Escort RS2000). Mark Cholerton, usually a force to be reckoned with, seemed to struggle this time and his Escort Mk.2 finished a distant fourth, just ahead of Phil House who had switched to an Escort. David Howard (Jaguar XJ12) was sixth after a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits. Class winners: Howard, Scott Rust (Escort RS1600i).

Race 2 – This was another cracking race, typical of the category, as Howard’s Big Cat howled away from the start and led the opening lap from Cripps, Primett and McLoughlin. Next time around Cripps hit the front, but Primett had also passed the Jag and was closing fast and the white Mk.1 squeezed past the black Mk.2 to lead the next two laps. Then Primett’s Ford began to falter and he started to fall down the field. Meanwhile McLoughlin put in a late charge, set the fastest lap in the closing stages and then managed to snatch victory by just seven tenths from Cripps, House and Howard. Primett limped home a distant fifth. Cholerton retired on the opening lap. Class winners: Cripps, Howard, Rust.

Pre ‘93/’03/’05 – race 1: Steve Barden’s Civic claimed pole position ahead of the BMWs of David Hunt, Roger Stanford and Mike Dugdale and the Honda driver managed to maintain a slight advantage all the way to the chequered flag. Stanford held on to second place throughout, ahead of Dugdale and Hunt. Newcomer to the series – and to racing – Ian Bower made a promising debut and raced his M3 home to a fine fifth place. Class winners: Stanford, Dugdale, Anna Barden (Renault Clio), David Howard (Jaguar XJ12), Alex Nuttall (Golf GTI).

Race 2: By now it was drizzling and the damp track caught out Barden, who completed the first lap dead last. Nevertheless he set about picking off his rivals with impressive progress so that he managed to take the lead from Stanford at half-distance. But Bower, displaying commendable maturity despite his lack of experience, was moving up through the field as well. From fifth on the grid he moved past Hunt, Dugdale and Stanford and then snatched the lead from Barden before pulling away to win by almost six seconds. A real fairy-tale victory for the novice! Class winners: Barden, Stanford, Nuttall, Neil Bray (Renault Clio), Gail Hill (Jaguar XJS).

Jonathan Lewis noses ahead of David Hall at the first corner. Photo: Kerry Dunlop

Silverstone Race Report

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March 24/25

by Kerry Dunlop

Our opening meeting of the season was a great success with eight cracking races fought out through changeable conditions which varied form cold and very wet to cold and dry. Mini maestro Jonathan Lewis, a man who has dominated the category for decades, was the only double winner overall.

Jonathan Lewis noses ahead of David Hall at the first corner. Photo: Kerry Dunlop

Jonathan Lewis noses ahead of David Hall at the first corner. Photo: Kerry Dunlop

Paul Inch Pre ’66 – Jonathan Lewis and his 1293 Cooper S, ably assisted in the pits by former F1 driver Martin Donnelly, set the pace during a very wet qually, led from the start and then went on to win both races. After Race 1 Lewis said “It was very tricky out there. Someone dropped some oil on Lap two and I had to change my line completely. On Saturday Lewis might have been challenged by fellow front row starter David Hall but the Lotus-Cortina struggled for traction and the Mini nosed ahead as they slithered into the first corner together. Thereafter Hall steadily lost ground and he eventually lost second place to Tom Bell. Series sponsor Paul Inch (1293 Cooper S) finished a fine fourth. Class winners: Hall, Inch, Alan Greenhalgh (Ford Falcon), John Everard (Alfa Sprint GT), Mark Cross (Morris Minor).

On Sunday Lewis again led throughout, chased on the opening lap by Dan Lewis (1293 Cooper S), Bell and Hall. But then on the second lap Hall began to fall back and two laps later Bell was forced to retire. Roger Stanford started steadily with his revamped Lotus-Cortina but he soon wound up the wick and went on to finish a strong third. Michael Sheraton (Ford Anglia) raced home in fourth place, despite a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits. Class winners: Stanford, Greenhalgh, Freddie Brown (1040 Imp), Everard, Patrick Harris (1330 Morris Minor).

Dale Gent leads Dave Cockell during the first Classic Thunder event. Photo: Kerry Dunlop

Dale Gent leads Dave Cockell during the first Classic Thunder event. Photo: Kerry Dunlop

MRF Tyres Classic Thunder/Burton Power BOSS – The track was still streaming wet for Saturday’s race and Dale Gent’s Impreza led all the way despite a relentless chase by Dave Cockell (Escort-Cosworth) who was only six-seconds adrift at the finish. Ilsa Cox’s Cupra Cup car was down in eighth place at the end of the first lap but she skilfully slithered past the Escorts of Stuart Day and  Scott Matthias, Matthew Booth (Astra), Alistair Camp (Fiesta) and Paul Hand (Audi TT) to seize an impressive third place. After a fraught and tense battle Hand was handed fourth place when Matthias and Booth were penalised one second each. But Matthias was still the best of the BOSS runners, ahead of Camp and Laki Christoforou (Escort). Class winners: Cox, Matthias, Day, Camp, John Edwards-Parton (Fiesta), Richard Askham (Jaguar XJR), Paul Eaton (Holden).

The following day Gent may have started from pole but he was down to fifth by the end of the first lap and the Subaru eventually retired on lap five. Cockell made the most of the opportunity and led thereafter, going on to win by 2.3 seconds from Cox who managed to pass Booth in the closing stages. Day and Hand finished fourth and fifth, ahead of Laki who was the best of the BOSS boys, well clear of Camp and Paul Nevill (Escort RS2000). Class winners: Cox, Day, Christoforou, Eaton, Matthias, Demetris Neophytou (Fiesta), Askham.

Stephen Primett in maximum attack mode. Photo: Kerry Dunlop

Stephen Primett in maximum attack mode. Photo: Kerry Dunlop

Group One Pre ’83 – Current champion Stephen Primett reigned (rained?) supreme during a very wet qualifying session so it was no surprise when his Mk.1 Escort led Saturday’s race all the way. David Howard’s Jaguar XJ12 was only sixth at the end of the first lap, but the Big Cat was able to stretch its legs on Silverstone’s straights and over the next few laps he picked off Alan Greenhalgh’s Firenza, Pete Winstone’s Escort, Mark Osborne’s Dolomite Sprint and then Mark Cholerton’s Escort before he went on to finish a secure second. Cholerton retired on lap nine leaving Osborne to finish third ahead of Greenhalgh and Steve Cripps (Escort RS2000). Class winners: Howard, Mike Haynes (3.1 Ford Capri), Scott Rust (Escort RS1600i), Jonnie Kent (1293 Cooper S).

On Sunday the track was dry and so the sharp end was also Howard’s End as the Jaguar led from start to finish. Osborne and Primett fought a tremendous, race-long battle for second place but the Dolly was singing like a soprano on the straights and despite Primett’s best efforts he had to settle for third place. “For once the Dolomite’s gearing was just right” said Osborne. Cripps drove well to fend off Cholerton for fourth place. Class winners: Osborne, Haynes, Rust.

David Hunt leads Mike Dugdale and Roger Stanford. Photo: Kerry Dunlop

David Hunt leads Mike Dugdale and Roger Stanford. Photo: Kerry Dunlop

Pre ‘93/’03/’05 – Hondas ruled the roost during a wet qualifying session as Steve Barden claimed pole position ahead of Garry Barlow, Ross Craig and Luke Allen. Come the race Barden led the all the way despite relentless pressure from Craig, but it was Mike Dugdale (BMW E36) and Howard (XJ12) who took up the chase. Then Howard retired on lap eight, leaving Dugdale to fight a losing battle with the fast-closing David Hunt (E36) who went on to finish third overall. Roger Stanford finished fifth to make it a 3-4-5 finish for BMW. Hunt also won the ’93 category, while Steve Barber (Clio 182) was the best of the ’05 Production Saloons. Class winners: Hunt, Stanford, Alex Nuttall (Golf GTI), Barber, Colin Gibbons (Alfa 156), Ken Adlard (Honda CRX), Kevan Hadfield (Ford Puma).

It was a different story in the dry on Sunday though, when Hunt and Dugdale fought it out at the front once they had disposed of front-row starters Barden and Craig. Hunt went on to win by 2.5 seconds, while Roger Stanford’s E30 moved up from fifth to finish third, right behind Dugdale. Barden was the best of the ’03 category and held on to finish fourth overall, just ahead of the current ‘03 champion, Allen who had a much better race than on Saturday. The ’05 category was won by James Wilson (Peugeot 206GTI) after a close battle with Barber’s Renault. Class winners: Stanford, Barden, Howard, Nuttall, Gibbons, Wilson, Adlard, Hadfield.