Allen spins then wins

Mallory Park, 18-19 May 2024

Olly Allen’s stunning drive to BOSS success highlighted a very entertaining weekend’s racing as the Classic Touring Car Racing Club returned to Mallory Park for the first time since 2021.

Below is a slightly abbreviated summary of the action. Our usual, more detailed, reports will return at next month’s much anticipated Super Touring Power 2 event at Brands Hatch.

Burton Power Blue Oval Saloon Series

Piers Grange and Olly Allen were the clear pacesetters in Blue Oval Saloons and split the wins one apiece. But that undersells the story of some thrilling action.

Escort Mk2 man Grange converted pole position into the race lead as Allen’s Fiesta Mk6 was swamped at the start and dropped behind the leading Pre-’93 Touring Cars which were sharing the grid.

Allen was back into second by lap four, and then hunted Grange down. After a couple of attempts didn’t come off, Allen dived inside at the Lake Esses, but lost the rear end of his car and spun backwards into the barriers.

The race was stopped and eventually restarted over just five minutes’ duration, with Grange taking a comfortable win, well clear of Will Hunt’s Class D-winning Fiesta Mk6 and Craig Owen’s Sierra Cosworth.

Piers Grange’s Smith & Jones-powered Escort has won four of six races in 2024

Allen’s retirement forced him to start race two from the back of the 23-car combined grid. But despite being relatively cautious as he carved his way through in the early laps, he was running fourth overall in the race – second in BOSS – by half-distance.

He then picked off the leading Pre-’93 pair and began exerting pressure on Grange as they made their way through backmarkers in the closing laps. Amid the traffic, Allen pounced along Stebbe Straight on the final lap to clinch victory.

“I’m back!” beamed the 2014 champion who has only returned to the category full-time this season. “The rust has gone.”

Grange could still be happy with second, while Owen completed the podium. Tim Mizen (Fiesta) came out on top of an entertain scrap with Hunt for Class D laurels, some of which played out just ahead of the overall lead battle in the closing stages.

Laser Tools Pre-’93 Touring Cars

Sharing a grid with both BOSS and their Pre-’03 counterparts, the Pre-’93 Touring Cars played their part in a lively pair of races which brought a fifth straight win for Stuart Waite, before Ian Bower broke his streak.

Waite had qualified fastest by just 0.031s, with the pair’s BMW M3 E36s well matched all weekend. The similarly mounted Terry Davies, Shaun Morris, Kevin Willis and Will Davison filled out the rest of the top six.

Davison climbed into third in the first part of the race but lost out at the start of the shortened second attempt, leaving the top six unchanged from their grid positions.

Ian Bower broke Stuart Waite’s five-race winning streak

In Sunday’s sequel, reigning champion Waite initially got ahead of Piers Grange’s BOSS-leading car before dropping back behind. He then faced stern pressure from two-time champion Bower, who dived inside at the hairpin to take the Pre-’93 lead on lap five of 18. Bower rebuffed Waite’s retaliation and the erstwhile leader was forced to retire soon afterwards.

So Bower took his first win of the season ahead of Davies, Morris and Davison. Willis lost ground with a spin on oil exiting Gerards early on but recovered to fifth in Pre-’93, while 2019 champion Graham Myers completed the top six.

Burty Haulage Pre-’03 Touring Cars

Gary Prebble came into the weekend unbeaten this year in Pre-’03 Touring Cars but, despite being the pacesetter, he was unable to maintain his run, losing out to Don Hughes in the opener before bouncing back in race two.

Prebble’s Honda Civic EG qualified some 1.7s faster than Hughes’s Peugeot 306 XSi, and was set for a dominant victory. But a fuel-pump problem struck in the five-minute restart and Prebble was forced to crawl home, dragging the car across the line but still managing an important third in class for his championship defence.

Don Hughes’s Peugeot 306 took its first win since April 2022

So Hughes was free to take his first win in the championship for over two years, not far ahead of a Class A winner Cavan Grainger (BMW 330ci E46), the 2022 champion flying on his return. Anton Martin’s E46 completed the podium, just head of Mike Nash (E46) and John Hillyer (E36 Touring).

Hughes was absent from race two after hitting trouble in Classic Thunder, while Prebble had to start from the rear of the field. Prebble’s speedy progress was cut short when he went off on oil and lost some 20s. But he was still able to power back through the field to take the Pre-’03 win ahead of Grainger, who pipped Martin to Class A honours by just 0.4s.

Edmundson Electrical Classic Thunder
& Poultec Classic Race Engines Historic Thunder

A 24-car combined field of Thunder machinery included only two Historic cars and yet one of them was still victorious – Colin Voyce took his Ford Escort Mk1 to victory in the second bout after Nick Vaughan (Audi A3) had won the opener.

On his first visit to the circuit, Classic Thunder champion Vaughan qualified on pole position ahead of Joe Collier (BMW M3 E46), Voyce and David Blackie’s newer M3. James Janicki (Nissan Skyline) and Gary Hufford (E46) completed the top six.

Sadly, the opening race had very little running. Its first attempted was red-flagged after a collision between the spaceframe cars of Simon Collier (Vauxhall Tigra) and Nigel Baker (Ford Escort) at the first corner.

Voyce debuted new livery on his Mk1 Escort – and promptly took maiden Thunder win

The second attempt ran to just three laps as Vaughan converted pole into his second victory of the season ahead of Voyce, Collier and Janicki.

Sunday’s race was extended to 20 minutes to make up for some of the lost running, although it proved to be quite attritional, with only 12 cars making the finish.

Vaughan was among the retirements. He was jumped by Voyce at the start and then suffered a broken gear-linkage which left him stuck in second gear. After a couple of laps, the Hampshire driver decided to save his engine and retire.

Gary Hufford’s BMW M3 E46 is knocking on the door of a first win

So Voyce stormed to victory in his stunningly re-liveried Mountune-powered machine. Janicki ran second, keeping the BMW hordes behind him, for most of the race before the Skyline hit trouble late on and cruised home fourth.

Collier also lost a big chunk of time with a spin and so it was Hufford and Blackie who completed the podium, separated by just 0.28s after a race-long battle. Class C honours were split between the E36 M3s of Pre-’93 regulars Ian Bower (who suffered a lurid moment on oil in Sunday’s race) and Shaun Morris, while AJ Owen (Honda Civic Type R EP3) was twice triumphant in Class D.

Everard Pre-’66 Touring Cars

After threatening to break into the Pre-’66 winners’ circle for some time, Dan Lewis did so in style with a double victory at Mallory Park.

Lewis’s Mini Cooper S qualified on pole position but was less than 0.1s faster than Alan Greenhalgh’s Ford Falcon Sprint, setting up a classic little-versus-large contest.

It was Greenhalgh who powered ahead at the start and he then traded the lead with Lewis in an entertaining duel before the Mini was able break away. Greenhalgh still took Class A honours in second, while Garry Townsend’s Lotus Cortina just edged the similar car of Cadwell Park winner Ian Thompson to third overall and first in Class F.

Dan Lewis (Mini) and Alan Greenhalgh (Ford Falcon) engaged in little-versus-large scrap

Reigning champion Billy Kenneally (Ford Anglia) had run third before hitting engine trouble which eventually forced him out, so it was his running mate Ed Gibbs who finished fifth, with fellow Anglia man Kevin Swann sixth.

James Ibbotson headed the five-strong Hillman Imp contingent to win Class E, while Paul Clayton pipped Luc Wilson’s similar Austin A40 for Class D honours.

Greenhalgh withdrew before race two, which promoted Townsend onto the front row of the grid. He and Thompson both jumped Lewis at the start but the Mini man immediately reclaimed second at the Esses and then resumed the lead a lap later at the same place.

Townsend’s Lotus Cortina took a double podium on his first 2024 appearance

From there, Lewis drove to a 15s victory, while an off for Towsend let Thompson in for second. Townsend also fell behind Kevin Swann but reclaimed the final podium place by powering past the Anglia at the start of the final lap.

Imp trio Ibbotson, Michael Loveland and Adrian Oliver entertained with a fantastic scrap, which at times also involved Jake Swann’s Anglia. It was Loveland who prevailed, securing Class E honours by passing Oliver on the final lap, while Ibbotson was forced to retire.

Clayton was another who hit trouble, so two-time champion Wilson won Class D from the Morris Minor of Jim Henshaw. Stuart Radford (Triumph Vitesse) twice topped Class B as the classes’s only starter.

Pre-’83 Group 1 Touring Cars

The Pre-’83 Touring Cars were another category where overall honours were shared as champion Stephen Primett and challenger Jonathan Corker took a win apiece.

It was Mark Cholerton’s Mk2 Ford Escort RS2000 that set the pace in qualifying, bettering Primett’s Mk1 version by more than a second, as the pair sandwiched Corker’s little Datsun 510. Nick Williamson’s Rover SD1 was fourth quickest on his first appearance at the circuit, ahead of Carl Shreeve (Triumph Dolomite) and the returning Dave Thomas (Ford Capri Mk1).

Stephen Primett continues to add to his extensive collection of pots

Cholerton’s hard work was undone by a misfire and he plummeted down the order and into retirement. That set up a weekend-long duel between Primett and Corker for the victories.

Primett just held off the Datsun to win the opener but was being given a very tough time in the following day’s rematch. Corker eventually dived inside at Gerards on lap 12 of 17 and charged to a 10s win as Primett’s recurring rocker problem reared its head again. The Bedfordshire driver eventually limped home third, losing second only on the last lap to a charging Cholerton who had carved his way through from the back of the field in impressive fashion.

Shreeve ran well to complete the podium in the opener, albeit more than 20s down on the lead pair, and made fourth in race two, while Nic Strong twice took Class B honours in his Mk1 Capri.

Full results are available via the TSL website.

All images courtesy of CTCRC official photographer Steve Jackman/Eat My Pixels