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Donington Park Race Report, Videos, Photos and Results.

Updated: Apr 17

Was it really three weeks ago? Our packed, first race meeting of 2024 enjoyed some thrilling racing, a few spills and two different days of weather.


Perhaps the best way to give you a taste to the weekend is to spend an enjoyable few minutes watching CSCC Videographer, Marc Peters' highlights:

 

Official CSCC photographer, David Stallard, is back with us for his fifteenth consecutive year, capturing every qualifying and race session, whatever the weather. Please support David by buying his photos.

Clicking on the Jaguar takes you to Saturday's gallery, whilst the Co-ordSport Tin Tops and Puma photo leads you to Sunday's modern photos.


 

All races were live streamed, you can re-play every moment here:

 

Finally, before we get on to the meeting report, you can view all the results via TSL Timing.

 

Marcus Pye was watching the weekend's events unfold, we are grateful to have his race reports, slightly delayed after caring for an ill family member.


CSCC DONINGTON DERBY

 

Packed fields for Donington Derby opener

 

Meteorologists often come under fire from amateurs, for weather predictions which prove wide of the mark - notoriously on occasion diametrically opposed to reality - but forecasts for our season-opening Donington Derby event on March 23-24 were spot on. Following a sublime Friday, with widespread sunshine and ambient temperatures in the mid-teens Celsius, the wind direction veered 90 degrees from South Westerly to North Westerly overnight. After a bright start, dark clouds gathered as an occluded front, stirring up biting winds, carried rain towards Castle Donington in waves during Saturday morning. What the soothsayers did not spot approaching was the prolonged burst of hail which left the circuit white, barring black stripes left when cars in the final qualifying session displaced the miniature ice balls.

 

The remarkable entry, which peaked at 427, had thinned but slightly prior to the meeting, leaving a handful over 400 hungry competitors at the briefings for the 14-race weekend. Pit-stop mandates - 90 seconds from in to out through TSL’s timing loops for most grids, the exception being Adams & Page Swinging 60s (as quick as possible while respecting pitlane speed limits) - track limits and marshals’ flag signals were covered, with strong words on the necessity of avoiding contact during qualifying and race sessions. Standard stuff, pleasantly delivered, but worth going over for novices and reiterating for experienced competitors alike.

 

Amalgamated grids are becoming de rigueur in the battle to cover rising circuit hire costs, while keeping entry fees viable. While not ideal, members appreciated the pragmatic sentiment behind this necessary measure, particularly at a time of year before the clocks spring forward to British Summer Time, when rapidly fading light makes timetabling more challenging. New to the club’s portfolio were the Ramair BMW Championship and MG Trophy, while the Berkshire Jag Components Jaguar championship returned and the Lackford Engineering MG Midget & Sprite Challenge regrouped with us.

 

  

Ramair BMW Championship Verum Builders Open Series 

 

First on track were the BMWs, a fine array of Bavarian pferdestärke comprising largely bewinged 3.2-litre M3 E46s and E36s, interspersed with a couple of big-engined 1Ms, a couple of 330ci E46s and a lone supercharged Mini Cooper S R53 in the 22-car pack, sharing the track with 21 Verum Builders Open Series contenders.  

 


Irishman Niall Bradley - one of three Bradleys contesting the double-header - topped the timesheets in his black BMW, with a stout 1m12.317s (98.51mph) shot on the 1.979-mile course. Ginetta convert Mark Lee was second, 1.422s adrift, with fellow class leader Bryan Bransom, Nathan Wells, David Fielder and Jason West - all in M3 E46s - and Ian Crisp’s 3.2-litre 1M within a second of Lee. Adrian Bradley and Tommy Grout (best of the E36 pilots) were on Crisp’s heels, clear of 10th-placed John Cockerton, heading another tight group. Lurking in 19th was the muscular four-litre 1M Coupe of Kevin Clarke/Matty Evans, with electrical issues blunting its potential.

  


The track was damp for the opening race, but the skies had brightened after the hail, as the separate BMW and Open grids lined-up, exacerbating tyre choice worries. First away after two recce laps behind the safety car were the Beemers, but poleman Bradley peeled straight into the pits with a vibration [later traced to the gearshift paddle system]. Wells shot from P4 into an early lead, pursued by Bransom and West. Clarke was flying up the order meanwhile, reaching second two tours in and growling ahead of Wells to grab the initiative on lap three.

 


Bransom quickly displaced Clarke though, and as Kevin slipped back with an electrical glitch cutting his engine on upshifts, Adrian Bradley reeled him in. With Bransom going away, West made it a three-way scrap for second as Bradley pierced Clarke’s defences. But Adrian skittered sideways out of Robert’s chicane and was ambushed on either side by West and Clarke as the chequered flag flew two minutes early. Bransom, tyres shot, was relieved to see it.

 

“There was a lot of standing water into Regate and water streaming across some corners, so I’d rather wreck a set of wets than the car,” he grinned. West agreed. “My tyres were chewing themselves to pieces, but second was a good start with the amazing CSCC.” He bagged fastest lap to boot. Despite his technical niggles, Clarke completed the podium, having started 18th and “found the grip” to rocket up the order. Adrian Bradley and Lee were fourth and fifth, within 10 seconds of winner Bransom. 

 


Second time out, Bransom and West made the running, split briefly at the first corner by Matty Evans, taking his turn in the rumbustious 1M. West forged ahead of Bransom into Redgate on lap 3, with Lee third to a safety car, despatched when Adrian Bradley - mowing the grass leaving the Craner Curves - couldn’t stop and gyrated across Evans’ bows into the Old Hairpin, where his superbly Advan Yokohama-esque -liveried M3 E46 became embedded in the gravel. Evans, with his engine cutting out inconveniently under acceleration, did well to avoid Bradley, but wisely retired during the yellow interlude which reunited the pack.

Niall Bradley, from 19th on the grid, zapped Lee into Coppice at the green, then bustled past Bransom. A lap later Bradley carved inside West through McLeans, whereupon another caution was signalled, with a Caterham parked perpendicular to the track in the Old Hairpin’s braking zone and Tommy Grout’s BMW spluttering out on track. Grout reached the pits but after four laps behind the pace car the race was flagged with Bradley, West, Bransom and Lee the top four. 



Verum Builders Open Series pacesetters Colin Watson (2.4 Caterham R400) and David Harvey (supercharged Lotus 340R) qualified second and third in mixed company, Watson’s 1:13.160s (97.38mph) 0.222s swifter than Harvey. John Cutmore in his ultra-low, supercharged Suzuki Hayabusa-powered Spire RB7 was sixth overall, also in the 13s. Next up were the closely matched Caterhams of Jeremy Adams, Darren McCormack, Stephen Collins and Richard Carter, covered by half a second. Robert Forsdike (Caterham CSR), Jonathan Barrett’s high-winged 2-litre Sylva Fury and Ross Irvine’s army green turbocharged VW Golf GTi Mk1 rounded out the top 10.



Watson hurtled ahead in the Open set, but Cutmore charged him down, passing him to finish eighth overall, 1.482s clear of Watson who had BOSS team mate Tim Davis closing in towards the end. Davis had pulled off opposite the pits in qualifying, without completing a flying lap, when the throttle potentiometer on his 2.5 Caterham C400 went down. 

 

From the back, Tim reached 11th - behind Michael Vitulli’s red M3 E46 - displaced by a 30 second penalty and three place race 2 grid drop for a yellow flag infringement - with Open fastest lap a bonus. Adams, Carter and Harvey completed the top six, David (another to fall foul of yellow flag protocols) receiving the same imposition as Vitulli. Irvine’s Golf was first of the Open saloons back, ahead of Geoff Beale’s omnipresent Talbot Sunbeam Lotus.

 


Open leader Watson progressed to fifth overall in his Caterham, pursued initially by Davis, but Cutmore got between them in the Derbyshire-built Spire, once he had the confidence to lean on it into corners. Watson’s best lap of 1:11.386s (99.80mph), was fractionally shy of BMW victor Bradley’s 1:11.360 (99.84mph). Wells and R1 retiree Crisp (1M) were classified fifth and sixth of the Beemers. Harvey squandered fourth in the Open split for another yellow flag infringement, dropping him behind Caterham class winners Carter, Adams and Darren McCormack.

 


There were closer class finishes between Cavan Granger and Mike Nash in BMW 330cis and Beale and Darren Clayden (Porsche 922 S2), while Jonathan Barratt in his high-winged Sylva Fury turned the tables on Richard and Matthew Hibbert’s Honda Civic and R1 class OB winner Luke Plummer (Ginetta G40), the trio covered by 2.57s at the finish.



Berkshire Jag Components Jaguar Championship

MG Trophy

 

The returning Jaguar Championship, supported by Berkshire Jag Components, and equally welcome CSCC newcomer MG Trophy’s ZRs ran concurrently. Despite the obvious physical differences in car size and power, they proved compatible on the National Circuit, with five from each side of the equation filling the top 10 after qualifying and 18 of the former set to depart almost 20 seconds before the latter once separated.

 


Powerbell’s Colin Philpott made the best of a wet qualifying session to put his Jaguar XJS on pole, chased by the 170bhp Class B MGs of defending champ Tylor Ballard and second generation racer Fergus Campbell. Andrew Harper’s supercharged Jaguar S-Type R - resplendent in a Silk Cut-esque livery - sat fourth, ahead of Andrew Rogerson’s naturally-aspirated version. The MGs of James Cole, non-points invitee Steve McDermid and Sam Meagher [the quickest 190bhp Class A car) surrounded Jack Robinson’s Jaguar XK8 while the blown example of CovCats’ Chris Boon was 10th overall.

 


The initial exchanges among the Jags on Saturday were among the weekend’s most exciting, with Harper, Philpott and Robinson barely separable in contrasting machinery on a dry track. Robinson carved round Philpott into Redgate on lap 5 to annex second, whereupon he set about harassing Harper. Meanwhile, Philpott was in trouble and slipped back through the order, eventually to retire. Robinson did not have the whistling S-type’s puff, but kept Harper on his mettle throughout. Boon was almost half a minute adrift when the chequer flew after 20 minutes, but happy to be on the notional podium. Like Robinson a class winner, Michael Seabourne’s unmissable clover pink XJS - a hue described as “crushed bilberry dilemma” by a seasoned onlooker - finished fourth.



Sunday’s race, minus Philpott, saw Harper disappear into the distance. “I took my chance and scarpered,” he said, having taken the chequered flag 27 seconds clear of Boon. Class winners Seabourne and Michael Atkinson (XK8) finished third and fourth of the Jag posse, behind the quickest MGs of Meagher and Ross, who led narrowly until pressured into running wide at Redgate. Ieuan Spooner (XJ6) and Tim Morrant (Daimler Sovereign S1) were next in, close together. Interestingly, the fastest laps of the contrasting machines were just 0.067s apart, Ross’ 1:20.159 (88.88mph) and Harper’s 1:20.228 (88.80mph) showing their compatibility.

 


The MGs were also spectacular to watch. Scot Graham Ross, hobbled by choosing dry tyres for qualifying, shot his beautifully turned-out Write-On car through to join Meagher and pipped him to fifth overall and Class A honours. Meagher’s five second track limit penalty merely plumped out the margin from fourth-tenths. Among the less potent derivatives, Campbell, Ballard, McDermid and Cole were at it from the start. McDermid won from Cole and  Campbell (another penalised for using a tad too much corner width), Ballard having disappeared late on.



The scrap among the less grunty ZRs was another cracker. First past the post, initially 10th overall, Ballard lost out to Cole when a five second track limits penalty was imposed. A class lap record was Tylor’s consolation, confirmed series sage Pete MacWaters. McDermid, Matthew Harvey and Campbell were blanketed by 1.6s in the tussle for third, but Jack Meagher lost sixth to James Blake in a place drop for contact.



  

Adams & Page Swinging 60s (two races)

 

A large Adams & Page Swinging Sixties entry was sifted into two grids, the first bringing 32 starters from 35 qualifiers. Former Historic Chevron racer Steve Hodges grabbed pole in his hot two-litre Lotus 7 S2, his 1:21.013 (87.94mph) 0.665s beyond Nicholas King’s best in his stunning 4.5-litre Aston Martin DB4. Steve Osborne’s Maldon Salt Jaguar E-type shared row two with James Hughes, debuting his 1380cc Austin-Healey Lenham Sprite coupe, previously raced by Andy Southcott. The top four all led their divisions.

 


The Lotus Elans of Andrew Cahill and Jon Crayston lined-up fifth and seventh, sandwiching Irishman Paddy Shovlin’s peach junket-hued Lotus Cortina. Martin Reynolds’ thunderous Ford Mustang Mach 1, the spearmint-flavoured Cortina of Victor Cullen led the chase. Last year’s Autosport Three Hours winners Ben Snee - London-based but brought up in Diseworth, a mile from Donington - and peripatetic pedaller Nigel Greensall ranked 10th, ahead of Alistar Dyson’s Jaguar E and the diminutive black frogeye Sprite of veterans Ian Burgin/John Faux.

 


The nine marque miscellany also embraced well-matched MG Midgets with Connor Kay, Abigail and Ian Whitt and Ian Staines up, crowded round west countryman John Moon’s Lenham GT, Simon Benoy’s Hillman Imp which was smoky by flagfall, Shaun Haddrell’s Turner-Climax Mk1, Ryck Turner/Simon Galiiford’s Mini Cooper, the Rumble family’s immaculate Ford Anglia 105E, a lone Triumph Spitfire in the hands of Steve Adams and David Rose’s Austin A40.         

 

After two formation laps the race started on a drying track but no sooner had King blasted his Aston into the lead that Bill Watt’s Elan and Clubmans-to-F5000 racer Steve Chaplin’s Midget spun off, triggering a safety car. It stayed out for five laps, the intervention extended when Turner’s Mini came to a halt at Coppice.

 



Osborne was first to pit during the hiatus, from third after four timed laps, with the first tranche of frontrunners arriving next time round. Cahill, Crayston, Cullen and Snee were at the top before green flags signalled combat to restart. Snee ran longest, putting Greensall into bat two laps after chaser Abigail Whitt handed her dad the family Midget.

 

By now Osborne was leader and with the surface harbouring more grip by the lap all eyes switched to Greensall - a master of treacherous mixed conditions in the Jenson Button mould - who was carving into the deficits to all ahead of him. Third by lap 18, pursued by Hughes, Hodges [delayed by a twisted harness in the pits] and King, Nigel had just under 20 seconds to erase to Osborne, with only Shovlin ahead of him.

 

That gap to Shovlin [on Osborne’s tail] shrank dramatically, 19 seconds becoming 14.1, 11.7, 7.5 then, remarkably, 2.8 on successive laps. Greensall’s fastest lap of 1:19.933s (89.13mph) on the penultimate tour threatened Osborne’s supremacy, but after greater exit speed from the chicane fired the turquoise Elan alongside Osborne’s black-topped Jag, Steve committed extra cubic capacity to shrug it off - by twelve thousandths of a second at the stripe. Thank heavens for transponders triggering timing to three decimal places!

 


Shovlin completed the podium party, with Hughes an impressive fourth in the well-balanced Lenham. All were class winners, as was King in sixth, behind the chastened Hodges. Reynolds also topped his split in eight, with Crayston and Cahill in his wake. The Whitts, in a plucky 11th, were the last to cover the winner’s distance. Pursuers Moon and Kay finished less than a second apart, clear of the first of two Algar/Bridle equipe Spridgets, crewed by Ben and Edward.

 

From a higgledy-piggledy grid order decided in damp qualifying conditions, the second Swinging Sixties set was red-flagged within seconds of the rolling start with Claire Norman’s BMW 2002 ti from P4 and Simon James’ Sunbeam Tiger from P7 in the Redgate gravel bed, the former tipped onto its side. Jon Wolfe’s mighty five-litre TVR Tuscan V8 had bolted from eighth to second when front hub failure gave him a fright en route to the Old Hairpin, another job for the recovery truck team. Shovlin’s Lotus Cortina was also caught up in the drama, but made it back to the pits, its right front wing crumpled against Graham Wilson’s Triumph TR6’s left rear.

 


Poleman Conor Kay - in Radical racer Ben Caisley’s very pretty TVR Tuscan V6, last raced in the mid-1970s - was out-grunted at the restart by Stephen Pickering’s open Tiger and Alistair Dyson’s Jaguar E-type. They all made their mandatory stops after 10 laps, but Pickering was back in front - ahead of Joe Sledmore’s Lotus Cortina, yet to stop - within two circuits of resuming and growled to the finish of the shortened to 28 minutes - 20 laps - with an eye on the timetable.



 Dyson finished second, 38.601s adrift, but caught on the line by perennial giant-slayer Greensall in Snee’s gallant Elan in a class battle resolved by 0.218s. Nigel added another fastest lap to his multi-volume CV with 1:19.468 (89.55mph) cut on the penultimate lap with Cullen’s Cortina chasing. Victor Pickering did not need to dig deeper than the 21s, pipping Caisley who finished a class-winning fifth ahead of Andrew Cahill’s attractive bright green Elan. Last unlapped runner was the Marcos-Ford V6 of Iain Daniels/Ben Gough in seventh overall.



Fast Fords filled the next three places, Lawrence Claridge’s raucous Broadspeed tribute Anglia 105E ahead of Reynolds’ mighty Mustang Mach 1 and the class-winning Sledmore Cortina finished by father Martin. First of the MGs was Simon Tinkler’s BGT, 11th overall.



Lackford Engineering Midget & Sprite Challenge A welcome to the CSCC to a club racing institution is merited. Originally MG-badged, the challenge was first run in 1977 - the summer I started writing for Autosport, aged 19!!!

Kicking off its 48th successive season with a 16-car field, the Lackford Engineering MG Midget & Sprite Challenge - graciously overseen by veteran racer and series president Larry Quinn and his ever charming wife Dorothy - entered a new era, running with the CSCC for the first time and competitors enjoyed the experience! Switching from Swinging Sixties, James Hughes claimed pole in his ‘de-frogged’ 1380cc Foregolf Sprite. His best lap of 1:21.281 (87.65mph) was 3.260s swifter than class E rival Pippa Cow on an improving track.


Daughter of stalwart Midget racer and [through his professional career at Halfords] longtime championship sponsor Gil Duffy, Pippa was a rapid Formula Woman combatant 20 years back - like our TSL timekeeper Lorraine Pinner who won the last three rounds of the Mazda RX-8 series to finish a close runner-up to Natasha Firman, daughter of Van Diemen racing car manufacturer Ralph and sister of ex-F1 racer Ralph Jr and


Defending champion Hugh Simpson snared P3 in his class D Midget, with 2.515s in hand over challenger Dean Stanton (Sprite).  Third row occupants Ian Wright and Andrew Caldwell were both docked prime times for exceeding track limits, but outpaced the Frogeye Sprite of Ian Burgin/John Faux, yet to show its colours, and the Sprite of Chris Winchester. Sole class H representative Mark Turner (Sprite) shared the fifth rank with Nick Rose (Midget).

James Hughes and Cow broke away from the start, but Stanton gyrated at Redgate having hung a cold rear tyre over the outside kerb and was unavoidably collected, front right wing to door, by Caldwell. Both continued, but William Fraser and Wright were soon out, the latter creeping back into the pits. Cow joined him after two laps, her engine on three cylinders, leaving leader Hughes unopposed. His father John was another early retirement, with engine timing issues.



Hughes Jr circulated ever more quickly - leaving a 1:20.844 (88.12mph) marker - lapping all but Burgin. Fellow class winner Simpson, with a misfire in the later stages, and Stanton were next in, the latter within sight of Turner in his silver dream racer. A fine midfield scrap embroiled Chris Winchester, Jason Meredith, Bruce Burrowes (who pulled up) and Nick Rose, who was ousted by Amelia Storer on the final lap. Caldwell spun down to 10th at the chicane incidentally.   

Each competitor’s second best times determined Sunday’s grid which showed the top four unchanged on paper, but shuffled up bringing Simpson alongside Hughes when Cow withdrew. Not wishing to risk his engine, Hughes Sr sought permission to transfer to the family Lenham (proven in Saturday’s Swinging Sixties opener) instead. His request was granted, albeit to start from the back as an invitee. This left a dozen runners.



This stanza was no more difficult for Hughes, who maxed his apex speed in a stylish display, breezing home 46 seconds ahead of Faux, with Simpson’s red car progressively smaller in his mirrors. Stanton was fourth again, with John Hughes the last unlapped runner having been caught on the line by his lad. Winchester, Caldwell and Turner together, Meredith and Storer rounded out the top 10.


Mintex Classic K Mike Hawthorn Jaguar Challenge

 

A field of 43 cars qualified for Saturday’s Mintex Classic K curtain-closer, their drivers having braved freezing hail which painted everywhere white at the end of the session. Steve Osborne posted his 1:22.536 (86.32mph) pole time in three laps, when the circuit was merely wet. The Cortinas of Victor Cullen (dad Michael’s) and Shovlin were second and fourth, split by globetrotter Paul Tooms’ Elan. Indeed Ford/Lotus twin-cam powered cars lined up second to eighth, Snee/Greensall, Malcolm Johnson (Elan), John McGurk (Cortina), local man Nick Pancisi (Elan) and Cahill outrunning the Triuimph TR4s of Neil Howe and Dr Allan Ross-Jones in the preliminaries.

 


Four burly Jaguar saloons from the Mike Hawthorn Challenge set led the chase, John Young (sharing Nigel Webb’s Lister-ised Mk1), Grant Williams, Darren McWhirter split by half a second, with Alistair Dyson on their heels. Luke Wos’ 2.5-litre Ford straight six powered Reliant Sabre 6 - made in nearby Tamworth  - the 1293cc Mini Cooper of Ryck Turner/Bruce Galliford were next up, shading the Elans of Billy Nairn, father and daughter Graham and Jen Ridgway, Graeme Brown and marque veteran Brian Arculus, stepping up from his long-serving Elite.

 


With the track now dry and playing into his hands, Osborne shot off from pole, but Tooms kept him on his toes for the first eight laps, as Cullen, Shovlin, Snee and Pancisi disputed third. Snee spun back to ninth, but responded with gusto, climbing the lap charts to second - as all around him stopped - before relaying Greensall 14 laps in.

 


Osborne, by now 13 seconds ahead of Tooms, lucked-in towards the end of the pit window when the safety car was deployed just as he powered out of the chicane. He reacted immediately and returned to the fray further ahead of Tooms, although the gap had closed to under nine seconds when the circuit went green after a two-lap interlude. Their order remained to the chequered flag, whereupon Shovlin was promoted to third because the Snee/Greensall handover was too quick, the resultant 30 second penalty dropping them only one place because Pancisi was similarly hit. Cullen, Johnson, Cahill, the Ridgways and Howe filled the rest of the top 10.

 


The tussle for Hawthorn Jaguar honours was superb between Welsh wizard Williams and Scot McWhirter, the seasoned marque masters locked together early on and reunited after their pitstops. Making amends for his national rugby union team’s single-point defeat by the thistles in the recent Six Nations tournament, 11th placed Grant eventually beat Darren by five seconds and two places, bisected by the penalised McGurk. Dyson, Graham Pettit, Simon Lewis/Guy Connew and Toby Smith were next among the Jaguar contenders.

 


 

Liqui Moly Slicks

 

The first of Sunday’s ‘new’ races, on a brighter but still bitterly cold day brought a pot pourri of 39 powerful machines out for the Liqui Moly Slicks Series. With two rampant Italian stallions shoulder-to-shoulder on the front row after qualifying on a drying track - Kevin Clarke on pole in Matty Evans’ Lamborghini Huracan ST LP620-2 with Andrew Christopher’s Ferrari 488 Challenge to his left - a full-blooded confrontation was guaranteed.

 


Closest to the supercars were the 3.7-litre Ford V6-motivated Ginetta G55s of Aaron Cooke and Simon Griffiths, separated in the preliminaries by the troubled BMW M3 E36 Evo of Mark Smith and quadruple BTCC champion Colin Turkington. Technical issues saw the usually reliable Beemer withdrawn and the Amspeed team given permission to transfer Ulsterman Turkington into Ashley Muldoon’s M3 E36, on the proviso that the owner took up his P25 for the start.

 

Luke Sargeant and new teenaged BTCC recruit Scott Sumpton qualified the former’s Cupra Leon Competicion TCR sixth, ahead of Adrian Bradley’s M3 E46, the Ginetta G55s of Michael Knibbs and father/son Grahame and Robert Tilley and the BMWs of Nathan Wells, Jasver Sapra and Mark Lee. Nick and Tom Cresswell were just outside the top 12 debuting Glebe Engineering’s VW Golf TCR, in which Jamie Sturges was a CSCC regular and won Castle Combe’s GT title last term. 

 


Best of the Porsches was the 991.1 GT3 Cup model of west countrymen Kevin Bird/Charles Hyde-Andrews-Bird, matched with Doug Watson’s Ferrari 488 Challenge. Further down the order was former BTCC Production class competitor Alan Blencowe, the Wiltshire scaffolder breaking a long layoff to share his newly-acquired Cupra TCR with fellow VW Cup racer of yore Claire Norman.




The dry race started in a crescendo of raw power, with Clarke and Christopher arriving at Redgare abreast. As they negotiated the tricky right-hander all hell let loose behind them as pursuers got out of shape on cold tyres and others dived through the gravel in avoidance. At the end of the lap Christopher tapped the back of the Lambo under heavy braking. They raced on amid 5.2-litre V10 and 4.5-litre turbocharged V8 engine notes, but on lap 10 Clarke suddenly slowed. He slithered back to the pits, his left rear tyre shredded.

 


A new Pirelli was bolted on and Kevin resumed, but on a sunny 7 degrees Celsius afternoon cold rubber on the loaded corner sent off into the gravel before the Old Hairpin within 20 seconds. The safety car was summoned, but Christopher - directly ahead of it - was home and dry. Another caution was called when Tommy Grout’s BMW M3 ground to a halt at Coppice, but Christopher’s work was done. On a day when Scuderia Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc had broken Max Verstappen’s monopoly by winning the Australian GP in Melbourne, it was a victory to savour after “a fantastic first lap.”   

 


Walpole, who started his Ariel Atom 4 35th after a turbo pipe popped off in qualifying, wrung the maximum from it in charging through to second     

 ahead of series debutant Cooke. “It looked like carnage in my mirrors [at Redgate after the start]. I had no idea where I was,” smiled Tom. Griffiths, class winner Wells, Watson - a fine climb in the yellow 4.0 Ferrari - were next past the chequer, all on the lead lap. One circuit down, Matty Evans (4.0 BMW 1M Coupe), Lee, the Tilleys and the Cresswells completed the top 10.

 

Following his Saturday double in the Historic races, Steve Osborne switched to his BMW E46 M3 and finished on Tom Cresswell’s tail, chased home by the Bird/CHAB Porsche and Norman, enjoying Blencowe’s Cupra which she worked down into the 1m12s bracket. Irishmen Barry McMahon (2.7 Alfa Romeo Giulia turbo) and Ronan Bradley (M3 E36) topped their divisions. 

 


 

Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens

 

Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens qualifying saw Steven Nuttall snare pole with a superb 1m11.127 (100.16mph) shot. Colin Watson and engine builder Rich Webb in his RLM Cup 400 - a sizzling supercharged version of the Suzuki Hayabusa-powered 200s seen last season - were in the 13s, chased by John Cutmore (supercharged Spire-Suzuki RB7) and Caterham class leaders Simon Lancashire, Tim Davis and Richard Carter in the 14s. Of the less potent 1600cc Caterhams, Alex Harbour (Supersport) did well to get inside 1m20s with 1:19.251 (89.89mph), while Craig Storey (270R) did 1:20.571 and sole Class C rep Andy Yeomans 1:23.104 in his 1800cc Seven.

 


Nuttall eked the early lead in the 40-minute pit-stop race, pursued by Webb and Watson, but Rich screamed ahead on lap four, there to stay. Watson and Cutmore benefited when Nuttall retired, but Watson was first to make a planned stop, after 10 laps. Meanwhile, Davis was closing in from P6, having been hobbled by the wrong diff for the new for 2024 Kumho tyres. The BOSS team rectified that for the afternoon when Tim charged to second on the road, but was promoted when Webb was docked 30 seconds for a short pit stop. “We win as a team and lose as a team,” said Rich philosophically, having been bumped to second.

Cutmore, on Nankang rubber, salvaged third after Watson stopped. “The tyres took longer than expected to come in,” said John.



Lancashire, the lapped McCormack and Adams completed the top six, each claiming class honours. McCormack’s rival Paul Thacker finished in Adams’ slipstream, both benefiting when Bruce Wilson and Charles Holroyd received pit penalties.

 

A fine 11th overall, Harbour crossed the line 20 seconds clear of Chris Biglin for Class B victory, while Storey claimed Class A gold in 15th. Respective runners-up Chris Biglin and David Stephen picked up 30 second penalties which would not have altered the outcome having been outrun. Poor Josh Gollin was in the wars. Having soldiered round on three cylinders his Class B Caterham was finally abandoned at McLeans with a deranged front corner. 



 

Advantage Motorsport Future Classics Modern Classics

 

The Advantage Motorsport Future Classics and Modern Classics race, punctuated by full course cautions, was won by lad and dad Aston and Tony Blake, in their rorty TVR Tuscan Challenger. Aston bolted initially, but Tony did the hard work, climbing through relentless traffic from a displaced 21st to the lead in 10 hard laps. Blake Sr plumped out a five second cushion over three circuits, as ‘Red Roger’ Hamilton (Ginetta G20) - with Modern section gold in the bag - reeled in second placed (but leading Future Classic) Geoff Beale (Talbot Sunbeam Lotus).         

 


Dave Griffin had looked set to win the race, until wisps of vapour issuing from his Diet Coke tribute BMW M3 E36 at Coppice suggested a problem. “They were probably my tears,” shrugged the Australian, who unbeknown to onlookers was running short of fuel when the bridge pipe between saddle tanks failed. Fifth, behind the striking Porsche 993 RSR Cup of David Whelan/Aidan Farrell, was poor reward, although the top five were all class winners.

 


Nick Hamilton (Ginetta G20) was sixth ahead of the Morgan +8 of Bill Lancashire, who eschewed an opportunity to relay son Howard during a early caution - for marshals to retrieve the Masarati family’s Porsche Boxster, stranded on the chicane’s middle apex - and William and James Dingle’s class-winning Porsche 944 S2. Richard Hayes’ Toyota Celica GT4 and Stuart Jefcoate’s Porsche 993 rounded out the top 10. 


WOSP New Millennium Turbo Tin Tops

 

Tom Walpole’s spectacular turbocharged Ariel Atom 4 sat on pole for the WOSP Performance New Millennium race by a solid 1.24s over the closest of a quartet of straight-six BMWs, Niall Bradley having outpaced Nathan Wells, Mark Lee and Luke Yeomans (E36 M3 Evo). The Cupra Leon TCR of Luke Sargeant/Scott Sumpton gridded sixth, ahead of Tom and Nick Cresswell’s eyecatchingly-liveried VW Golf TCR.

 


Best of the Turbo Tin Tops, running concurrently, was Andrew Marson’s 1400cc Abarth Assetto Corse, 16th in the combined classification on 1:19.716 (89.37mph), his final effort having pipped John Wyatt’s BMW Mini Cooper S R56 by 0.021s. Carl Chambers (Pugsport Peugeot 308 GTI) and David Marson (Abarth) were next up, the latter split from the sister car of Richard Marson [third of the racing cousins] by the shared machines of Sean Wortley/Aaron Clark (supercharged Mini R53) and Simon Smaile/Wendy Thorne (Sitech Ford Fiesta ST180).    

 

Walpole blitzed the safety-car split  race chased by Bradley, Lee and Wells, with John Cockerton (M3 E46), from P8 on the grid, the last to go the full 28 laps. Lapping quicker than in qualifying, Walpole’s 1:11.312 best was a scintillating 99.90mph average, precious close to the magic 100! Sergeant put Sumpton into bat first in the Cupra, but the owner had a shock during his stint when its front subframe failed descending the Craner Curves, throwing him off into the boondocks.  


 

Andrew Marson zipped to Turbo Tin Tops gold, and an excellent 13th overall, pressured all the way by Wyatt who crossed the finish line a second behind. Chambers grabbed the third podium step, on the lead lap, a circuit clear of David Marson, Wortley/Clark and Tom Oatley (Renault Clio). Nigel Tongue set fastest TTT lap in pa-in-law [and CSCC chairman] John Hammesrley’s Airconstruct VW Scirocco R, 1:19.071 (90.10mph) shading Andrew Marson’s best by 0.007s!   

          

Co-ordSport Tin Tops Puma Cup

 

Sunday’s Co-ordSport Tin Tops and Puma Cup race brought the curtain down on a long weekend. Local ace Andrew Windmill’s winter toils, paring more weight from his rebranded Honda Civic “CSL” - principally through steel crank, carbon fibre seat and new wheels from sponsor Rays, whose brand now adorns its flanks - were rewarded with a 1:18.187 (91.12mph) pole. Andrew still held the prime position, with an enhanced 36 second advantage, at the chequered flag once the Josh Files/Cameron Elder equipe had been docked 30 seconds plus their pitlane shortfall. 

 


“I fluffed the start,” said Windmill afterwards, but back ahead before the end of the opening lap, only crumbs were left for fellow Honda men James Slater and Elder once they had usurped and shaken off tenacious starter Adam Brown’s Fives Garage Ford Fiesta ST150. As Andrew scorched through constant traffic in the 37-strong pack he rubbed salt into his breathless rivals’ wounds by crafting a superb 1:16.826 (92.73mph) lap three from the end. Even serial Tin Tops winner Danny Cassar, adding a racer’s insight into the commentary, was impressed. Appetite whetted, the East Londoner who has previously negated two minutes of previous winner’s penalties [four races’ worth, with help from a caution period] is itching to return to the fray…


 

Behind runners-up Files/Elder, class winner Brown was third ahead of Slater, another penalised for a short stop. A lap down, longtime Ford man Steve Papworth in his later model Civic and James Wilson (Peugeot 208 GTi), another to claim class honours, filled the minor places. Peter Parkin (Peugeot 306), Liam Place (Toyota Corolla T Sport), Alan Wilshire (Fiesta), Jack Hordley - best of four Mazda RX-8 rotary club members - and Chris Dear (Peugeot 205 GTi) topped their divisions.

 


Special mention must be made of the Puma Cup split in which the quartet of combatants was very closely matched. Although Luke Johnson had the uppermost hand, Jon Glover finished 3.452s behind. James Clare and Gareth Cotgrove sandwiched Glover at the close as the 1700cc Fords finished in formation, but 30 second penalties dropped them down the order, 2.602s apart. Clare’s 1:26.960s (81.93mph) fastest lap shaded Glover’s 1:27.532, Johnson’s 1:27.878 and Cotgrove’s 1:28.120 - a 1.160s spread underlining the sub-set’s competitiveness.



By the end of play on Sunday the sun was waning, glinting tangerine orange through gaps in the purplish grey twilight cloak which descended over Redgate. The full moon rose majestically above Coppice, meanwhile, spotlit by aircraft climbing over the circuit’s boundary as they took off for widespread destinations from the adjacent East Midlands Airport. I am sure competitors will want to thank the club’s loyal marshals and officials who, despite countless challenges, did brilliantly to get the final chequered flag out at 1812.


The CSCC echos Marcus' words, the Marshalling was superb in those cold conditions.


Coincidentally, Tchaikovsky’s fabled 1812 Overture played at the start of your scribe’s four-hour journey home to the south coast, bringing a peaceful moment of reflection. After some great sport, heeding pitstop regulations, for everybody’s safety, will save a lot of post-race time, hassle, paperwork and disappointment at future events. After all that effort it is frankly bizarre that so many teams torpedoed their results through a moment’s inattention to detail. 

 

 

 




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