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Mallory Park Race Report

A look back to last Monday, let's start with another wonderful highlights reel from Marc Peters

Our official photographer, David Stallard, seemed to enjoy himself, perhaps grateful we didn't have rain or hot weather? Check out the quality and variety of his photos here.

Full results are available on the TSL website here.

With no pit stops this time, the results at first glance are a little different for our 40 minute series. In order to get around local noise restrictions, each 40 minute race was split into two legs, the combination of both deciding the result. This would result in some mental calculations, as leg two unfolded, to work out who was winning, especially when factoring in winners penalties. In the case of the Lohen Turbo Tin Tops especially it made for a thrilling conclusion.

Race reports written by Mark Paulson

A late-summer bank holiday session (28 August 2023) at Mallory Park was the club’s first visit to the Leicestershire venue for three years. It perhaps does not rank at the top of everyone’s lists, but the deceptively challenging 1.35-mile circuit is a favourite for many racers and spectators alike. Time again, drivers were heard to praise the track; while for those watching on, grass banks – which surround the ovoid oval enclosing a lake, completed with proboscis extending to the ultra-tight Shaw’s hairpin – afford excellent views of much of the asphalt ribbon.

Six series were in action, with the Verum Builders Open Series a late addition to supplement the Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens. The three categories that usually contest 40-minute pitstop races were running an alternative format for the day; two 20-minute legs at either end of the afternoon were aggregated to determine a single winner. It allowed competitors to sample sprint racing while maintaining the same amount of track-time and ensuring that downtime came frequently enough to satisfy the circuit’s local noise regulations.

On a sombre note, before qualifying commenced, a minute's silence was held in the assembly area for Peter Stevens and the recently passed Peter Baldwin. Written pieces remembering their lives and achievements can be found in the digital programme. Later in the day, before racing commenced a minute’s silence was observed in memory of Roger Twelvetrees, who was tragically killed while competing in a VSCC meeting at the circuit two days earlier. Whatever the machinery and with whatever club, it is always a sad moment when a fellow racing driver passes away whilst enjoying this sport. Our thoughts are with the friends and families of this trio of racers.

Opening the programme was an 18-strong field of JMC Racing Special Saloons & Modsports. At its spiritual home, having been born from the celebration held at Mallory Park in 2011, the series was racing in memory of Pete Stevens. The four-time Thundersaloons champion was part of the CSCC’s series from the beginning, with his famed Vauxhall Carlton TS6000, and had been planning a track return when he lost his life to COVID-19 in 2020. It was wonderful to see Pete’s younger brother, Dave ‘Nudge’ Stevens, present the trophies that featured a plaque in his memory.

The entry included first appearances in the series for Will Sharpe and Graeme Woodhouse. Long-time MG and CSCC racer Sharpe was at the wheel of a lovely Scandinavian-built Modsports Midget. Woodhouse – returning to racing after a two-decade layoff – piloted the ex-David Brewis Suzuki SC100, now powered by a Hayabusa engine and therefore running in a modern-engined class.

Regular pacesetter Andy Southcott secured pole position with the day’s first 100mph lap in a truncated session. His MG Lenham Midget circulated in 47.309 seconds, almost 5s clear of Thomas Carey’s BDG-powered Honda CRX silhouette special. Several drivers were still getting their cars and tyres up to temperature when a safety car prevented further improvement after an unfortunate incident when a spinning Woodhouse was unavoidably collected by Jim Seward’s Triumph TR7 V8. Fortunately, the camaraderie of the paddock ensured that both Woodhouse and Seward were able to start the afternoon’s first race with their patched-up cars.

Southcott shot away from the rolling start, chased by Carey, and appeared to be looking good for victory – only to peel in to the pits on the fourth lap. An oil warning light had come on after a belt had come off the pump. That put Carey ahead.

Carey was chased by Danny Morris’s Spirit of RPM Peugeot 309 GTi Cosworth, the latter a driver and car combination that had competed against Pete Stevens in his pomp, more than 30 years ago. The pair were already well clear of Martin Reynolds (Ford Escort Mk2), who was under pressure from Simon Allaway (Lotus Esprit silhouette special). However, green-flag running would last only another lap or so, as Ian Hall’s Darrian Wildcat T98 hit trouble. The V8-powered machine blew a driveshaft and, as the car snaked to halt, it caused a failure that sliced through one of its March Formula 2 wheels. As the car proved difficult for the hard-working marshals to remove from the Stebbe Straight, the resulting Code 60 was upgraded to a full safety car, with a 'full lift' required. Unfortunately, the clock ticked down before the race could restart.

But it wasn’t to be Carey who won. Morris had been lining up a move just as the purple Code 60 flags came out and, as Carey slowed, he completed it around the outside exiting the long Gerard’s right-hander. Morris kept the lead and, ultimately, victory – his first of the season, although he held his hand to realising he had made the overtake as the flags came out, an apology was made to Carey.

Carey was a little disappointed with second but still satisfied with his performance and knew that Morris would start race 2 from P11, with his winners penalty. Reynolds completed the top three ahead of Allaway. Paul Dolan’s Vauxhall-powered Lotus Elan was fifth, ahead of the V8 machinery of Andrew Willis (Austin A30), Craig Percy (Morris Minor) and Robert Frost (Dax Tojeiro).

In contrast, the second race ran full its full 15 minutes uninterrupted and yet had no lead changes. Carey converted pole position into the race lead and was never headed. It was a universally popular victory for Carey, his first since the long-serving CRX had been engulfed in flames at Thruxton last year.

Allaway’s Lotus, complete with Chevrolet Daytona Prototype engine, got ahead of Reynolds to run second while Morris was working his way up the order. It took less than four of the 19 laps for the Spirit of RPM 309 to power past Reynolds’s Holbay-engined Escort on the Stebbe Straight to run third. Morris then set a series of quick laps to close up to Allaway. Backmarking traffic initially seemed to help Morris latch on to the Lotus’s tail but, with one win already in the book, he decided that discretion was the better part of valour and settled for third.

Thus Allaway and Morris completed the top three behind Carey, with Reynolds finishing fourth as the last runner on the lead lap.

A first-lap spin at Gerard’s had left Dolan trailing the entire field but he drove a fine race, matching Reynolds’s pace, to come fifth ahead of Willis, Frost and Percy. A fine scrap for ninth downwards went the way of Sharpe, who twice won Class CD, ahead of Peter Samuels (MGB GT V8) and David Claxton’s truncated Triumph Dolomite Sprint. The latter’s father Colin had also been involved until his Escort’s steering failed. Paul Turner’s Kawasaki-powered Suzuki SC100 twice claimed Class CE honours.

Starting from the back, Southcott’s race was even shorter than earlier as his gremlins returned on the first lap. The slightly smaller-engined sister car of Robert Knox was another casualty after developing a misfire.

A full field of 27 Co-ordSport Tin Tops produced some fine racing, with momentum swinging towards four different drivers over the course of the two legs.

Danny Cassar did enough to secure pole position on his first flying qualifying lap before pulling in a few minutes later with a misfire aboard Nigel Ainge’s Honda Integra Type R. Adam Brown’s Ford Fiesta ST150 barely lasted longer before its gearbox gave up but he too had set a time fast enough for the front row, just 0.2s back. Garry Barlow’s Integra was the only other car within 1s as Steve Papworth (Honda Civic Type R), father-and-son Field (Proton Persona GTI Coupe) and Alfie Jones (Civic) completed the top six. Brake failure on Jonathan and Tom Dee’s Integra caused a heavy impact at Gerard’s, pausing the session and sadly ending their day.

Reminiscent of the earlier Special Saloons race, Cassar made a quick start and led by 2s after a lap – but again, it didn’t last long. A lap later he slowed, Brown rounded the Integra through Gerard’s, and Cassar pitted to retire with a suspected cracked head.

That gave Brown the advantage from Jones, who had started strongly but was facing stern pressure from Barlow. Possibly aided by traffic, Barlow got ahead of Jones and then started reeling in Brown. The leader responded but Barlow went faster still and the pair were together halfway through the first 20-minute section. As they negotiated traffic, Brown appeared to be a little more decisive, and he held on to cross the line first – despite his clutch failing – just 0.34s ahead. Jones was a further 11s adrift.

The battle resumed a couple of hours later. The Fives Garages team had repaired Brown’s clutch in the interval but it only lasted a couple more laps, putting him on the defensive for the rest of the race. Barlow’s pressure told as he moved ahead at the hairpin on the third of what would become another 23 laps. The Integra pulled away to the tune of around a second, but then the gap stabilised until Brown lost out similarly to Jones after around 10 minutes.

The momentum was now with Jones, who admitted he had found some extra pace for the second part of the race. Four laps later, he was in the lead and pulling away as Barlow’s pace dropped. A deflating tyre was the culprit and it blew completely as Barlow crossed the line. By that time Brown had already demoted him on the outside of Gerard’s on the final lap to cross the line second, 8.5s behind Jones.

Jones’s advantage was a few second short to deny Brown on aggregate, and in fact Barlow also clung on to second by just 0.1s. So when Jones was handed an additional 10s penalty for a false start it didn’t affect the order.

Brown’s success, ending Cassar’s three-race winning streak (excluding Anglesey), was a fine reward for this team who had changed the Fiesta’s gearbox after qualifying. Barlow, on the other hand, will have to wait a bit longer for that elusive victory. “I’ve got to get it sometime, haven’t I?” he rued.

Papworth was fourth, ahead of class winner James Wilson (Peugeot 206 GTI), James Slater (Civic) and the Peugeot 306 of Peter Parkin, another class victor. The Field family Proton topped Class D by some distance; David Bellamy (Peugeot 106 GTI) and Shaun Ely (Peugeot 205 GTI) were also comfortable victors in Classes E and F.

A turnout of just four Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens entries was perhaps impacted by this coming weekend’s Caterham Festival at Donington Park, where the Magnificent Sevens have a pair of live-streamed races. The field was supplemented by a healthier field of Verum Builders Open Series runners, drawn almost entirely from the other series in action on the day.

It was a car from each section that dominated the action. Danny Cassar, in Nigel Ainge’s second Integra, was in supreme form. His pole time of 49.460s was bettered only by Andy Southcott’s Special Saloons & Modsports marker across the whole day. And it was four thousandths shy of a second clear of Jeremy Adams’s Caterham 420R, the Mag Sevens pacesetter.

The duo immediately broke clear in the first 25-minute race, providing an entertaining battle between themselves in very different cars. Adams initially hit the front, before Cassar powered ahead, but Adams got back past into the hairpin on lap five of 30. Cassar used the Integra’s grunt to regain the lead within a lap, then gradually pulled away to claim victory by nearly 6s.

“It was a great race,” enthused the victor. “I think I was pushing a big hole in the air [but] once I broke the tow it was more comfortable. It was good – I don’t get to race these cars very often.”

Adams was handicapped for the rematch by his Magnificent Sevens winner’s penalty that left him 11th on the grid. It took him until lap six to reach second, and by that time Cassar had checked out. The result was similar – a 9s win for the Integra over the Caterham, but given they were in separate series, each rightly claimed an overall victory.

Behind them, the rest of the field were all lapped at least twice in the first race. Luke Plummer’s Ginetta G20 was best of the rest after a big spin for Robert Frost’s Dax Tojeiro exiting Devil’s Elbow. The smart little Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk1 of Ross Irvine had initially been the beneficiary before slowing in the closing stages and dropping behind Plummer and Martin Leadbeater, who was second of the Mag Sevens.

Back on song later in the day, Irvine pipped Dan Silvester for third by 0.766s. Silvester was sharing James Harvey’s Porsche Boxster S, which had qualified third fastest but developed a radiator leak in the first race.

Modern Classics fielded a modest 14 cars in action, yet still provided plenty of variety, with V8s, straight-sixes and four-cylinder units pushing or pulling BMW, Ginetta, Jaguar, Lotus and Porsche machinery. Sadly, Dave Whelan’s 993 RSR succumbed to engine problems that beat the ingenuity of his crew – CTR Developments’ Richard Chamberlain and son Matthew – after only a handful of laps for the car shared with Aidan Farrell.

Tom Barley’s BMW 328i kept the Harvey/Silvester Boxster off pole position, with Adrian Clark’s glorious-sounding Porsche 928 GTS and Luke Plummer’s Ginetta on row two.

Come the afternoon, having the radiator issue to fix between back-to-back races meant that Dan Silvester only just made it on to the back of the grid, forfeiting his front-row start. Worse was to come, as although the SkyAcademy team managed to fix the leak, they didn’t have time to bleed the system. As the temperatures rocketed, Silvester had to park up on the first lap.

So Barley was left with the front row to himself, but Clark still managed to get ahead briefly before Barley powered back past. The 928 was proving to be a handful on the brakes before its tyres were fully up to temperature, and Clark had a moment at the Esses before managing a full spin at Shaw’s a couple of laps later.

Thankfully he was avoided by all, but lost around 20s. So Plummer ran second and, with Sam Callaghan’s Boxster also hitting trouble, Chris Boon’s supercharged Jaguar XK8 passed the Lotus Elise S1 of David Sharp for third.

Barley was well clear out front but, with his 928 now fully on song, Clark was mounting a stirring recovery. Having dropped as low as 10th, he picked off the cars in front up to and including Boon, but Barley and Plummer were too far gone in the first part of the race.

The second leg, reduced to 17 minutes owing to a couple of fairly lengthy clear-ups, wiped out those gaps on the road (but not on aggregate), but the earlier patterns were largely repeated. Barley pulled away to secure his maiden victory by a 42s aggregate margin over Plummer, while Clark dropped back – albeit by not as much – on his cold tyres before returning to third (on the road and on aggregate) ahead of Boon and Sharp.

Like that of its normally aspirated counterparts, the outcome of the Lohen Turbo Tin Tops race, incorporating the Puma Cup and RX-8 Trophy, was uncertain until the end.

Anglesey winner Phill Briggs was fastest in qualifying, his SEAT Leon just 0.168s quicker than club chairman John Hammersley’s VW Scirocco R. Carl Chambers was only another tenth further back in his Peugeot 208 GTI, while Adam Chamberlain’s Vauxhall Astra VXR was fourth, 0.6s off the pace. The Astra was set to be shared for the first time by Richard Billingham, fresh from his success in the Fastest Mini in the World race at Brands Hatch’s Mini Festival. His successful spaceframe Mini is in fact powered by the same engine as the Astra – but the similarities pretty much end there!

The first attempt to start the race was aborted after a startline tangle involving Matt Jackson’s Ford Fiesta Mk7 and the Mini Cooper S R53 set to be shared by Stephen Warner and Martin Tyte, which sadly smote the pitwall and was unable to make the restart.

Second time around, with the opening leg reduced to 15 minutes, Hammersley led away, while the fast-starting Billingham tried the long way round him through Gerard’s and on the Stebbe Straight. That let Briggs get a run on Billingam towards Shaw’s but the Astra held on.

The frenetic early action continued on the second lap, with Billingham this time making the outside line at Gerard’s work to take the lead, before Briggs further demoted Hammersley. A couple of laps later, the SEAT took up the running, Briggs getting a run on the outside through Devil’s Elbow, and completing his move on Billingham into Gerard’s.

Once in front, Briggs began building a margin, mindful of the 30s winner’s penalty he was carrying, which stood at 12s at the end of the first part. Billingham gradually dropped back further, and it was Josh Brooks, who qualified fifth in his Toyota Starlet GT, who looked set to be second at half-time. He passed Hammersley on the outside at Gerard’s before both demoted Billingham. But a grassy moment while among RX-8 traffic allowed Hammersley onto Brooks’s tail and their positions reversed when Brooks was baulked and Hammerlsey got a run on him.

The penalty-free Hammersley, and Brooks who was facing the same handicap as Briggs, got in front at the start of the second leg. But after benefiting from traffic earlier on, Hammersley would suffer in the second section. Twice he went off, including a spin at Gerard’s after contact with a Puma, which cost him significant time.

With the shoe on the other foot, Brooks looked set to benefit. But he was ultimately denied by alternator failure that initially slowed his pace – allowing Briggs to power past around Devil’s Elbow – before halting the Starlet altogether.

The Briggnorth Vehicle Works SEAT crossed the line first, but an impressive drive from novice racer Jackson – on only his third appearance in his self-built Fiesta – kept him within 4s. Once Briggs’s 30s penalty was applied, a first-leg deficit of only 21.7s looked to have given Jackson a maiden victory on aggregate. But video footage revealed he had overtaken in yellow-flag conditions, a accidental but costly mistake that incurred a 45s penalty and dropped him to fifth.

Thus Briggs was promoted back to victory, just 4s clear of Hammersley, with class winners Chambers and the Abarth Assetto Corse of Andrew Marson (both also carrying winners’ penalties) a further 30-odd seconds adrift in third and fourth.

In the Puma Cup, Luke Johnson headed a close contest with James Clare and Gareth Cotgrove in the first part, only those three classified on the same lap. Cotgrove got in front in the closing stages of the second leg but couldn’t shake Johnson off. Cotgrove’s 0.3s margin wasn’t enough to overturn a 7s deficit to Johnson, who took the aggregate win, but it did secure second after an off for Clare dropped him out of contention.

Stuart Eardley was best of the Mazda RX-8s, ultimately classified barely half a second behind Johnson’s Puma as the completely different characteristics of the two cars cancelled each other out over the race distance. Second in the RX-8 Trophy were Phil Otley and Paul Thacker. They held a 14s advantage after the first leg but dropped a lap in the second.

Race reports written by Mark Paulson

Next on the CSCC calendar are the live-streamed races at Donington Park, for the Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens on 2nd/3rd September.




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