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Season update and Anglesey 24 Race Report


In this news round up, we cover the next few meetings coming up and share a race report and videos for the club's first ever 24 hour event.


Oulton Park Gold Cup is next, on 29th/30th July, for a pair of races for the JMC Racing Special Saloons & Modsports Series. Entries are well into the teens, with room for plenty more of you, please enter now before the entry fee rises slightly after Sunday 16th July. A paddock plan will be available soon (we have requested tarmac for you). Final instructions have been published and added to our event page, please note the final page, with overtaking at the start, as per our usual CSCC regulations.

Our ever-popular Donington Park round takes place the first weekend of August, this time on the longer GP layout. This is our last live-streamed event of the season. Around 270 of you have entered at the time of writing, with the Adams & Page Swinging 60s Group 1 and Co-ordSport Tin Tops with Puma Cup grids both full and into reserves (don't worry, we always have drivers drop out on the run up). Sunday's timetable is unusual, so as to keep tyre changes to a minimum for those taking part in the Verum Builders Open Series, WOSP New Millennium and finally the Liqui Moly Slicks double header races. Please enter now, if you have not already done so, remember that if you enter two races we will refund 1/2 of the cheapest entry back to your card. https://www.classicsportscarclub.co.uk/2023-donington-park


In case you missed it, entries for our Mallory Park race meeting on 28th August are open. We did experience a delay in being able to take entries online for the first couple of days, so if you tried to enter online, but couldn't do so, please try again. The full story, including details of the slightly unusual race format for some of you, is published here, with the event page here: https://www.classicsportscarclub.co.uk/2023-mallory-park

Whilst we will give you 24 hours notice before we open entries, it's no great secret that we will aim to open entries to our guest races at Castle Combe (Adams & Page Swinging 60s) and Donington Park Caterham Anniversary (Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens) within the next week.

 


Now a look back, to our last race event, ten days ago, at the spectacular Anglesey circuit.

From a club’s perspective this was both a great success and a failure. Entries were lower than anticipated in most grids, with factors you've mentioned to us including date clashes, distance and perceived running costs.

For those that made the effort to attend, the event was almost universally loved, a real tick in a box for some, with memories to last a lifetime, at surely the prettiest circuit we have? Attrition rates were low, testament to car preparation and careful driving, with driving standards some of the best we’ve seen. There was a real sense of community and for those who ‘survived’ the full event, a feeling of achievement not experienced in our normal race format. Every single volunteer, licenced official, doctor and rescue crew were brilliant, organising themselves to ensure there was cover every single minute, so we could go racing.

Everyone and I do mean everyone worked hard and sacrificed in some way, so please don’t feel left out if we’ve not given you a special mention here. Huge thanks to: Our pair of assembly Marshals, Wayne Beattie and Deb Jones, managed their area with just the two of them, they displayed good humour and organisation throughout. Thanks also to committee members Richard Thurbin, Ian Everett and Malcolm Johnson, for lending a hand so that Wayne and Deb could take a break on Sunday morning. CSCC Social Media guru, Joseph Perry, also did a stint in the assembly area, early Sunday morning. This was all the more impressive considering he’d had no sleep (by choice)! Joe did try to catch 40 winks, but realised that a Vauxhall Corsa (yes, even a VXR) is not well suited for slumber, so he got up and powered through, filling our Facebook page with content throughout. https://www.facebook.com/ClassicSportsCarClub/

Circuit Manager, Annette was a trooper, working through the entire event, having started early on the Saturday morning with her small circuit team, to set up the night markers. Annette was instrumental in working with the council, environmental officer and locals to smooth the way for our event taking place.

One of our Chief Clerks (the role shared with Lynne Spurr), Graham Lindley, used CSCC member donations (thank you again) to head to a store to buy a large stash of drinks and snacks, to keep the Marshals topped up throughout.



Every minute of racing was live-streamed, by Alpha Live. A casualty of this was Rob Rowley one of the camera team, whose exposed face was wind, sand and salt blasted up at Rocket! A visit to the Medical Centre, some magic cream and he was back in the game, face now fully covered, filming to the end.

Our live stream was split into three videos, Saturday daytime, night, followed by Sundays final day sessions:


David Stallard set a personal record of 50,000 steps and 22 hours of track action, giving you a LOT of choice of photos. You can trawl through the pictures in date and time order, or contact David directly, for a member offer on all the photos of your car as a discounted package.


Marc Peters was there to capture the very essence of the event, wrapping it into a bite-sized four minute video, enjoy:

At short notice, one of the team of commentators present, Chris Buxton has kindly put together an event report for us, with some input and comments from CSCC Director, David Smitheram.


Event Report

The first running of a 24-hour event has now been added to the ever-growing list of achievements for the club, in its 20th year of race organising. Anglesey circuit played host to the CSCC’s different approach to the 24-hour format. Rather than a single long race, each grid would race four times through the course of the weekend (not including the qualifying and night-time familiarisation sessions), so the familiar 40-minute pit stop race format could be maintained, and everyone had the chance to fix anything required, and get some rest in between sessions. For those volunteers and spectators looking on, it provided some variety too.

An overall “weekend winner” could be decided upon in each category, counted by the amount of laps completed over the course of the entire event. With the full ‘international’ layout of Anglesey in use, there were enough straights for the powerful engines to get the horses galloping, and there were plenty of corners for the nimble entries to have a fighting chance. There were numerous 2-driver entries in the field overall, along with several 2-car teams, all adding different nuances to the strategic thinking of the drivers.

The event was bracketed by rain each side, but mercifully the 24 hours was dry throughout, if windy and noticeably cooler than we’d experienced the week before.

 

Kicking off the weekend’s festivities were the Co-ordSport Tin Tops, Lohen Turbo Tin Tops and Puma Cup, with the largest number of combined entries of the 5 grids available. Whilst there were some familiar names taking to the front early on, the local spectators and stream viewers enjoyed a superb display of racing throughout the three categories. Regular front runners may well have asserted themselves in that front early on, but the thoughts of car preservation were never far from the driver’s mind. That said, they all still put on a great show, with Adam Brown and Phil Briggs arguing for the daytime session ‘wins’, but the night was not kind to Adam's Fiesta, leaving a huge trail of oil (following clutch failure which damaged the gearbox casing) through the pitlane, spelling the end of his night race and his bid for the overall win. With slick pit work and adapting his style to get used to the open diff and standard gearbox, Brown clinched the class win come sunrise on Sunday. Andrew Windmill suffered trouble in race 1 and didn’t take part in the night races (along with a few other drivers), so his bid for the silverware was curtailed early on.

The overall victor for the Co-ordSport Tin Tops was Manoj Patel, in the Tom Gannon prepared Honda Civic, proving that consistency and determination can be more important than raw pace, as Manoj didn’t finish first in any of the four race sessions of the group, though he was on the podium all four times. Second overall were the 2-car Recycled Racing entry of Shaun Ely and Blair Roebuck, who enjoyed good support by the live-stream viewers, particularly in the night hours, their 1.6 litre cars very much punching above their weight. The pair were on the same number of laps as Patel, 91 laps in all, excellent work.

It was a hard-fought Lohen Turbo Tin Tops overall win for Phil Briggs, on the same number of total laps as the normally-aspirated Tin Tops leaders. In second, punching above the little Abarth’s 1400cc engine, was Andrew Marson, just one lap behind. The final podium place was decided by the tiniest of margins, just 0.4 seconds, not on the track, but by an agonisingly short pit-stop. This left Sean Wortley and Aiden Francis to take third, just ahead of Richard Marson, in a class E Abarth. Lisa Selby and Toby Harris managed to get their Fiesta to the finish, after two years of hard work, chasing faulty parts and gremlins. They would have been on for a high overall finish, were it not for the smallest of plastic parts, a radiator bleed screw working loose and covering the starter motor in fluid.

Jon Glover and Mark Chappell powered their way to Puma Cup victory, a lap ahead of nearest rivals Mark Koeberle and Alex Eacock. Eacock is a veteran of other 24 hour events in past, loving this CSCC format and circuit.

 

The next group was the biggest single category of the event, that being the Adams & Page Swinging Sixties Group 1 Series. This is the very category with which the CSCC entered the world of club racing 20 years ago, and once again, the Swinging Sixties cars stepped forward to give us a varied grid of 25 cars at the start of the weekend. Some of the stories of determination were just as incredible as the racing we all enjoyed. A prime example of this was father and daughter combination Charles Tippet & Claire Norman, in their BMW 2002 ti. During qualifying, Charles had done his laps, but disaster befell Claire as the gearstick snapped. Once again, the camaraderie and support for fellow drivers was demonstrated in spades, as teams in the paddock not only managed to provide a replacement gear lever, but also welding equipment (thank you BOSS Racing and Team Leos) and expertise to fashion together a replacement, all in time (and to the scrutineers’ satisfaction) for Claire to serve her requisite three laps behind the safety car and keep their entry alive in the event.

There was rarely a dull moment, even in the dark hours, for the Swinging Sixties, and though the attrition was a little higher for them as it was for the first grid (in fairness, considering the age of these cars, it was still a very low percentage), the racing was very close all weekend. Overall 3rd belonged to the Tippett & Norman BMW, complete with unorthodox gear lever, 2nd to Sam Polley (who served a winner's success penalty) in the always rapid Mint green Mini Marcos, both finishing with 79 laps, along with John Moon in 4th and Tim Cairns in 5th, but the overall win was unquestionably in the hands of Ian Burgin in his Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite, a full lap ahead of Sam’s Marcos.

Ian and Abigail Whitt were running high overall when the transmission began to falter in the darkness, causing a mild panic and some coasting, whilst in one of the only safety car periods, Ian pulled wide, waved a pair of cars passed, before selecting a gear with no clutch and continuing to the end of the session. To Ian’s credit he volunteered himself to the Clerks immediately, to defend his fellow drivers who he let by. The MSUK Clerks were obligated to speak to the two drivers, with a written report but with no formal action taken, the just outcome. Ian and Abi would retire before the end.

Special mention to series stalwart David Cornwallis, perhaps the bravest man on track in the dark, with some of the dimmest lights yet seen in a CSCC night race. Although we've not spoken to David about this, we suspect the safety car gave him welcome respite, bathing the track in light from the other cars around him!

Richard Merrell’s bogey track once again produced a retirement, with a broken bellhousing on his Alfa Guilia GT. To his credit, he stayed on, cooking fresh Pizza’s for fellow drivers and volunteers (photo Ian Everett)!

 

The third group was the Advantage Motorsport Future Classics for 70’s and 80’s cars, and Modern Classics for 1990’s. This gave us a modest 16 car field, demonstrating the wide diversity that the CSCC caters to, from the power houses such as Chris Boon’s Supercharged Jaguar XK8, and the Kennedy’s in their 500HP Nissan Skyline, to the Hamilton brothers in their nimble Ginetta G20s, running as a 2 car team in this event, but splitting the amount of races completed between the cars (2 for Roger, 2 for Nick), rather than splitting all 4 races in half, as we saw from the Ely & Roebuck combination in the Tin Tops category.

Once again, everyone put on a great show, from the lead battle with the Hamiltons against Geoff Beale in his Phil Seaman-prepared Talbot Sunbeam Lotus rocket-ship, right the way through to the Mazda MX-5s battles. In every session, pre and post pitstop, Stephen Robinson in the Mazda Misfits MX-5 was duelling with Sam Moody & Stephen Reece in the Jaffa Cake Racing MX-5. No strangers to racing, but newcomers to the CSCC, Stephen Beswick & Daniel Baker in their very handsome Toyota MR2 were mixing it with the Mazda’s.

The pace advantage from Beale's Talbot Sunbeam Lotus was almost impossible for anyone to answer, including his own tyres in the warmer temperatures of the early race sessions, as several times the cameras saw the tail of the car wagging like an excited Jack Russell. However, despite taking the red and white chequered flag first, in three of the four race sessions, the second race session proved his undoing, as he had lost two laps in that session compared to the rest, which dropped him to second overall in the Advantage Motorsport Future Classics. Ryan Mone in his Porsche 944 S2 took the overall win, with a consistent, fast pace. Surely a crowd favourite in their flame-spitting Skyline GTR, Louise and Jason Kennedy took third overall.

The Modern Classics overall win belonged to the Hamilton’s in their pair of Ginetta G20s. No mistakes made and with an excellent light set up allowing great pace in the night. Luke Plummer, in a similar G20 was second overall, on the same number of laps as the winners (91). Chris Boon was third 90’s car over the line, a respectable 89 laps completed, good going for the big Jaguar. This was the final night race session before the sunrise break, it felt special taking a moment to watch first light, as the cars swept by, brake discs glowing, lights flickering over the bumps.

 

Whilst being one of the smallest grids in number, the greatest diversity goes to the Gold Arts Magnificent 7s, Liqui Moly Slicks, WOSP New Millennium and Verum Builders Open Series. What an unusual concoction of cars, from the Caterham’s in the Mag 7s to Dylan Popovic’s rumbling, 7 litre Chevrolet-powered Ginetta G50, the stage was set for quite some intriguing battles. Alas, club newcomers Ray Collier & Michael Brentwood were denied their chance to show what their TCR spec VW Golf Turbo was capable of, as maladies in Qualifying caused their Golf to be returned to the trailer, not to return for the rest of the weekend. Jeremy Adams was the star of the class, his 2.5 litre Caterham 420R didn’t just stand out for his bright yellow colour scheme, but the pace of his car was simply beyond answer from the rest of the field. Popovic put him under as much resistance as he could, but nothing could overcome the agility of the 420R, earning all four session wins for top honours in the Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens group 2.

Popovic’s car didn’t survive the 2nd outing sadly, a snapped diff output shaft wreaking mechanical havoc and an end to the growling Ginetta's racing weekend. That said, the BMW M3 E46 of James Collins & Andrew Robey, through consistent pace (and some rather loud pit lane entrances, as the car clearly did not like going slowly on the limiter) was Adams’ closest finishing opponent, just 1 lap adrift at the end of the weekend, but more importantly 1st overall for the WOSP New Millennium Series. 3rd place on the road and 2nd overall New Millennium, belonged to Ben Cater & Malcolm Scott in their BMW M3 E36 Compact, and whilst it was a distant 8 laps behind the E46 of Collins & Robey, that didn’t diminish their enjoyment of the event, having the opportunity to race alongside machinery not normally paired with the New Millennium class.

Perhaps this gentleman’s highest overall result, well deserved too, with no mechanical maladies, Stephen Trinder took Gold Arts Magnificent Group 1 victory, second fastest Seven overall too. Richard and Pascal Green chased hard, but a broken half-shaft cost them too many laps in the second race session.

 

The Adams & Page Swinging Sixties Group 2 cars shared a small but select grid, with a couple of Mintex Classic K. Again, some great racing paired with some unusual machinery gave for a thoroughly enjoyable end to a wonderful weekends racing. Ernst Luthi, a newcomer to the club this year, had his racing cut down to just five laps, as not only did his TVR Grantura Mk2a miss the first Mintex Classic K race session, it was spotted in the grass admiring the scenery just five laps into race session two, not to be seen again. A cylinder head gasket being the cause of its demise. This left Niall Sinclair in his MGB (his usual Lotus 7 failing him before the weekend) to take the overall Mintex Classic K win.

You can only beat the opposition that turn up, and Niall did enjoy battles throughout the event, even if it mostly came from cars from the Adams & Page Swinging 60s. Possibly the most unusual entry of the entire weekend was the Citroen 2CV of Nick Roads and Nick Crispin. An easy conclusion to draw (as I confess I did) was that the 2CV would be outgunned by the rest of the field, but with a BMW 1100cc motorcycle engine at their disposal, they put up some great racing with the afore-mentioned Sinclair MGB. The 2CV would not normally be eligible for the series, due to the non-standard engine, but it was felt by CSCC organisers this was a valid use of the regulations small print, to ‘treat any applicant individually as seen fit, to help promote and to enhance the series, and to protect and respect the position of all existing competitors’. By taking the 2CV out of the rapid Slicks and Sevens grid it was a safer and happier experience for all.

Qualifying was not kind to Richard Mitchell, leaving the Lotus Elan +2 with three wheels on the wagon, and sadly, this was the last we saw of the car for the weekend.

The remaining gladiators of the S60s group didn’t disappoint, Stephen Pickering piloting his long-time stallion, the V8-powered Sunbeam Tiger, to untouchable victory over the weekend. Stephen admitted not driving at full pace, with a lack of V8 rivals this time, but with this event as much being a challenge of car and driver endurance, this was perhaps no bad thing. His closest rival was long-time CSCC regular Jonathan Crayson, in his ever-trusty Lotus Elan S4, the only other to complete 86 laps, along with Pickering. Finishing in 3rd with 84 laps was Christopher Edwards & Russell Martin, sharing Christopher’s Triumph TR4. The pair had to work hard to fend off the advances of Dave Roberts in his Datsun 240Z, the only driver to take a session win from Pickering’s Tiger, and the two-car pairing of John Devlin and John Leslie, both in reliable Reliant Sabre 6s. Dave Roberts has really used the winter break to come back to his racing with a renewed enjoyment and patience, his smile and that of his partner, evidence of this.

 

No matter which group you looked at, big or small, daylight or darkness, there was plenty of entertainment to be had, and the driver’s reaction was very positive of the weekend format overall. Another innovative event under the club’s belt, even if not a profitable one.

Chris Buxton, CSCC Commentator

 

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