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Snetterton 2023: Race Report.


All twelve CSCC series, plus the Morgan Challenge were in action at Snetterton's 3 mile circuit, ten days ago. Mixed conditions on both days certainly shook up the grids.


As always, we have Marc Peters' cinematic highlight video from both days, an expert meeting report from Marcus Pye, crisp photographs courtesy of CSCC snapper David Stallard, with every race captured on live stream.



Let's start with Marc Peters enjoyable, short videos. They brilliantly capture the flavour of the cars and people involved with our club.


Saturday's mostly modern race day


Sunday's classic race day


If that's got you in the mood for more, how about some stills? David Stallard has two galleries, with photos of every single car, from different vantage points in qualifying and the race. You can buy individual photos, or contact him directly for a member offer, where you can purchase all the photos he's taken of you.


Results are here, on TSL Timing. Click on 'pdf book' for your series, to see a detailed breakdown, including pit-stops.


Every race was live-streamed by Digitex and can be played back on our YouTube channel.


Saturday, mostly modern series:

Sunday's classics and Morgans:


Before we introduce the race reports from Marcus Pye, please can we explain that whilst Marcus tries to mention as many drivers and battles as possible, up and down the grid, it is impossible to mention every driver and battle, even in a 4500 word report. If you have your own race report and video please share them in your respective CSCC Facebook group, we know that others will enjoy them.


In Marcus' own words, with any CSCC additions in italics.


Gales propel Windmill to new Tin Top heights


The month since the club’s 20th anniversary season-opener on Silverstone’s Grand Prix circuit had flown, when the CSCC family of competitors and officials reunited at Snetterton in Norfolk. Motor Sport Vision’s eastern outpost is celebrating its 70-year landmark, the former Royal Air Force and US Army Air Force Snetterton Heath airfield having hosted racing since 1953. Some 330+ drivers kick-started the venue’s 2023 car season, with a full 15-event programme on the longer 300 circuit, over the March 25-26 weekend.

Orange windsocks remained horizontal for most of Saturday, demanding multiple extra layers of clothing for teams and supporters in the pits and paddock and onlookers around the 2.968-mile, 11-corner layout. A mighty gale met drivers headlong on the Senna [start/finish] Straight and blew them down the opposite Bentley [back] Straight and made traversing the long-tightening right-handed Coram sweeper at the end of each lap in a crosswind an even greater test, particularly in lighter cars. With ‘success penalties’ to consider for the first time this term a thriller was on the cards.


The quality of competition was high across the board, with the 40-minute Co-ordSport Tin Top pit-stop counter and a half-hour Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens dash decided by less than three-tenths of a second. On Sunday, when the prevailing winds reversed, subsided a little, and wafted the morning’s rain away, a tremendous second Morgan Challenge bout provided one of two surprise results. Quadruple British Touring Car champion Colin Turkington, enjoying his CSCC debut, emerged top gun, bagging two outright victories and a second in class sharing Mark Smith’s BMW E36 M3 Evo.

 

First out were the Co-ordSport Tin Tops and Puma Cup runners, a field of 39, spanning eight marques. Quickest out of the blocks, Manoj Patel (Honda Civic Type R) was supplanted in qualifying by Michael Williamson’s similar EP3 before Andrew Windmill and Silverstone winner Danny Cassar took up the cudgels, in Civic Leggera and Integra respectively.

Cassar - in Nigel Ainge’s turquoise “analogue” car, he calls the red 2.4-litre paddle-shift Slicks Series contender “digital” - pitted after five laps with clutch slave cylinder failure, which his crew changed for the afternoon’s race. As Danny slipped to fourth, Windmill improved to a 2m10.687s (81.78mph) pole lap in his beautifully-presented KAAZ Limited-Slip Differentials demonstrator, 1.177s swifter than Patel. Class C pacesetter Adam Brown ranked third, but had his Ford Fiesta ST’s gearbox on the garage floor as soon as the session finished.


James Slater’s Civic and the long-serving Proton Persona GTi coupe of Class D leaders Richards Field and Field Jr shared row three, ahead of Williamson, B2 and B1 leaders James Wilson (Peugeot 208 GTi) and Mick Dwane (Renault Clio 172). Lee Briscall completed the top 10 in his Clio 172, only for his car to break, for reasons he couldn’t identify. Adrian Matthews’s rorty but portly Volvo C30 - a Belgian-built Ford Focus in a different party dress with two-litre Duratec engine - sat in the thick of the pack with Steve Papworth who reverted to his familiar Fiesta as his Honda wasn’t ready.

Top Mazda RX-8 was Jack Hordley’s Rocketdog Racing entry, almost four seconds clear of Stuart Eardley’s. Exactly a second separated the best of the 1700cc Pumas, Luke Johnson’s attractively presented Premier Car Transport car (wrapped to mimic works BTCC Mondeos of yore) ahead of James Clare’s, with Gareth Cotgrove within striking distance.


Windmill and Patel were frantically trying to build temperature into their front tyres approaching the start lights, but Cassar - determined to negate his 30 second Silverstone winner’s penalty - shot past them on the left and turned into Riches corner ahead. Patel was out within a lap, his reliability issues continuing, as Windmill, Brown, Slater and Richard Field Sr led the chase. Windmill, Brown and Wilson made their pitstops after six tours, three before Cassar, already with fastest lap of 2:07.636s (83.73mph) on his slate before rain started to fall.


The Hillwood Motors boys turned Cassar round superbly, effectively gaining four seconds of track time on Windmill, who replaced him on top as the pit stagger unwound. Danny’s charge on the glistening surface saw him reel in Andrew and dive back ahead in Coram on the penultimate lap, Windmill having lifted and lost momentum avoiding David Raeburn’s wayward RX-8, snaking over the outside kerb.


Undaunted, Windmill retaliated as they exited Wilson hairpin for the final time, but could not shake his rival off. Giving it everything, Andrew somehow caught a heart-stopping tailslide deterrent rally-style at Coram, braked as late as he dared for Murray’s and accelerated hard for the line with Danny doing likewise to his left. The Yokohama-shod Civic took the chequer 0.152s ahead of the Dunlop Direzza-tyred Integra. Both aces thus have to erase 30 second penalties at Thruxton in May.


“That will spice things up,” grinned Windmill after a stunning victory and warm handshakes with Cassar. Brown finished third, 16 seconds down. Slater, Wilson, the Fields, Blair Roebuck (Civic) and Mark Carey in his gorgeous blue Integra filled the minor places, the only other drivers on the lead lap. Hordley and Johnson maintained their practice superiority among the rotary Mazdas and Pumas respectively.

 

Next on track were the Liqui Moly Slicks Series runners and riders, paired initially with the JMC Racing Special Saloons and Modsports racers on their seasonal debut. Danny Morris was a disappointed spectator, unable to find a turbo oil seal having just rebuilt his Spirit of RPM Peugeot 309’s Ford Cosworth YB engine. Colin Turkington - in his role as ambassador for AMSpeed boss Arran Moulton-Smith’s new Motorsport Showroom business (CSCC members, you have a member offer in the discount directory) - planted Mark Smith’s pink-flashed 3.2-litre BMW M3 E36 Evo on pole from the Slicks side of the equation. Having driven it for the first time in Friday testing, the Ulsterman cut a classy 2:00.517 (88.68mph), 0.424s better than Army Motorsport’s William Ashmore, going very well in his SunVit-D3 Ferrari F430 Challenge car.

Top SS&M qualifier Andy Southcott put his 2.3-litre Vauxhall-powered ’MJ’ [for builder Mike Johnston] Midget third on 2:02.120, with the 3.7 Ford V6-motivated Ginetta G55s of Mark Lee - “unwrapped” since Silverstone - and Tim Davies on his tail. Christian Douglas’ blown Ariel Atom, Jack Gadd’s now 2.9 Millington-engined Escort RSR and Jake and Andre Severs’ 3.5 Ginetta G50 were next, ahead of the BMW M3s of Australian Dave Griffin (E90) and Chris Murphy (E46 V8) next up in a pack of eyecatching depth.


Lurking in its midst, among more M3s and Ginettas, were Dave Harvey’s supercharged Lotus 340R on home soil, Warren Tattersall’s Seat Leon Cupra TCR, Andrew Robey’s 7.0 Marcos Mantis-Chevrolet, Ross Irvine’s remarkable 400bhp VW Golf GTi Mk1 turbo (which broke a CV joint) on its racing debut following track day use, indefatigable veteran Rod Birley, 68, whose M3 engine rebuild was finished at midnight on Friday, local hero Martin Reynolds’ 2.5 Ford Anglia-Millington and the Lamborghini Gallardo Reiter GT3 of Jordan Billinton with a 5.2 V10 sting in its tail.

Sidelined, sadly, were Pete Challis in Robin Hood’s Arrowpak Porsche 997 GT3 - re-shelled since Donington last year - which went straight on into the barrier at Riches with a brake issue. While marshals were tending this incident, from which Challis escaped unhurt, Will Goff’s 997’s rear screen detached after the finish line, before a time was posted. The return of Craig Percy’s 6.2 Morris Minor-Chevrolet was also all too brief, for the Chris Isaac-originated machine sprang a water leak which could not be stemmed.


Turkington, with 63 BTCC round victories on his CV - 10 at Snetterton - was outdragged by Ashmore at the rolling start, but Southcott dived down the inside to lead, exposing Colin to Lee’s white Ginetta. The race was red-flagged almost immediately, however, when John Cockerton’s Porsche 997 GT3R - which started from the back - touched Oliver Smith’s BMW Z4 and fired right into the barrier just past the Archie Scott Brown Centre scrutineering building. It ricocheted across the track towards waiting marshals who were relieved to see John climb out. Snetterton maintenance guru George King and his team subsequently addressed the guardrail damage and the event was restarted over 10 minutes. Even after two green flag laps it was a challenge to build heat in the tyres. At the start Cockerton pulled for a full throttle upchange, the 911 just stepping out enough to touch Smith's Z4.

This time Turkington established himself ahead of Ashmore who had repelled Southcott before Andy missed a gear and buzzed his engine. Severs gratefully snatched third, with Douglas on his tail over the line. Robey’s preying Mantis and Dylan Popovic’s Ginetta-Chevrolet G50 rounded out the top six, pursued by Nathan Wells’ spectacular BMW E46 M3 GTR and the V6 Ginettas of Nick Creswell, Tim Davies and Lee. Birley, 14th overall, celebrated the 50th anniversary of his first race as the first Special Saloon home. Spinner Gadd and CSCC rookie Peter Kennerley in his 2-litre Ford Zetec engined Marcos GT completed the virtual podium.

 

The grids were split for the subsequent pit-stop races. Turkington relayed the ever-smiling Smith to victory in the Liqui Moly Slicks stanza, 20 seconds clear of Wells after second-on-the-road Lee was penalised 30 seconds for pitting outside the window. Tattersall’s blue SEAT broke the Munich marque’s monopoly in a breathless third, with Frederick Lynch’s E46 M3 breathing down his neck. Both were promoted when Ashmore and Tom Creswell (taking his turn in the smart Glebe Ginetta) were hit with 60 second impositions for different pits infringements, namely exceeding the 60kph speed limit and not turning the engine off while stopped. Among those out of luck was Tommy Grout whose smoky E36 M3 was extinguished by marshals at The Bombhole.

 

Gadd screamed clear of the JMC Racing Special Saloons and Modsports survivors, led by Birley, but their efforts were overshadowed by the stirring battle between father and son Colin and David Claxton in Escort turbo and Triumph Dolomite turbo respectively, and Kennerley’s red Marcos. They swapped places merrily before Peter spun and recovered to finish behind Colin and David. Local man Andy Lambert completed the finishers in his 7-litre Ford powered RAM Cobra, overseen by that indefatigable Essex-domiciled Singaporean fake snake charmer Cheng Lim of Thunder Road Cars.

 

It was gratifying to see five BMW MINIs in the Lohen Turbo Tin Tops field, a mix of turbocharged R56 and supercharged R53s reflecting series sponsor Lohen’s speciality. Missing, however, were the rakish and rapid VW Sciroccos of Phiroze Bilimoria [a late withdrawal] and CSCC chairman John Hammersley/Nigel Tongue, sitting Snett out. Phil Briggs planted his Sign-It SEAT Leon on pole, his 2:10.937s (81.62mph) shot 1.317s beyond Toby Harris’ fine charge in the Ford Fiesta ST180 shared with wife Lisa Selby. Andrew Marson (Abarth Assetto Corse) and John Wyatt (Mini Cooper S R56) were within 0.672s of second.

Keith Issatt (Mini Clubman) and David Cox (VW Golf GTi) sat on their heels, ahead of Tom Oatley (Renault Clio), the frustrated Carl Chambers (Pugsport Peugeot 208 GTi, fruit of three laps with a clutch master cylinder down), David Marson (Abarth) and Robert Hosier (Seat Leon) covered by 0.331s. Colin and Ian Gunton’s Ford Focus ST225 was 11th quickest but was destined to be a non-starter. The third Marson cousin, Richard, in his Abarth, was the last to circulate inside 2:20.


Revelling in torrentially wet conditions, Andrew Marson stormed his tricolore-nosed Abarth into a 5.5 second lead over Briggs at the end of the opening lap, with Selby, Issatt, Chambers and Wyatt in pursuit. There was to be no crock of gold at the end of the rainbow spanning the track for poor Selby, who parked the Fiesta in the shelter of the bridge at Brundle on lap two. A handful of big-end shrapnel was a cruel blow for Lisa and Toby after herculean efforts to get the car to Snetterton.

Marson ran longest of the leaders before making his stop, as bright sunshine overpowered the blustery rain and conditions became greasier, forcing a time-consuming overshoot at Wilson hairpin. As Marson exited the pits, Chambers’ dayglo yellow and blue Peugeot steamed past and was uncatchable. Carl’s win atoned for the misery of Silverstone, where a broken engine mount spelled retirement. “It was scary, very hard work, no grip at all, so lots of moments,” said the Suffolk raider, whose 2:36.086s (68.47mph) fastest lap was the race’s best. Class winner Marson was second, 15 seconds down, Wyatt’s grassy moment at Coram having relieved pressure from behind. Briggs, ironically with a 10 second penalty for jumping the start, was fourth ahead of David Marson.

 

Speedy siblings Christian and Jonny Pittard set the Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens pace in rasping 2.5-litre Caterhams. Silverstone double-winner Jonny - saddling a supercharged example this time - started race one from a 15-place grid drop, having been wowed by Christian’s 1:55.650 (92.41mph) pole shot. “I couldn’t do that,” he sighed to his BOSS engineer after five laps. Class H and G leaders James Tubby and Richard Carter were next, having bested at a tad over two minutes, chased by Andrew Grant and Class F topper Jeremy Adams in a 26-car Caterham showcase.


Despite having his quickest Q-lap expunged for exceeding track limits, Daniel Bruce’s 2:11.480 (81.29mph) still led the concurrent 11-strong Group 1 contest in 13th overall, chased by Alex Harbour, David White and Chris Biglin. Russell and Thomas Gunter’s Caterham Sigma 135 led Class A - good going since both had to qualify - from Sean and Andrew Cronin, with B runner Malcolm Ash in their midst.

From the rolling start, Jonny P was fifth inside a lap, on a wet track, third next time round and second, 3.8s behind Christian, after three. They were united during lappery when Russell Gunter, dicing with Sean Cronin, took his line into Riches, forcing Christian to breathe in sharply. Abreast out of Williams onto the Bentley Straight, Jonny teetered ahead audaciously round the outside of Coram into Murray’s on lap seven - and lap eight following retaliation! The last 10 minutes were mesmeric, the duo trading places repeatedly. Christian forged back ahead at The Bombhole, whereupon Jonny repeated his demon move at Coram. But, having run abreast through Riches to Wilson, Christian had enough to take the chequer by 0.267s, setting fastest lap of 2:19.194 (76.78mph) - 23 seconds off his dry pole time - as he did so.


“I did a double-take when I saw his helmet behind me and thought ‘here we go.’ I’ve been racing since 2012 and have not had as good a race in 10 years. I didn’t want it to end. Thank you Snetterton, thank you rain,” enthused the winner. Jonny was equally delighted, if left scratching his head at his brother’s bellowing atmospheric-engined car having more straight line speed.

Tubby was thrilled with third ahead of Carter and class rival Andrew Grant who was very quick out of the blocks. Stephen James’ climb from 27th on the grid to sixth was meritorious too. White overturned Bruce’s Group 1 advantage, coming home a convincing winner with Biglin and Ash a distant third and fourth.


The eagerly-awaited dry sequel fizzled when Jonny P retired from the lead after two laps on a damp track with gearbox bothers, leaving Christian - up from P11 - to take over and complete a JAM Racing double. Carter, Harry Senior and P9 starter Jonathan Edwards - legacy of “poor tyre choice” earlier - squabbled over second, after Tubby had a moment on lap five, Edwards prevailing in the Alcon car and snatching Class G from Carter by 0.694s.

Double division victors Jeremy Adams, Senior and Tubby chased them in. Bruce girded his loins to finish an excellent ninth overall, denying Harbour by 16 seconds in Group 1, with Jonathan Constable’s Class F R400 between them at the flag. As a 10-car tussle raged in midfield, Biglin claimed third from White, pursued by Class F winner Tom Gunter. Outright winner Pittard’s fastest lap was 1:59.328s (89.56mph).

 

Saturday’s WOSP New Millennium/Verum Open Series finale did not lack excitement, but again underlined the need for competitors to observe, understand and heed Code 60 regulations. Four drivers were excluded and a further four penalised 30 seconds for contraventions, but first past the chequer Mark Lee (Ginetta G55) was justly rewarded.


Dave Griffin (West Suffolk Racing BMW E90 M3) qualified on pole but Lee, Dylan Popovic (G50-Chevrolet) and David Harvey in his yellow-eyed insect-like supercharged Lotus 340R were within 0.902s of the man from Adelaide. Out at this stage, alas, was Geoff Beale’s Talbot Sunbeam Lotus which disappeared in an ominous cloud of smoke. Thirty one cars set off on the warm-up laps, propped up by the Turkington/Smith M3 which did not record a Q-time due to an electronic fire extinguisher fault.

When Griffin “lost the back end” and gyrated into the grass on the inside of Riches, and could not immediately restart the black Beemer’s engine, the pink Code 60 light panel on the start gantry announced the caution. After a productive first lap from P7, Barry O’Neill (E36 M3) had led into Murrays, but understeered, causing pursuer Popovic to lift momentarily. Lee went left as Harvey scorched past. O’Neill, Popovic and Harvey were first over TSL’s timing line, pulling rather more than the mandated speed, an impression exacerbated by Lee slowing. Low sun made visibility very challenging from Murrays and along the start straight. Griffin, meanwhile, got going unaided. “Lithium batteries sometimes recover,” he explained.

Popovic passed O’Neill briefly, then went back ahead when Barry and Harvey pitted in unison, a lap after Lee’s visit. Halifax transport man Lee powered ahead of O’Neill on lap 10 and stayed there until the finish. After reviewing footage, chasers Harvey, O’Neill and Popovic were subsequently disqualified from the results [as were the Petch brothers in their Ginetta G50], promoting Michael Vitulli (E36 M3) and Smith/Turkington to second and third. Nathan Wells’ bewinged IMSA tribute M3 E46 GTR, Davies’ Ginetta, Danny Cassar/Adam Brown (Honda Integra Type R) and impressive novice James Collins (M3 E46) all covered the full distance.

Griffin fought back to 13th, a lap down, his best lap within a tenth of the winner’s. Demonstrating his sheer class and competitive spirit, Turkington circulated quickest by almost four seconds, his 2:00.643 (88.59mph) recorded last time round. “It’s great to race without pressure or expectation,” grinned the pro who set a yardstick for many for whom it was a privilege to share the circuit with him.

 

As clocks sprang forward into British Summer Time, and everybody rued the loss of an hour’s sleep, the wind direction reversed overnight, bringing persistent morning rain. This made qualifying for Sunday’s races a lottery, although there were numerous heroic performances, particularly when the meteorological elements were at their worst, with standing water to contend with.

 

Tom Mensley (3.2 M3 E36 Evo) on 2:45.532 (64.56mph) outran a bunch of Porsches - Aidan Farrell/David Whelan (993 RSR Cup) and the Boxsters of Louis Frankel/Luke Sargent, Gabriel and Metin Yilmaz and Ryan Charters - with Richard Hayes’ Toyota Celica GT4 in their midst and David Sharp’s ochre Lotus Elise also inside 2:50 in the final throes of the Modern Classics preliminaries.

It was Griffin, now piloting a Diet Coke tribute E36 powered by a less torquey three-litre six, who mastered better conditions come the race. From 11th on the grid he finished 25 seconds before Mensley, with the bold Roger Hamilton (Ginetta G20) classified third once Adrian Clark and his burly Porsche 928 had been bumped to seventh, behind Hayes, Stuart Jefcoate (Porsche 993) and Chris Boon’s gruff Jaguar XK8 for a pit infringement. Hamilton and his fellow G20 drivers Nick Hamilton and Luke Plummer had looked as if they were sitting in peripatetic fishponds, in need of canoeists’ spray decks, in the morning, but all finished well!

 

The Adams & Page Swinging Sixties Group 1 race attracted a superb 39-car pack embracing a representative marque miscellany. The fight for pole made compelling viewing, as James Hughes (Austin-Healey Frog-Eye Sprite) and Sam Polley (Mini Marcos) traded best laps, before veteran Tim Cairns denied Polley with a last gasp 2:52.914 (61.81mph). Mark Cloutman’s very pretty Sebring Sprite gridded fourth, with saloon standouts Lawrence Claridge (‘Broadspeed’ Ford Anglia) and vliegende Hollander Marc Kniese in his patriotic orange-topped Mini Cooper S four tenths apart. Simon Tinkler (MGB GT) was also inside three minutes.

Cairns’ 1460cc Sprite caught fire in the assembly area, but the drama was sorted and he started the race last as Polley stormed into a 10 second lead within three laps. An interlude while Mark Richards’ barrier-battered MGB GT was retrieved from the Bentley Straight undid Polley’s work, bringing Hughes back into contention. BMW drivers Claire Norman - who had made great progress from p17 in papa Charles Tippet’s 2002ti - and Adrian Vincent (Alpina A4S) led during the pit phase before stopping, thus the status quo was re-established.

Hughes hounded-down Polley as a classic front versus rear-wheel-drive scrap in evenly-matched cars powered by similar 1380cc BMC engines ramped-up. James went ahead on lap 11, but differential failure at Agostini on the final circuit stranded the combo and Sam sped past to victory. “The diff was the only thing I didn’t replace over the winter,” shrugged golf pro/retailer Hughes, whose four-hour trek home to Wrexham suddenly felt longer. Dominic Mooney (finishing the Alexander Turner started by Mike Henney) kept young buck Connor Kay (MG Midget) behind for a surprise second. Claridge and Kniese were fourth and fifth after a heady duel, clear of Ian Hulett’s Sprite. Cairns claimed 12th, despite giving officials a fright when slowing for an orange mechanical warning on the Senna Straight overhead gantry, mistaking it for red on lap 12.

 

Plus 4 wearing lad and dad William and Martin Pratt topped the Morgan Challenge championship opener’s qualifying times, 0.410s apart on a slippery track, well clear of the 4/4s of Brett Syndercombe, Louis Ruff and John Milbank/Chris Myhill. Morgan Motor Company chassis engineer Tony Kiss broke a decade’s racing sabbatical [two races in a Toyota MR2 his previous starts] to debut one of his CX platform Plus 4 babies. Not lacking competition experience, the HSA hillclimb champion (in a Formula Ford Van Diemen RF85 originally built on Snetterton’s fringes) gridded the British Racing Green car a combative sixth.

Pratt Sr non-started race one after his car broke, thus Jr had an untroubled run, setting a best lap of 2:15.175 - half a minute quicker than his morning mark - in finishing 44 seconds clear of Kiss and Myhill. Ruff, Simon Orebi Gann (3.9 ARV6) and Syndercombe were next home after a jolly squabble in the iconic British products made by the eponymous family firm founded by HFS Morgan in Malvern, Worcestershire, in 1909.

Will Pratt ceded his car to Martin for round two in which he jostled from the back to twice annex the lead from Kiss who had resisted his pressure stoutly. Both times, though, Pratt’s engine cut out at Nelson and with John Emberson - another to come through the field - now in his mirrors, Kiss gratefully bolted for home and a maiden victory to a massive cheer from his factory colleagues on the pit wall. Pratt salvaged third, from Orebi Gann who cut fastest lap, Syndercombe and Peter Cole (Roadster).

 

Mintex Classic K contenders turned out in force, and while Maldon Salt team owner Steve Osborne’s pole was never in doubt first time out in his ADP-prepared Jaguar E-type roadster, Aimee Watts [daughter of 1979 Mini Se7en champion Patrick] added to her rising star status by bringing ’93 champ Tina Cooper’s Bill Sollis-built Austin Cooper S up to second. Richard Wos/Adam Cunnington (Turner Mk2) and Ian McDonald’s weirdly distinctive Lotus Elan Costin shared row two.

Ex-Formula 3 racer and National Supersports champion Stephen Shanly, debuting a more conventional Elan, posted fifth best time, but was sent to the back of the class for missing drivers’ briefings, the first when he was in the scrutineering queue. Thus Harry Wyndham (E-type FHC) and Allan Ross-Jones (Triumph TR4) moved up.

Further down the order, Clubmans racers Roger Hatton and Clive Wood shared the former’s Marcos-Volvo, the ex-John Carden car raced for decades by Barry Sewell. Brian Lambert’s ex-John Absalom 997cc Ginetta G4 sat mid-pack, while the Alan Mann Racing-liveried Lotus Cortina of the Fraser family - prepared locally by Formula Ford star Bernard Dolan and overseen by legendary race engineer Nick Jordan - and GSM Dart of Vaughan Thomas and super-sub Chris Ward drew attention.

Preparing for a European season, Osborne dominated, putting Chris Ward in for the last 15 minutes of the hour, in which the previous Spa Six Hour winner cut fastest lap at 2:13.797 (79.88mph). Five Elans set off after the bronze and black Jag, but mechanical woes stopped all but Tim and Mark Cousins,’ which ran strongly to second, a lap adrift. Wyndham’s loftier E-type was a tail-happy third, ahead of Ross-Jones, Lambert and Wos/Cunnington. Belle stars Cooper and Watts bagged TC gold in a splendid seventh, chased throughout by Richard Longdon/Chris Snowdon’s similar car. The TVR Grantura of David Thompson/Jon Wolfe split the Minis.

 

Osborne added Adams & Page Swinging Sixties Group 2 victory to his haul, towards a minute clear of John Wolfe’s thuggish five-litre TVR Tuscan, which gave the intrepid Martin Adams a hairy second stint. Fastest lap was Wolfe’s 2:15.108 (79.10mph). Wyndham’s Jaguar completed the podium, pursued by Steve Hodges’ Lotus 7 S2 and the Triumph TR6 of Bailey Frost - who engaged Roy Chamberlain’s TR250 energetically in the early stages - and Dave McDonald. Duel of the race saw John Leslie’s Reliant Sabre 6 eclipse Chris Blewett’s diminutive Ginetta G12 by 0.309s.

Ten years after he raced a Porsche 944 Turbo with the CSCC, Alex Elbrow returned with an 8.3-litre Plymouth Belvedere GTX in full Richard Petty NASCAR livery. Having thrown its water pump belt in qualifying it retired from the race but the 1500kg leviathan’s lack of cornering agility was as much a talking point as its straight-line speed.

 

Advantage Motorsport Future Classics competitors provided the event’s curtain-closer, Stephen Scott-Dunwoodie converted pole to victory but had a scare when the gearbox of his Ford Sierra RS500 - running conservative turbo boost, position four of 12, thus circa 450bhp - made “horrible graunching noises” on the penultimate lap. “It wouldn’t have done another, in fact I was worried it was going to fall out of the bottom,” he said having nursed it to the chequered flag, with a best lap of 2:07.886 (83.57mph).

Carrying a 20 second Silverstone win penalty, Richard Harman (Porsche 944 Turbo) still finished an excellent second, reversing practice order by beating the 964 of Neil Harvey/James Neal. Matthew Ellis hurtled his Talbot Sunbeam Lotus, started by dad Martin, up to join the Porsches. He was set for second (the car having dropped as far as 19th after a frightening grassy moment at the end of the Bentley Straight) when an unfortunate collision with Harvey exiting Murray’s punctured a tyre. Matthew had provided arguably the spectacle of the weekend in qualifying, when the black and silver car was sideways in second, third, fourth and fifth gears under full power on the Senna Straight!

MARCUS PYE


Next, we have eleven of our series heading to Thruxton, on 6th/7th May, with our twelfth, the Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens, racing at Oulton Park on 13th May. Entries for both race meetings are open, please enter early to help us with planning: https://www.classicsportscarclub.co.uk/race-calendar.

 

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