Swinging Sixties at Snetterton
Our classic series' had the best of the weather at Snetterton on Saturday 15th August 2020 and once again the Adams & Page Swinging Sixties Series put on a great show. Series correspondent and Committee Member Vicki Cairns was present to record all the action....
Finally, last weekend the CSCC returned to Snetterton, about 4 months later than had been planned. The paddock soon filled up on Friday evening and, because of the healthy entry, many of those who arrived later had to park outside the paddock on the grass. There was a full grid of 45 cars (plus waiting list) for this combined Group 1 and Group 2 race. Group 1 had 30 cars and Group 2 comprised of 15.
During qualifying the weather, which had been overcast, decided to drizzle just enough to make it difficult for the drivers to improve their times, although a few managed to do so towards the end of the session. As was to be expected, the fastest times went to the Group 2 cars. Jamie Keevill (Lotus Elan S2) was on pole position with a very quick 2.14.703, followed by the big Chevrolet Camaro of Raymond Barrow who was 1.5 seconds slower. Behind them was Mark Campbell (Triumph TR5), who it was good to see back after an absence of 3 years, with the Muirhead's (Lotus Super 7 S3) alongside in fourth. The first 4 rows of the grid were occupied by Group 2 cars at this power dependent circuit.
The first Group 1 car was the ex-Charles Marriott Turner Mk2, now driven by the 'new' pairing of Ian Everett and Tim Cairns in 9th. Ian Staines in the 1380cc MG Midget was next and then came the Austin Mini of Matthew Howell & Joshua Brooks. Further down the grid, it was good to see Charles Marriott, out for the first time in his newly-built Midget, putting in competitive times. There were also two Austin A40s (great to see those out on the track!) - one driven by Gavin Crawford & Tom Woodcock and the other by Mark Cloutman.
Unfortunately, after qualifying there were several withdrawals from the race, including Bill Watt's very smart Lotus Elan S2, which had trouble with the differential and the 1498cc MG Midget of Simon Polley & Sam Polley, which had a severely damaged engine.
As soon as the lights went out for the rolling start, it was clear that there was going to be an exciting tussle between the first three on the grid. The end of the first lap saw Barrow's V8 power into the lead from Keevill, with Campbell following closely behind. By lap 2 Keevill had taken the lead by 0.1 seconds, a lead which he increased slightly until lap 5 when the left-hand drive-shaft failed spectacularly at the Bomb Hole, throwing the car into the air. Jamie Keevill was very lucky that the car landed right way up, but it finished up in a dangerous position, which necessitated a Safety Car period for 5 laps.
The Safety Car period coincided with the first few minutes of the pit window, causing many drivers to come in, the pit-lane becoming crowded, although thanks to its length and the less manic 2 minute 'Covid' stop it was safe. After the Safety Car period ended, and the pit cycle had worked itself out, Campbell was in the lead, with Barrow a long way back as a result of his 30-second winner's penalty for his win at Thruxton. Mark Campbell continued on to win the race, followed by the cars of Jon Crayston (Lotus Elan S4) and David McDonald (Triumph TR6). Barrow had a spin towards the end of the race, but was still able to finish an excellent fourth overall. Mark Campbell has, along with a trophy, now earned a 30-second success penalty for the remainder of the season!
While the Group 2 cars were battling it out at the front, the Group 1 cars were enjoying their own equally entertaining race. Marriott and Michael Didcott spent 7 laps in close company, with Marriott just beating Didcott by one and a half seconds at the flag for tenth in Group 1. Simon Page in the black Sebring Sprite had a great race and finished 14th overall. One other entertaining drive was the Turner of Everett & Cairns trying to make up 17 seconds on Drew Nicholson's Alfa Romeo GT Junior for the Group 1 lead. This was achieved just 3 laps from the end and has earned them a 30-second penalty next time out, and a nice trophy of course!
Those racing on Saturday at Snetterton were very lucky with the weather, as on Sunday the meeting had to be abandoned after lunch due to torrential rain. Let us hope that Donington Park can improve on last year's efforts, when the classics series' were the ones who had to endure thoroughly wet conditions; it will be sunshine all weekend this year I hope!
Photos courtesy of David Stallard. To purchase and view even more images from Snetterton click here: https://www.davidstallardphotography.com/ClassicSportsCarClubCSCC/CSCC-2020
Full race results are available on the TSL website: https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/203364
Entry forms for Donington Park, Le Mans and Mallory Park are available on the CSCC booking page: https://www.classicsportscarclub.co.uk/race-calendar