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Thruxton Thriller Report and Videos

With just the one race day at Thruxton, it was a packaging challenge, but we succeeded in fitting in eleven different categories on 18th May. For some, this meant racing alongside unfamiliar, but similar machines from other series. Whilst this was a source of concern for a few, drivers paid heed to the words given in the morning's briefings and produced some fantastic, close, clean racing and sportsmanship.

After we'd endured years of rain here at Thruxton, we finally got lucky and had a dry day.


All races were live-streamed, by Alpha Live, who filmed at Thruxton for the very first time. You can watch them all here:



If you want a quick fix, Marc Peters captured the very essence of the meeting, in 2 and a half short minutes:


Full results can be viewed, compared and analysed here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/242064


Official CSCC photographer, David Stallard once again took thousands of photos, just for you, from multiple vantage points.

Check out his gallery and please consider buying a few photos:


CSCC THRUXTON THRILLER

 

Stripes beat stars in a fine day at the races. Race reports by Marcus Pye.

 

Thruxton has been on the club’s event roster since 2016 and the opportunity to compete on the UK’s fastest circuit has always been relished by the more adventurous throttle jockeys. With only 12 race days per year on the Hampshire Cathedral of Speed’s planning permission, our fixture has moved around between April to September. Dubbed the Coronation Meeting in May 2023, when it coincided with the investiture of HRH King Charles III, it returned to its original Thruxton Thriller title for its ninth edition, this time in a one-day format. 

The Andover aerodrome, reopened for car racing by the now resident leaseholders, British Automobile Racing Club, in 1968 - since when the 2.356-mile perimeter track’s outline has remained unchanged - previously hosted three meetings on different layouts in the early 1950s, although motorcycle sport continued in the interim. Now in new ownership, CSCC member Alex Thistlethwayte having recently bought the venue from Western Air’s Henry Pelham, who took it on in 1959, Thruxton is looking better than ever. As the UK’s last unspoiled, old school circuit, long may its history be celebrated.



Contrary to pre-event forecasts, with rain never far away in a year which has so far proved challenging for meteorologists to predict, Saturday, May 18, turned out dry to everybody’s relief. Indeed as the overnight moisture dried and the early morning mist burned off, it evolved into a most agreeable shirtsleeve weather day. Nine races - three double-header sprints and three longer pitstop contests, most with combined packs to fill grids and defray upfront costs - entertained spectators at trackside and thousands more enthusiasts engaged by Alpha Live streaming around the globe and available on demand via the CSCC website, YouTube and other channels.

 

Ramair BMW Championship and Verum Builders Open Series:

 

First out was the Ramair BMW Championship, new to the club this season and showcasing a mass of bewinged E46 and E36 M3s mixed with some interesting interlopers at the sharp end, and embracing a 300bhp supercharged Mini. Championship sponsor Ramair kindly donated the lairy, bright Green BMW safety car, that looked and sounded the part, the latter no doubt helped by the companies free-flowing filters. The sonorous German machines shared the hallowed tarmac - where two-litre BMW M12-engined cars ruled European Formula 2 races in the 1970s and early ’80s - with Verum Builders Open Series runners, whipped up by their ringmaster Rob Hardy on home soil. Everybody qualified together, but for the races would be split into separate grids released between 10 and 20 seconds apart. In theory at least.

 

Stars and stripes coloured the front row, albeit in the opposite order. CSCC debutant Graham Crowhurst’s E46 - its vibrant livery inspired by American artist Jeff Koons’ design for the M3 GT2 raced by triple World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx at Le Mans in 2010 - sat on pole, with Nathan Wells’ star-roofed 2001 factory IMSA tribute GTR version (with 3.2-litre straight-six rather than the period monster’s four-litre V8) alongside.


Nobody was more surprised than Crowhurst, whose engine had been out just five days previously, but his 1m18.907s (107.48mph) standard reflected a mighty team effort to get him there. In fact, the top six E46s were blanketed by barely a second, Wells, Niall Bradley - after his best four lap times were expunged for exceeding track limits - and class A battlers Jason West, Bryan Bransom and Michael Vitulli all in the 19s. James Card, Ollie Neaves and Paul Cook were next in similar cars, ahead of Ben Pearson’s turbocharged three-litre 2 series Coupe - a runaway double winner at last month’s 750MC event here - and Matty Evans’ mighty four-litre V8 powered 1M Coupe.     

 

Top of the Open Series tree was Dylan Popovic in his seven-litre Chevrolet V8-engined Ginetta G50, eighth overall, on a solid 1:20.797s (104.97mph). Closest rivals were Oliver Smith (BMW M3 E36 Evo) and Bruce Wilson (2.3 Caterham CSR Superlight), chased by Jonathan Strickland (M3 E46) and two-litre Caterham-mounted Darren McCormack (420R), Oliver Gemmill (Seven) and Richard Green (420R), with Ross Irvine’s turbocharged army green VW Golf GTI Mk1 in very close attendance.

 

As the red start lights went out to get the BMWs away there was a heart in mouth moment as Niall Bradley’s black M3 faltered on P3. Fortunately everybody missed the Irishman, but Ian Crisp’s white 1M went nowhere. As marshals endeavoured to push it from the grid, adjacent to the pit wall, the Open Series pack was sitting patiently, watching the orange army’s fruitless toils to clear it. With the leaders approaching Church at full chat, red flags halted proceedings rather later than anticipated and the BMWs slowed to a crawl up Woodham Hill, ready to reform.

 

A simple option in the circumstances might have been to have moved the Open cars up to leave first - after another green flag lap - but the BMWs were threaded through them, some using the grass on the outside, to reprise the original line-up. The getaway was clean and stars led stripes as Wells in the Spotless H2O car survived Crowhurst’s first lap probing, while Pearson’s banzai start from P11 saw him streak up to third before Allard (!). Overtaken by Bransom, Pearson then got stuck in to the task of trying to keep the E46s of West, Card, Cook, Vitulli behind, as slow starters Evans and Bradley started to pick their way up the order.

 

Wells held on to the lead for 11 laps, either side of a short Code 60 interlude for the retrieval of Ollie Neaves’ car, which had limped from the complex to the exit of the chicane. But as Crowhurst’s attacks in the braking areas became more urgent, Jason ran wide onto the grass at Church and Graham growled past on the outside up Woodham Hill and zapped Adrian Clark’s Porsche 928 GTS into the chicane. That hung Wells out to dry, creating an immediate gap.

Crowhurst duly finished 2.941s ahead of Wells, whose tyres were overheating in the latter stages, making it tricker to stop and turn in to the chicane consistently. Bradley and Evans jostled through to third and fourth, clear of the rest. Wells’ best lap of 1:17.688s (109.17mph) was the day’s fastest incidentally.

 

Evans clawed past Bradley on lap 2 and was ahead for much of the way, but a moment rounding Ronan Bradley’s E36 into the chicane advantaged Niall. Evans had incurred a 10 second jump start penalty anyway, but it did not cost him a place. Bransom and West, who finished between Ronan B and Evans on the road, were penalised a minute each for speeding under Code 60. The impositions dropped then behind Vitulli, Card’s 'HewittCard' car, Cook and Adrian Bradley (E46). Brian and Jason were reclassified ninth and 10th, last of the unlapped runners. Pearson’s turbocar slowed as the race evolved, falling to 12th.

 

Between Bradley and Pearson was Open Series race winner Oliver Smith in the bronze E36, a real Q-car. Strickland, Wilson and McCormack led the pursuit after Popovic retired his muscular Ginetta with what he thought was an HT lead issue.    

    

The second race was not as exciting out front. Wells’ car, on P2, spun its rear wheels madly, snaking sideways as he dumped the clutch, leaving Nathan to watch Vitulli - from row 3 - Adrian Bradley, Cook and Card gallop past. Sixth into Allard, Wells compounded his frustration by outbraking himself at Campbell, but Evans was worse off. Having hooked up well over the first few metres from P4 - a start adjudged by officials to be a tad too eager -  the black and dayglo yellow 1M was engulfed by the pack and almost last before Matty regained his momentum. Eighth at the end of the opening lap, his recovery continued apace.

Crowhurst was waiting for nobody. Bransom’s excursion at Church on lap two saw those around him lift which split the leaders further. As Bryan headed for the pits with his front spoiler deranged from ploughing and radiator ducts filled with grass. Crowhurst led Vitulli, Niall Bradley, Cook and Wells. “I couldn’t believe that my mirrors were empty after a couple of laps,” said Graham. “After that I was listening to every noise from the car,” which fortuitously did not miss a beat en route to a resounding 27 second victory, and a memorable double which after the week’s tribulations seemed an unlikely pipedream on arrival. 

Wells screamed back to second, usurping Niall Bradley by half-way, but neither he nor Vitulli went the distance, Michael pitting smokily and Nathan spinning to a halt at the Chicane on the penultimate lap. Evans bustled up to second on the road, but his 10 second jump start penalty dropped him back behind Bradley, fourth-placed Cook being only a second down on corrected times. Card and West completed the top six, with  Smith seventh having repeated his earlier Open victory, this time over a thinner field, and Pearson eighth despite a pit stop. Wilson, Strickland, McCormack and Green were next of the Open racers home, a lap clear of Clark’s big Porsche 928.    

 

JMC Racing Special Saloons & Modsports/Advantage Motorsport Future Classics

 

JMC Racing Special Saloon & Modsports standouts claimed the top three grid places in their race. Danny Morris claimed pole, with the Holmes Racing Cosworth YB turbo powered Spirit of RPM Peugeot 309 GTi on 1:20.750 (105.03mph) from Tom Carey (2.0 Honda CRX-BDG) and Andy Southcott’s 2.3-litre Vauxhall red-top motivated tubeframe Midget, on which builder Mike Johnston replaced a wheel bearing for race one. The quickest Advantage Motorsport Future Classics drivers were chasing hard though, Stuart Daburn (5.0 TVR Tuscan Challenge) on 1:26.634 and Matthew Ellis (Talbot Sunbeam Lotus) split by Paul Dolan’s orange tango-hued Lotus Elan.

Craig Percy (6.3 Morris Minor-Chevrolet) and octogenarian Ian Hall (6.0 Darrian Wildcat T98 GTR), a winning combo in years past, were next up, while Thruxton instructor Tony Maryon (Porsche 944 S2) and Geoff Beale (Talbot Sunbeam Lotus) did well to get inside 90 seconds. Martin Reynolds’ 2.5 Ford Escort picked up a stone in its cam belt and was withdrawn, which moved Alex Thistlethwayte (5.7 Chevrolet Camaro) up to P11, sharing row six with Darren Clayden (944 S2). Freshly rebuilt by Alan Mann Racing’s chief engineer Lee Lapihuska, the 1968 Camaro had been returned to its Ovaltine livery, as raced here by Martin Thomas in ’71. 

In a super competitive pack, Jamie Sturges’ BMW E20 M535i, Tim Moll’s VW Golf GTI Mk1, the Scuderia Nardone BMW E30 325i, Ray Barrow’s later Camaro, CSCC chairman John Hammersley’s faithful Vauxhall Astra GTE - an ex-rally car, dusted down after a thee-year hibernation and treated to a set of slicks - and Jerry Bailey’s Ken Clarke-tended Rover SD1, vibrant in its Toshiba/Kurt Thiim tribute warpaint, completed the top 20. New to the field, graced by the beautiful Alfa Romeo 105s of Ben Brain/Jeremy Thomas and Alex Child, were Scot Donald Dewar’s Golf GTi Mk1 and Matthew Sanders’ Triumph Dolomite Sprint, beautifully restored by Amspeed from what had been a dilapidated shell to its 1975 Brian Muir ShellSPORT livery.

Southcott and Carey hurtled past Morris at the start of the first race, postponed until after the lunch break for circuit work, but Danny moved briskly up to join them once his crossply tyres were up to temperature and he felt confident of matching his radial-shod rivals. Carey, flying in the Honda clone, set fastest lap of 1:20.378 (105.52mph) on lap three, and briefly poked its nose past Southcott, before his engine lapsed onto three cylinders and he throttled back to salvage third behind Morris. Danny kept Southcott honest to the chequer, but as often before Andy had his measure. 

Martyn Ellis piloted the family Sunbeam Lotus to a Future Classics-winning fourth, a long way clear of Percy’s magnificent Moggie, pursued to the line by Beale, Moll’s rapid Golf, the Porsches of Maryon and Clayden - 0.469s apart after nine laps - and division winner Sturges, having a lot of fun effectively in his back garden. Christiano Nardone in the other BMW, finished three seconds adrift, clear of Dolan’s Elan. Dolan had just got ahead of Daburn in their scrap for fifth when he spun on fluid at the chicane and tagged the battleship grey TVR’s nose as they exited stage right. Stuart was out on the spot, but accepted Paul’s profuse apologies for what was purely a racing incident.

 

A lap down, Thistlethwayte, Hammersley and Bailey were next over TSL’s timing line, clear of Colin Claxton’s Castrol Escort and Barrow’s Baldwin Chevrolet-signed Camaro. Paul Turner in the diminutive 1056cc Kawasaki-engined Suzuki SC100 ‘Whizz Kid’ and Brain’s Alfa were class winners, but Hall’s Darrian and buddy Jim Seward’s Triumph TR8 wilted. 

 

The survivors regrouped for their second outing at 1600, Southcott doubling-up with a runaway victory after Carey’s CRX broke on the at Noble on the opening lap - necessitating a very short Code 60 - and Morris pitted after six with “a bad vibration,” as opposed to the good ones of which the Beach Boys sang. Matthew Ellis lapped deep in the 1:24s - “it’s such a great car, a joy to drive”- chasing Andy who did not have to push as hard as before having taken the lead within a lap from the previous winner’s 10-place grid drop.  

Dolan finished an excellent third in the very pretty Elan, while Daburn - rapidly turned around after winning the Modern Classics race - charged throughout, snatching fourth from Beale on the final lap. Maryon finished an excellent sixth in his yellow Porsche, split from Clayden’s white example by Percy’s fabulous Minor. Thistlethwayte and Luca Nardone rounded out the top 10, with class winner Hammersley in tow. 

 

Lapped near the end, John’s rival Dewar wrested 12th from Barrow after a splendid chase, leaving Ray to fend off Bailey and Sturges, having a ball in his joyously tail-happy M535i, accompanied by a rasping soundtrack. Turner lapped 2.6 second quicker than before, recording 1:34.586 in the Suzuki which finished a distance ahead of Neil Vaughan’s eight-litre Chevrolet Corvette C3. The Alfas enjoyed a super duel, Thomas pipping Child by 1.404s.

 

       

Berkshire Jag Components Jaguar Championship/MG Trophy

 

Following outings at Donington and Thruxton, there was no doubt that the Berkshire Jag Components Jaguar Championship and MG Trophy contenders are well-matched when they reconvened for their third double-header, although the more powerful MG ZR 190's were absent this time. Having missed the Cheshire rounds, Fergus Campbell bounced back by qualifying his dayglo car quickest of seven less potent '170' versions, his 1:30.935 (93.27mph) best second only to Colin Philpott who cut 1:29.372s in his four-litre Powerbell XJS. 

Third and fourth before the two sides of this classic British equation were separated were Jack Robinson (Jaguar XK8) and Tylor Ballard (ZR), joined in the 31s by the XJSs of class pacesetter Michael Seabourne - in a striking purple Silk Cut-esque livery - and Tom Lenthall, who had shared Oulton’s victories with Philpott. Alas Robinson non-started after nose-diving his Swallows-run coupe into the tyre wall at the chicane, rearranging its shapely nose, having just set his best lap. 

 

James Cole lost two lap times for overstepping track limits, but remained third of the MGs, ahead of rival Jack Woodcock. Donington double winner Andrew Harper’s supercharged Jaguar S Type R and James Blake’s ZR shadowed them. More was expected of Chris Boon’s supercharged XK8 and James Ramm’s six-litre V12-engined XJS which completed the top 12, fractionally swifter than Michael Atkinson’s naturally-aspirated XK8, Ieuan Spooner’s XJS and Matthew Harvey’s MG. Charles Jackson (XJ) headed the other Jaguar division.            

 

The Jaguars were signalled away first, Philpott leading them into the complex by the time the MG sextet - Andrew Rogerson’s car having failed in the preliminaries - set off in pursuit. Harper was second within a lap, but Lenthall sailed past up Woodham Hill on lap 4. There he stayed, the grey machine finishing 2.894s adrift of the flying Philpott. “That took off out of the gate didn’t it,” said Colin whose expert crew had cured a gearbox oil leak after practice.

 

Harper was a distant third, monstered by Ramm at the chequer, having made “a terrible mistake at Church” on the last lap.  Seabourne was fifth, his 10 second jump start penalty affecting nothing, chased by Boon who was beaten by MG leaders Cole and Harvey. James Hall’s turbodiesel XJ and Jackson were late retirements. 

The MG action was shaped by early leader Campbell pitting with two shredded tyres and defending champion Ballard switching off immediately when “an horrendous noise from the engine bay” evidenced mechanical mayhem caused by a broken cam wheel. Cole, Harvey, Blake and Woodcock were the survivors in sixth, seventh, ninth and 10th overall, although Woodcock was with Harvey until a jump start penalty was applied.

      

Lenthall led the opening lap of the partially reversed grid second stanza, but his moment of glory was brief, for Philpott - who surged off P3, only to miss second gear - usurped him next time round. Seabourne, whose steed leaked a torrent of fuel as he snaked onto the grid, and Atkinson blasted either side of David Ringham’s XJS as they powered through Allard three-abreast in the stampede. Ramm wasted no time in passing polesitter Harper to keep the top pair in sight. 

  

A spin at Club presaged Lenthall’s retirement, but Ramm was revelling in V12 power, having struggled with gearbox issues since upgrading from a six-potter for this season, until Guy Connew sportingly lent him a spare. Finishing three seconds behind Philpott was a welcome fillip for Ramm, who acknowledged technician Andrew [from Colin’s Powerbell team] for set-up suggestions which unlocked yet more performance. With the whine of superchargers rising above engine notes, Boon and Harper finished third and fourth, the yellow and blue Covcats XK8 having forged past the saloon on the penultimate lap.

 

The MG’s provided the battle of the day, an epic confrontation in which all played a role as they cut through the [increasingly quick] Jaguars. Campbell was re-tyred and clearly determined to make his presence felt, while qualifying casualty Rogerson, Ballard’s dad Simon and Andy Cushion rolled their sleeves up, changing cylinder heads to get Tylor back out. Fergus resisted massive pressure from Cole, Woodcock and Ballard for lap after lap, but his master stroke - the ultimate arbiter - was an astonishingly opportunistic double pass, ironically into Campbell corner, named for Sir Malcolm among a string of land speed record holders commemorated here, succeeded by Cobb, Segrave and Noble (formerly Kimpton).

 

The timing of Campbell’s arrival at the Complex coincided perfectly with Mark Bennett’s attempt to wrest fifth from Seabourne round the outside into the deceptive but crucial right hander. As Michael watched Bennett’s X300 go in deep, the orange MG dived inside them both. Onlookers could sense Campbell grinning triumphantly as a glance in his mirror before Cobb revealed the Jags blocking the chasing MGs. Nobody was banking on it being the final lap, but when the chequered flag was shown to Philpott 15 seconds early, to keep the timetable on track, thus it proved. Campbell, classified fifth overall, ahead of Seabourne, was 2.5 seconds clear of Woodcock and Cole, with Bennett’s Jag, Harvey and Ballard in line astern behind them. Ballard crafted the fastest MG lap in 1:30.796 (93.41mph), but all six ZR drivers’ best efforts were blanketed by 0.328s after a superlative race.  

 

 

Liqui Moly Slicks

 

After a wet race last year and with the pre-weekend weather forecast far from promising for Saturday, competitors had everything crossed that the Liqui Moly Slicks Series would reflect its title rather than their cars in the puddles. As the day turned out fine they could concentrate on enjoying the challenges of lapping quickly - and with the top three in the 77 second bracket in qualifying, a super-competitive race looked to be on the cards. 

Resplendent in SafeSite battledress, with iridescent red and blue flashes accentuating its aggressive stance, the 3.7-litre Ford Mustang V6-powered Ginetta G55 of Michael Knibbs/Aidan Hills emerged on top in the morning with a late 1:17.558 (109.35mph) shot. Jamie Sturges - second and third for the past two seasons aboard his trusty Ramair VW Golf TCR - was but 0.063s slower in his latest Cupra Competicion TCR. Sam Allpass, gunning for a Thruxton hat-trick in his Geoff Steel Racing-built Solution F chassised six-litre BMW-Chevrolet M4, cut a promising 1:17.996 meanwhile, on a rare outing.

 

The class-leading BMW M3 E46s of Nathan Wells, Niall Bradley and Bryan Bransom [destined not to start] were next up, ahead of Richard Guy’s Coke Zero Mosler MT900 and West Country veteran Nigel Mustill’s reliveried Wessex Vehicle Services Solution F Volvo S60 caricature, both Chevrolet LS7 motivated. Matthew Sanders and his M3 E46 was the last combo in the 20s, with Adrian Bradley’s E46 and Mark Wyatt/Russell Humphrey’s four-litre E92 within half a second. Twelfth placed David Harvey’s supercharged Rover K-powered Lotus 340R was in touch on 1:21.860, despite distant memories of coming off his motorcycle at Church while following the family racing tradition in 1972! 

The field was made up by Billy and Carl Nairn’s newly-acquired Porsche Carrera Cup GT3, Ronan Bradley’s M3 E46, Ross Irvine’s feisty VW Golf and the M3 E46 of Shane Taylor/Dean Beckett. Dylan Popovic’s Ginetta-Chevrolet, qualified via the Open Series session, joined the fray, bringing it back to 16 starters.              

 

Sturges’ front-wheel-drive Cupra shot into the lead at the start, heading Allpass, Wells, Knibbs and Niall Bradley past the pits for the first time. Allpass thundered ahead on lap 3, but soon pitted with his left rear tyre in tatters. He continued but collateral damage ended his run at two-thirds’ distance. Sturges was the first of the leaders to make his mandatory stop, shortly after the window opened, leaving Wells and Niall Bradley to hound Knibbs.

 

Adrian Bradley, Popovic and Irvine had already fallen when Mustill retired the yellow Volvo - winner of the 2011 Belgian Touring Car Series Spa 12 Hours with compatriots Vincent Radermecker, Eric van de Poele and Nico Verdonck sharing the driving - around half way into the 40-minute race, at a similar juncture to Harvey. 

When the pit stagger unwound, Hills in the surviving Ginetta emerged just ahead of Sturges - despite losing around 20 seconds struggling to tighten his belts - who proceeded to reel him in. “On the brakes that TCR is incredible,” said Aidan. Endeavouring to exploit that dynamic advantage by arriving at the chicane ever more quickly, a hairy half-spin dropped Jamie behind the beefy BMWs of Bradley, but Niall’s monster gyration there next time round decided the issue, promoting Wells to third.

 

With Guy’s black Mosler a late retirement, the race was flagged a few seconds early. When Knibbs was excluded for overtaking under a Code 60, Sturges was declared the winner, with Wells and Bradley accorded the other podium places. A lap down, Sanders was fourth, a circuit ahead of Humphrey/Wyatt and Ronan Bradley. The Nairns and Beckett/Taylor were the last classified finishers.     

 

 

Co-ordSport Tin Tops/Puma Cup/Modern Classics

 

Combining the Co-ordSport Tin Tops and concurrent Puma Cup with Modern Classics provided a capacity grid and some sensational performances. It was no surprise to see Stuart Daburn’s five-litre TVR Tuscan on pole with a 1:26.195s (98.40mph) lap, but in such grunty company bookies might have put longer odds on Adam Brown joining the burly sportscar on the front row with 1:26.963 in his Ford Fiesta ST150. Australian Dave Griffin’s Diet Coke tribute BMW M3 E36 and Donington winner Andrew Windmill’s Rays Wheels Honda Civic CSL Type-R shared row two in the 27s, with no fewer than six chasers in the 28s, headed by Roger Hamilton in his giant-slaying Ginetta G20 and Gary Barlow’s Honda Integra Type-R DC5. 

The Field family’s omnipresent Proton Persona GTi Coupe gridded seventh, with Clinton Ewen’s M3 E36, Richard Bethell’s Renault Clio (shared with previous owner Tom Mensley) and Steve Papworth’s Civic next in the formation. Five Pumas came out to dispute one-make bragging rights, pacemakers James Clare and Luke Johnson 0.285s apart, separated by Alan Wilshire’s Fiesta, with Gareth Cotgrove their closest challenger. Lee Powell and Davie Man were 0.165s apart in the Mazda RX-8s. One unusual entry in midfield was Liam Place’s 1800cc Toyota Corolla T Sport, well clear of Richard and Andrew Hayes’ Supra turbo. 

 

An unfortunate non-starter was local Mike Reynolds, who having clattered his Porsche Boxster S off the inside kerb at Church was pitched across the track, up the grassy escarpment and into the barrier, which stopped the qualifying session. The impact did the car a power of no good, ripping a rear corner off - it had to be raised onto the recovery truck with an industrial strength fork lift -  but the Salisbury-based competitor alighted unscathed, much to the relief of his fan club which gathered in the paddock to console him. Having just set his best lap of 1:31.923, which comfortably outpaced Boxster rivals Rob Hardy and Alan Drain, Mike will hopefully be back.                 

Daburn led the race initially, but with Brown and Windmill - demonstrably bolder in the two braking zones and with traces of understeer to drive against in the ultra-fast sweepers - buzzing round him, was kept on his toes as he tamed the Tuscan’s tail. Brown squeezed ahead momentarily at the chicane a couple of laps before the combative Windmill took his stop, including an extra 30 seconds stationary for his Donington victory. Daburn, Brown and new leader Griffin pitted over the course of four laps, Stuart retaking the initiative from there with the Hamilton brothers, ‘Blue Nick’ and ‘Red Roger,’ chasing in their open Ginettas.   

 

In the closing stages Daburn was unaware of the renewed Tin Top tussle a few seconds behind him. Brown, the winner two years ago, had lost his clutch in the pits, thus 2020 and ’21 victor Windmill  - not lower than fifth in stand alone Thruxton races since 2018 - scorched on to win the category, and finish a superb second overall. “That was brilliant fun, with the first three swapping places. I didn’t expect to see anybody after the stops, so to catch and pass Adam was a surprise,” said Andrew, who set fastest lap overall at 1:25.755 (98.90mph) and faces 60 seconds of ‘success ballast’ going forward.


 

Brown had Griffin on his back bumper for the last four laps, but held on to third by 0.220s. All were class winners. Papworth and Nick Hamilton - following his sibling’s car’s late demise - were fifth and sixth. On the lead lap, Ewen and  Bethell/Mensley finished a lap ahead of Stephen Reynolds/John Ridgeon (Civic Type-R) and the Clios of Matt Churton (182) and Scotsman Richard Fowle (172 Cup), chased by Place’s Castrol Corolla.

Johnson and Clare finished 0.168s apart in a Puma Cup photo-finish, with Mark Jackson third. Powell beat Man for Mazda rotary honours.  

 

 

Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens 

    

The Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens brought the day to a disappointing close. Three false starts - surely unprecedented; is green flag etiquette so difficult to understand? - forced what was to have been a 40 minute race to be reduced to 30. This spoiled the majority’s fun, particularly as TSL-flagged pit window changes (normally 10 minutes, down from 15, for  the revised duration) were not flagged-up to competitors by Race Control, thus not enforceable, bringing confusion. 

When it did get under way at the fourth attempt, with the 1830 circuit curfew looming on the near horizon, top qualifier Stephen Collins triumphed in his BOSS Racing Caterham 400. Serial jump-starter Simon Lancashire finished nine seconds behind, having traded places repeatedly with sparring partner Bruce Wilson, notably through Allard. “I’ve not won many races outright in a career of about 15 years,” so I’ll take that, smiled Collins. 

Luke Tzourou blitzed Kevin Barrett and Italian Giuseppe Felet to claim class B gold, and land an excellent fourth overall in his humble Caterham 1600 Supersport. Tzourou’s impressive divisional fastest lap of 1:25.293s was just shy of the magic 100mph average! Class D victor Darren McCormack and Richard Green in Caterham 420Rs split the B men. Sole G starter Robert Forsdike finished ninth, while Darren Grainger took A having outlasted Nigel Liddell in an all Caterham field once Martin Leadbeater parked his Procomp LA Gold on lap 2. 

 


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