SPENCER HITS THE FRONT
Leicestershire drivers Joe Spencer and David Porter shared the wins at their home track in the Club Mallory Sports Car races on Boxing Day.
After Andrew Barrett spun his Mazda MX-5 at Gerard’s Bend, Brian Dean (Westfield SEI) made the early running in the opener, before Porter dived ahead at Lake Esses on lap three. The Radical SR3 driver was soon reeled in by Spencer (RSM200), who charged through from the penultimate row of the grid to be in Porter’s wheel tracks by the end of lap four.
Spencer’s more wieldy Stuart Taylor Locosaki-derived car took the lead at Shaw’s hairpin on lap five and he kept the former Road Saloons champion at bay, although the gap varied according to the traffic. The second RSM200 of Dave Harvey took third from Dean on lap seven, while the remainder of the field were at least one lap down. Andy Grimm (BDN S2) and Philip Hart (Mallock Mk16) completed the top six.
BARC (NW) Sports/saloon champion Spencer looked set to complete a double later, but it was his team-mate Harvey that made an astonishing start, climbing from 16th to lead into Lake Esses on the first lap. By the end of the third tour Harvey’s advantage was 12s, but by that point the 20-year-old Spencer had made his way ahead of Ian Smythe’s Fisher Fury into second. Harvey’s advantage diminished at the rate of 2s per lap and eventually Spencer was able to go around the outside of him at Gerard’s. Harvey fought back at the hairpin but Spencer went ahead into the first turn of what many thought was the last lap.
However, the race ran to its scheduled 15 minutes, rather than the 10 mooted as darkness descended, leaving the RSM rivals to slug it out. Disaster struck a minute from the end when they went either side of backmarkers approaching the hairpin and Harvey locked up on the grass. As he rejoined the circuit, he T-boned Spencer, eliminating both.
Porter picked up the pieces, taking his first Mallory win since a 1998 Proton Coupe Cup round, by more than a lap over Dean. Grimm was third.
The Saloon Car races were also divided two ways, with Andy Thompson completing a Boxing Day hat-trick in the opener before BTCC driver Stewart Lines took race two.
Rich Hockley – running a new engine and gearbox in his Honda Civic – led initially before Mike Webb went ahead at the Esses in his Ford Focus. Former Road Saloon champion Brian Sale gave chase in the second race of his comeback after a two-decade lay-off, but he clonked into the back of Webb under braking for Shaw’s on lap seven, then retired when the bumper wedged underneath his Rover SD1. Webb lasted just a few more yards before suffering driveshaft failure.
Thompson, who had a double Mallory win in 2014, took over the lead. He fended off Lines for the final eight laps, while Peter Felix (Renault Clio) could not pass Hockley for third.
Hockley led most of race two but Lines sealed the win with a move at Shaw’s on lap eight. Thompson retired, having briefly made it a three-way fight, promoting the scrap between Felix and Sale. The extra grunt of the Rover told, before Felix too headed back to the paddock.