AND THE WINNERS ARE... ROLLCENTRE GIVES ITS BMW A DOUBLE
SILVERSTONE: CREVENTIC 24 HOURS BY PETER SCHERER
The Team ABBA with Rollcentre Racing BMW M3 V8 of Richard Neary, Martin Short, Darren Cox and Charles Lamb came from last on the grid to take victory in the remodelled 24 Hours of Silverstone after the Bleekemolen SEAT Leon suffered engine failure having led for 15 hours.
Rollcentre’s win marks the second for its BMW M3, which also triumphed in the 2012 running of this race when it was the Britcar 24 Hours.
Phil Quaife’s Memac Ogilvy Duel Racing SEAT Leon had roared into the lead at the start, but once Sebastiaan Bleekemolen had ousted poleman Bob Herber’s JR Motorsport BMW E90 M3, the British driver’s advantage was quickly reduced.
They had a number of exchanges and, at the end first hour, Bleekemolen had a 2.78-second lead over Quaife, with Herber third.
The first driver changes followed into the second hour. Dave Robinson, in the Saxon Motorsport BMW 135D took the lead from Melvin de Groot in the Bleekemolen car. They were in front of Ramzi Moutran’s Memac Ogilvy entry and Martin Lanting for JR Motorsport.
Although the lead four continued to change places they had had eased clear of the chasers, which after three hours were headed by the Rollcentre BMW M3 of Neary and Cox. As darkness fell there was rain in the air and a number of crews made early stops for wets.
The Bleekemolen car began to make the break at the head of the field and, six hours in, Team Bleekemolen driver Pim van Riet was two laps up on Sarah Bovy’s Team Altran Peugeot 208 GTI with the Red Camel Jordan SEAT of Ivo Breukers third and Neary fourth in the Rollcentre car after a sterling stint from Martin Short.
The Memac Ogilvy SEAT was still in fifth but losing ground, while Martin van den Berge’s NKPP SEAT completed the top six.
Despite the heavy rain and appalling visibility, Bleekemolen’s lead increased to three laps in the early hours of the morning over Red Camel Jordans, with NKPP and Team ABBA Rollcentre contesting third. The Saxon team that led earlier had lost time with a gearbox change and the lack of traction control.
By the halfway point Rollcentre was into third, but two laps adrift of second-placed Red Camel, only to usurp them within the next hour.
As the rain stopped around 0630hrs, Short was the first to go for slicks. “I was 10 seconds slower until I got the tyres warm, then I knew it was the right decision,” he said after consolidating second place.
NKPP Racing had been holding a clear fourth but when Harry Hilders went off at Abbey the car was out, which promoted early leader Memac Ogilvy to fourth. The Team Altran Peugeot had also lost fourth earlier after being held in the pitlane over a noise problem.
There was further drama when, having led for 15 hours, van Riet came around Club Corner with smoke pouring from the Bleekemolen SEAT, forcing him to pull off. That handed the lead to Neary in the Rollcentre BMW, four laps up on Bert de Heus’ Red Camel SEAT.
Charles Lamb had his first stint in the lead car with five hours to go, but de Heus was back to two laps down. Quaife was third for Memac Ogilvy. The lead grew further after Rik Breukers had to serve a couple of penalties for Red Camel, which brought Quaife closer to snatching a late second place. Breukers started to have turbo boost problems too with a couple of hours left, but still had time in hand over Moutran in the Memec Ogilvy SEAT.
A problem-free final hour gave the Rollcentre squad victory by three laps at the flag, with Cox given the privilege of crossing the finish line. “We topped up with half a litre of oil and didn’t even change the brake pads, brilliant,” said Neary as they celebrated the win.
The Red Camel Jordan SEAT trio of Ivo Breukers/rik Breukers/bert van Heus retained second and won the TCR class with two laps to spare over the Memac Ogilvy SEAT of Quaife and Ramzi, Nabil and Sami Moutran.
Despite their earlier noise problems the Altran Peugeot of Guillaume Romain/thierry Blaise/bradley Philpot/sarah Bovy was fourth.
Lawrence Tomlinson gave the new Ginetta G57 a double win in the Dunlop Prototypes. Alex Kapadia’s Radical SR8 led race one until the pitstops, from where Tomlinson led the way with teammate Paul White second, after ousting Craig Dolby’s Riley in the closing laps.
Dolby led the second race initially, before it became a duel between Kapadia and Tomlinson. While Tomlinson took the victory spoils, Michael Munemann/ Chris Hoy’s Ginetta claimed second, with White and Dolby both demoting Paul Spencer/kapadia late on.
While Danny Killeen and Paul Thacker both had comfortable wins in the Caterham Inter Series, there was plenty of action behind. Thacker followed Killeen at a distance in race one, with Andy West topping a four-car fight for third on the last lap.
With Paul O’reilly a secure second to Thacker early on in race two, it was another four-car battle for third. West just held on by inches as Simon Cassidy and John Whitehouse chased hard.
Having led the first half of the HRDC Coys Trophy race, John Spiers spun at the Vale, shortly after being passed by Mike Whitaker’s similar TVR Griffith. But Whitaker then had a problem with his rear suspension. Spiers took his first win, with Whitaker limping home second, from the closing Lister Chevrolet of Roberto Giordanelli.
KIRKISTOWN: 500MRCI BY RICHARD YOUNG
Over the past couple of seasons, Jake Byrne has become pretty familiar with the Motorsport Ireland Young Driver Van Diemen Formula Ford 1600.
In the hands of prize drive winners such as Niall Murray and Jonny Mcmullan, the green and yellow machine has been part of the opposition to Byrne’s efforts in his family-run Ray, but at Kirkistown last Saturday, Byrne began his own prize drive year and did so in style with a win in distinctly unfriendly conditions.
Morning qualifying had been almost dry and Alan Davidson grabbed pole with Byrne alongside, but the rain had come by the time the first FF1600 race got underway and Byrne wasted no time in getting his nose ahead. His task was made easier on lap three when James Roe tangled with Davidson at Fishermans, the pair ending up undamaged but immovable at trackside. Noel Robinson and Jordan Dempsey brought their Van Diemens home in the podium positions.
Conditions were even worse for race two, but none of this deterred Noel Robinson, who returned to winning ways to lead Davidson over the line with Byrne third. Not a surprise result perhaps, but an astonishing race – if only because of the monsoon conditions at the time. All 17 race starters finished undamaged.
A first Kirkistown visit by some of the Historic FF2000 brigade provided two entertaining races. In race one victory went to Matt Dunne’s Royale RP27 after the similar car of Davy Walton reversed out of the lead and into the tyre barrier at the Chicane. Fraser Collins’ Lola T580 and Iain Rowley’s unique Penfold completed the podium. Dunne led the second race for a while too, before a hard-charging Tom Smith arrived from the back of the grid and swept by. Dunne placed second despite a last-lap lunge from Collins, which sent him into the tyres at the Hairpin. Third spot went to Stephen Gardiner’s Reynard instead.
A large field of Fiestas provided their usual frenetic action, although the first race ended after just six laps when red flags flew after cars became stranded in the trackside mud. Adrian Finnegan was leading newcomer Daniel Conlon at the time, while water polo star Eorann O’neill took third. Not surprisingly in the conditions she also set fastest lap.
Finnegan won the second race too, but not before it had been red flagged and restarted following an incident at the hairpin. Jonny Forsyth and Conlon took the places. However, some of the midfield antics in zero visibility were hard to credit. Officialdom will be watching in future.
Dan Polley took the main Formula Vee encounter in Luke O’hara’s lowline Sheane, beating early leader Colm Blackburn across the line by less than a second. James Jones took third in his Sheane.
The earlier race for B and C championship honours featured Joe Power victorious in his Leastone ahead of the Sheanes of Anthony Cross and Shane Mcbride.
Roadsports races at Kirkistown have been dominated of late by Jim Larkham’s Radical, and he led both encounters this time, but on both occasions conditions caught him out and others benefited. Race one went to Paul Conn’s Crossle 47S ahead of the similar car of John Benson, with Mark Francis third in his one-litre Locost. Race two was much wetter. Paul Thompson’s one-litre Stryker emerged from the gloom ahead of Francis, with Larkham a soggy third.
Max Drennan was victorious ahead of Alan Mackay in the two concurrent races for Global Lights.