Ray Barrow and David Franks shine in difficult Swinging Sixties season-openers
The Swinging 60s Series began its season with a pair of well-supported pitstop enduros – one for smaller engined Group 1 cars and a separate outing for their more powerful Group 2 counterparts.
The latter took to the track earlier on the race card, meaning they bore the brunt of the afternoon’s rain. Among others, it caught out the Lotus Elan of polesitter Richard Wheeler and his resulting spin handed the initiative to Mark Halstead’s Ginetta G4. He briefly relinquished the place to a charging Mark Campbell two laps later, but was back ahead when the leader’s Triumph TR5 expired on Senna Straight.
Again, though, the lead didn’t stick, as the Ginetta dropped back after the mid-race driver swaps, allowing Ray Barrow to take top spot. This time he pulled away to win, comfortably clear of recovering Wheeler, who’d came back through the field after his early off to take runner-up spot. Malcolm Johnson’s evocative Lotus Europa overhauled Mike Dowd’s Elan to secure third.
The Group 1 race looked to be in the control of Tim Cairns’ Austin Healey as he pulled clear in the early laps, but a collision with the barriers at Williams scuppered his chances.
The race came down to a close finish between David Franks’ Mini and the charging BMW of Gary Makein closing fast in his mirrors. But Makein just ran out of time to catch his rival, with the chequered flag ensuring Franks held on to win. Frustratingly for Makein, the race distance had been shortened due to the impact of adverse weather – the lap lost might have been just enough.
class in his MG ZR 160.
There was drama aplenty in the opening Classic VW and Pre-2003 Touring Car event. Attempting to fend off the Honda Civic Type R of fellow front row starter AJ Owen at the start of race one, pole position holder Tony Absolom spun his VW Golf. Several cars were forced to take avoiding action. While Absolom was able to rejoin at the tail of the field (later recovering to sixth), Owen was forced to pit with damage. Ken Lark was the main beneficiary, taking victory in his VW Corrado ahead of Steven Barden’s Civic. Lark followed up his win with another in race two, although Absolom kept him honest.
A first race throttle problem in the latter stages of race one did little to stop Stephen Primett dominating both Pre-66/pre-83 Touring Car races, winning both by over half a minute in his Ford Escort. Second in race one was taken by Alan Greenhalgh in his Vauxhall Firenza, with David Howard’s Jaguar XJ12 powering through to claim third. Howard improved to second in race two, with Stuart Caie (Ford Capri) third.
Like Primett, Dale Gent’s Subaru Impreza was equally successful in the pair of Classic Thunder races. Andy Robinson took a pair of seconds in his monstrous Ford Falcon, despite a spin at Yentwood on lap one of race two, while an elated Neil Wade and Ian Froggatt scored a third each.
Ian Goodchild was victorious in the first Hyundai Coupe Cup race, leading home Simon Miles and Alex Cursley. Jon Winter, who had charged through from eighth on the grid to fourth in race one, denied Goodchild a double with a bold move at Tarzan on the last lap.