MURRAY TWICE BEATS RAVEN
Niall Murray made it two wins out of two in the Formula Ford 1600 National Championship, both times beating James Raven to the chequered flag.
After the Irishman secured pole, a tenth ahead of Raven’s Ray, the two were in a class of their own in race one, creating a substantial gap to the rest of the pack. “That’s what it’s like here: you get a lot of tow down both straights so we were constantly exchanging positions, helping each other – another lap and it might have been different,” said Murray. Raven did have a look on the final lap, eyeing up a move around the outside of Stowe but claimed “there were too many marbles and it wasn’t worth the risk”. He admitted second wasn’t really a bad result.
Race two warranted the same top five, much to the disappointment of Texan Chase Owen. Victory in the wet at Oulton Park seemed a distant memory as two fourth place finishes behind Stuart Gough were not what he wanted, admitting it had been a “tough, but solid weekend”.
It was a peculiar weekend in the Intermarque Championship. With race one winner Tommy Field disqualified for an oversized diffuser, he looked to make amends in race two, but despite a 30-second track limits penalty, he was still victorious as an erroneous chequered flag waved, forcing the majority of the field into the pits a lap too soon.
According to Daniel Smith “it was shown, but quickly taken away and the cars started going into the pits so everyone followed”. Daniel’s brother Lewis, who had been gifted the victory in race one, was leading in the second race but followed the rest of the grid into parc ferme while Field remained on track. With the source of the error undiscovered, race control chose to allow the finishers to have taken the real flag in the pitlane, albeit some distance behind the winner, much to the disdain of Lewis Smith.
Michael Gibbins was the standout driver of the Sports 2000 Championship weekend. Despite a driveshaft failure in qualifying and having to start from the back of the grid, he navigated his MCR to third. He then zipped into an early lead in race two, but admitted he “had the worse of the backmarkers”, meaning that second place finisher Patrick Sherrington could cut down a four-second gap to just 0.1s, making for a tantalising climax. Sherrington was looking to make it back-to-back wins after victory in race one, but failed to deal the crucial blow.
Jam Sport was the big race two winner in the Quaife Fiesta Championship. Aaron Thompson, a junior graduate, stormed through from 13th to take victory as he continued to impress as a senior. Thompson lost out to Simon Horrobin in race one, retiring following damage to his driveshaft, but it was Horrobin who suffered a similar fate in race two, finishing in 25th. The celebrations continued for Jam Sport in Class D, as Jessica King took her maiden victory in the series, holding off a late charge by Stuart Robbins.
Carlito Miracco gave a display of defensive maturity in race one of the Fiesta Juniors, denying rookie Harry Gooding’s advances. The Italian couldn’t make it a full house of victories though, as Gooding’s inspiring start to the season again proved too much in race two. Elliot Wilson was leading the points going into the weekend after two victories at Snetterton but was below his 2016 standard, only managing two fifth places, blowing the championship wide open.
There was a clean sweep for Arron Pullan in the MR2 race series, a two-second victory in race one was doubled in race two after a bold move on Adam Lockwood through the inside of Stowe.
It was an equally successful weekend for Richard Hockley in the Nippon Challenge. The Honda Civic driver’s two wins made it four out of four in 2016, as his closest competitor, James Janicki, was blighted with engine trouble throughout the weekend in his Nissan Skyline.
The Superkarts were the usual breathless display, somehow seeming to almost defy the laws of physics. In the 250/450 series, a late call up to the bill, Gavin Bennett and Gareth James both celebrated victories. Kirk Cattermole proved why he is the English champion, winning all three races of the F125 Open, making a huge statement on the 2016 championship.
Both Tricolore Trophy victories looked to be heading to John Whelan’s hornetcoloured 306, but a loss of control around the Farm Complex in race two forced him to retire, leaving him with to watch as Tony Hunter sailed to a convincing sevensecond victory. Whelan will look to make amends next month when the series takes to Pembrey.
While Philip Walker’s Lotus 16 dominated the Pre-1961 Racing Cars race within the VSCC Silverstone Spring Start, it was the Lotus 12 of Andrew Smith that took an unexpected victory.
Racing his Lotus 16 for the first time since a bare-chassis rebuild, Walker quickly took control of the race and did everything right as the pack battled in his wake. Smith, racing the Lotus 12 of Nick Rossi on its return to competition after a nasty accident at Pembrey, slotted into second from Geraint Owen’s mighty Kurtis Indy Roadster.
While Smith three-wheeled the Lotus around in style, Owen’s highly promising run ended in the pits with a worsening misfire. Then, with a lap to go, Walker was caught out by a liberal oil slick on the exit of Luffield. By the time he got the car restarted, Smith had nipped through to give the 12 a very rare racing victory. Walker recovered to take second just before Fred Harper arrived in the other Kurtis Indycar.
“I’m so honoured to drive for Nick and I can’t believe the result,” said a stunned Smith after an unexpected win for Colin Chapman’s first single-seater design.
“I was just controlling the lead and the next thing I knew I was facing the other way,” said Walker.
On a day of full grids and thoroughly entertaining racing, the Vintage Racing Cars delivered as always, even though Tom Walker edged away in his aeroengined Amilcar. Robin Tuluie gave it his best shot in the Riley Menasco Pirate and led as far as Becketts before understeering wide and allowing Walker ahead.
While Walker edged away, the Pirate expired and so second place became the subject of a mighty oversteering battle between Tony Lees (AC/GN Cognac) and Patrick Blakeney-edwards (Frazer Nash Super Sports), which was only resolved in the closing laps when the Frazer Nash stole ahead.
It was a big day for the Frazer Nash marque as a special race celebrated pre- and post-war cars from the company with a capacity grid. Eddie Gibbs led throughout in his single-seater Nash but Martin Hunt was a constant threat in his Le Mans Replica and was shaping up for a big challenge when the race was halted on the ninth lap. Up to five cars were battling for third and it was Tony Lees in the final podium place when the red flags flew.
A tardy start and an increasingly oily track gave Peter Horsman plenty to think about in the HGPCA Pre-1966 Grand Prix car race but he deftly steered his Lotus 18/21 to the front of the pack and away for victory.
Barry Cannell gave chase in his Cooper T51 and finished well clear of a spirited four-way contest for third, in which Ruediger Friedrichs finally asserted his Cooper T53 over Eddy Perk’s Heron.
It was a pretty good day for Friedrichs, who opened the racing by taking his Alvis Firefly to victory in the Pre-war Sports race after dealing with a challenge from the Alta of Sam Stretton. “That was my first VSCC race and it was very exciting,” said Friedrichs.
“Once he made the break in the traffic I just couldn’t get back to him,” said Stretton.
The FISCAR season started in style with a bumper grid for the Tom Cole Trophy, although no one had any answer to the pace of Darren Mcwhirter’s Lagonda V12. Steve Boultbee Brooks guided his Aston Martin DB3S to second place in the halfhour thrash but was relieved to see the flag as Chris Keen’s Kurtis was looming large after starting from the pitlane when a vibration developed on the warming-up lap. “I took the long way round to get back to where I should have started,” said Keen.
Mark Lewis led a thunderous podium party in the 1950s Sports Cars race as US V8 powered the top three cars. Lewis and third-placed Roberto Giordanelli ran their Chevrolet-powered Lister Knobblies while Tony Bianchi split them in the Cadillacpowered Farrellac. The result might well have been different had first lap leader Giordanelli not suffered a lurid spin at Brooklands after finding some oil.
No Spring Start would be complete without the bark of ERAS and the closing Pre-war race did the trick as Duncan Ricketts took his stunning 1938 E-type clear of Nick Topliss (R4D) and early leader Terry Crabb (R12C).
Maintaining the day’s Frazer Nash flavour was the entry for the Pre-war Sports Car race which resulted in a Nash one-two as the Super Sports of Jo Blakeney-edwards and Philip Champion saw off the opposition.
An unusual guest race brought a touch of the modern era to the day as a full grid of Morgans contested the second round of the Morgan Challenge. There was little surprise when Keith Ahlers took his Plus 8 to yet another Silverstone win from Philip Goddard, while Tony Lees forsook his AC/ GN to hop into his Plus 8 and finish fourth behind young Elliot Paterson.
Thompson (centre) fights with Priest (r) and Going (l) in Fiestas
Murray emerged victorious in both National FF1600 contests
Andrew Smith took Pre-1961 Racing Cars win in the rebuilt Lotus 12
Eddie Gibbs took the win in superb Frazer Nash celebration outing