‘The past MX-5 master prevailed’
Factory Spire twins John Cutmore and Billy Albone won an RGB thriller apiece as screaming motorcycle - engined sports-prototypes topped a frenetic 24-race Indy Circuit marathon inevitably peppered with red flags, most triggered by cars in the Paddock Hill Bend gravel bed.
Starting from the cambered pole, defending champion Scott Mittell (Mittell MC-53) lost out in Saturday’s drag race to Paddock, where Albone and Al Boulton (Spire) drifted wide, enabling Cutmore to forge ahead. Albone and Mittell usurped the points leader at Druids on lap four then battled on.
Mittell lunged ahead at Paddock, but his car’s tail snapped left at the hairpin a lap later, taking Albone’s nosecone as Billy dived for the apex. They exited abreast, whereupon Albone squeezed Mittell over the kerbs, earning exclusion. After trailing his rival’s nose for several laps, Mittell was black-flagged, a stunning 47.98s lap record his only reward. Cutmore, Boulton and Oliver Hewitt (MC-53) sped on to the podium.
Back on pole for Sunday, having bought a rear tyre from Spire, Mittell pitted with a fractured exhaust hanger but a red brought reprieve. Scott restarted from the pits, charging to 11th as 2014 750 Formula champion Albone landed his first RGB win from Boulton, Cutmore and the fiercely duelling Mittells of Hewitt and Dan Larner. Second into Paddock in his front-engined AB Arion, double champ Matt Higginson faded to seventh.
Four winged BMW E46s wailing round in unison characterised the new Tegiwa M3 Cup’s lead battle. Mazda MX-5 past master Brian Chandler prevailed, repelling Adam Shepherd and sponsor’s rep Luke Sedzikowski respectively, with Kevin Dengate mixing it boldly. Shepherd was penalised for repeatedly exceeding track limits as his tyres wilted second time out. With a new LSD transforming his Super Cooper, Eliot Dunmore was uncatchable among the M3s’ cousins.
Sport Specials points leader Rob Johnston (Cyana) split the Atoms both days, but was nudged out by Martin James’ at Clearways on lap one of the restarted opener, won by Nick Whitehead. Clive Hudson’s Eclipse sustained suspension and body damage in a mass exodus at Paddock before the red, inspiring a “very surprised” Paul Collingwood to shoot his limeade-hued example from 14th to third. James evened the Ariel score later, with Johnston a strong third.
With champion Shaun Traynor docked 10 seconds for jumping the start, Nigel Ralphson landed his first Toyota MR2 win under constant threat from Paul Cook, chased by podium debutant Lewis Ward. Jim Davies won the 45-car ‘round robin’ contest’s subsequent legs, rounding Graham Malings at Paddock on lap two of the finale then dropping the pack, led by birthday boy Stuart Nicholls and Cook at the chequer.
Locost racers also ran twice each within a triple-whammy. Ian Allee outfoxed table-topper Danny Andrew – who carried big corner speeds but was “short of waft” on the straights – with a combined margin of 0.11s! First heat winner Jack Coveney shadowed them in the finale.
Will Blackwell-chambers and Jack Sycamore led the 5Club Racing Mazda MX-5 opener before initial pacemaker James Rogers returned to the front of a four-car train in which Stuart Symonds’ smart Club 100 car was the guard’s van. WB-C had Rogers gunning for him throughout the sequel as Sycamore jostled back past Symonds, champion Ben Short (in a new car since Oulton) and erstwhile points leader Adam Bessell to recapture third after an early slip.
Andrew Thorpe (Citroen AX) and Derek Rozier (Peugeot 205) each pipped the other in Classic Stock Hatch, the French machines well clear on Sunday despite Rozier carrying 70kg of success ballast. Their task was eased by multichampion Lee Scott clonking fellow XR2I driver Martin Cayzer off at Paddock on lap one. Stewart Place and rookie Daniel Fillingham gleefully snared third and fourth as a result.
Robin Gearing described his 750 Formula double as “pretty punchy”, having usurped Bill Cowley’s eponymous steed, unbelievably in its sixth decade, with his immaculate Darvi. Third on Saturday, defending champ David Bartholomew’s PRS threw a wheel at Graham Hill Bend when a half-shaft snapped on Sunday. Peter Bove – quadruple champion in the car Gearing now owns – wriggled from 16th to fourth in another of the late Dick Harvey’s creations, behind Mark Glover’s Racekits Falcon.
On current winning form, Paul Smith looks favourite to land a fourth Formula Vee crown in his AHS Dominator. Ians Buxton (whose GAC’S throttle cable broke on Saturday) and Jordan made Smith sweat on Sunday, local man Jordan snatching silver opportunistically at Druids on the last lap as Buxton, with a whiff of victory, left the door open.
Carl Swift blitzed the first Civic Cup round, pursued by Mark Higginson, impressive novice Daniel Reason and teenager Joe Lock. The top 10 were reversed for race two, nonetheless Swift led by lap six, whereupon front row starter James Griffith worked him hard. Series leader Dave Buky topped the (depleted since Oulton) 1600cc class, reduced to three when Zack Bond rolled in the Paddock gravel.
Mittell lost out after trailing bodywork
Chandler claimed both wins in new M3 Cup
Allee won two Locost races, which were packed