In the trio of Ginetta GT5 Challenge races, Richard Evans followed up his clean sweep of GRDC+ class wins at the opening round at Brands Hatch with two further successes at Rockingham, while former Mazda MX-5 racer Simon Traves also claimed a race win.
Race one began in dramatic style when, attempting to outbrake each other into Deene, both front row starters Evans and Richard Smith ran off track. Both drivers were able to rejoin near the back of the field. Traves inherited the lead, pursued by Richard Elliker and Andrew Marshall.
Both Evans and Smith attempted to fight back, but their recoveries were overshadowed by a brilliant drive from Shawn Fleming. Having started 16th on the grid, Fleming set a succession of rapid laps to move into second by lap eight and even threatened to ruin Traves’ comfortable run to the flag as the race came to a close. The laps ultimately ran out for Fleming, but he was only 1.5 seconds behind at the finish.
Having bounced back to fifth in race one, Evans made amends for his first race disappointment to win race two, having powered around the outside of leader Fleming on the approach to Tarzan on the third lap.
In race three, Evans had to battle his way to the front again to claim the victory ahead of Traves. Adrian CampbellSmith, who briefly led the contest, had to settle for third.
Paul Thacker was the star of the show in the pair of Super 7 Inter Series races, winning both to add to his success at Silverstone at the start of April. Oscar Rovelli and Justin Armstrong came home second and third respectively, having indulged in an enticing battle for the lead in the early laps before Thacker pounced. Phil Jenkins was the first SS class driver.
If his first race win was impressive, Thacker’s performance in race two was even better. Despite starting right at the back of the 26-car grid, he blasted past the entire field by lap five and went on to win by over seven seconds. Rovelli held on for another second, ahead of pole position holder John Whitehouse.
In his maiden outing in a race car, Phil Ingram took victory in the first Ginetta Racing Drivers Club contest, but it was never guaranteed until the end. Jack Oliphant, brother of reigning Ginetta GT4 Supercup champion Tom, had looked a possible winner until spinning at Brook late in the race. This enabled Ingram, who had successfully come out on top in a battle with Richard Tetlow, to take the spoils. Tetlow came home second ahead of David Holloway, as Oliphant climbed back to fourth.
Race two was far more comfortable for Ingram, taking a lights-to-flag win from Tetlow. Oliphant completed the podium, while the battle for fourth was resolved in Richard Isherwood’s favour when Richard Anderson spun at Gracelands. Mark Libbeter