BARK FLOATS TO WIN
Wet weather specialist James Bark took a comfortable victory in a truncated third round of the Clio 182 Championship.
Bark shot through between front row starters Don de Graaff and Patrick Fletcher, and eased away in testing conditions. George Williams took second from Fletcher at Folly on lap two, but pole man de Graaff had just retrieved fourth from Nick Garner at Quarry when he skated into the barriers at Tower with a puncture, bringing out the reds.
Bark made a sluggish start to race two, allowing Fletcher and Philip Wright to make the early running. Bark reeled them in, then his push-to-pass move at Tower earned him P2 on the road as Wright narrowly avoided the barrier, although officials reversed the positions.
Michael Moyers led the Combe FF1600 race from the Esses on lap one, and the man he passed, Nathan Ward, spun out of contention at Hammerdown two laps later. The safety car intervened when Luke Cooper went off at Quarry, and in the three laps after the restart reigning champion Roger Orgee pushed Moyers hard. Adam Higgins held off Josh Fisher for third.
James Keepin took a stunning maiden Combe Saloon win from row six after heavy rain upset the regular order. With three leading contenders absent after last month’s accident, and James Winter breaking a gearbox in qualifying, Geoff Ryall’s 106 led into Folly, but he was reeled in by the MG ZR and lost the lead at Quarry on lap six. Earlier, Simon Norris demoted Dave Scaramanga’s VW Scirocco at Bobbies to claim third.
In considerably drier conditions later on, Keepin finished down in 17th while Norris gave the Mitsubishi Colt its first victory from Mark Wyatt and Scaramanga, who stormed from row six.
Keith Ahlers romped to the opening Morgan Challenge win in his +8, while Andrew Thompson relieved championship leader Elliot Paterson of second at Quarry on lap two. Struggling with an electrical issue, Paterson dropped back to fourth behind Tony Hirst. On a drying track in race two, Andrew Bentley’s +4 briefly led, but Ahlers prevailed.
Barry Squibb was fifth at the end of the first lap of the Combe GT race after contact, but charged back through the field, passing David Krayem’s Ginetta G50 over Avon Rise on lap eight. Krayem retired with a faulty oil pressure light, promoting poleman Matt Higginson (AB Arion) to second. Oliver Bull’s silhouette Tigra was third after Steve Hall’s Audi TT clone clashed with a backmarker.
Squibb led from lights-to-flag in race two, while Krayem’s off at Camp handed second to the well-driven M3 of Martin Thomas.
The first BMW race was briefly interrupted after erstwhile leader Jason West went off at Quarry. Although James Macintyre-ure (M3 E46) aced the restart, it was the 1 Series of James Cannon that took victory after fending off his rival over the last three laps. James Card got the verdict when the second race was red-flagged after Peter Miller’s 328 caught fire. Separately, Cannon and Daniel Wylie clashed at Quarry while disputing third.
David Mellor (ZR) had a big lead over the yellow Fs of Simon Kendrick and Martin Wills in the first MGOC contest, but after Wills drove around the outside at Camp to grab second he slashed the advantage. Wills grabbed the lead at Tower on lap five, but had to defend from Mellor to the end.
After nudging past Wills at Bobbies, Mellor took victory in race two, which was halted early after Stuart Philps was nerfed into a roll at Hammerdown.
Bark won the sodden first Clio race