GEAR­ING AND COW­LEY BEN­E­FIT

Motor Sport News - - Rac­ing Re­ports - Pho­tos: Steve Jones

The Pither Roth­ery Spe­cial (PRS) 1b is pos­si­bly the quick­est car in the ev­er­fas­ci­nat­ing 750 For­mula arena but since co-cre­ator Ed Pither’s dou­ble vic­tory in Bri­tain’s old­est club rac­ing cham­pi­onship’s open­ers at Don­ing­ton back in March, re­li­a­bil­ity has been its Achilles heel.

Fol­low­ing a dra­matic half­shaft fail­ure at Brands Hatch last month, de­fend­ing cham­pion David Bartholomew was un­catch­able in both Sil­ver­stone rounds last Satur­day be­fore a bro­ken bat­tery mount gifted vic­to­ries to Robin Gear­ing and Bill Cow­ley in di­verse chas­sis.

De­spite a poor start in the open­ing leg, Gear­ing (Darvi P88) won by a coun­try mile from Cow­ley in his epony­mous MKIV. Cow­ley re­versed the or­der sec­ond time out, helped by his ri­val los­ing down­force when he dam­aged his car’s nose. Spurred on by a sup­port­ers’ club at the venue, four-time cham­pion Peter Bove (Darvi Mk4/5) was a com­bat­ive third both times – the Hert­ford­shire man ris­ing from sixth on the grid in race one, be­fore en­gag­ing Gear­ing in heady com­bat later – thus clos­ing to within a point of third-placed Chris Gough (CGR2 Evo) in the ta­ble.

Gough, the peren­ni­ally com­pet­i­tive Bob Simp­son (SS/F), the on-form Rod Hill (Mys­tic T4) and Bove squab­bled over fourth on the road for much of the open­ing salvo, but a last lap clash at Luffield be­tween Gough’s clover pink ‘fly­ing saucer’ and Simp­son left the lat­ter stranded back­wards in the outer mar­gins. An­drew Lake (ex-dick Har­vey Darvi 91D) was the man to beat in Class B but Stu­art Cleevely in the ven­er­a­ble Ing­ham gave him a fright, forg­ing ahead be­fore the track im­proved in race two.

Bounc­ing back from an en­gine blow-up at Don­ing­ton’s sea­sonopener, Mar­cus Ward (Ford Fi­esta XR2I) won his maiden Clas­sic Stock Hatch race and was romp­ing away with its se­quel when the red car ex­pired with­out warn­ing. Triple champ Lee Scott ben­e­fited, the first leg chaser mov­ing clear of Martin Cayzer in the sec­ond. Matthew Stub­ing­ton (Peu­geot 205 GTI) and Mar­tyn Fow­drey (XR2) grabbed thirds, the lat­ter hav­ing dived through a bomb burst at Beck­etts for a great re­sult. Derek Rozier twice fin­ished ahead of son Matt, the de­fend­ing champ find­ing his suc­cess-bal­lasted 205 GTI just a lit­tle too heavy un­der ac­cel­er­a­tion.

Star of the rein­vig­o­rated Hot Hatch show was Alice Hughes, who drove one of the Tom Bell Rac­ing Ford Fi­esta STS beau­ti­fully to catch and over­haul top qual­i­fier Matthew Howarth (Vaux­hall As­tra GSI) and fin­ish on the bootlid of the more ex­pe­ri­enced Alis­tair Camp first time out. “Alice was quick. I couldn’t get her out of my mir­rors,” said Camp.

Alas a bro­ken gear­box mount pre­cluded Hughes from start­ing the later race in which Camp broke, leav­ing top qual­i­fier Howarth – who rev­elled in a sharp shower mid-race – to beat Bell in one of his less pow­er­ful Class B hire cars. Alice’s con­so­la­tion was that her lap record sur­vived as Kelly Wil­liams im­proved to fourth in race two.

Nick Thorn­ton-jones blitzed the Citroen Saxo-rich Stock Hatch split in the opener, mak­ing his es­cape as teenaged ri­val Ryan Pol­ley (grand­son of short oval leg­end Ge­orge Pol­ley) locked horns with Adam Read’s ‘Hot’ BMW Com­pact.

Thorn­ton-jones’ Blast Power car ploughed into the gravel at Beck­etts later, where­upon Paul Jarvis seized the ini­tia­tive and held off Pol­ley.

The BMW M3 of Rory Hinde/ Owen Fitzger­ald con­trolled the Road­sports en­duro, al­though Tim Gray – start­ing his Nankang-shod Tegiwa Cup-spec ver­sion – kept Hinde in sight un­til the mul­ti­ple club cham­pion was tipped into a spin at Brook­lands by early leader Eu­gene O’brien, guest­ing in Si­mon Phillips’ be­winged Toy­ota MR2 Road­ster. Jamie Sturges (SEAT Su­per­copa) out­ran cir­cuit neigh­bour An­thony Jones (MR2 Road­ster) for sec­ond, with Oul­ton Park win­ner Alec Lives­ley’s Jensen-healey in his wake.

After 15 years of For­mula Vee com­pe­ti­tion, Steve Ough drove his pris­tine 9 Sport Crossle-zetec 9S retro-racer fault­lessly for a mem­o­rable lights-to-flag first vic­tory in the Clas­sic In­ter­series race, which also em­broiled Sports Rac­ing & GT and Bernie Cho­dosh’s V8s. Tim Davis (TVR Tus­can) hounded down the Sun­beam Tiger of Chris Beighton/jon Fin­nemore, snatch­ing sec­ond when a stick­ing throt­tle spooked the lat­ter.

Me­chan­i­cal fail­ures put 750 Tro­phy front row starters Chris­tian Ped­er­sen (Austin Mono­posto) and John Slat­ter (Cen­taur) out be­fore Copse, thus a sur­prised He­len Gil­fil­lan (Cen­taur) led on her first out­ing since 2014. De­spite his Austin 7 Mono­posto be­ing stuck in top gear from soon after the start, Bernard Atkin­son jos­tled the low alu­minium-bod­ied ma­chine back past Lyn­don Thrus­ton (DNC) and Gil­fil­lan to win.

After run­away leader Slat­ter’s en­gine blew a core plug out, Atkin­son dou­bled-up from the pit­lane in the pro­gramme-closer. He was un­able to drop his ri­vals how­ever, Gil­fil­lan sneak­ing back round Andy Schultz to grab sec­ond by 0.01s on the line.

Dun­can Wil­liams’ pole­sit­ting Juno had ha­rassed Gra­ham Cole’s Jade Track­star from the start of the first OSS race and, when the lat­ter’s car cut out at Brook­lands on the sixth lap, Wil­liams went clear to take the win.

Mike Jen­vey’s Jen­vey Gunn had briefly pushed for sec­ond place too un­til he over­heated on lap nine. That pro­moted Josh Smith’s Rad­i­cal PR6. Cole re­cov­ered third place on the last lap, aided when Paul Spencer spun his Rad­i­cal SR8 at Brook­lands.

Cole got his re­ward in race two. He surged ahead of Wil­liams into Copse on lap three. With his ri­val mak­ing a quick pit­stop, Smith and Spencer moved into podium po­si­tions after Jen­vey had re­tired again from an early third. But Wil­liams surged back to re­take sec­ond on the last lap, with Spencer spin­ning again at Brook­lands as he chal­lenged Smith too.

Cole built a good early lead in the third race but Smith kept him in sight and, when Cole tan­gled with a back­marker at Beck­etts with a lap to go, Smith had the lead as his ri­val stopped with a bro­ken gear link­age.

Jor­dan San­ders had taken over Wil­liams’ Juno and started from the back, but his rapid progress needed one more lap, as he sealed sec­ond a lap from home and took the flag 0.642s away from vic­tory. Gra­ham Hill’s Rad­i­cal PR6 com­pleted the podium.

Be­fore Andy Robin­son vis­ited Sil­ver­stone, he hadn’t had a win in the Alfa Romeos and now he has two. Barry Mcma­hon’s 156 headed Robin­son’s sim­i­lar car in a first-lap break and they con­tin­ued to run in close com­bat. Robin­son got ahead on lap 13, and a cou­ple of laps later Mcma­hon’s car cut out. That handed a dis­tant sec­ond to Ron David­son’s 164 after Ray Fo­ley’s 146 GTA lost power and re­tired too. Tom Hill’s 156 was third after a race-long duel with James Brown­ing.

Robin­son was a lights-to-flag win­ner in race two, but had Mcma­hon inches be­hind un­til fuel surge ended his race pre­ma­turely again. David­son was sec­ond again, while Hill and Brown­ing con­tin­ued their fight un­til Brown­ing suf­fered late en­gine woes and lost out to Andy Han­cock.

Both Honda Vtec races had three­way bat­tles for the spoils. Mark Ben­nett’s S2000 led from the start but Paul Wadding­ton’s Civic edged him out on lap two. Adam Jones’ Civic had made a trio and split his ri­vals a lap later. As they caught back­mark­ers into Brook­lands, Jones surged into the lead and man­aged to re­tain his ten­u­ous ad­van­tage over the re­main­ing eight laps to take his maiden vic­tory over Wadding­ton and Ben­nett.

The sec­ond race was sim­i­lar but Wadding­ton had the early lead be­fore Jones took charge from lap two. It re­mained close through­out and on the fi­nal lap Wadding­ton grabbed the win into Luffield, leav­ing Jones to fend off Ben­nett for sec­ond. Mar­tyn Clat­wor­thy and Alan Palmer shared the con­cur­rent 4two Cup vic­to­ries.

Zachary An­der­ton snatched late wins in both For­mula Jedi races. Paul Butcher led most of race one un­til An­der­ton caught him nap­ping at Brook­lands on the last lap while Dan Clowes looked on. But it was Clowes to the fore in race two un­til An­der­ton shot ahead through Copse on lap 16 of 22, while Butcher com­pleted the podium.

Dean Cook’s Sa­garis was a dou­ble TVR Chal­lenge win­ner too, but had to chase Nick Cress­well’s guest­ing Cater­ham ini­tially in both races, tak­ing his sec­ond win on the last lap.

Pho­tos: Steve Jones

Cow­ley and Gear­ing fought in two fas­ci­nat­ing 750F races

Cole took Open Sportscar Se­ries race two vic­tory in his rapid Jade Track­star

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