FIRST-COR­NER DRAMA IN JU­NIORS

Ti­tle ri­vals Mid­dle­ton and Tre­gurtha both get caught up in crashes

Motor Sport News - - Btcc Report: Croft - Photos: Jakob Ebrey By Stephen Lick­o­r­ish Clio Cup, be­low RACE DATA Photos: Jakob Ebrey

Two first-lap col­li­sions in­volv­ing ti­tle pro­tag­o­nists Stuart Mid­dle­ton and Wil­liam Tre­gurtha meant the gap be­tween the two in the stand­ings is still slen­der – but it’s now Mid­dle­ton who has the ad­van­tage.

Mid­dle­ton ben­e­fit­ted from the first of the clashes as HHC driver Tre­gurtha was punted off by Dave Wooder at Hawthorn in the opener, with Seb Perez also in­volved. From that point the or­der didn’t change as pole­man Mid­dle­ton was able to fend off the ef­forts of Se­bas­tian Pri­aulx with Daniel Harper third. Char­lie Fagg was fourth with debu­tant Olli Cald­well fifth for JHR.

It was a Dou­glas Mo­tor­sport one-two in the sec­ond race with Mid­dle­ton again lead­ing Harper home, with Pri­aulx third after los­ing out at the start. Mid­dle­ton was clearly push­ing hard though as he was reg­u­larly pow­er­s­lid­ing through the Com­plex.

“That was ab­so­lutely awe­some,” beamed Mid­dle­ton after tak­ing his two wins. “It couldn’t have been much bet­ter! The car was per­fect all day. Ini­tially it was about get­ting very good starts and then mak­ing no mis­takes.”

Harper did close late in the race but Mid­dle­ton said: “I knew he wouldn’t try any­thing silly”.

Tre­gurtha fought his way up to fifth place, be­hind team-mate Lewis Brown. Tom Gam­ble – an­other HHC driver – com­pleted the top six.

But Mid­dle­ton’s per­fect week­end ended on Sun­day when it was his turn to be caught up in a first-lap tan­gle.

Pri­aulx’s slow start from the front row bunched the field up into Cler­vaux and he and Mid­dle­ton col­lided into the cor­ner. This sent Mid­dle­ton into the path of Gam­ble, with Fagg also get­ting col­lected. In a ter­ri­ble start for Dou­glas, Harper was also caught up in the melee and was hit from be­hind, send­ing him into a spin. Inevitably, the safety car was de­ployed.

The main ben­e­fi­ciary of the first cor­ner chaos was Tre­gurtha who found him­self

1 Stuart Mid­dle­ton (Dou­glas Mo­tor­sport); 2 Se­bas­tian Pri­aulx (JHR De­vel­op­ments) +0.780s; 3 Daniel Harper (Dou­glas); 4 Char­lie Fagg (HHC Mo­tor­sport); 5 Olli Cald­well (JHR); 6 Cameron Roberts (JHR). Fastest lap Roberts 1m40.122s (76.40mph). Pole Mid­dle­ton. Starters 21. 1 Mid­dle­ton; 2 Harper +0.544s; 3 Pri­aulx; 4 Lewis Brown (HHC); 5 Wil­liam Tre­gurtha (HHC); 6 Tom Gam­ble (HHC). FL Harper 1m40.264s (76.29mph). P Mid­dle­ton. S 21. 1 Tre­gurtha; 2 Brown +0.526s; 3 Dave Wooder (TCR); 4 Geri Nicosia (JHR); 5 Roberts; 6 Con­nor Grady (TCR). FL Brown 1m40.271s (75.95mph). P Brown. S 21. Points (after 12/25 rounds) 1 Mid­dle­ton 324; 2 Tre­gurtha 320; 3 Brown 257; 4 Wooder 244; 5 Harper 210; 6 Nicosia 188.

in sec­ond. Soon after the restart, he got ahead of Brown into Tower with his team-mate not de­fend­ing too hard.

Tre­gurtha’s win means Mid­dle­ton’s ad­van­tage is just four points as the se­ries reaches its mid-point. It’s fast be­com­ing a two-horse race for the ti­tle as third-placed Brown is now 67 points be­hind Mid­dle­ton.

Fur­ther back, Wooder sal­vaged some­thing from the week­end with the TCR driver pass­ing Geri Nicosia through the Com­plex to take third shortly after the restart. None­the­less, it was still a best re­sult in the se­ries for JHR racer Nicosia. Cameron Roberts picked up fifth with Con­nor Grady sixth.

1 Paul Rivett (WDE Mo­tor­sport); 2 Max Coates (Cice­ley Mo­tor­sport) +3.466s; 3 Mike Bushell (Team Pyro); 4 Ant Whor­ton-eales (Jam Sport); 5 Daniel Row­bot­tom (Team Eco­mo­tive with Fi­nesse); 6 Paul Streather (Fi­nesse Mo­tor­sport). FL Lee Pat­ti­son (Team Cook­sport) 1m32.709s (82.51mph). P Rivett. S 18. 1 Coates; 2 Bushell +0.640s; 3 Price; 4 Charles Ladell (WDE Mo­tor­sport); 5 Streather; 6 Pat­ti­son. FL Rivett 1m32.818s (82.42mph). P Bushell. S 18. 1 Whor­ton-eales 256; 2 Bushell 253; 3 Rivett 205; 4 Coates 204; 5 Pat­ti­son 195; 6 Streather 176.

1 Ol­lie Chad­wick (Xen­tek Mo­tor­sport); 2 Ryan Had­field (Pri­va­teer) +11.381s; 3 Ian Robinson (TCR) 4 Jonathan Had­field (Pri­va­teer); 5 Andrew Richardson (Richardson Rac­ing); 6 Matt Chap­man (TCR). Class win­ner Robinson. FL Chad­wick 1m33.047s (82.21mph). P Chad­wick. S 23.

1 Chad­wick; 2 R Had­field +0.083s; 3 J Had­field; 4 Richardson; 5 Nick Zapol­ski (Got Boost); 6 Tom Hib­bert (Rob Bos­ton Rac­ing). CW Robinson. FL Chad­wick 1m33.699s (81.64mph). P Chad­wick. S 23. 1 Chad­wick 439; 2 R Had­field 304; 3 J Had­field 296; 4 Matt Chap­man (TCR) 293; 5 Matt Flow­ers (Acad­emy Mo­tor­sport) 227; 6 Robinson 208.

“It wouldn’t have been as good in Europe be­cause it had too much drag, but it wasn’t de­signed for Euro­pean cir­cuits. Bob and Bill Ri­ley de­signed it and they knew how to build cars for Amer­ica. It was good on bumpy tracks, slow tracks, fast tracks, and in the wet. Ev­ery­thing about the car was spot on.”

The Ri­ley and Scott MKIII was one of the sports-rac­ing bench­marks in Amer­ica dur­ing the 1990s. The high­down­force de­sign, which could take a range of V8 en­gines, was ver­sa­tile and re­mained com­pet­i­tive for sev­eral sea­sons after its 1995 de­but.

“Ri­vals, like the Fer­rari 333SP, were quicker on the Day­tona bank­ing, but we’d have them on the in­field,” says Wallace. “In the damp, the MKIII could get tem­per­a­ture into its tyres in one lap; the Fer­rari could take three.”

The Dyson Rac­ing team’s ex­per­tise and set-up skills of co-driver James Weaver meant the trio of Wallace, Weaver and Butch Leitzinger were a for­mi­da­ble com­bi­na­tion be­tween 1995 and 1999. “We ended up with a car as good as we could get it,” adds Wallace. “All three of us could drive it at ex­actly the same speed. There was a lot of com­pe­ti­tion, but it was so drive­able. If you got into trou­ble you could jump off the ped­als and the down­force would sort you out.”

The Ri­ley and Scott’s many suc­cesses were Wallace’s Day­tona 24 Hours wins in 1997 and 1999, while Leitzinger took back-to-back IMSA cham­pi­onships in 1997-98.

Mid­dle­ton (c) was forced out of fi­nale Ginetta Ju­nior

Tre­gurtha took the third race win JUNE 22 2016

English racer says the MKIII was per­fect

Wallace (right) won at Day­tona

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