DEEGAN STARS ON GUEST SNETT HOT HATCH OUTINGS
In a packed programme for the 750 MC’S visit to Norfolk there was action all round. The first of two races for the combined Stock and Hot Hatch field kicked it all off and featured a new contender in the ring as reigning Stock Hatch champion Shayne Deegan made a guest appearance in the Hot Hatch ranks.
Having claimed a front row slot alongside polesitter Tom Bell’s similar Ford Fiesta ST machine, Deegan briefly held the lead before dropping to third as Bell and the ST of Alistair Camp asserted themselves. But the shape of the race quickly changed when Bell’s anti-rollbar failed, initially dropping him down the order, and ultimately into retirement.
Deegan didn’t hesitate to make his move, gaining a place when Bell dropped out and then chasing after new leader Camp.
It wasn’t long before Deegan was level with him as the pair flashed past the chequered flag. The timing screens initially suggested a dead heat, before updating to show Deegan the winner by a hundredth of a second. All this despite his gearstick breaking off part-way through the race.
By comparison, race two was a fragmented affair, with rain making the track treacherous. That contributed to a car spearing off into the barriers at Williams. The incident caused the race to be red flagged after two competitive laps. Deegan had led the field before the stoppage, and resumed that position when the grid reformed. He duly claimed a remarkable second win of the weekend, with Bell’s repaired Fiesta beating Camp to claim runner-up spot.
Despite a hesitant start from pole in the opening Bikesports race, Joe Stables wasted little time reeling in the similar Radical PR6 of early leader Will Brown. Once ahead, Stables’ lead grew to half a minute by the finish. By contrast, reigning champion Adrian Reynard struggled to keep up with the PR6S and had to be content with third. Front row starter Jason Rishover was also subdued as clutch problems restricted him to a sixth place.
It was a different story in the sequel, with Rishover’s choice of a full wet set-up in the unrelenting rain helping him sweep his refettled machine past pole-sitter Stables at the lights en route to a comfortable win.
The first of two races planned for the combined M3 Cup and Production Allcomers field started as it was to continue, with the BMWS of poleman Luke Sedzikowski, Carl Shield and Adam Shepherd making the running. Despite losing ground to the others with an off at Agostini, Shepherd quickly rejoined the group but couldn’t get close enough to find a gap to attack. Shield duly took the laurels. Sadly battle never resumed as the planned second race was abandoned due to heavy rain.
Despite having his lead trimmed when he slowed for an early yellow flag, Robin Gearing pulled clear again to secure top spot in the first 750 Formula race. He was helped by a scrap behind him holding up the second and third place cars of Peter Bove and Mark Glover. While Gearing took his chance to escape, Bove claimed the win by less than a tenth of a second at the finish.
Gearing successfully guided his Darvi through the damp conditions greeting the field for Sunday’s sequel to complete the double. He was comfortably clear of Mark Glover and Ian Barley at the finish.
Saturday’s two-hour Club Enduro race attracted a varied grid, with the Caterham Roadsport of Russ Olivant and Elliott Norris claiming victory. They snatched the initiative away from the BMW M3 of early leaders Rory Hinde and Owen Fitzgerald after the mid-race pit-stops, and survived a late safety car period and a rain shower to secure the win. Behind them, Henry Wright’s BMW M3 overhauled the similar car of Brett Evans to take second overall.
Sunday’s shorter 45-minute enduro included some of the same drivers from the day before, most notably the BMW of Hinde and Fitzgerald. They had looked like facing a late battle for victory with the MR2 of Eugene O’brien and Simon Phillips, spiced up by the fact that both received late stop go penalties. But sadly fuel surge issues prompted Phillips to retire in the pits, allowing the M3 to secure top spot.
James Bark and championship leader Patrick Fletcher shared the spoils in the pair of Clio 182 races, taking a win apiece. First blood went to Bark, who surged away from the lights to overhaul Fletcher’s pole advantage and claim the lead. Bark survived the race-long jostling for position to edge Philip Wright for top spot on the podium. Fletcher turned the tables in race two, holding off Bark to win the clash by half a second.
Rob Johnston got off to a perfect start as far as his Sport Specials title ambitions were concerned, building up a healthy race lead while key points rival Matthew Booth went down the escape road at Brundle and into retirement.
Booth responded in kind in the sequel, guiding his repaired machine into a lead he would hold to the finish. Meanwhile Johnston and another points rival Clive Hudson clashed on the opening lap and retired.
While close battles flared in the packed grids of MR2S, Shaun Traynor proved the man on the moon. He led on every lap of the opening race, leaving the battles behind him and pulling out 10 seconds by the finish. Meanwhile, points leader Jim Davies had to come from the back with a 10-second penalty having been found underweight in practice.“i just forgot to put enough fuel in,” he confessed. He battled back with zest, setting fastest lap en route to a sixth place in race one and victory in race two ahead of Traynor.
Remarkably for the usually frenetic Mazda ranks, the top five finishers in their pair of races round the Snetterton 300 ended with the same top five drivers in the same positions in both races. Will BlackwellChambers edged out Ben Short to win by a tenth each time.
Finally, Darren Berris secured a convincing win in the well-supported Armed Forces race, only briefly relinquishing top spot for his mandatory pitstop.
Deegan is reigning Stock Hatch champ
Blackwell-chambers took two narrow MX-5 Cup victories at Snetterton Davies (r) and Traynor were the class of the MR2 field last weekend
Gearing wasn’t headed in 750 Formula