HEAD PROVES TO BE KING OF THE CATERHAM CROP
The challenging Snetterton 300 circuit played host to a BRSCC meeting rich in the frantic blend of speed and action of Caterham racing – and it didn’t disappoint.
The headline act was a pair of races for the rapid R300 machines, in which 2014 champion Aaron Head was battling to reclaim the title against strong opposition led by Lee Wiggins, who seized the initiative in the early laps.
“I didn’t expect it to be that tricky!” Head admitted. But he stayed calm, confident his chance would come, and so it proved as he pulled clear of his rival in the closing laps to secure top spot – a fitting way to celebrate his birthday.
Race two was no less tense, where a slow getaway dropped Head back to 10th at the start. It was the prelude to a brilliant recovery drive as he surged up the order to win again, with just half a
OULTON PARK: MSVR BY PETER SCHERER
Former champion Bradley Smith took triple wins in the Radical Challenge. Smith was never headed in race one as Steve Burgess held onto a race-long second. Brian Caudwell threatened Burgess for a while but his lap-six challenge was thwarted by a backmarker. That allowed Jack Lang to clinch third, while Joe Stables and Tony Wells completed the top six as the race ended behind the safety car.
It was wet for race two and with Lang tapped into a spin at Old Hall and Stables spinning in sympathy, Smith again led from Burgess and Caudwell. All three held station after three safety car laps, while Wells, Jack Manchester and Mark Richards filled the rest of the top six throughout.
Lang did his best to hold onto Smith in the Enduro, but a broken seat didn’t help and he had to settle for second. Burgess had been third until the pitstops, but had to take a longer stop as a success handicap. That left him fighting back to fifth behind Stables and Wells. John Caudwell was sixth after a second half duel with John Macleod, while brother Brian suffered with a success added stop to take 10th behind Brian Murphy and Richards.
Stuart Ratcliff and Jason Baker shared the victory spoils in the Lotus Elise Trophy. Ratcliff was joined by William Stacey in a decisive first-lap break in race one. Jason Mcinulty came from ninth on the grid to take third on lap three when William Oakley pulled off. A lap later Stacey was off at Deer Leap, and Mcinulty was second, only to lose out after three safety car laps, as Alex Ball and Baker both got by on the last lap.
It was side by side into Lodge on the fourth lap of race two as Ratcliff attacked Mcinulty for the lead. There was little between them until Old Hall when Ratcliff nosed clear, only to be caught by Baker, who snatched victory on the final lap. Mcinulty took third.
Oliver Barker stormed from the back of the grid to take a last-lap win in the first of the Radical SR1 Cup races. In damp conditions Rob Ellice led a five-car battle, until he lost out to James Taylor on lap five. As the lead grew Ellice did his best to fend off Tony Barwell and Andy Chittenden. Their fight allowed Barker to close and by lap seven he was second, before grabbing the lead at Knickerbrook on the last lap when Taylor overshot. Ellice retained the final podium place, from Chittenden, Sam Moores and Richard Baxter.
A box full of neutrals thwarted Baxter’s challenge in race two, just after he had taken Kye Wheatley’s lead. Wheatley held on for the win from Taylor, while Barker secured third a lap from home, as Ellice, Peter Brookes and Barwell all moved up after Baxter spun.
Although Adam Balon’s Exige lost out to Adam Mackay’s similar car on the opening lap of the Lotus Cup, he was back in control by lap four, taking victory from Jason Baker’s Elise. Mackay’s retirement left Ryan Savage’s Lotus 2 Eleven to complete the podium, with Benji/ Freddie Hetherington’s Exige the only other unlapped runner.
Hywel Lloyd’s Dallara won both F3 Cup races. In race one he lost out to Shane Kelly, who then went off at Knickerbrook, but Kelly was able to keep George Line at bay for second. Lloyd led Line throughout race two, with Kelly going off at Druids on the last lap, having lost third to James Heffernan.
suffered a mechanical problem at the end of lap one. Ian Munro quickly asserted himself as Morgan’s nearest challenger and grabbed the lead at Scotsman on lap three. Championship leader Paul Bell demoted Morgan on lap five and briefly grabbed the lead before Munro and Morgan could reassert themselves. Bell’s race almost came to a dramatic end with a highspeed off on the last lap at Leslie’s but he managed to scrabble back onto the track and finish in fourth place.
BTCC racer Morgan turned the tables on Munro in race two and snuck past on the second tour before a safety car was needed to retrieve Murray’s Mini from Leslie’s. Murray, who had been lying third in the standings, added another no score to his weekend’s tally although he subsequently fought through the field to 10th in the final race. Morgan survived the pressure of the pursuing field to take the win.
With the top six cars reversed, Shane Stoney needed no invitation to scamper away from pole position. He benefited from a slight delay as the pack jostled on lap one and had a four second lead by lap four. Michael Courts ran a fantastic second on his debut weekend in Minis and soon came under attack from Morgan who snuck ahead at Butcher’s on lap six. Although Morgan closed on Stoney by a second a lap, the gap was too big to bridge. Courts held on for a podium finish while Dylan O’donnell rounded off a strong weekend with fourth to help bring him into the top three in the standings.
John Paterson took three deserved wins in the Legends although the story of the weekend was the upturn in fortunes for the series, which had been struggling with poor grids thus far this season. Former champion Ben Mason returned to the 15-car field and pressed Paterson hard for the wins in the first two encounters. In the final, Ivor Greenwood drove a cracking race to see off Mason for runner-up spot despite numerous overtaking attempts.
Neil Maclennan dominated the Scottish Formula Ford races ahead of Jamie Thorburn and Sebastian Melrose. Frontrunner Jordan Gronkowski was caught up in a spin by Matthew Cowley in the first race and ended up in the tyre wall at Leslie’s. Unfortunately, the car proved too badly damaged to make it out in the second race in what will be a dent to his championship challenge as he dropped out of second in the standings.
Morgan driver Tommy Gilmartin and Ginetta racer Harry Simpson were inseparable throughout the Classics races. Despite Simpson’s best efforts, he could not find a way past the more powerful car, which stretched its legs on the straights. Raymond Boyd took two lonely third place finishes despite initially getting into the lead of race two with a strong start in his Porsche 911. The best battle in both races was between Andrew Graham’s Triumph TR8 and Stan Bernard’s Porsche but Graham slowly eased away to take two fourth places.
Roddie Paterson snuck past Ian Donaldson at the hairpin on lap two of the first Saloons and Sportscar race and controlled the gap to take a win. He didn’t start race two which left Donaldson unchallenged for the win. Paul Brydon had a lonely run to two podium finishes while Robert Drummond recovered from a retirement in race one to take third in race two.
Fiesta ST ace Wayne Macaulay scored two wins with Jim Deans and Stephen Ward sharing the XR2 class spoils.
British Championship finisher in the Super1600 category.
Chrissy Palmer won in the RX150 division while Swede Mikaela AhlinKottulinsky finished fourth. Rob Gibson won the Retro Rallycross final.