AND THE WIN­NERS ARE... RAIN AND THRILLING RACES GIVE TENSE 750MC FI­NALE

DON­ING­TON PARK: 750MC BY RORY MITCHELL

Motor Sport News - - Rally Reports -

Don­ing­ton was the scene of the 750 Mo­tor Club sea­son fi­nale and like any great TV show, it was packed with plot twists.

Will Black­well-cham­bers se­cured the MX-5 cham­pi­onship, hav­ing won both races on Sun­day. In the first out­ing, drama hit the ti­tle con­tenders when Jack Sy­camore stopped with a sus­pen­sion prob­lem while run­ning sec­ond, which sent him to­wards the back of the 42-car grid in 36th for race two.

From there Sy­camore was able to re­cover to fourth place, slic­ing his way through the traf­fic be­fore be­ing gifted a lot of po­si­tions on the fi­nal lap when Sam Smith spun Jake Bai­ley around at Mel­bourne. As the cars scarpered out of the way, Sy­camore was able to ne­go­ti­ate his way into the top five.

Ben Short mean­while, who came into the week­end lead­ing the cham­pi­onship, fin­ished fourth in the opener hav­ing made con­tact with Michael Comber de­fend­ing sec­ond po­si­tion through Cop­pice. In the next out­ing he was third, but it wasn’t enough to pre­vent Black­wellCham­bers from claim­ing the ti­tle af­ter his stel­lar week­end.

John Cut­more took the RGB rearengined ti­tle, af­ter Billy Al­bone threw it away on the fi­nal lap of the one and only race for the se­ries. This was a re­sult of all of Satur­day af­ter­noon’s races be­ing can­celled due to ad­verse weather.

There­fore the RGB con­test was ex­tended by an­other two laps on Sun­day, which was enough for Cut­more to put the pres­sure on Al­bone through­out the eight-lap saga. An at­tempt around the out­side of Redgate didn’t come off, so it came down to the penul­ti­mate cor­ner on the fi­nal lap when Al­bone ran wide, lit up the rear tyres and spun around. That al­lowed Cut­more to cut through, along with Alas­tair Boulton, which dropped Al­bone to third at the fin­ish line.

Scott Mit­tell’s chances of tak­ing the ti­tle were al­ready thwarted by the bad weather on Satur­day, and to add in­sult to in­jury a front wheel bear­ing failed which caused him to re­tire on the open­ing lap, end­ing his ti­tle hopes.

In the sin­gle Hot Hatch/stock Hatch out­ing, Alis­tair Camp took the vic­tory in the Hot Hatch race from Tom Bell, af­ter tak­ing the lead on the open­ing lap.

Fur­ther back in the Stock Hatch race was where the ac­tion took place, as Ryan Pol­ley only needed to fin­ish ahead of Paul Jarvis to win the cham­pi­onship. Pol­ley man­aged to qual­ify ahead, but it was Phil Law who got the bet­ter start off the line and man­aged to main­tain the lead, de­spite hit­ting the tail end of the Hot Hatch race. Even though Jarvis was third, he wasn’t able to ne­go­ti­ate the traf­fic as ef­fi­ciently, which al­lowed Pol­ley to fin­ish ahead and take the cham­pi­onship spoils.

The Toy­ota MR2 races had their typ­i­cal large grid num­bers, but the fo­cus was mainly on Kris­tian White and Jim Davies. Af­ter a three-way bat­tle for the lead be­tween those two and Lewis Ward, it was White who won from sixth on the grid from Ward and Davies. That meant in or­der to take the cham­pi­onship, Davies needed to fin­ish ahead of White in race two.

White was lead­ing com­fort­ably af­ter a good start from the front row of the grid, when he went off at the Old Hair­pin on the fi­nal lap, which al­lowed Stu­art Ni­cholls to come through to take the lead. Cru­cially, it let Davies ahead in eighth as White dropped out of the top 10 by the flag. In the end they were sep­a­rated by just one point.

Phil Knibb was the next man to set­tle a cham­pi­onship in Bike­sports. Even though Jon Paul-ivey took the first race win, Knibb fin­ished third which put him in good stand­ing to take the ti­tle dur­ing the next out­ing.

For a while it looked like Ivey might be able to do the dou­ble, but a spin at Mcleans mid­way through put him out of con­tention and handed Will Brown the win. That also al­lowed Knibb to get up to sec­ond, and af­ter a brief bat­tle with Adrian Rey­nard (who even­tu­ally stopped due to a brake prob­lem), he fin­ished in the po­si­tion he needed in or­der to win the cham­pi­onship crown out­right.

The Civic Cup vic­to­ries were shared be­tween Martin James and Mark Grice, the lat­ter tak­ing his maiden win. But the main fo­cus was the Class A cham­pi­onship bat­tle be­tween David Buky, Ben Sharpe and Chris Coomer. Sharpe won the class in the first race to set up a win­ner-takes-all fi­nale.

With the re­verse grid, Buky started on the front row and man­aged to stay ahead of his ri­vals and beat Sharpe to the ti­tle by 0.8s. It was a sweet win for Buky as he had fin­ished level on points with An­drew Hough last year, but lost out on tie break.

Steve Smith won the His­toric F3 race, with Si­mon Armer sec­ond which was enough for him to take the 2016 ti­tle. Clive Hud­son took the Sport Spe­cial vic­tory, with Matthew Booth seal­ing the ti­tle. Adam Shep­herd se­cured the M3 Cup win and For­mula Vee cham­pion Paul Smith won the sole Clas­sic In­ter­series race held on Satur­day be­fore the down­pour set in.

1 Will Black­well-cham­bers; 2 Michael Comber +8.13s; 3 Jake Bai­ley; 4 Sam Smith; 5 Ben Short; 6 Se­bas­tian Fisher. Fastest lap Comber 1m56.14s (77.18mph). Pole Short. Starters 41.

1 Black­wellCham­bers; 2 Comber +3.19s; 3 Short; 4 Jack Sy­camore; 5 Fisher; 6 Smith. FL Short 1m55.83s (77.39mph). P Black­well-cham­bers. S 42.

1 John Cut­more (Spire GT3 S); 2 Alas­tair Boulton (Spire GT3) +7.00s; 3 Billy Al­bone (Spire GT3); 4 Paul Roger (Con­tour RGB09); 5 Oliver He­witt (Mit­tell MC-53); 6 Daniel Larner (Mit­tell MC-52B). Class win­ner Matt Hig­gin­son (AB Arion S2). FL He­witt 1m36.75s (92.65mph). P Mit­tell. S 22.

1 Alis­tair Camp (Ford Fi­esta ST); 2 Tom Bell (Honda Civic) +4.32s; 3 David Allen (Ford Fi­esta ST); 4 Matthew Howarth (Vaux­hall As­tra GSI); 5 Leon Shep­herd (Ford Fi­esta ST); 6 Daniel Wil­liams (Ford Fi­esta ST). CW Phil Law (Citroen Saxo VTR). FL Camp 1m49.92s (81.55mph). S 20.

1 Kris­tian White; 2 Lewis Ward +0.86s; 3 Jim Davies; 4 Ti­mothy Heron; 5 Shane Mans­bridge; 6 Shaun Traynor. FL White 1m53.91s (78.69mph). P Ward. S 32.

1 Stu­art Ni­cholls; 2 Ward +0.35s; 3 Traynor; 4 Heron; 5 Ben Rowe; 6 Wil­liam Gal­lacher. FL Davies 1m53.81s (78.76mph). P Davies. S 34. Knibb +11.74s; 3 Preen; 4 Ju­lian Grif­fiths (Rad­i­cal PR6); 5 Doug Carter (Rad­i­cal PR6); 6 Mark Gra­son (Rad­i­cal SR3). CW Knibb; Gar­diner. FL Joe Sta­bles (Rad­i­cal PR6) 1m31.21s (98.28mph). P Ivey. S 14.

1 Martin James; 2 Mark Grice +1.03s; 3 Carl Swift; 4 Danny Win­stan­ley; 5 Tom Bell; 6 James Grif­fith. FL James 1m50.93s (80.81mph). P Ben Sharpe. S 33.

1 Grice; 2 Mark Hig­gin­son +1.21s; 3 David Buky; 4 Ben Sharpe; 5 Bell; 6 Grif­fith. FL Hig­gin­son 1m51.07s (80.71mph). P Bell. S 28.

1 Steve Smith (Chevron B15); 2 Si­mon Armer (Brab­ham BT21) +1.16s; 3 Steve Sea­man (Brab­ham BT21); 4 Michael Scott (Brab­ham BT28); 5 Keith Messer (Vessey HF); 6 Leif Bos­son (Brab­ham BT28). FL Armer 1m45.62s (84.87mph). P Smith. S 14.

1 Clive Hud­son (Eclipse SM1); 2 Paul Boyd (Eclipse SM1) +0.35s; 3 Matthew Booth (MK Indy RR); 4 Rob John­ston (Cyana MK2); 5 Stu­art Adam (ARD SR2); 6 Nigel Brown (Sylva Phaser). FL Boyd 1m44.17s (86.05mph). P Hud­son. S 21.

1 Adam Shep­herd; 2 Carl Shield +5.45s; 3 Luke Sedzikowski; 4 Martin James; 5 John Brown; 6 Brett Evans. FL Shep­herd 1m45.22s (85.19mph). P Shep­herd. S 13.

O’hara ran wide and onto the grass, be­ing passed by all and sundry. He got back on but the mo­ment was lost and a fur­ther ex­cur­sion, fol­lowed by an elec­tri­cal grem­lin, ended his day early. The ac­tion up front con­tin­ued, and a lap later the num­ber was fur­ther thinned when Roe – driv­ing Noel Dunne’s RF01 in place of his usual Firman car – came off sec­ond best in a tan­gle with Dempsey. Dempsey con­tin­ued, Roe did not.

David­son was the next to go, his Mon­di­ale suf­fer­ing a sus­pen­sion break­age but, by that time, Mur­ray had es­tab­lished him­self in a solid lead from Dempsey with Ryan Camp­bell’s Rey­nard third. That’s how things stayed to the fin­ish, Mur­ray’s win­ning mar­gin be­ing al­most eight sec­onds.

It was an­other win for Mur­ray, and a good first out­ing in the Mo­tor­sport Ire­land schol­ar­ship car for 16-year-old Dempsey. Camp­bell kept well clear of An­drew Noble’s Van Diemen to com­plete the podium party.

For­mula Vee pro­vided even more ex­cite­ment. In the first race for the B&C Ir­ish Cham­pi­onships, Paula Moore kept her Lea­s­t­one ahead of the Sheanes of Gavin Buck­ley and An­thony Cross for the full 15 laps, de­spite the best ef­forts of both chasers to de­mote her. A cou­ple of times a Sheane got its nose in front, but Paula al­ways had an an­swer and de­spite the con­stant pres­sure, she won through in the end, by 0.103s.

The win­ning mar­gin was even smaller in the A race, which was red­flagged fol­low­ing a fourth lap in­ci­dent at Colo­nial. It in­volved Moore and Stephen Mor­rin and re­sulted in the lat­ter hav­ing to be re­moved, un­hurt, from his in­verted Lea­s­t­one. This left just five cars to con­test the restarted race, a fran­tic af­fair dur­ing which most of them man­aged to snatch the lead at one time or an­other be­fore the che­quered flag came out. When it did, all were cov­ered by less than 0.1s in a Monza-type fin­ish with Colm Black­burn scor­ing his first Vee vic­tory, just, ahead of Justin Costello, Dan Pol­ley, Kevin Gro­gan and Gavin Buck­ley.

And then there were the Fi­es­tas. His­tory will record that Thomas Agnew won both races, one from new cham­pion Jonny Forsyth and Mark Stew­art, and the other (in which Forsythe started from the back but still fin­ished third) from Stephen Moore. His­tory will prob­a­bly have lit­tle to say about the an­tics go­ing on fur­ther down the field where all sorts seemed to be hap­pen­ing si­mul­ta­ne­ously, to the great de­light of the spec­ta­tors, es­pe­cially those at the chi­cane, where two-wheeled mo­tor­ing ap­peared to be the lat­est craze. Suf­fice to say that 18 cars started the day but only 12 com­pleted the first race and 14 the sec­ond. End of term high spir­its most likely…

Jim Larkham in the Rad­i­cal had taken a brace of Road­sports vic­to­ries ahead of John Ben­son’s up­rated S2000 Crossle. The Crossles of Paul Conn and John Mc­can­d­less took a third place each. In the hotly con­tested 1.0-litre class, Paul Thomp­son (Striker) twice de­feat Mark Fran­cis (Lo­cost) al­though the pair were only feet apart on both oc­ca­sions.

Among a mea­gre field of Sa­loons and GTS which ran con­cur­rently there were two wins for An­drew Arm­strong (BMW M3) from Stephen Traub (Honda In­te­gra).

1 Kevin O’hara (Van Diemen RF01); 2 Alan David­son (Mon­di­ale M89S) +0.076s; 3 Ryan Camp­bell (Rey­nard FF89); 4 David Nicholl (Rey­nard FF89); 5 Sean Con­way (Crossle 70F). Fastest lap David­son 1m01.102s (89.08mph). P O’hara. S 11.

1 Niall Mur­ray (Van Diemen RF01); 2 Jor­dan Dempsey (Van Diemen LA10) +0.458s; 3 James Roe (Van Diemen RF01); 4 An­drew Noble (Van Diemen JL012K); 5 Jamesy Ha­gan (Rey­nard FF89); 6 An­drew Blair (Rey­nard FF84). FL Mur­ray 1m01.050s (89.16mph). P Mur­ray. S 9.

1 Mur­ray; 2 Dempsey +7.963s; 3 Camp­bell; 4 Noble; 5 Ha­gan; 6 Blair. FL Mur­ray 1m01.308s (88.782mph). Class win­ners Mur­ray, Camp­bell, Blair and Nicholas Gib­son (Crossle 40F). P O’hara. S 19.

1 Colm Black­burn (Lea­s­t­one JH002); 2 Justin Costello (Lea­s­t­one JH002) +0.006s; 3 Dan Pol­ley (Loh Sheane); 4 Kevin Gro­gan (Lea­s­t­one JH002); 5 Buck­ley; 6 Cross. FL Pol­ley 1m06.911s (81.347mph). P Pol­ley. S 15. (80.89mph). P Moore. S 10.

1 Thomas Agnew; 2 Jonny Forsythe +4.036s; 3 Mark Stew­art; 4 Stu­art Agnew; 5 Craig David­son; 6 Eo­rann O’neill. FL T Agnew 1m16.887s (70.792mph). P S Agnew. S 19.

1 T Agnew; 2 Stephen Moore +4.327s; 3 Forsythe; 4 Stew­art; 5 S Agnew; 6 David­son. FL Forsythe 1m17.244s (70.465mph). P S Agnew. S 15.

1 Jim Larkham (Rad­i­cal PR06); 2 John Ben­son (Crossle 37S) +32.175s; 3 John Mc­can­d­less (Crossle 47S); 4 Paul Thomp­son (Striker Honda); 5 Mark Fran­cis (Lo­cost Honda); 6 Paul Conn (Crossle 47S). FL Larkham 59.975s (90.76mph) CW Larkham, Thomp­son. P Larkham. S 8.

1 Larkham; 2 Ben­son +25.394s; 3 Conn; 4 Thomp­son; 5 Fran­cis; 6 Mc­can­d­less. FL Larkham 1m01.065s (89.14mph) CW Larkham, Thomp­son. P Larkham. S 8.

1 An­drew Arm­strong (BMW M3; 2 Stephen Traub (Honda In­te­gra +2.268s; 3 Donal O’neill (SEAT Cupra); no other fin­ish­ers. FL Arm­strong 1m03.383s (85.88mph) P Arm­strong S 3.

Black­well-cham­bers was among ti­tle win­ners Cut­more grabbed RGB vic­tory

Clas­sic In­ter­series es­caped the rain Pol­ley se­cured Stock Hatch ti­tle

For­mula Vee: Mor­rin trips over Moore

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