CAR­BON 8 COUPES CLASS OF BIRKETT RE­LAY FIELD

Motor Sport News - - Racing Reports -

Nar­rowly beaten last year, gob­s­macked Hyundai re­turnee Alex Curs­ley and event rook­ies Will Tayl­forth and Si­mon Miles landed a breath­less one-lap vic­tory in last Satur­day’s grip­ping 750 Mo­tor Club Birkett Six Hour Re­lay race at Sil­ver­stone.

On the track where the hal­lowed event was in­au­gu­rated in 1951, the trio emerged from a close fight be­tween the top four of the 69 other en­tered teams.

Awarded two fewer credit laps than its sis­ter team, which fin­ished fourth, the Jon Win­ter-man­aged Car­bon 8 Coupe Cup B squad pulled clear of the bay­ing pack in the fi­nal hour, hav­ing been strong vic­tory con­tenders in the di­verse field, which boasted cars from Fab­u­lous Fiat (750) For­mula Cars to a Mini 7 Rac­ing Club 50th an­niver­sary team.

Red Ras­cals, one of two su­per­com­pet­i­tive BMW E46 Cup teams which bat­tled through­out, emerged run­ners-up. They also got the bet­ter of the Tegiwa M3 Cup ‘en­emy’ by a lap of the 3.66-mile His­toric Grand Prix Cir­cuit in the con­cur­rent scratch (dis­tance) com­pe­ti­tion in the clos­ing stages. When Luke Sedzikowski’s car lost power, Carl Shield dashed out again, but the M3s slipped to sixth.

DHD Mo­tor­sport’s Honda and Pro­ton equipe, which fea­tured two rorty In­te­gras, and the Routec Rac­ing Com­pact Tri­ers – fa­ther Martin Roche with sons Si­mon and Neil – earned third and fifth, split by the se­cond ul­tra-re­li­able Hyundai posse in the fi­nal reck­on­ing.

The hand­i­cap­pers’ work was ex­tra­or­di­nary. Their pre-race cal­cu­la­tions (based on ex­ten­sive records) and al­lo­ca­tion of credit laps to bal­ance per­for­mance pro­duced a re­sult in which the teams placed sixth to 18th were clas­si­fied on the same to­tal, with just 17 min­utes un­der safety cars fac­tored in.

Seven equipes, in­clud­ing one of Smart 4Twos, the Cheng Lim-man­aged Grun­ties – in which Ge­off Hobbs’ Chevro­let Corvette St­ingray com­manded at­ten­tion – and the Armed Forces Rac­ing Chal­lenge had cov­ered 27 laps on cor­rected scores after an hour. The even­tual vic­tors sat ninth then as they ac­cli­ma­tised to traf­fic, in­clud­ing Scruffy Mo­tor­sport with Aquila Cars’ bizarre Syn­er­gys.

Saxos by Day’s fleet of Citroen VTRS were un­usu­ally un­re­li­able, fall­ing like flies, but in­ci­dents were re­mark­ably few. The GRP Boys’ Dar­ren Dowling changed his TVR Sa­garis’s ’diff after prac­tice, then smote the bar­ri­ers on the Hangar Straight fol­low­ing a mis­un­der­stand­ing. Team-mate Wayne Crab­tree’s beau­ti­ful 400bhp Ford Es­cort-yb tur­bo­car erupted into flames later when a fuel line popped, but swift ac­tion by mar­shals at Beck­etts lim­ited the dam­age.

From the rolling start, We Don’t Like Se­cond’s Aaron Bai­ley – a mem­ber of the 2013 and ’14 scratch-win­ning teams – scorched his Rad­i­cal-suzuki SR3RX 4.5 sec­onds clear of 750MC Bike­sports cham­pion Phil Knibb’s SR3 on the open­ing lap, but JPR Mo­tor­sport’s Paul Rose reeled Bai­ley in with his Subarupow­ered Saker, set­ting a su­perb 104mph fastest lap in their sub­se­quent duel. En­gine prob­lems for Bai­ley pre­cluded fa­ther Lee’s stint while the Saker trio’s as­pi­ra­tions to re­peat its 2012 tri­umph faded when ex­haust is­sues hob­bled both sur­viv­ing cars, the third Rapx hav­ing been trail­ered with an ECU fault after prac­tice.

For­tu­nately, the Rad­i­cals of Si­mon Garm­ston (who drove most laps in his first Birkett) and re­turnees Brian Murphy and Doug Carter ran re­li­ably there­after, but the scratch vic­tors fin­ished only 60th on hand­i­cap. They out­ran Chris Tilly’s Track­time So­lu­tions set, whose SR3 was shared by Knibb, Travis drum­mer Neil Prim­rose – who drove a pacy se­cond stint out front, then fin­ished in the pit­lane – and Ben Sharich, leav­ing An­drews Rath and Hig­gin­bot­tom short Lo­tus Ex­ige runs, by four laps.

Rgb’argy lost Adrian Moore’s Sabre to a dropped valve in prac­tice, so he shared pal Tim Hoverd’s T2A ‘Hoverd­craft’ evo­lu­tion, the body of which they cre­ated. Their ster­ling ef­forts and those of Doug Lague (Spire) and Colin Chap­man (BDN) net­ted a sen­sa­tional third over­all through a fast, feisty and trou­ble-free race. The resur­gent Sak­ers cer­tainly kept them on their toes, cov­er­ing a lap fewer.

The Rock ‘N’ Roll Centres’ BMW E36 M3s, fin­ished strongly by Piers Reid, won a tight scrap with the All­sorts Porsche and Cater­hams for fifth. Out of luck were hardy peren­ni­als Gold Arts – whose ever-smil­ing leader Doug Newman’s 7 was halted by a col­lapsed wheel bear­ing on cir­cuit – and Club­mans stal­warts Hart At­tacks, un­der­pinned by reign­ing sprint race cham­pi­ons Peter Rich­ings and Barry Webb. The pre­vi­ous scratch and hand­i­cap win­ners fin­ished sev­enth and eighth re­spec­tively.

Club­mans ri­vals The De­fib­ril­la­tors lost Alex Champ­kin’s Vi­sion to en­gine fail­ure in prac­tice, then Antony Den­ham’s Phantom in the race. The crew also changed the clutch in Steve Dick­ens’ Mal­lock, but teenager James Clarke im­pressed, hurtling round as last man stand­ing even when his U2’s brakes wilted after an oil leak had stopped Dick­ens.

Curs­ley’s Coupe was part of vic­to­ri­ous team

Im­pres­sive field took part in event Rose was rapid but faded with is­sues

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