ANGLESEY: RACE OF REMEMBRANCE BY PETER SCHERER
An early pitstop strategy proved to be the winning formula for last year’s runner-up, the Synchro Motorsport Honda Civic of Alyn James and Dan Wheeler, in the 2016 edition of the Race of Remembrance.
James led from pole until Jade Edwards’ hand-controlled Volkswagen Golf surged ahead through Church on the opening lap, but as James came under pressure from Sofa King Fast’s James Beardwell’s Caterham, Edwards had a turbo problem, switched off to rest the Golf and continued in third.
But after 16 laps Edwards was back in front and after the first hour had over a minute’s lead, with the Synchro Honda down in 14th after its early stop during the first safety car period.
Pitstops and driver changes soon began to take an effect on the leaderboard and after 50 laps Rob Boston’s Lotus Elise led the way, until he stopped, handed to Peter Mansfield, who was then collected after a spin.
It was still an Elise in front however, as Wade Eastwood took charge in the Datum car, a lead it retained until the sixth hour. Charles Graham had a short stint before Eastwood finished the night section of the race, with just over a minute’s lead over Synchro’s second car – a Honda Jazz – started by Brian Love before Martin Byford took it to the first halt.
The Sofa King Caterhams were still in third, while Simon Andrews’ Spinal Track Golf, Ben/lee Brooks’ Datum Elise and SBP Racing’s Caterham completed the early top six.
Eastwood/graham managed to increase their lead by another 34s during the stint that preceded the Remembrance service, but Byford was given a 30-second stop-go penalty for a safety car infringement that was later rescinded.
But the fight for outright victory started to become a two-horse race, with James in the Synchro Civic catching Graham in the lead Elise, with Love having taken over the Jazz from Byford in a distant third place.
Graham pitted after 168 laps, which handed the lead to James for the first time since lap 15, but with Eastwood back in the car they soon regained second, aided by Love pitting when the Jazz had a manifold problem.
Unlike the teams ahead of them, the Sofa King Caterhams were running as a relay team and six hours in were back up to third, behind the Synchro Civic and Datum Elise.
The dramas were only just beginning though and with three hours left to run, the lead crews began to suffer.
The Synchro Civic managed to retain the lead for a well-deserved victory, but Dan Wheeler had to complete the final stint on a set of road tyres. Into the final hour Datum were still a solid second, but after Eastwood took over for the last stint, he headed pitwards again with a broken gear linkage, which was repaired with cable ties.
The SBP Caterhams of Paul Aram/steve Mcculley/barry Moore finished strongly to secure a late second, from Sofa King’s James Beardwell/caroline Everitt/jason Mccormack, while Eastwood still managed to nurse his Lotus to the flag in fourth.
The rest of the top six was a threeway Caterham fight, with Mad Cats’ Douglas Thain/matthew Welch managing to edge away from the rival APB team of Andrew Burd/andy Johnson/peter Reynolds/rob Watts and CTS Motorsports’ Lee Collins/ Jon Curry/rob Olivant in the final few hours.