Motor Sport News - - Racing Reports -

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.

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