Baptie beats Boyd to Classic Sports and Saloons crown
KNOCKHILL SMRC OCTOBER 7
Alastair Baptie clinched a second consecutive Scottish Classic Sports and Saloons title with a pair of Class A victories in a soaking wet season finale at Knockhill last weekend.
The Perthshire driver came into the meeting just three points ahead of 2016 champion Raymond Boyd and needed only to beat nearest Class A rival Mario Ferrari in each race to claim back-to-back championship crowns.
For Boyd, the challenge was far steeper, owing to the interloping Morgan +8 of Tommy Gilmartin and the returning John Kinmond (Rover 3500) entering Class E.
Polesitter Gilmartin suffered a terrible start in the opening race, then retired at half-distance because of problems with his tyres, gifting Boyd’s turbocharged flat-six Porsche 911 victory over Kinmond.
Baptie took his mid-engined Fiat X1/9 to third overall, but only just clung on to class honours from Ferrari’s Alfa Sprint Trofeo by a mere 0.2 seconds.
Boyd initially led away from pole in the second race but lost out to Kinmond and Baptie after sliding off track at Duffus in treacherous conditions. Boyd got back past Baptie later in the lap and caught Kinmond in the closing stages, but could not mount a serious challenge.
Baptie was ultimately assured of the title when Ferrari pulled into the pits with mechanical trouble on the third lap of 12.
“It’s probably worse being chased than doing the chasing, and it has been a lot harder than last year,” a jubilant Baptie said post-race.
“The engine picked up a stone this year in the triple-header round so I missed two races, and lost what had been a good lead. But it’s great to win the title in just my second full season of racing.”
The Scottish Mini Cooper Cup was settled in similarly tense fashion as
John Duncan was crowned champion on countback, after he and David Sleigh were tied on points following the final race. The pair each scored five wins throughout the season; Duncan took the honours by dint of five second places to Sleigh’s four.
Reigning champion and guest entrant Mark Geraghty romped to victory in the opening race, while title contender Robbie Dalgleish prevailed in the remaining two encounters to elevate his season’s win total to eight.
David Newall escaped frantic action behind to claim a trio of Scottish Legends victories to end the season on a high, while David Hunter secured the championship. Hunter’s chief rival Ryan Mcleish did everything he could by leading the early stages of race two, but he was taken out by veteran Ivor Greenwood as the pair disputed the lead at Mcintyres.
Despite not turning up for the final round of the season, Will Robson was crowned Scottish Sports and Saloons champion for the second successive year. A bumper grid of 19 cars made up of guest and partial-season entries made for exciting racing as Andy Forrest and
Rally GB National winner Andrew Gallacher took the spoils.
Scottish Formula Ford 1600 champion Ross Martin capped off a perfect year by becoming the first driver since Kenneth Thirlwall in 2011 to win every race in the season. The Graham Brunton Racing driver claimed both victories, beating team-mates Sebastian Melrose and Gary Sykes in races one and two respectively.
Third was enough for Baptie (1) to take the title as Boyd (49) fought back
Forrest (0) andGallacher (37) shared Sports and Saloons wins