Bap­tie beats Boyd to Clas­sic Sports and Saloons crown

Autosport (UK) - - CLUB AUTOSPORT - STEPHEN BRUNSDON

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

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