Autosport (UK)

Crowhurst wins stripes and stars BMW M3 double



Competing in the BMW races at Saturday’s Classic Sports Car Club Thruxton Thriller event hung in the balance for Graham Crowhurst on Tuesday, with the engine out of his M3 E46. A huge team effort got him there, with little expectatio­n of success, but pole position and two charging victories exceeded his wildest dreams.

In a heady ‘stripes and stars’ tussle, Crowhurst beat Nathan Wells – whose 1m17.688s (109.17mph) fastest lap in his stunning E46 GTR was the day’s best – and Niall Bradley (E46) in the restarted opener. Swamped in an awful second start from fourth, Matty Evans snarled his 1M Coupe V8 back from almost last to third, which became second when Wells spun at the chicane and couldn’t restart.

Top Jaguar qualifier Colin Philpott won both races in his four-litre XJS, chased by Tom Lenthall’s similar machine and James Ramm’s V12 version respective­ly. Lenthall retired from race two after a spin at Club, as Ramm unlocked his mount’s potential. Switching to the big engine was blighted by gearbox dramas until Guy Connew lent him a spare, but Ramm – fourth in race one – also credited Philpott’s Powerbell technician­s for set-up suggestion­s that bore fruit. The shrieking supercharg­ed cars of Andrew Harper (S-type R) and Chris Boon (XK8) netted a third apiece.

Run concurrent­ly, the MG Trophy attracted seven ZRS, of which six raced, but provided fantastic entertainm­ent. Poleman – and second overall! – Fergus Campbell led race one before James Cole and reigning champ Tylor Ballard bustled past. Two shredded tyres forced Campbell’s retirement and a broken cam wheel put Ballard out, as Cole won from Matthew Harvey and James Blake.

Qualifying casualty Andrew Rogerson, Ballard’s dad Simon and Andy Cushion changed cylinder heads to get Tylor out in race two, in which Campbell resisted everything he, Cole and Jack Woodcock threw at him. Diving past the fifth and sixth-placed Jaguars of Michael Seabourne (XJS) and Mark Bennett (X300) into the complex on the final lap – the overtaking manoeuvre of the afternoon – enabled Campbell to blunt Woodcock’s and Cole’s aspiration­s. Ballard set fastest MG lap in 1m30.796s, but all six’s were within 0.328s!

The Chevrolet-powered BMW M4 of Sam Allpass and now yellow Volvo S60 of Nigel Mustill did not finish the attritious Slicks Series race. Aidan Hills took the chequer in Michael Knibbs’s Ford Mustang V6powered Ginetta G55, but Knibbs’s Code 60 overtake brought exclusion. Jamie Sturges, whose increasing­ly daring approaches to the chicane resulted in his Cupra TCR arriving backwards, was accorded victory from the BMWS of Wells and Bradley.

Car builder Mike Johnston replaced a wheel bearing on Andy Southcott’s tubeframe Midget after qualifying, enabling him to score another Special Saloons & Modsports double at his local track. Southcott and Tom Carey (Honda CRX-BDG) shot past poleman Danny Morris’s Peugeot-cosworth 309 at the start of race one. Carey set fastest lap and briefly squeezed ahead before his engine lapsed onto three cylinders, gifting Morris second. Martyn Ellis (Talbot Sunbeam Lotus) grabbed a Future Classics-winning fourth ahead of the battling Craig Percy (Morris Minor), Geoff Beale (Sunbeam Lotus), Tim Moll (VW Golf GTI), and Tony Maryon and Darren Clayden in Porsche 944 S2s.

Carey and Morris broke early in the second outing, leaving Southcott to sizzle

home clear of Matthew Ellis in the Talbot. After spinning at the slippery chicane in the opener, tagging Stuart Daburn’s TVR, Paul Dolan (Lotus Elan) and Daburn – from the back – finished third and fourth. Daburn previously bagged Modern Classics gold, although Tin Top heroes Andrew Windmill (Honda Civic CSL) and Adam Brown (Ford Fiesta ST150) focused him throughout.

Magnificen­t Sevens polesitter Stephen Collins prevailed when the finale got under way – at the fourth attempt, Simon Lancashire from fourth having thrice started racing at the green flag, twice chased by Italian Giuseppe Felet. With the 1830 curfew looking perilously close, the race was shortened from 40 to 30 minutes. Duelling Lancashire – apparently oblivious to his start protocol misdemeano­urs – and Bruce Wilson were second and third after their umpteenth order change.

 ?? ?? Stripey E46 was a doubt in week leading up to Thruxton
Stripey E46 was a doubt in week leading up to Thruxton
 ?? ?? Philpott won as Lenthall spun in second Jaguar race
Philpott won as Lenthall spun in second Jaguar race

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