Keen takes a win as Club En­duro cel­e­brates first year as a cham­pi­onship

Motor Sport News - - Racing Reports - Chris Stevens

As Club En­duro rounded out its first sea­son as a cham­pi­onship, the pad­dock re­flected on what a gem of a club-level en­durance se­ries had been cre­ated.

This two-hour event has be­come the fea­ture of sev­eral 750 Mo­tor Club week­ends, boast­ing con­sis­tent grids of over 40 cars with great va­ri­ety: Porsches, BMWS, Lo­tus, Maz­das and Ginet­tas among oth­ers.

The driv­ers in­volved have loved the num­ber of en­trants and the amount of track time on of­fer, mak­ing it good value for money.

Re­cently-crowned Class B cham­pion Matt Faizey praised the club for the ef­forts put into the cham­pi­onship.

“Spe­cial men­tion needs to be given to the 750 Mo­tor Club for putting to­gether this in­cred­i­ble se­ries and Giles [Groom­bridge, com­pe­ti­tions man­ager] for hav­ing the bot­tle to do this,” he said. “This is a lot of track time to try and sell. He’s writ­ten a fan­tas­tic set of reg­u­la­tions, that can’t have been easy.”

As a reg­u­lar in Road­sports, the 45-minute al­ter­na­tive en­durance race, Sam Mc­kee says the cham­pi­onship sta­tus of Club En­duro is a big pull fac­tor in his switch to the cat­e­gory for 2019.

“We’re def­i­nitely do­ing it next sea­son,” he said. “The fact that it’s a cham­pi­onship as well is re­ally nice, that’s the main rea­son we looked at it. Road­sports is good for your first cou­ple sea­sons but we want to fight for over­all hon­ours.

“The fact that the en­try fee is only twice as much [as Road­sports] but you’re get­ting 2.5 times the track time, plus be­ing in an enor­mous fea­ture race with 51 cars out there, is all great.”

British GT racer Phil Keen and Del Shel­ton’s BMW E36 M3 bested 49 other en­trants to win the Snet­ter­ton fi­nale. Shel­ton led from pole but a smaller fuel tank meant he could not af­ford an early pit­stop dur­ing a safety car pe­riod half an hour into the race (for the SEAT Leon Cupra that pulled over with a gear­box is­sue), nor could the sec­ond-placed Porsche 997S driven by Michael Price. That gave an op­por­tu­nity for Ju­lian Mcbride and the Carl Read­shaw/daniel Tay­lor and Andy Baylie/luke Sch­le­witz pair­ings the chance to reach the head of the field as they bat­tled for the Class A cham­pi­onship in their re­spec­tive BMW E46 M3s.

Even­tu­ally they had to yield to the likes of Keen for the top spot, with for­mer British GT class cham­pion Mar­cus Clut­ton, tak­ing over from Price in the Porsche, claim­ing sec­ond and fel­low ex-british GT racer Michael Bent­wood putting his BMW M4, shared with Chris Brown, on the podium.

De­spite a 30-sec­ond stop/go penalty for the Baylie/sch­le­witz BMW for over­tak­ing un­der yel­low flags, and a brief off at Riches dur­ing a heated bat­tle with ti­tle ri­vals, an over­all sixth was enough to claim the Class A ti­tle.

Mean­while Steve Hew­son/matt Nos­siter’s BMW E36 328i Class C car was try­ing to beat Faizey’s Class B Porsche 968 to the over­all ti­tle. While both won their re­spec­tive classes, a fastest lap by Hew­son gave him and Nos­siter the nec­es­sary ad­van­tage to be­come Club En­duro’s in­au­gu­ral cham­pi­ons.

“It was so tight com­ing into this, we re­ally didn’t know how it was go­ing to land,” Hew­son said. “Faizey was fly­ing in the sec­ond half of the sea­son so we weren’t tak­ing any­thing for granted com­ing here, but it was a clean race.”

Hew­son and Nos­siter be­came the in­au­gu­ral Club En­duro cham­pi­ons

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