SU­PER SPENCER’S LATE EN­TRY RE­WARDED

Motor Sport News - - Rally Reports - Photo: Steve Jones MAL­LORY PARK: BRSCC BY IAN SOWMAN

Dou­ble North West Sports/saloon cham­pion Joe Spencer gained some use­ful ex­pe­ri­ence ahead of his 2019 750 Mo­tor Club Bike­sports cam­paign by win­ning both of the Sports Car races at Mal­lory Park on the British Rac­ing and Sports Car Club Box­ing Day meet­ing in a newly-ac­quired Rad­i­cal PR6.

The Le­ices­ter­shire driver won the re­gional ti­tle in 2015 and 2017, and a cam­paign in the 750MC com­pe­ti­tion – aboard a Spire – was mooted for 2018. “We’ve still got the Spire in build,” ex­plained the 23-year-old. “We’ve got this car [the ex-phil Cooper race-win­ning PR6] as a bit of a bench­mark. I have never driven a car with down­force be­fore so I thought if I got the Rad­i­cal I would know roughly what it should feel like so we could set the Spire up. Then we can work out which one to go with.”

With only one track­day un­der his belt be­fore Mal­lory, Spencer en­tered the Plum Pud­ding races late and thus lined up on the back of the grid for the opener. How­ever, he gave him­self an ad­di­tional penalty. “I wasn’t even ready,” he said. “I was still fid­dling about with the lap timer when the lights went out.”

In spite of start­ing his race sev­eral sec­onds late, Spencer was up to sev­enth by the end of the open­ing lap and se­cond by lap three. He then set about di­min­ish­ing the ad­van­tage of the other Rad­i­cal on the grid, Dave Porter’s SR3 RS, which had started from pole po­si­tion.

What had been a seven-se­cond gap was vir­tu­ally noth­ing five laps later, and the two Rad­i­cals went ei­ther side of the slower Cater­ham of Tris­tan Judge on Kirkby Straight. At the en­trance to Ger­ard’s they touched – each driver point­ing the fin­ger at the other – and while Spencer con­tin­ued, Porter tra­versed the grass. Such was his ad­van­tage that he re­tained se­cond, and only the Lo­tus Ex­ige-bod­ied, Rad­i­cal-chas­sised car of Paul Woolfitt also fin­ished on the lead lap.

A late spin for the Ariel Atom of Dar­ren Ed­monds at Lake Esses handed fourth to Woolfitt’s brother Jon, in a Hayabusaengined MK Indy. The top five fin­ished in the same or­der in race two, mi­nus Paul Woolfitt, who didn’t take the start.

Andy Thomp­son did the dou­ble in the Saloon Car con­tests, which boasted a healthy 26-car en­try. Steve Barnard, who won one of the races a year ago in his space­frame Audi TT, took the lead from Rich Hock­ley’s Honda Civic at Ger­ard’s Bend at the start, with Thomp­son’s SEAT Toledo soon fol­low­ing. Barnard was still ahead when he spun at the exit of the Esses on lap five, re­join­ing in eighth and pro­vid­ing Thomp­son with a straight­for­ward pas­sage to vic­tory. Barnard re­cov­ered to se­cond – tak­ing Hock­ley again at the Esses on lap 11 – and was ini­tially shown the che­quered flag and, with no tim­ing in op­er­a­tion, clas­si­fied first be­fore the re­sult was amended. Be­hind Hock­ley came Tony Haber­man’s Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle and Ja­cob Carter’s Civic.

Later, the race fin­ished with the same top two but Adam Cham­ber­lain’s Vaux­hall As­tra VXR – which had started on pole po­si­tion due to a par­tially re­versed grid – com­pleted the podium.

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