F3, 2000, FR2000 and Classic Grid
Saturday’s qualifying came just after the only bad weather spell of the weekend. The early rain saw the grid split between going out on wet and slick tyres. Slicks were tricky at the start of the session, but seemed to be the better option in the end. Chris Hodgen, in the F3 class, took overall pole ahead of Richard Crisp in the FR2000 Class, who was four places ahead of his fellow FR2000 class contender, James Densley. Neil Harrison qualified third ahead of Ben Cater and the first of the 2000 class, Bryn Tootell, sat in fifth. Will McAteer took pole for the classic class, sitting 14th overall on the grid. Terry Clark and Ian Hughes qualified seventh and sixteenth respectively but both had clutch issues and started from the pit lane for the race.
On the start of the first race for the two litre grid, Neil Harrison and Ben Cater got past Chris Hodgen and Richard Crisp for first and second place respectively, which put Chris and Richard down to 3rd and 4th. James Drew-Williams did a great job getting up to 5th after starting 10th and Mike Hatton got up to 7th place from 12th on the grid. Mark Smith in the 2000 class also jumped from 16th place, at the back of the grid, to 9th overall and 3rd in class. Then on the second corner a spin from David Gambling, who managed to get going again with only a few place lost, as well as an incident that saw James Densley drive over the top of Russ Giles meant the safety car was put out. James and Russ were both out of the race at that point and the rest of the first lap and the second lap were held under the safety car.
The restart saw Ben Cater get past Neil Harrison for the lead of the race and Bryn Tootell in the 2000 class got past James Drew-Williams for 5th place, leaving Bryn with a buffer of two cars to Kevin Otway running second in class. Kevin got past one of these cars on lap 5 but was unable to get past James Drew-Williams to challenge Bryn for the win in the 2000 class. Terry Clark started in the pit lane even though he’d qualified 7th (ahead of Kevin); he managed to climb up to 11th overall and took 3rd in class.
On the fourth lap of the race Neil Harrison had a spin whilst defending second place from Chris Hodgen and ended up in fourth overall. This left Ben Cater and Chris Hodgen to come first and second respectively and Richard Crisp claimed third overall in the race as well as the win in the FR2000 class. In the Classic class, Peter Whitmore took the lead from Will McAteer on the first corner of the race and he continued to climb the grid past other F3 and 2000 drivers to take 9th overall in the end. Ian Hughes got past Nick Catanzaro to take 3rd in class, after starting from the pit lane.
Qualifying for the second race in the sunshine saw the grid form up in a more expected pattern. Chris Hodgen took pole, with Neil Harrison second and Russ Giles third. Ben Cater wasn’t competing on Sunday as he’d rushed off to his son’s birthday party. On the start of the race, Neil Harrison got past Chris Hodgen to take the lead and James Drew-Williams climbed a couple of places to take 4th overall. A close battle between Neil and Chris saw them touch wheels on the third lap and they both had a spin, this dropped them down to 7th and 9th respectively. This promoted Russ Giles to the lead of the race with James Drew-Williams second and James Densley third overall. A safety car was also called out on the same lap as David Gambling had a spin and was stranded in the middle of the track. He was quickly cleared out of the way and the race could restart after just one lap behind the safety car.
The safety car being called out was very lucky for Neil and Chris as it bunched the pack up and gave them the opportunity to climb up the grid again on the restart; eventually they took first and second overall after a very close battle for the duration of the race. Russ Giles had a spin on the last lap which dropped him from third place down to 10th and left James Drew-Williams to claim third in the race, with James Densley in fourth overall and winning the FR2000 class. Richard Crisp didn’t have as good a race the second time around, starting further down the grid in 8th place, he was running 4th at one point but a puncture saw him go off and then pull into the pits and retire.
In the Classic class, Peter Whitmore qualified first in class and led the class start to finish, Ian Hughes came 2nd in class after starting from the pit lane again and Will McAteer came third. Kevin Otway headed up the 2000 class in qualifying, 2 places ahead of Bryn Tootell who had Terry Clark and Mat Jordan right behind him. On the start of the race Bryn managed to get past Kevin, but Kevin stayed close behind with Mat Jordan following. Terry Clark had a poor start to the race and fell down to dead last. He managed to gain lots of places back though, eventually finishing 9th overall and 4th in class. Bryn held on to the lead of the class for the whole race and took the win ahead of Kevin Otway, with Mat Jordan finishing third in class.
1800, 1600, M1400 and M1000 Grid
Qualifying for the 1800, 1600, Moto 1400 and Moto 1000 grid saw Jeremy Timms put his Dallara on pole as usual, with Richard Gittings in his Jedi second (first in class) and Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke third. Peter Lague had car troubles in qualifying but limped round to get his laps in and was set to start from the back of the grid, where he was joined by Terry Trust and Eddie Guest who had both missed qualifying. The start of the race saw Richard Gittings and Jon Reed have a good getaway, with Jon getting past Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke for third place and them both challenging Jeremy Timms for the lead. Jeremy fended them off though and Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke regained his third place quickly. The leaders quickly disappeared into the distance, with too big a gap between them for the order at the front of the grid to change.
Chris Lord, in the 1800 class, had a great first lap of the race, climbing from 13th on the grid to 7th overall, which was just behind his championship rival, Matt Walters and just ahead of Chris Levy who was joining the class for the day. Chris Levy stuck close behind Chris Lord as they chased down Matt Walters but the order didn’t change, however, Levy took fastest lap in class. Further down the 1800 grid, Phil Davis and Marcus Sheard had a close battle for fourth in class with Marcus being victorious in the end.
In the Moto 1000 class Richard Gittings dominated, taking the class win and second place overall. Jon Reed was running second in class before a problem on lap 3 saw him retire from the race. This left Mark Reade clear to take second in class. Peter Lague put in a brilliant performance, after so much bad luck this year his new Jedi looked after him well. He’d started at the back of the grid but was up to 10th by the end of lap 1, he continued climbing the grid and ended up taking 3rd place in class and 5th overall. Mick Kinghorn had a poor start to the race with a spin on lap 1 losing him 7 places, he managed to gain 5 places back but in the end had to settle for 4th in class.
Qualifying for race two on Sunday saw much the same formation at the front of the grid for the race. On the start of the race, Jon Reed had another great start but unfortunately couldn’t make a move for second stick. Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke, who had qualified third, stalled on the start and ended up last, chasing the pack into the first corner. By the end of the first lap he was back up to 8th and was 5th by the end of lap 2. In the end he managed to climb all the way back up the grid to 3rd place and on the last lap took second place overall away from Richard Gittings right at the end of the race. In his typical style, Jeremy Timms disappeared into the distance to make it 11 out of 11 wins for him so far this season and secure him the championship win.
The 1800 class was closely fought with Chris Lord coming through from 3 places behind Matt Walters to challenge him for the lead of the class. Matt fended him off for most of the race, with Chris making a few moves to take the place but not being able to make them stick. Then a do-or-die lunge from Chris on the last lap saw him take the place from Matt and secure the class win and fastest lap. In championship terms though, Matt secured enough points with his second place to win the 1800 class championship, ahead of the final rounds at Donington in mid-September. In the 1600 class, Eddie Guest managed to get past Geoff Fern for the lead of the class on the first lap, but lost the place to the reining class champion on lap 2. He stayed close behind but their fight was drawn to a premature close when Geoff retired on lap 4. This left Eddie free to take the class victory, with James Gordon-Colebrooke coming second in class.
Richard Gittings had another solid class victory for the Moto 1000 class, but second to fifth place was where the battle was. Jon Reed and Mark Reade fought all race for 2nd in class, Mark managed to take the place on lap 3 of the race and held Jon off until the penultimate lap of the race where Jon managed to take the place away from him and hold on to it until the end of the race. There was a large gap behind them to the next two cars on the grid, Peter Lague and Mick Kinghorn, who were battling for 4th and 5th in the class. Mick qualified ahead of Peter but lost the place to him off the start, with Peter also managing to squeeze past a car in another class to have a buffer between them. Mick chased him down though, overtaking the buffer car the next lap and eventually getting past Peter on lap 3. Peter stayed close behind Mick and the battled continued all race, with Mick holding on to 4th place ahead of Peter in the end. Unfortunately, post-race scrutineering saw Mark Reade and Dominic Shepherd disqualified from the class due to not having reverse gears. This promoted Mick Kinghorn to 3rd in class and Peter Lague to 4th.