They came away from the last race at Donington as overall winners, and claimed the win at the first race here- Chris Bialan and Simon Mason, in the Sim Dynamics Racing with Jabbasport Cupra didn’t have it easy at Snetterton, though, facing a considerable threat from the trio of Datum Motorsport Ginetta G56s.

High Row Motorsport driver coach Max Coates (center) keeping an eye on the performance of his protégés

The Snetterton 300 configuration seemed to favour the RWD machines, so Mason did well to head the second row of the grid, and at the rolling start, it was the pole-sitting Century Motorsport Ginetta of Ben Green that led Maurizio Sciglio’s Datum G56, with a fast starting Lee Goldsmith’ s BMW getting temporarily ahead of Axel van Nederveen’s Ginetta, and already the Clios were tussling, with Maurice Henry and Harri Reynolds taking their fight into the pit lane exit as they sped up to the first corner, while behind the Ginettas and in front of the squabbling Clios, Asha Silva had got a great start in the Team BRIT BMW240i, but had her mirrors brimful of Rob Ellick’s Audi TT. Ellick did make a move down the inside at the Hairpin, and with Asha’s BMW making a ragged exit to the corner, the Audi began to pull away. Marco Anastasi’s Ginetta put a move on Goldsmith’s BMW, but the orange M3 was having none of it, and swiftly got the place back. Maurice Henry and Harri Reynolds were nose-to-tail for the Clio lead, Reynolds seizing an opportunity when they came up to put a lap on early-stopper Paul Murphy’s Ginetta G40, but after side-by-side action, Henry got the place back – good, close, clean racing with precision from the talented youngsters, who were so wrapped-up in their own skirmish that they allowed their team mates to close up and join in, with battling James Harrison and Travis Coyne making it a foursome, and the place-swapping continued.

Maurizio Sciglio kicks up some dust in his Ginetta G56 GTA

Anastasi was now frustrated behind Goldsmith, even more so when caught up by Ellick’s Audi, which made an abortive attempt to pass the pair, so the Sicilian had clearly had enough and released himself from the battle. Also releasing himself from a battle was James Harrison, who was the first of the Clios to make a mandatory pit stop, handing over the High Row car to Ben Jenkins. Henry and Reynolds continued until the 10-minute pit window was closing, as did overall leader Ben Green, who by this point was 25 seconds ahead of Mason’s Cupra. Green handed the leading Ginetta G56A to am driver Steve Fresle, and Chris Bialan took over the Cupra, though any thoughts of a lead battle between the two was quashed when Fresle had a spin, and then was hauled in by the officials for a stop/go penalty after a pit stop infringement. But Bialan now had a threat to his lead from behind, with the Datum Ginettas of Maurizio Sciglio and Axel van Nederveen in close formation. Van Nederveen briefly got ahead of his Sicilian stablemate, but lost out, kicking up the dust onto the Bentley Straight, the pair’s attention to their internecine struggle giving a thankful Bialan a little respite, though a stop/go for Sciglio in the final five minutes of the race saw him out of contention, and with Bialan’s FWD Cupra struggling for grip, this was van Nederveen’s race to take, but the Dutch finance supremo was kicking up the dust again, and Bialan held on to take another victory in the Sim Dynamics Racing with Jabbasport Cupra, 1.702 seconds ahead of van Nederveen, who rued that he “made too many mistakes”. Anastasi was third a further 26 seconds adrift, with Sciglio salvaging fourth place, with lone driver Lee Goldsmith bringing the Geoff Steel-run BMW E90 home fifth.

Rightly proud: young Britcar newcomer Maurice Henry (left) will be a driver to watch in the coming years

A sensational stint in the Team BRIT BMW 240i by Noah Cosby capitalised on Asha Silvas’s earlier work, earning the Class 2 win and sixth overall, while Mark Jones endured a misfire in the TSR Audi TT started by Rob Ellick, finishing second in class. Stymied by the spin and stop/go penalty, Steve Fresle ended up seventh overall in the Class 1 Century G56A, while it wasn’t good news for the final Class 1 competitor, Bryan Bransom and Jas Sapra managing just a handful of laps in the Intersport BMW E46, suffering from vibration issues. Hadley Simpson took over the High Row Clio from Maurice Henry and posted the win in the Clio class, ahead of Rhys Lloyd in the Dragon Sport machine started by Harri Reynolds, with Dragon Sport’s Alex Nevill and High Row’s Ben Jenkins completing the quartet, while there were sadly two non-starters in the class, the Spires car of Andy Georgiou/Travis Chapman, and Dragon Sport’s Sam Neser / Jack James, both with fuel-related issues. It was a close finish in Class 3, with the Gen 5 Clio of Daire Flock finishing less than a second ahead of Westbourne team mate Ben Colburn, while third-placed Callum Bates set the class’s fastest lap in the Whitebridge BMW Z4 started by Chris Murphy. The SVG Ginetta G40s were out in force once more, and though in Class 3, were running their own little contest, split at the finish by Caleb McDuff’s Team BRIT BMW 1-Series, which made a late, unplanned pit stop. The G40 trio had fought hard and been close through much of the race; Jez Sussex took the win, with Stephen Moore behind, and Paul Murphy, taking an early unplanned pit stop, and a later spin, third.

Harri Reynolds took the ROWE Driver of the Day award

Datum Motorsport were awarded the Britcar Outstanding Achievement award

Drivers of the #88 High Row Motorsport Clio Maurice Henry and Hadley Simpson shared the Sunoco Driver of the Day award

Words: Steve Wood, photos: Stevie Borowik and Paul Cherry