Axel Van Nederveen, in the Datum Motorsport Ginetta G56 GTA, played a straight race to take the win, while those ahead of him earlier suffered penalties or excursions. Not to say it was un-deserved , he had always been in the mix from the get-go.
The wet and time-constrained qualifying session saw Ian Astley take pole in the SVG Ginetta G55A, with Maurizio Sciglio’s Datum Motorsport G56 GTA alongside, while significant runner Will Stacey had to take a pit-lane start after a technical infringement in the Rob Boston-run Lotus Elise saw his times disallowed. The track was still wet when the pack were let loose from the rolling start, and Astley led away, while behind him at Maggotts there was mayhem – Sciglio spun and slid sideways across the soaking grass, and Jim Edwards Ginetta G55A went ploughing through another area of grass in avoidance, while Mark Skeats chose the gravel at Stowe to calm his aquaplaning Nissan 350Z. All recovered, but delayed, and at the end of the first lap, Astley maintained his lead, now followed by Jade Edwards’ Ginetta G56, the BMWs of Brian Bransom and Callum Noble, and Van Nederveen’s Ginetta. Sadly, Josh Poulin’s Fiesta was an early retirement, as was Jonny MacGregor’s MacG Racing Mazda RX8, five laps in, when a bit of door-banging saw him on the grasscrete and launched by a kerb, causing considerable damage. Bransom, in the “filing cabinet grey” BMW was on the move though – a few entertaining laps with Jade’s Ginetta had them passing and re-passing one another, but by lap seven he had taken the lead off Astley and began to pull away. Also on the move was pit-lane starter Stacey, now up to sixth in the Elise. Simon Clark led the Class 2 contingent in his Porsche 997, and Jack Meakin was the leading Clio.
A spin at Luffield for Astley dropped him down the order, and he pitted next time round as the pit window opened; just a 10-minute window now, down from 15 minutes previously, and this was going to catch some teams out. When the window closed, Bransom was still circulating, as was Callum Noble’s BMW, and Ed Cook’s Honda Civic, and clerk Andy Butler began his reckoning-up of the penalties, Significantly, well-placed Noble was awarded a 203-second stop/go, and queueing behind him in the sin-box for a massive 300 seconds would be Jas Sapra, who had taken over the leading BMW from Bransom after a late stop, and would still be sitting it out when Axel Van Nederveen took the flag for an inherited win, but after a flawless and controlled performance in the tricky conditions. The last few laps saw a sensational skirmish for second place, with Will Stacey’s Lotus cutting through from the back of a four-car group to take the runner-up spot, just ahead of Maurizio Sciglio’s Ginetta, Julian Wantling in the G55 started by Jim Edwards, Marco Anastasi’s G56, which took a spin during the battle, and the similar car of Mike West, who had taken over from Jade Edwards. Neil Wallace had relieved Ian Astley in the SVG G55 and completed the Class 1 runners still on the track.
No dramas for Simon Clark, who secured the Class 2 win in his Porsche 997, ahead of the TSR Golf of Anthony Rodgers and Mark Jones, with a superb performance from budget-conscious Mark Skeats and Dave May, who completed the class podium in their self-run Nissan 350Z. Paul Goodlad drove well with hand-controls in the tricky conditions to finish fourth in his VW Scirocco, ahead of the Honda Civics of lone drivers Wiliam Puttergill and Arthur McMahon, while the Team BRIT pairing of Paul Fullick and Tee Mathurin suffered a post-race penalty of over one minute for a technical issue which dropped the BMW 240i well down the order. The Civic of Steve and Ed Cook was stymied by the penalty for a late pit stop, and atypically down the list were the usually front-running TSR Golf of Rob Ellick/Fynn Jones and the Alfa Giulia of Barry McMahon and Paul Plant.
Rhys Lloyd’s Dragon Sport team were successful in the Clio class, the team boss consolidating his Scholarship winner Jack Meakin’s early stint to take the class win, with the team’s second car in the hands of Travis Coyne/Jake Hewlett in the runner up spot. Completing the class podium were Andy Tucker and Ollie Meadows in the first of Max Coates’ High Row Motorsport Clios, former Team BRIT driver Tucker now happy and confident without hand controls. Ben Jenkins in the other High Row Clio had diced hard with Simon Mason in the Sim Dynamics machine in the opening stints, and it was resolved in Sim Dynamics’ favour at the flag, Chris Bialan leading James Harrison home. Craig Guest was sixth in class for newly-reformed Spires Motorsport, while Sarah Franklin assisted novice Mike Bowman in the Westbourne Clio, ahead of the new Spires pairing of Jonathan Christie-Rundle and team regular Darren Geeraerts. Brendan Haffner continued his winning ways from last season, taking a convincing G40 class win, ahead of Alex Turnbull.
Words: Steve Wood, Photos: Chris Valentine.