Chris Bialan and Simon Mason broke the Ginetta stronghold in Race 2, taking the Jabbasport-run Cupra to a well-deserved victory, with amateur driver Bialan earning the Britcar Outstanding Achievement trophy.

No luck at all for Jas Sapra and the Intersport squad with a second retirement

Bialan set his stall out on the opening lap – the Ginetta of Dubois led the field away from pole, with the similar machines of Anastasi and Sciglio in pursuit, and before the first tour had ended, Bialan was third, and took second into Redgate at the start of the second lap. Also on the move was Nigel Greensall, up to fifth in the yellow BMW E36, the top five breaking away from the rest of the field, which was headed by the TSR Audi TT of Mark Jones, and included first-race retirees Axel van Nederveen’s Ginetta, and Jas Sapra in a replacement Intersport BMW, scything through the pack. Andy Georgieu’s Clio and Stephen Fresle’s Ginetta took quick spins, but recovered, and at Goddard’s, on lap three, Bialan, the oldest person in the race by some measure, took the lead. The left rear wheel on Sapra’s BMW let go in spectacular fashion on the Melbourne Loop, causing another retirement for the luckless Intersport squad, and Daire Flock’s Clas 3 Clio was locked in the middle of a gaggle of Dragon Sport and High Row machines, with Hadley Simpson and Rhys Lloyd heading the pack. Greensall was still pushing in the BMW, giving Anastasi a hard time, so much that the Ginetta locked up at Coppice and straight-lined into the gravel. Greensall then turned his attention to Sciglio, who proved more difficult to distract.

Late-pitter Dubois held the lead briefly during the pt-stop window, but Simon Mason had relieved Bialan in the Cupra, and resumed the lead, but was now being hunted down by Axel van Nederveen, who had utilised his usual stealth to be where it counted when it mattered. If anything, the appearance of a late-race Safety Car improved his chances – Dave Gooding, in the BMW so spectacularly driven by Greensall in the early laps had sadly come to a halt on the Melbourne Loop – and the humble Dutch Eurocrat was just a couple of seconds shy of Mason in the Safety Car train, with Rob Ellick’s Audi TT, four laps down after early issues, between them. Mason, though, scampered away once the caution was lifted with just one racing lap left, and took the flag nearly three seconds ahead of van Nederveen. That late Safety Car stymied Ben Green too, on a charge in the Ginetta started by Fresle, he couldn’t quite catch Sciglio and Dubois ahead of him, but he was awarded fourth place after a post-race penalty of 31 seconds was slapped on Dubois for not taking a stop/go penalty before the race ended, dropping him to fifth. The same fate fell to Rhys Lloyd, sixth on the road and the leading Clio, though the result was much more punishing, dropping him to eighth in class after spending the majority of the race, including Harri Reynold’s stint, in the class lead. This left High Row’s

Highrow newcomers Maurice Henry and Hadley Simpson took the CLIO class win in Race 2

Maurice Henry and Hadley Simpson to take class honours, ahead of Dragon Sports’ Sam Neser and Jack James, with Andy Tucker, in the Clio started by Nick Halstead, finishing third in spite of taking his stop/go penalty just before the flag. Josh Tomlinson and novice Kieran Shanks, Travis Coyne/ Alex Nevill and James Harrison/ Ben Jenkins were covered by just two seconds across the line in a typical Clio close finish, with Daire Flock’s Class 3 Gen 5 version splitting the group from Anton Spires in the car started by Andy Georgieu. Flock, the reigning Junior Saloons champion, was joined on the Class 3 podium by Fun Cup pilots Dave Farrow and Martin Byford, and G40 driver Alex Turnbull, with Farrow taking home the Rowe Driver of the Day Award, while the Team BRIT BMW 1-series of Dom Shore and Caleb McDuff was not classified, the same happening to the SEAT Leon of James Shanks and George@GCM. Lone driver Tony Whitney bagged the Class 2 win, staying clear of the squabbling Clios this time, with the Team BRIT BMW 240i of Noah Cosby and Asha Silva around 11 seconds adrift in second, while Rob Ellick completed the class podium, two further laps down in the Audi TT that had an unplanned pit stop early in Mark Jones’ opening stint.

Chris Bialan took home the Britcar Outstanding Achievement award for his opening stint in the Sim Dynamics with Jabbasport Cupra Gen 1

Words: Steve Wood, photos: Chris Valentine and Paul Cherry.