If we can’t win here, we can’t win anywhere” said Simon Mason before the race, alluding to the chances of the Jabbasport / Sim Dynamics Cupra he shares with long-time race partner Chris Bialan. And they did win, in style, finishing over three-quarters of a minute ahead of Axel van Nederveen’s Ginetta G56A.

TSR fielded both of their Audi TTs with Rob Ellick in the #7 car

It didn’t look that way in qualifying though – the Trophy cars shared the session, and the subsequent race, with the Snetterton Saloons, that would be starting on a separate grid 15 seconds behind the Trophy contingent, and Mason started the Cupra from the second row surrounded by Datum Motorsport Ginetta G56As,with Marco Anastasi alongside, and Axel van Nederveen and Maurizio Sciglio ahead. It was van Nederveen that took the lead at the rolling start, but Mason burst through from the second row and by lap two was in the lead. Lee Goldsmith was in the mix too, his Geoff Steel-run BMW M3 getting the measure of Sciglio and Anastasi, while the usual Clio battle – a five-car affair – was interrupted by the lead battle of the Snetterton saloons. Noah Cosby led Class 2 in the Team BRIT BMW240i, though was passed by Rob Ellick, driving alone in the #7 TSR Audi TT. Harri Reynolds, leading the Clio class in the Dragon Sport #1 car, came to a halt at Club 20 minutes into the race, with a fuel pump issue, leaving Maurice Henry and Matt Hyde to duke it out, and there was no rush to pit once the window opened, Team BRIT being a tad too leisurely and missing the window altogether, Noah Cosby in the 240i and Bobby Trundley in the BMW 1-series pitting simultaneously a couple of minutes late, which caused take-over drivers Asha Silva and Caleb McDuff to take stop/go penalties.

The Clios were still together, taking their fight to McDuff’s 1-series around Club, just as Kevin Clarke’s Snetterton Saloon was about to put a lap on them, and from the five-abreast chaos, Hadley Simpson emerged in front – just. One who wasn’t so successful lapping the Clios was second-placed Axel van Nederveen though, clipping the trailing car of the squabbling trio and taking a quick spin, without relinquishing his position.

So Chris Bialan, mindful of front tyre management, and advice from Simon Mason to “underdrive”, brought to Cupra to a healthy overall and Class 1 win, 47 seconds ahead of Axel van Nederveen, who had held on to his second place, and that large gap shows how comfortable the Cupra was on the GP circuit. Lee Goldsmith’s BMW took third, after fending off Anastasi’s Ginetta G56A in the closing laps, and fighting with Sciglio’s similar machine for the final podium place. Rob Ellick had a lonely race in the TSR Audi TT, claiming the Class 2 win ahead of Asha Silva’s Team BRIT BMW 240i, which finishing on the same lap despite a puncture and a penalty, while Mark Jones tackled the race alone in the second TSR Audi TT, not expecting much more than finishing third in class in the slower olive-green car. High Row won the Clio class, Maurice Henry/Hadley Simpson taking the flag just 0.328 seconds ahead of Dragon Sport’s Sam Neser/ Jack James, with High Row’s James Harrison and new recruit Thomas Jack James just a further 1.541 adrift. Dragon Sport’s Alex Nevill / Matt Hyde, had led the class, but came home fourth, with Travis Chapman and Andreas Georgiou fifth in the Spires Motorsport Clio, whilst in Class 3, Bobby Trundley / Caleb McDuf in the Team BRIT BMW 1-series took the win, ahead of lone driver Alex Turnbull, who put in his usual faultless performance in the SVG Ginetta G40.

Lee Goldsmith took home the ROWE driver of the day award for his single-handed drive of the Geoff Steel Racing BMW M3

Words: Steve Wood, photos: Paul Cherry