No issues this time – Bryan Bransom and Jas Sapra took a convincing win in Race 2 in the Invitation entry BMW E46.
Pole sitter Marco Anastasi’s Ginetta G56A led away from the rolling start, but making a storming start from the third row was Callum Noble in the Thorney Motorsport BMW E46, taking third place down the Craners, then taking second place from Simon Clark’s Porsche through McLeans. Clark got the place back through the Esses, leaving Noble to fend off the close attention of Maurizio Sciglio and Sebastian Dubois in their Ginettas and Jas Sapra’s BMW. Sciglio got alongside Noble once or twice, but couldn’t make it stick, then Sapra, at the back of this squabbling trio, had seen enough, and got in front of the two Ginettas to get Noble out of the way. But that was easier said than done – Noble hung on for a further three laps, by which time Robin Grimwood and Neil Wallace had joined the train of Ginettas, with even Rob Ellick’s TSR Golf hanging on to the back. And there was more trouble for the High Row Clio of Andy Tucker – twice already it had come to a halt, and twice it re-started, but no such issues in the Clio midfield, where Travis Coyne, James Colburn and James Harrison were enjoying some close racing. The Ginetta of Robin Grimwood was in the gravel, same place as Race 1, the Esses, so the Safety Car was deployed, just two minutes before the pit window would be opening. Sapra got it right this time, pitting with the rest of the field, with just six exceptions – Anastasi and Sciglio, who had accrued success penalties of 15 and five seconds respectively, Brendan Haffner’s G40, and the Clios of Tate, Hickton and Christie-Rundle; staying out, coupled with success penalties, would surely put the Edinburgh-based Sicilians on the back foot?
Simon Clark won “the race out of the pits”, ahead of Bryan Bransom, who had relieved Sapra in the BMW, while Anton Spires was the Clio class leader. There was drama at the restart, as Bransom saw a gap at Redgate and lunged down the inside of Clark’s Porsche – the gap narrowed though, there was side contact, which pushed Clark wide, and Noble and the Ginettas of Sebastian Dubois and Ian Astley sneaked through. An atypical late-race spin for Astley at the Melbourne Hairpin put him at the back of the Class 1 group, as the recovering Sciglio and Anastasi went through to chase Noble’s BMW, which again was proving a tough customer; there was some locking-up, and some sliding, but they got through, as did Astley, with just three minutes of the race left. Bransom took the flag, nearly half a minute ahead of fellow-Invitation entry Dubois in the Ginetta, with Class 2 victor Simon Clark third overall, and while Sciglio was safe in fourth place, Anastasi had Astley in tow, and the two Ginettas went wide, locked together side-by-side onto the grass at the last corner, with Astley crossing the line in front. An apologetic Astley graciously accepted the Stewards’ decision of a one-second penalty, and relinquished the place to Anastasi. Callum Noble was seventh overall, and his excellent performance in the Thorney Motorsport BMW E46 earned him the Driver of the Day award.
Will Puttergill won Class 3, clinching the Class title in the CH Racing with Motion Motorsport Honda Civic, after the erstwhile class-leading TSR VW Golf of Mark Jones and Rob Ellick retired with gearbox issues, with Charlotte Birch and Loui Hounsell third in the Vinna Sport Ginetta G40. Rhys Lloyd and Jack Meakin were classified winners of the Clio class, sealing the overall and class titles in the process, with High Row’s James Harrison and Ben Jenkins a fine second, ahead of Anton Spires and Andreas Georgiou, the Spires Motorsport team enjoying a resurgence with the boss taking the wheel. Fourth went to the Westbourne car of James Colburn / Gary Smith, ahead of the heavily-penalised Spires car of Darren Geeraerts / Jonathan Christie-Rundle, and though the once title-contending High Row machine of Andy Tucker and Max Coates suffered considerable issues, Coates’ class fastest lap showed what might have been. Sadly, the first Britcar outing for Andy Tate and Neil House ended in a smoky retirement, but in the G40 Cup class, Brendan Haffner continued his winning ways, claiming the class title, and Alex Turnbull put in another solid performance in second place, the class vice-champion.
Words: Steve Wood, photos: Paul Cherry and Chris Valentine.