They did it again! Adam Howarth and Chris Boardman finished 45 seconds ahead of the rest of the field in the Amspeed BMW M3 E46, while behind them the usual suspects engaged in an intense battle for position.
The MacG Racing Mazda RX8 made a pit-lane start after some fraught last-minute work in the garage – the car didn’t sound right when Josh Tomlinson fired it up, and after some investigation and bolt tightening, it was sent out. Adam Howarth took an immediate lead in the E36, with Kester Cook’s Fiesta and Oliver Smith’s BMW behind, an these three began to pull out a significant gap back to Nigel Ainge’s Honda Integra, which was followed by a close-coupled train of cars. Not that Ainge was holding them up, he was as fast as any of them, but he was keeping an eye on the marauding pack behind while the front runners disappeared into the distance. Robert Pugsley’s Cayman, Brad Kaylor’s SEAT, Adriano Medeiros in the G40, Ben Colburn’s Clio and Richard Higgins in the Porsche 996 were all involved. Pugsley got through first, then Medeiros tried a move on Kaylor, who was making his own attempt to pass Ainge. The corporate-liveried SEAT ran wide, letting Medeiros through briefly, but got the place back, and took Ainge. The 76 year-old Midlander was having none of it though, and was back past in a matter of a few laps, and off in pursuit of Pugsley. Meanwhile, pitlane starter Tomlinson was picking his way through the Team BRIT BMWs, enjoying their own skirmishes.
The Colburn brothers Clios were together again, Ben leading James, while ahead of them, that fight for "best of the rest" was far from over. Ainge took Pugsley, then ran wide, and Adriano Medeiros seized an opportunity, passing the both of them, while Brad Kaylor got himself between Ainge and Pugsley.
Nerys Pearce made her race debut alongside coach Abbie Eaton in one of Team BRIT’s expanding fleet
By this point, Jon Packer had retired the Smart 4Four with mechanical issues, and Class 7 frontrunner Alistair Lindsay also called it a day, the fan belt on his Golf having snapped and cooked the water pump.
Charlie Campbell was first in once the pit stop window opened, handing the Peugeot RCZ to Rob Smith, and Josh Tomlinson and Kester Cook followed suit.
Once the pit window had closed and the field settled, Boardman, now in the Amspeed BMW, retained the lead, half a minute ahead of the Kester Fiesta. Danny Cassar incurred a stop/go penalty when he took the Integra over from Ainge, but was still third, ahead of Oliver Smith’s BMW. Sadly, this period would see the end of the road for the MacG Mazda RX8, misfiring and and getting a little too hot, and the Thompson’s Clio, which suffered brake failure.
There was a last dash to pick up places towards the end of the race, and when the flag fell, Boardman’s BMW won by 45 seconds over Cook’s Fiesta, and Danny Cassar took third in the Integra, ahead of Oliver Smith, with Brad Kaylor, anxious to get the race over in case his wife went into labour, ahead of Rob Smith’s Peugeot. Robert Pugsley, exciting in the early stages and solid in his closing stint, was seventh overall and third in Class 6, earning him the Driver of the Day award, while James Colburn led the Clios home, nearly seven seconds ahead of brother Ben, whilst the veterans Gen 1 car of Richard Colburn and Dave Beecroft trailed Darren Geeraerts Gen 3 machine.
Charlotte Birch & Adriano Medeiros now share joint first place in our Trophy category in the Vinna Sport Ginetta G40
Richard Higgins recovered well from his penalty to finish fourth in Class 6 in the County Classics Porsche 996, ahead of Charlotte Birch in the Vinna Sport Ginetta G40, the Goodman/Tester Lotus Elise, Peter Spano and Charlie Hollings in the Ramen Racing Ginetta G40, and Bill Forbes, who had a better race this time in his G40. There were no histrionics from Anthony Hutchins, 15th overall and third in Class 5 in his Boxster giving him a significant placing in the championship standings, while Richard Bernard, in a similar machine, was fourth in the class.
As in the previous race, Class 7 was won by the invitation entry Ginetta G20 of Steve Griffiths and Jamie Vynie-Meyer, with Saxon’s Johnathan Barrett taking the Class top points, and the enthusiastic Ivor Mairs in third in his Invitation-entry Mazda MX5. Steve and Edward Cook, in their Honda Civic, bagged the second-place points, putting them in a good position in the standings, while the Matty Street/Andy Tucker BMW 116 was the best of the Team BRIT contingent, ahead of Nerys Pearce/Abbie Eaton, Christian Dart/James Birch and Luke Pound/Tom Dorman.
Text: Steve Wood; photos: Chris Valentine