2015 SEASON REVIEW: ALFASHOP ALFA ROMEO CHAMPIONSHIP
Graham Seager was one happy chap to walk away with the silverware in his Alfa GTV!
It is perhaps a rare event for a title sponsor to celebrate a 10th Anniversary in club motorsport but we were very happy to see Alfashop continuing their wholehearted support for the BRSCC Alfa Romeo Championship into 2015. There was change, however, in another area as the old and cumbersome six class structure gave way to a new three class split – Modified, Power Trophy and Twin Spark Cup. Modified was now a single class instead of two, doing away with the previous capacity split at 2 litres, while totally new was the Power Trophy based on a power to weight ratio formula. The old, and highly competitive Class E was given new lease of life as The Twin Spark Cup. With an interesting calendar starting at Silverstone in April and ending at Donington in mid October, there was plenty keep competitors occupied and they certainly provided us with some outstanding racing during the year, particularly at Cadwell and Donington. We were also pleased to welcome among the 45 registered competitors several who were racing for the first time.
James Bishop enjoyed an exemplary Championship winning season in 2014 and at the start of this year it looked as though we were in for a repeat as he won the first four Twin Spark Cup races. His main challengers overall at this stage were Tom Hill, Ray Foley (Power Trophy) and Dave Messenger but James decided to miss Round 5 at Oulton while Tom crashed on lap 1, throwing away his chance to head the points table So we arrived at Snetterton in June with Ray leading James Bishop and Dave Messenger. Despite three race wins, Graham Seager was only 6th in his supercharged GTV and it was Bryan Shrubb who led the modified class with his 16v 33. The unpredictability of motor sport was shown only too well from here on as, although James Bishop took another class win at Snetterton, this would be his last in a season where even climbing back onto the podium would prove a challenge such was the level of competition. Ray Foley decided to miss a couple of rounds to race in Europe and Tom Hill didn’t manage to confirm his potential until we reached Brands Hatch in August.
Meanwhile, Graham Seager was showing himself to be the major force in the Modified class , climbing stealthily up the points table with more wins at Snetterton, Cadwell, Brands and Croft. By the time we reached Donington, the championship was his to throw away which he managed to avoid, conclusively, in fine style much to the relief of everyone at Peak Alfa. Other race winners during the season were Bryan Shrubb, who took advantage of other people’s woes at Cadwell and Croft while Roger Evans was a double winner at Rockingham. James Bishop managed to retain second place in overall points table ahead of Tom Hill while special mention should be made of past runner-up James Ford who had moved himself up to 4th, having gone to Snetterton for round 6 lying 17th!
I have already mentioned several of the Modified front runners but we also had some excellent performances from Chris Snowdon in the John Sismey built 33 and then, when John decided to retire mid year, in his own 75 3 litre which took a third place at Donington. Also outstanding was the 147 Turbo of 21 year old James Nicholls who took a 2nd and 3rd at Croft and then a second in race 1 at Donington. He was leading race 2 before being sidelined with a gearbox problem. And we shouldn’t forget Anthony George who, on his only appearance of the year in his 156 Turbo, took a double win at Snetterton. Other podium visitors were Andy Robinson (156 3.8) and Vincent Dubois (156 Turbo) both on four occasions.
The class re-structure for 2015 resulted in a new class based on Power to weight. It was hoped that this would encourage owners of a variety of models to enter but it took a while to get going. However. Ray Foley (147 GTA), Keith Waite (75 3 litre) and Ron Davidson (164) worked hard to make it a success, all registering class wins as did Nick Anderson, before a broken crankshaft on his 33 8v ended his season in July, and Clive Hodgkin at Croft with his 156 GTA. Clive finished second overall in the first race there, showing that the car could also have been a contender overall elsewhere during the year if he had been able to run in more races. The Championship class win eventually went to Ray Foley after a late challenge by Keith Waite.
Twin Spark Cup
This class produced superb racing all year. James Bishop and James Ford won 8 of the races between but there were others who were still able to shine, notably Paul Plant with four wins, with Tom Hill and Matt Daly taking one apiece. Matt’s drive at Donington was one of the most outstanding of the year in his unfancied 145. Dave Messenger took four podiums early on but various problems included a seized engine at Cadwell and a puncture at Brands didn’t help his season. After taking pole at Silverstone in April, Andy Hancock was disappointed to be on the podium only twice. Best newcomer, with two second places to his name was Simon Cresswell although Richard Stevens had scored consistently before engine problems intervened. James Browning was another driver to perform well as the season progressed. A special loyalty prize should go to Jeremy Chilton who started and finished all fourteen races.
Our thanks go to Toyo for supplying our Twin Spark control tyres and also to Grove & Dean Motorsport Insurance for supporting the Driver of the Day award at each meeting.