2017 SEASON REVIEW: FUN CUP CHAMPIONSHIP
In probably the most competitive year since the Fun Cup’s inception, the JPR UVio duo of Farquini Deott and Graham Roberts managed to retain the title after a final round shoot out at Oulton Park.
It may be billed as Endurance racing, but the Fun Cup is more of a three and four hour sprint and over the seven rounds we had five different winners.
Although it didn’t start well for UVio after contact at Silverstone’s opener put them out of the running, they were winners in round two at Oulton Park and were on the podium in every other round, with a second win in round four at a very wet Snetterton.
Both Team Trooper and Track Torque 2Rent Dominos kept their title aspirations on track all season. Trooper had a strong line-up with Paul Wighton and Anthony Reid, joined this year by Harry Mailer and Jake Rattenbury.
Trooper won the opening round, but their other three podiums were all in the first half of the season. They were fifth in both Anglesey races, after Wighton had an off in the first and just missed out on a final podium at Oulton final to take third in the championship.
Chris Hart and Henry Dawes, were so near the title last year, but they were even closer this time. They were on the podium at every round except Brands Hatch, where Dawes struggled for power and grip in the final stint. They were devastating at Anglesey with a double win though, but third in the final left them five points shy of UVio.
DespatchBay.com got their problems out of the way early on. Marcus Clutton shared with Andy Bicknell for most of the year, but after engine maladies ended their opening charge at Silverstone, Clutton had an uncharacteristic excursion at Lodge in round two. But with Clutton committed to Team Sherardize at Brands Hatch and Snetterton, Bicknell had Fun Cup debutant Charlie Hollings alongside.
Bicknell’s pace had increased massively from last season and at Brands Hatch they were denied a late fight for a podium finish by the safety car, before taking sixth at Snetterton.
Clutton was back in for the Anglesey double-header where a third and a second were just the preparation for a maiden victory at Oulton Park for the Solutions racing run DespatchBay.com, sealing fourth in the championship.
It was Clutton’s second win of the year however, as he shared the victory at Brands Hatch with Peter Belshaw’s Sherardize car.
The only other team to visit the podium were Team Honeywell. But it wasn’t the best of seasons for Neil Plimmer and Tim Wheeldon. After taking second in round one at Silverstone, a catalogue of problems left them out of contention until the penultimate round at Anglesey, taking fourth after an engine failure in the earlier race.
Both MAK Racing and Team Lane Roofing Evolution had consistent seasons to complete the top six in the championship. TLR had three fourth places, but couldn’t quite make the podium, with Chris Weatherill joined on different occasions by Nigel Griffiths, Geoff Fawcett and race returnee Rob Croydon.
MAK had a strong line-up too, with Chris Webster and Michelle Hayward joined by Le Mans racer Stuart Hall. They had four top six’s, with their best a fifth in the Silverstone opener. But they more than made up for it with a win in the non championship trip to Portimao, where Andy Kirk joined Michelle Hayward for their first win.
JPR on the Piste were seventh in the final standings, with Dominic Clarke, Mark Burton, Graham Pattle and Steve Harris taking turns at the wheel during the year, while a remarkable eighth were Chris and Ed Bridle, joined by Chris Dovell in the Fun Cup Academy Amber 1 Team 7 car in their first season.
Viking Self Storage’s Mark Holme, Nick Nunn and Jim Hadfield and the Track Focused 2 car of Clint Bardwell and novice Dean Warriner rounded off the top and a fantastic season, where 38 teams took part.