2018 SEASON REVIEW: FUN CUP CHAMPIONSHIP
Having just missed out on the Fun Cup title over the last couple of seasons, the 2Rent Dominos duo of Chris Hart and Henry Dawes finally took the top prize, FUN CUP CHAMPIONS 2018!
It took them until the final round of the championship at Donington Park however to grab that elusive victory, but four other podium finishers proved consistency to be the winning formula.
Both Hart and Dawes had their share of negativity during the season however, Hart picking up the odd pitlane speeding ticket, while Dawes managed to find the barrier at Zandvoort, before shedding a wheel at Tarzan. “It always used to Chris that crashed, now it’s me,” said Dawes.
There were four other winners during the season though, with Team Sherardize’s Peter Belshaw/Marcus Clutton successful at Anglesey, and a double at Zandvoort. Clutton particularly lucky to finish at Zandvoort as the steering wheel boss had broken.
There was no question that Sherardize were the team to beat on pace, a broken throttle cable at Oulton, overheating problems at Snetterton, a broken upright at Silverstone and being caught up in Agua Caliente and Team Honeywell’s Paddock Hill Bend clash at Brands Hatch, were ultimately to cost them the title.
The MAK Racing came into the season still looking for their first UK win, but they didn’t have to wait long, as Stuart Hall and Chris Webster took the opening round spoils at Oulton Park. But accident damage in the first race at Anglesey and a broken throttle cable in both the second race and the Zandvoort opener, was followed by an engine blow up in the second Dutch race, with Dan Brown setting the pace at the front. The team didn’t appear again during the rest of the season.
MAK weren’t the only maiden victors, as Apollo Motorsport had also proved that consistency worked. Novice Ryan Burke joined Guy and Zoe Wenham and after a fourth at Oulton, was followed by fifth and fourth at Anglesey, they arrived at Snetterton as championship leaders.
Guy had the privilege of bringing the car to the flag for their first win, but afterwards said,” I just had nothing left.” They won by 2.147 secs from DespatchBay.com’s Harry Mailer, but like MAK once a victor and the luck turned.
In the first of the Zandvoort double header, Guy was caught up in the aftermath of Michael Du Bois’ spectacular first lap crash, before looking set for second place in race two until the throttle cable broke. After pacey starts from Guy at both Silverstone and Brands Hatch, they had more problems at Silverstone, but took fifth at Brands, before finishing the season with a magnificent second place at Donington to seal fifth in the championship.
When the championship arrived at Donington there were two other teams still in contention with 2Rent Dominos for the title, Team Viking and Team Honeywell. Viking were certainly the surprise team and it hadn’t started well after Nick Nunn crashed heavily at Shell in the opening Oulton Park round.
But third place at the first Anglesey race and seventh in the second, was matched with seventh at Snetterton. A few minor discretions from both Nunn and Mark Holme may have lost them a few places, but having taken sixth in the first race at Zandvoort, they were back on the podium for race two in third.
They continued with both pace and reliability with fifth at Silverstone, fourth at Brands Hatch and finished the year with their third podium, having taken third place at Donington and with it the runner up place in the Championship.
Luck hasn’t always followed Team Honeywell’s Neil Plimmer and Tim Wheeldon, but their win at Anglesey proved to be the most popular of the year. They were on the podium too at Silverstone in third, but incidents at both Brands Hatch and Silverstone left them with a well-deserved third in the final standings. “I think everyone had a go at us at Donington,” said Wheeldon.
The only other winners during the year were Racelogic’s Julian Thomas, Jon Tomlinson and David Denyer, although they only did a part season due to other commitments. But their win at Silverstone that had been three years in coming, nearly didn’t happen as Thomas ran out of fuel on the last lap and had to nurse the car home. Just to make sure though they won at Brands Hatch too!
Sixth in the championship had seen an outstanding improvement for the Team 7 Fun Bikes Team of Chris Dovell with Chris and Ed Bridle. Having been pleased to make the top 10 last season, all three showed vast improvement, which saw them lead races and collect a first podium, with a magnificent second at Silverstone, which was repeated at the next round at Brands, with Jay Shepherd deputising for Dovell.
The CCS Media quartet of Nigel Greensall/Ciro Carannante/Bob Tomlinson/Alan Honarmand spent much of the season at the sharp end too, with Greensall always in the mix from the start. Apart from Silverstone they finished in the top 10 in every race, except the first Zandvoort, where they started late as a car was brought from the UK to replace the original crashed in testing. It arrived at the circuit as the race started!
Their best finish however was fourth at Snetterton.
For outgoing champions JPR UVio the season started well,” our best start to a season ever I think,” said Farquini Deott after he and Fabio Randaccio finished third at Oulton. They had a second at Anglesey too, but struggled home sixth at Snetterton and continued to struggle at Zandvoort too.
Back on the pace at Silverstone a podium began to look likely until contact with the Trumans car left them to finish sixth. At Brands they were back on the pace for victory, but when Farquini was chasing Dawes for the lead, he missed the pitstop window, and the following penalty dropped them to eighth. They fared little better at the Donington finale when a lead of over a lap came to nought when an electrical problem left them stranded in the closing minutes. “Can we just drop the whole of 2018,” Farquini concluded.
Completing the top 10 in the Championship were JPR GT Radial and the second Team 7 Fun Bikes car. The GT Radial duo of Ellis Hadley and Andre Gies starred in both Zandvoort races, with Gies leading both. They were third in the first race, but crashed out in the second, when Gies’ foot slipped off the brake into Hugenholtz.
Team 7 Fun Bikes’ had the father and son team of Alan and Rory Brown sharing with Rod Barrett and on occasions Jay Shepherd too. They were fourth in the second race at Zandvoort, having blown the engine in the first and ended the season in style too, with fifth at Donington.
Team Kennedy’s Charlie Kennedy and Rob Croydon didn’t collect the results they deserved, but did secure their first podium with third at Brands Hatch.
DespatchBay.com started the season with high aspirations and were eighth in the first round, with Harry Mailer and Paul Turner joining Andy Bicknell. But with Turner involved in the huge first lap shunt at Anglesey, they were immediately on the back foot. Second at Snetterton was their highlight, but Mailer often secured the fastest lap too.
Track Focused, JPR 99, Team Lane Roofing, Track Torque FNS, GCI, MCAC, TFL, Greensall Motorsport, Agua Caliente and Team Trumans all made the top 10 too on at last one occasion, in a season where 38 teams took part, to earn the Fun Cup its title of the closest endurance racing.
There was a new record set too, when Riley Phillips started the race at Snetterton with TFL, the youngest ever Fun Cup racer.
It’s over for now but only four months to the opening round of the 2019 season at Brands Hatch on March 23rd.