ALFA ROMEOS HEAD NORTH TO OULTON PARK
This Saturday the BRSCC Alfashop Alfa Romeo Championship will venture north to Oulton Park for the first and only time this year. Round 4 takes place on the challenging International circuit after successful meetings at Rockingham and a double header on the Silverstone National Circuit a fortnight ago. So far, this year’s racing has produced some very close fought competition. There have been different winners both overall and in the classes with some new faces taking well deserved class wins.
At Rockingham, the overall winner was a delighted Chris Snowdon who at last found some reliability in his 33 16v. But he was chased throughout by Darelle Wilson (Diesel GT), John Griffiths (156) and 2012 champion Roger Evans (147 GTA) who finished in that order after Roger had made a mistake when in second place on the final lap. Class E was as competitive as ever and produced a new winner in Tom Herbert, starting only his second season, in a 156. James Ford (156) and Timothy Perry (147) made up the class top three.
Darelle Wilson is part of Luther Blissett’s Team 48 and is quickly making a name for himself in Alfa circles with only the second diesel to have raced in the Championship. At Silverstone he actually led briefly on Saturday’s damp track before an intercooler pipe came adrift. The track was dry on Sunday, and coming from the back of the grid overtook 17 cars on the first lap until he came up behind the immovable Roger Evans and had to settle for a final 4th place, right on Roger’s tail at the flag. The winner on both days was the 156 2 litre Turbo of Anthony George. Hard work over the winter seems to have solved the high under-bonnet temperature problem that has plagued the car in the past and it ran trouble free throughout. The same was true of another modified 156, newly built by Peak Alfa for Andy Robinson with a completely different approach – this time using a normally aspirated V6 14v 3.8 litre engine. Silverstone was his first outing but a 3rd and a 2nd was a pleasing result and there is certainly more to come from this combination. Anthony George will miss Oulton but Andy Robinson has entered.
Another 156 we should see is that of Barry McMahon who took a 2nd place at Silverstone with his 3 litre GTV. The McMahon 156 has a turbo Giulietta engine fitted and is a totally unknown quantity. Another possible Oulton winner is Guy Hale who has yet to race his further developed 147 GTA this year.
One highly delighted driver at Silverstone on the Saturday was Graham Seager who managed to defeat class rival Roger Evans, his 3.0 litre GTV proving to be more stable than the 147 GTA on the damp track and allowing him to make a brave passing manoeuvre into Copse. A very welcome addition to our ranks at Silverstone was Roz Shaw in her 1971 Group 2 spec GTAm. After a disappointing Saturday (water in the electrics and a puncture) Roz drove strongly in the dry to head all the Class E cars home, 10th overall in the 24 car field, winning her class (A2) in the process.
Class E again produced some really tight racing at Silverstone and watching the in-car videos makes you really realise the skill of all concerned in just keeping cars on the damp track on Saturday. The eventual result was a surprise. Tom Eastwood, once he pushed his 145 Cloverleaf to the front, was able to ease away to a 6.5 seconds win over James Ford – a unusually large margin for the class – while James had to fight off a strong challenge from Tom Herbert. James and Tom were at it again in the dry, James winning the class this time. Third driver on the podium with his best drive since he started racing in 2012, was Dave Peddie in his Scottish saltire bedecked 145.
Oulton will see another strong Class E and no doubt an unpredictable result, particularly if the weather lets us down. Top money would be on James Ford in the absence of Tom Herbert, but Andy Inman always goes well there and a dark horse could be the returning Matt Daly who, like Tom Eastwood and Dave Peddie, will be in a 145. A late entry, though, is the 147 of Adie Hawkins who you can always expect to be a front runner.