As drivers tackled the twists and turns of the phenomenal Cadwell Park at the British Racing & Sports Car Club’s one and only visit to Lincolnshire this season this past weekend, what followed was two dramatic and exciting days of racing in a weekend that saw a number of first time winners and plenty of important developments in several championship battles.

The Milltek Sport Civic Cup took a rare trip away from its regular support slot with TCR UK to visit the wondrous swooping hills of Cadwell Park, with the top two in the championship battle level on points heading to Lincolnshire. Dan Thackeray and Alistair Camp were aiming to try and break the deadlock between them, while their rivals behind them were keen to keep them close and even try to overhaul them.

Ryan Bensley started the weekend strong with pole position in qualifying and after lining up on pole for race one alongside Max Edmundson, a less than ideal start pushed him down to third behind Edmundson and Camp from the outset. An early safety car for Anthony Gannon’s car against the barriers exiting Coppice lasted until half distance, and Edmundson was quick to escape from the pack on the restart.

In the end, Edmundson had enough to keep Camp at arm’s length behind him, claiming his second win in a row and bridging the gap further to the top two in the championship. Thackeray was a distant third ahead of Morgan Bailey in fourth, both drivers escaping from a large battle pack headed by Harvey Caton at the flag in fifth. Edmundson also claimed the Paul Winfield Trophy, and Mark Hughes took the Goodyear Diamond Award.

A near complete Pro Alloys lockout of the first two rows on the partially reversed race two grid put Travis Chapman on pole alongside Alex Kite, but the race was immediately red flagged before the end of lap one after Jeff Alden’s car was left stranded after a start line collision. Chapman was then forced to start from pitlane after changing a right rear wheel, leaving Kite as defacto pole man on the restart.

Despite leading the opening lap, Kite was under pressure from the FN2 Civic of Dave Marshall as he looked to chase his first Civic Cup win. After a handful of laps chasing him down, Marshall made his move at the Gooseneck with a determined pass to claim the lead, before Kite slowed at The Mountain and retired. From here, Marshall had to hold on for the remaining six minutes while Bailey and Camp attempted to close him down. In the end, their efforts weren’t enough and Marshall took both his first victory and the first win for an FN2 Civic since Daniel Reason at Oulton Park in 2019. Marshall also took the Paul Winfield Trophy as Bailey and Camp trailed in behind him, ahead of Thackeray and Edmundson in the top five and another Goodyear Diamond Award for Mark Hughes.

Bensley had a chance to redeem himself from race one with pole again for the final race of the weekend, this time launching much better and having the pace to lead from the front from the outset. Edmundson would be his closest challenger in the first half of the race, before a collision at The Mountain brought out the red flag. Bensley again held the lead from the restart and kept the pack at bay until the race was stopped once again and declared after another incident at the bottom of The Mountain. This gave Bensley the race win from Edmundson, Thackeray, Camp and Caton, with Edmundson picking up the Paul Winfield Trophy and Simon Welch taking Goodyear Diamond Award honours this time.

Heading to the latest rounds of the GAZ Shocks Mazda MX-5 Championship at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire, Steve Foden held a fairly commanding lead in the points table with just three race meetings left to run. The task of trying to catch him was looking ever tougher as three more races would either strengthen or weaken his advantage.

Pole in qualifying only worked in Foden’s favour, getting the best start to once again lead from the outset of race one with initial pursuit made by Adam Sparrow, Owen Mills and Luke Pullen. Sparrow broke away to latch onto Foden’s tail as Pullen took third from Mills, and soon enough the leading train was growing ever longer. Then Sparrow lost out to Pullen and Ted Bradbury, before Pullen made a superb outside pass at Chris Curve to steal the lead. Sparrow’s race took a further nosedive running wide and spinning at The Mountain and down to an eventual tenth place at the finish.

Foden repassed Pullen shortly after followed by Bradbury and despite pressure from both and a light rain shower late on to spice things up further, nothing could move Foden out of the lead. Bradbury himself ran wide in the final minutes and slipped to ninth, while in front it was another victory for the championship leader. While Foden won, the podium places behind him saw a real shake up as Jason Greatrex rose to second ahead of Owen Mills in third, followed by Pullen and Oliver Graham in the top five.

Race two came to a halt after mere seconds when Luke Pullen and Tim Storer collided and found the barriers just past pit exit, forcing a stoppage for barrier rebuild and recovery. The restart took place after the lunch break, with Greatrex finding the lead from the start ahead of Foden while everyone tried to be third from the outset. Greatrex did well to remain in front for the opening few laps, doing so until the safety car was called for Kevin Dengate’s stranded car at Chris Curve.

Foden couldn’t squeeze past initially on the restart with six minutes to go, but continued pressing eventually produced a superb outside pass at Coppice on the penultimate lap, putting Greatrex off line and losing him several spots as a result. Oliver Graham then stole the lead from Foden briefly, but he was denied a first MX-5 victory when Foden took the inside line at Coppice to get back in front. From here, Foden had control to the flag, picking up his second win from Graham, Jack Noller, Sparrow and Bradbury.

Graham almost beat Foden off the line in race three, but despite a failed initial attempt he kept on his bumper in the opening laps. Sparrow and Bradbury soon joined the party to make a leading quartet. The four cars spread out for a while mid race, before Sparrow took second from Graham and set off to catch Foden. An outside pass at Chris Curve gave him the lead, just as Bradbury and Graham arrived back on the scene to apply more pressure, before Foden took it back again a couple of laps later. What then followed in the last three minute was nothing short of a frantic melee for victory as all four drivers had a legitimate shot at the win.

Going into the final lap, Bradbury led but was then hit with a five second track limits penalty just as he went to pass Sparrow for the lead. A last ditch attempt didn’t work exiting The Mountain, leaving Sparrow to win from Foden, Graham, Greatrex and Langford while Ted dropped back to seventh. The final lap also saw an incident just before Hall Bends between Tim Dore and Richard Wootten, both of which walked away unscathed.

With Matt Fletcher holding a lead he was hoping to keep hold of come the end of the season, he and the rest of the Downforce Radio Mazda MX-5 Clubman Championship paddock headed to Cadwell Park to find what the next development in this year’s title battle would produce.

Pole went Fletcher’s way in qualifying and this allowed him to get the better start from the front row, while front row mate Harry Deane slipped back behind Jordan Pimley to third place. Initially, it seemed as though Fletcher was about to put in another typical race winning performance, but after five minutes the safety car was called after Andrew Dean’s car ended up in a rather odd position up the bank just after Mansfield, which then warranted a red flag.

Once recovered and racing resumed with a five minute restart, Fletcher could only lead until The Mountain where Pimley put in a superb pass to get ahead. Fletcher was determined not to let him go but despite immediately retaliating he eventually had to settle for the runner up spot as Pimley took his second career win. Deane completed the top three from Jon Pethick and the returning Paul Bateman in the top five.

Pimley denied Fletcher the chance to lead the opening lap as race two began, but his chances of a win were sent tumbling with a ten second penalty for a jump start. This immediately put him out of place on track as Pimley got stuck in battling with Deane to defend his lead, but before long it was Pimley that was just starting to edge away out in front leaving Deane to defend from the penalised Fletcher.

Deane eventually managed to claw himself on to Pimley’s tail in the final couple of minutes, but there was nothing to unseat Pimley from his second win of the day, followed by Deane in second place and Pethick inheriting third after Fletcher’s penalty to claim a podium. Jonny Greensmith and Tim Dore completed the top five.

There’s just no stopping how competitive the Clapham North MOT Mazda MX-5 SuperCup has become throughout the last couple of seasons and especially in 2023. Cadwell Park marked the next step in this year’s competition, as the Pro, Club and Masters title battles all began to hone into focus for their main contenders.

Qualifying produced a brand new pole sitter as Sam Heading, fresh from switching teams to AB Motorsport, clinched fastest time to start race one from the front alongside James Cossins. Heading immediately sprinted away to the lead while Pro points leader Aidan Hills jumped into second with Will Blackwell-Chambers on his tail. Initially, it looked as though no-one had an answer for Heading’s pace as the lead gap remained static, but soon enough Heading was just able to slowly edge away as the race moved into its second half.

By the end, Heading was able to remain clear by almost a second despite the best efforts of those behind to clinch his first MX-5 SuperCup win in fine style. Hills and Blackwell-Chambers picked up second and third in Pro Class behind him with Patrick Fletcher and Ali Bray completing the top five overall and in class. In Club class, Robert Way was able to add another victory to his 2023 tally to maintain the points lead there, victorious ahead of Wilbur Tiley, Kamal Kalsi, Bruce Robinson and Christopher Ginn.

A delayed start to race two courtesy of Ali Bray’s car suffering a mechanical fault made Heading and co wait even longer to get race two underway on Sunday. Cossins got a great jump from lights out and held the outside line into Coppice to take the lead exiting Charlies, followed quickly by Blackwell-Chambers one corner later. WB-C then took the lead at Park from Cossins a lap later with Hills following suit to demote him to third as half distance approached.

Then hard luck befell Blackwell-Chambers when his car slowed exiting Mansfield, coming to a stop at the bottom of The Mountain. With Hills now promoted to the lead and the safety car called to retrieve the stricken #1 car, it was left as a three minute sprint on the restart to decide the winner. Hills had teammate Cossins and Fletcher right behind him all the way, but there was no stopping Aidan from hitting double figures for victories this time. He clinched win number ten of the season from Cossins and Fletcher with Leigh Britten in fourth and James Blake-Baldwin stealing fifth on the line.

A late drama for Robert Way saw him lose a second Club class victory of the weekend on the final lap, handing it on a plate to main rival Kamal Kalsi with Ollie Hall in second and Aimee Watts take a first career Club class podium third, ahead of Tiley and the recovered Way.

Race three would in turn present another opportunity for Leigh Britten to go for his first SuperCup win after being cruelly denied just a couple of laps from home at Anglesey. To do it, he would have to beat both Alex Stott and Blake-Baldwin on the front row ahead of him, the latter jumping to the lead with Britten following suit as Stott slipped back to third. The top two quickly escaped from the chasing pack, as Britten hunted down, caught and eventually passed Blake-Baldwin after several laps of relentless pursuit, taking the lead inside the second half of the race.

By this point, Hills and Cossins had closed in on the top two and were hunting for more podiums, as they tailed Blake-Baldwin who in turn was still trying to keep Britten in touch. On the penultimate lap, he almost found an overlap into The Mountain section, but Britten’s defence stacked all of the top five cars together in a frantic tussle as they crested the hill. Hills amazingly found a way past to steal second as the final lap began, followed by Cossins and then Tom Griffiths as Blake-Baldwin found himself demoted to fifth. Britten, meanwhile, finally took his first MX-5 SuperCup win to his delight, with Hills, Cossins, Griffiths and Blake-Baldwin the finishing order behind him.

Club class this time went to Ollie Hall with a fine drive, taking the win ahead of Way in second, Tiley in third, Watts in fourth and Kalsi back in fifth. A mention must also be given to Clapham North’s very own George Grant who drove superbly all weekend to take the Masters win in all three races!

Just one point was all that separated Sam Beckett and Matthew Pimlott heading into the latest rounds of the Vinyl Detail Fiesta ST150 Challenge at Cadwell Park, and from hereon in it was going to be crucial for both drivers to keep up that momentum and the consistent points score to stay in the fight. As it turned out, the pendulum began to swing in one driver’s favour in the end.

Defending champion Mike Blackburn found a turn of pace in qualifying to clinch pole for the first race with Dan Robinson, and a mega start from Blackburn saw him leap into the lead from lights out. Chris Grimes, back on the grid as a guest after his Knockhill cameo, also took second in pursuit of the lead and quickly closed in to make an initial challenge. While Blackburn was able to make a break in the early laps, come the second half of the race he was slowly reeled back in by the chasers behind him, including the SBR Motorsport pair of Robinson and Beckett.

Soon enough, both Sam Watkins and Thomas Ikin made it a six-pack for the lead inside the final five minutes, but those behind Blackburn ended up becoming too involved in fighting amongst each other than challenging for the lead. This helped Mike hold on to take his first win of the season to his relief, with Grimes and Robinson joining him on the podium and Beckett and Sam Watkins completing the top five. Pimlott, meanwhile, couldn’t better seventh place.

Blackburn and Grimes were equal off the line as race two began, but Grimes’ better momentum outside at Coppice gave him the lead exiting Charlies. Just like Blackburn had done in race one, Grimes was able to create a gap to those behind, leading Blackburn to deal with Robinson and Beckett on his tail once again. Robinson tried setting up a move for second on Blackburn to no avail, pushing him back into the clutches of Beckett.

Come the final minutes and Grimes was away and gone, and he would end up victorious but invisible for points as a guest driver. This meant that the fight for the “points victory” would be from second place downwards, where Blackburn had a tussle with Beckett over the position and stacked up everyone else behind them in the chase for the podium. After several minutes of close quarters action, Blackburn survived to claim second place with Beckett in third, followed by Ikin, Robinson, Josh and Sam Watkins, while Pimlott couldn’t do better than eighth.

The partially reversed grid for race three drew Josh Watkins onto pole, but Robinson who shot off the line with a rocket-propelled start to take the lead, followed initially by Blackburn and Beckett. These three proved to be the class of the field on this occasion, pulling away together and leaving Josh Watkins and Grimes to scrap over fourth place in their wake. Beckett would eventually start to fall backwards in the closing minutes, leaving Blackburn to continue pursuing Robinson.

Alas, he didn’t have the ultimate pace this time to beat him and Robinson drove on to take his first ST150 Challenge win, while Blackburn was still pleased to round off a great weekend’s work with second place. Beckett took more points towards the lead in the standings with third, with Sam and Josh Watkins completing the top five in their final encounter of the weekend.

Leaving the previous rounds of the Nankang Tyre BMW Compact Cup at Knockhill, dropped scores had placed Gareth Claydon into the lead of the standings and with momentum firmly in his corner, he was hopeful of increasing that advantage further. This was especially key as second placed Mike Doble was absent from Cadwell Park this past weekend, as he was back at Knockhill supporting 2022 champion Mikey in the BTCC.

Claydon’s pace was crystal clear from the outset, as in qualifying he blitzed the field to not only set pole by almost half a second, but in the process he also set a new Compact Cup qualifying record too. Rudi Macmillan got a great launch from the second row to go side by side with Claydon through Coppice at the start of race one, while front row man Matt Millson bogged down and ended up spinning out onto the grass along with Ross Stoner at the first corner.

As Macmillan led, Guy Davis gave Claydon a helpful push up Park straight which in turn helped him outbreak Macmillan into Park corner and take the lead. Now with clear track ahead of him, Claydon began to create a gap, leaving Davis and Macmillan to fight for runner up spot. At two thirds’ distance, Davis made the pass for second place at Park corner and from there, that’s how the podium places remained. Claydon picked up his third win of the season ahead of Davis and Macmillan, with Matt Flowers and Jim Barratt completing the top five and Barratt also clinching his first Masters win.

Ross Stoner’s luck didn’t get any better as he barely made it a few metres into the second race later in the day before contact left him facing the wrong way and way back from the rest of the pack. Out in front, Davis got the jump on Claydon to lead early doors and both quickly set the pace on the rest of the field as Barratt made efforts to defend from Macmillan, Flowers and Middleton. Davis initially managed to open up a lead of over a second, but heading into the final two minutes it was Claydon right on his bumper.

Heading into the final lap, Claydon looked ready to pounce at Park corner but as Davis turned for the corner it was clear that Claydon appeared to be committing to attempt a pass. The pair touched with Davis pushed wide onto the grass, but in a show of sportsmanship and fairness for his mistake, Claydon hung back to allow Davis to keep the lead. Davis held on to claim the win in the end as Claydon settled for P2, while Barratt capped his best ever weekend with his first overall podium and another Masters win.

Visiting another brand new circuit in its inaugural season, the Audi TT Cup Racing series ventured to Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire as their touring roadshow showcased the potential of both the new cars and the new series on one of the UK’s most technical and challenging circuits.

Ross Makar kept up his great form from Knockhill by shooting straight to pole position for race one, joined on the front row by Harry Yardley-Rose. While Makar leapt immediately into the lead with Andrew Dyer, Yardley-Rose stuttered away from the grid and had to battle to remain in third as Richard Forber gave chase from P4. Dyer continued to pursue Makar, chasing the rear wing of the 4G Racing car for the majority of the race with the two cars seemingly in a stalemate.

With five minutes to go, Dyer speculatively looked inside of Makar running towards Hall Bends to no avail, but on the next lap a lapse in concentration from Dyer left him running into the back of Makar’s car just before The Mountain, leaving his bonnet damaged and prone to flying open under the air pressure. This allowed Yardley-Rose to close in and sweep by for second not long after, although somehow Dyer managed to hold on to third place despite the damage.

There were also no troubles for Makar either as he appeared to be practically unscathed despite the contact, and he drove on to take the win from Yardley-Rose and Dyer. Richard Forber and Patrick Booth completed the top five and Booth would also win the Masters category within the grid too.

From the outset of race two, Makar was under threat from both Yardley-Rose and Dyer from as soon as the sprint towards Coppice for the first time, and it was these three that set the initial pace and from here the race played out in pretty straightforward fashion. Makar and Yardley-Rose ended up in a battle of their own and drove on to take a second race win of the day, while Dyer’s patched up front end allowed him to score another third place with Forber and Morgan Wroot completing the top five.

As the first season of the BRSCC Evolution Trophy continued to rumble on, the latest rounds at Cadwell Park gave another opportunity for the series featured within it (the Classic VW Cup, Classic TT Cup, Cooksport Renault Cup and Mazda MX-5 Mk4 Trophy) to showcase just how good they really are.

Simon Tomlinson and Nick Gwinnett shared the front row together for race one as Classic VW Cup and Cooksport Renault pole sitters respectively, and it was Gwinnett’s Clio that put itself into the outright lead from the outset. It wasn’t long before Tomlinson found a way past Gwinnett and thrusted the Golf past into the “overall” lead, whilst still comfortably leading his category from Ken Lark and Nick Sanderson.
As on-track battles waged up and down the field, it was looking all too calm and collected for Tomlinson, who ended up drifting away from Gwinnett over the next few minutes all the way to the chequered flag and charged to the Evolution Trophy and Classic VW Cup win, taking the category from Sanderson’s SEAT in second place, Lark’s Corrado in third, then Tim Moll’s Mk1 Golf and Adam Marshall’s Golf in their top five.

Gwinnett was second “overall” and winner of the Cooksport Renault Cup ahead of Matthew Hollier and Tony Hunter, followed by Richard Clarke and David Mycock in the top five places. Philip O’Halloran was the sole Classic TT Cup runner home, while Paul Sheard won the MX-5 Mk4 Trophy from Bruce Hadfield.

Race two’s start didn’t go to plan as Gwinnett stalled on the grid and the resulting melee of everyone trying to avoid him ended with Tony Hunter’s Clio stranded with damage, Tim Moll’s Golf parked up on the road and the red flag being thrown as a result. When the restart got underway, Lark leapt from the second row to charge into the lead by the first corner and was the car to beat from the outset with so much straight line speed on tap.

Sanderson, Marshall and Gwinnett all had superior handling, but with Lark driving his car on the racing line and choosing to defend, he was able to survive for longer than some may have anticipated while holding the trio behind him back. In fact, Lark managed to hold the lead until half distance when Sanderson found a way past to take the “overall” and Classic VW Cup lead.

Wasting no time to escape out in front, Tomlinson left Lark to hold off Gwinnett and co for as long as possible, but sadly the Corrado faltered less than two laps from the end, easily promoting Gwinnett’s Clio to an outright second as well as the Cooksport Renault win.
In fact, Tomlinson almost seemed to believe the race had finished a lap early as he was caught by Gwinnett on the final lap before speeding up again.

Thankfully, he held on to win outright and in Classic VW ahead of Marshall, Sanderson, Donald Dewar and Dawn Butcher. Gwinnett almost pipped Tomlinson’s Golf at the line as he won Cooksport Renault Cup from Hollier, Clark, Mycock and Philip Barwick, while Sheard was victorious in MX-5 Mk4 Trophy and there were sadly no Classic TT Cup finishers on this occasion.

The ever excellent Modified Ford Series once again strived to put on a great show at the tight and twisty Cadwell Park circuit as they prepared for two races sponsored on this weekend by Drummond Distribution. As is typical of the series, a fine mix of machines made the journey to Lincolnshire, with a pair of Sierras ending up on the front row together for race one.

Ashley Shelswell’s V6 Sierra XR4i and Dave Matthias’ Sierra Sapphire Cosworth locked out the top two places, and on the race one rolling start it was Matthias that beat everyone to the first corner, with Shelswell, Paul Nevill and James Allen giving chase initially. Shelswell did manage to claim the lead from Matthias before the end of the opening lap and now in front, had a real chance to open up the V6 a little more. James Allen’s Focus managed to power past Nevill to take third and immediately set off after the two Sierras out front.

That was until his front splitter came loose and he was forced to pit for several laps to get it fixed. As the race ticked over past half distance, rain began to fall with varying intensity at certain part of the tracks, adding an extra tricky element for the drivers to handle. As it continued to fall, Shelswell was able to handle the conditions with relative ease despite getting tripped up by traffic once or twice and he drove on to claim the victory. Matthias followed home in second ahead of David Guthrie in third, while Chris Baker and Alex Boam completed the top five.

Thankfully, conditions stayed dry for the second race on Sunday with Matthias once again managing to get the nod over Shelswell in the first corner, although this time the race would turn out rather differently. Shelswell’s Sierra would only last a couple of laps before it was forced out with mechanical issues, leaving Matthias out on his own followed by Guthrie, Baker and a charging James Allen from the back of the grid. Allen looked in good form until the front splitter came loose again, forcing him to pit once more.

Out in front, Matthias was practically in a class of his own, streaking away as the laps ticked over and ending up victorious with a commanding winning margin of over 12 seconds in the end. Chris Baker took a superb third place overall, ahead of AJ Howe in the Focus Estate in fourth and Alex Boam completing the top five.

Now moving into its second half of its first full season of racing with the BRSCC, the Hickford Construction MG Metro Cup progressed to Cadwell Park with both Rhys Claydon and Mike Williams locked in a frantic tussle for the 2023 title. With Williams claiming pole position in qualifying and Claydon sat right alongside him for race one on the front row, the two contender were ready for seconds out, round four in Lincolnshire.

A better start from Claydon helped him get his nose ahead at Coppice and took the lead with Williams instantly in hot pursuit on his tail, making a speculative look at Park corner to no avail.
However, it wasn’t long before Rhys had a bigger problem to worry about than Williams behind him – a loose bonnet pin caused his bonnet to flap open and this lost him the lead beginning lap three. Despite a slight loss of pace due to the air resistance being created by the loose bonnet, Claydon did his best to stay as close as possible.

Amazingly, Claydon almost seemed to be able to drive around the problem and could do enough to keep Williams in his sights, but ultimately he wouldn’t see the finish as he was forced to retire just a couple of laps from the flag. Williams went on to claim a third win of the season with Claydon holding on for second, while Tim Shooter picked up a podium in a distant second place finish from Phil Goodwin, who had to fend off Richard Garrard and Ben Young in the final laps to take third place.

Sunday’s shorter fifteen minute race saw both Mike Williams and Shooter seemingly jump the start as both crept forward before the lights went out. As Williams led, the man to watch was Claydon who was already up into fourth place by Park corner on the opening lap. It took almost no time at all before both Williams and Shooter were hit with ten second time penalties for their jump starts, essentially putting Phil Goodwin into the net lead as a result.

Claydon almost lost fourth to Ben Young at The Mountain but a messy exit from the complex for Ben allowed Rhys to keep the place. Goodwin dropped back down to sixth on the road, moving Claydon into what would become the race lead after penalties, and with clear air he began to hunt down Williams. With five minutes to go, rain began to fall and Claydon was quick to catch the leader, but attempting to pass outside the pair tangled sending Claydon spinning but quickly recovering. Acknowledging the contact and showing sportsmanship, Williams waved Claydon by once he’d caught back up and allowed him to take the lead on the road as well as in the times.

Claydon went on to take his fourth win of the year, while the penalties for Mike Williams and Tim Shooter produced a podium of Matthew Simpson in second and Ben Williams in third. Mike Williams ended up fourth after the ten seconds was applied, and Chris Savoury took an excellent fifth.

Scott Woodwiss


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