BRSCC RACES NIGHT AND DAY IN AWESOME ANGLESEY WEEKEND
In what turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable weekend all round for all involved, the BRSCC put on two days of exceptional club racing this past weekend at the beautiful and picturesque Anglesey circuit in North Wales. With a timetable full of sprint races and even a special evening endurance race running into the darkness of Saturday, there was plenty to keep both trackside spectators and live stream viewers entertained.
SILVERLAKE C1 ENDURANCE SERIES – CUNNIFFE PAIR TAKE INCREDIBLE NIGHTTIME WIN
Saturday’s main event saw a four-and-a-half-hour battle royale between the 18 teams present for the third Silverlake C1 Endurance Series race of the season at Anglesey. Despite a lower number of cars than had previously entered for Snetterton and the Silverstone 24 Hours, the teams that had made the trip were still just as competitive and keen to put on a great display of endurance racing.
Quattro Formaggio claimed pole position in qualifying early on Saturday afternoon and they were part of an early four car battle for the lead featuring Silverlake 2, Red Sky Racing and the #417 CSC Racing/ FDL Packaging team. Both Red Sky and CSC Racing pulled away to battle between each other for just over an hour until the CSC Racing car slowed to a crawl heading to the pits and became the races’ first retirement after just 33 laps with a differential problem. Red Sky Racing were left to lead on their own until they made their first mandatory stop, putting the Quattro Formaggio back into the lead with Christopher Parkes at the wheel.
Parkes continued to hold a substantial gap for his team to the cars behind as the race progressed towards the halfway point, with Diablo Racing and McKay Jones Racing managing to rise up into 2nd and 3rd respectively. The Quattro Formaggio car held the lead through the next cycle of pit stops, but it was quickly called back after being penalised with a 3-minute stop-go for avoidable contact. This dropped them to 3rd by the time they exited the pits, putting Michael Parkes now into the lead for Silverlake 2. Behind them came a team that had quietly but consistently climbed up the order, with the #513 CSC Racing car of Nicholas and James Cunniffe reaching 2nd place with just over two hours to go after starting back in 14th place. Diablo Racing was also still in contention, filling the final podium place at the stage in 3rd.
As the sun went down, the Cunniffe pair continued to look to have the race under their control, although Parkes did move Silverlake 2 car back to the front during another pit stop cycle as he handed the car back over to Mike Harris. The Cunniffes then reclaimed the lead and had 40 minutes to close down a lead gap of almost 25 seconds. With Mike Harris at the wheel, he tried to reduce the gap as quickly as possible, but the CSC car seemed to have enough to nullify most of the advances Silverlake 2 were making on his lead.
But all their attempts were in vain as the Cunniffes completed a sensational drive to take the race under the cover of darkness and a very popular win. Silverlake 2 pushed as hard as they dared to try and catch the leader, but had to sette for 2nd place, while Scuderia Pollo Rosso would have been forgiven looking like they’d just won the race as they celebrated one of their best finishes to date with a strong 3rd place thanks to the efforts of Graham Wilkins, Frank Claydon and James Matthews. Next time out, the C1 Endurance Series heads to one of the firm favourites in the championship – Donington Park!
AVON TYRES NATIONAL/ NORTHERN FORMULA FORD CHAMPIONSHIP – ROMANEK REBOUNDS AFTER CROFT TROUBLES
If there was one contender in the Avon Tyres National Formula Ford Championship that needed strong results from Anglesey, it was definitely Lucas Romanek after an incident early on at Croft put him on the back foot for the rest of the meeting. However, he headed to Wales full of determination as he lined up 4th on the grid for Race 1 of the combined grid of National and Northern & Super Classic Formula Ford drivers.
He was quick to get into 3rd on the opening lap as points leader Jordan Dempsey took the lead ahead of Jamie Sharp, and with the two Ammonite cars of Colin Queen and Shawn Rashid in tow, the top five quickly formed a breakaway lead group. Sharp passed Dempsey early on to lead the group, but Romanek bided his time until the final five minutes when he passed Dempsey at The Banking for 2nd and then lined up Sharp seconds later to snatch the lead at the Rocket complex. A lap later the top two swapped places again, before Dempsey disappeared at the Corkscrew hairpin and dropped down the order, and after Sharp retook the lead heading into the last lap he would lose it again to Romanek at Rocket. Lucas then defended well to clinch his second win of the season, as he took the flag ahead of Sharp and Queen with the top three covered by less than four tenths of a second, with Shawn Rashid and Brandon McCaughan completing the top five.
Race two was neutralised early on due to a lengthy safety car after Brin Kinch suffered damaged rear suspension at Rocket, with the race gaining an extra five minutes on the restart to offset the time lost. Queen managed to pick up 2nd from Romanek when racing resumed and also challenged Sharp for the lead briefly before settling back. Romanek ran side by side with Queen for several corners before completing the move at the Corkscrew, but the race would end up red flagged prematurely after Super Classic drivers Alaric Gordon and Garath Buckingham tangled at the International Hairpin, the latter’s Van Diemen ending up partially on top of Gordon’s Swift. Therefore, Sharp would be declared the winner ahead of Romanek and Queen, followed by Rashid and McCaughan.
The partially reversed grid for the National Pro Class Race 3 put South African guest driver Joshua Le Roux on pole this time, but racing was halted almost straight away after incidents for Alex Vos and Ben Cochran forced a stoppage to recover the stranded cars. The restart saw Le Roux under massive pressure straight away from Oldfield teammates Romanek and McCaughan, with Lucas managing to take the lead on the last corner as the opening lap completed. Even though Queen and Sharp followed suit not long after, Romanek’s clear track left him unchallenged as he cruised to his second win of the weekend, while Dempsey managed to recover well from a tough meeting to take 2nd with a couple of minutes to go ahead of Sharp, Queen and McCaughan.
Within the Northern & Super Classic Championship runners, John Murphy did his chances of becoming Super Classic A class champion no harm by dominating the class and the Northern runners overall to win that segment by more than 8 seconds, ahead of Super Classic B class winner Peter Daly, Garath Buckingham, Alaric Gordon and Nick Barnes. These five drivers, plus Paul Tucker, had a superb race-long scrap in the second race the next day, but as mentioned both Gordon and Buckingham tangled in the closing stages which put both them both out on the spot and out of the result. Murphy once again claimed the overall and class win, but this time was only two seconds ahead of Tucker with Daly, Barnes and Neil Hunt completing the top five. Super Classic D class honours were taken both times by Phil Nelson, with John Roberts, Roger Arnold and Michael Wales also taking class podiums too.
NANKANG TYRE BMW COMPACT CUP – DAVIS DOMINATES TO SECURE FIRST BMW WINS
It’s always a special moment when a driver wins a race in a championship for the very first time. This happened in this past weekend’s Nankang Tyre BMW Compact Cup triple header, but on this occasion it wasn’t just the one victory that their new top step visitor claimed over the weekend at Anglesey.
Lee Dendy-Sadler managed to deny the dominating championship leader Mikey Doble the pole position in qualifying, but he quickly ended up back in 3rd as both Doble and the fast-starting Guy Davis passed him on the opening lap of Race 1 and then began a battle of their own for the lead. Davis kept Doble honest over the first few laps and attacked heading towards Rocket, but Guy continued to apply the pressure and tried the same move again several laps later which proved successful. Now defending, Davis kept both Doble and a charging Dendy-Sadler at bay in the final minutes to claim his first-ever Compact Cup win, and a popular one amongst the paddock. Doble and Dendy-Sadler completed the podium with Gareth Claydon and Mike Doble completing the top five.
A frantic start to the second race on Sunday morning saw both Dendy-Sadler and Ian Howes get caught up in an incident together, forcing both to retire and lose valuable championship points as the safety car was called. Mikey Doble led the restart with Davis in tow, but the points leader’s fortunes would take a nosedive when he suffered engine problems that also forced him out of the race too in the final minutes. Davis immediately capitalised to hold the lead until the flag, taking his second in as many races over the weekend ahead of Gareth Claydon in an excellent 2nd and Gordon MacMillan fending off a feisty Wayne Flint to clinch 3rd over all and finish as top Masters driver.
The random grid draw for the third race managed to give Davis a front row start by good fortune, alongside Flint who was given pole position. Davis dropped to 4th at the start as Flint led from MacMillan, but he would be passed by Matt Wilkins beginning Lap 2 who then had Davis charging after him for the lead, as Flint dropped back and eventually retired. Out in front, Davis wasted no time in catching and passing Wilkins to take the lead and once again, he had the pace to pull away to claim a dream hat-trick of wins. Wilkins too had driven superbly all weekend to take 2nd in the end, while MacMillan held back a barrage of attacks from the cars behind to claim another 3rd place and another Masters win. As for Mikey Doble, more engine problems forced him out of the race midway through, meaning he will have to bounce back at the next rounds to ensure his momentum doesn’t drop any further.
NANKANG TYRE CITYCAR CUP – A TRIO OF WINNERS ON FIRST VISIT TO WALES
For the Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup, Anglesey marked their first every visit to the Welsh venue, although a small handful of teams and drivers had contested last November’s Race of Remembrance in a couple of CityCars and thus had some existing knowledge. As usual, the racing was close and entertaining all weekend and this was proven with three different winners for each race.
Andrew Dyer quickly converted his pole position into the lead in Race 1, but was kept under constant pressure by the Bliss brothers Stuart and Richard in their Toyota Aygos and Elliot Lettis’ Peugeot, the top four pulling away from the rest of the field in their own private battle with the Citroens of Patrick Booth and George Palozzi. Stuart Bliss kept up his close pursuit of Dyer for the entire race, but a clear chance to pass didn’t arise and he had to settle for 2nd as Dyer took his first win of the year, while Lettis’ 3rd place ensured each of the three manufacturers were represented on the podium. Within the internal Student Motorsport Challenge contest, Andrew Jones’ 8th place overall also saw him finish as the top SMC contender for MET Motorsport, ahead of an impressive 2nd place for Oxford Brookes on their debut thanks to Paul Toolan, and George Jones helping local favourites Coleg Gwent to a 3rd place.
After a delayed start to Race 2 thanks to cars stopping with issues on the formation lap, Lettis squeezed his way past the front row at the first corner to take the lead, but would then lose it back to Dyer before the end of the lap. The top three from Saturday immediately went into a fierce battle as they again broke away from the rest of the field. Lettis retook Dyer at the same corner a couple of laps later to lead again and soon enough Richard Bliss made it a leading quartet again in the closing stages. But neither the Blisses nor Dyer could stop Lettis from taking his second win in as many meetings, with Stuart Bliss 2nd and Dyer 3rd. The Student Motorsport contest again saw the same top three in the same order with MET Motorsport ahead of Oxford Brookes and Coleg Gwent.
A rather odd moment occurred before Race 3 started when reverse grid pole-sitter George Palozzi’s frantic tyre warming technique saw him weave himself into a spin in front of the rest of the field. Thankfully he was able to reclaim his place at the head of the pack and started from pole as planned! Palozzi, to his credit, did an excellent job to redeem himself in the race by leading more than half the race as the Blisses, Dyer and Ross Makar all scrapped amongst themselves while chasing after the lead. Both Toyotas found a way past before the safety car was called for Craig Flynn’s stopped car at Peel, but just as the yellows went out both Stuart Bliss and Palozzi tangled approaching Rocket, both continuing but down the order. Other incidents to clear up ultimately led to the race finishing under the safety car, leaving Richard Bliss declared the winner ahead of Dyer and Makar. For the third race in a row, the same three teams of MET Motorsport, Oxford Brookes and Coleg Gwent held the top three Student Motorsport positions.
VINYL DETAIL ST-XR CHALLENGE – BLACKBURN’S BOUNTY BY THE SEA WITH HAT-TRICK
One driver who had no troubles in extending their advantage at the head of their championship was Michael Blackburn as he was the man everyone had to chase in this past weekend’s Vinyl Detail ST-XR Challenge at Anglesey, marking the first time the paddock had visited the Welsh venue since 2019 thanks to the previous restrictions brought on by the pandemic.
An unfortunate race stoppage occurred on the opening lap of Race 1 when Chris Grimes missed his braking point into the International Hairpin and clattered into teammate Sam Beckett, which in turn left Luke Woodward nowhere to go and put all three cars out on the spot. While this would sadly spell the end of Woodward’s weekend, both Grimes and Beckett would get their cars fixed overnight to race again on Sunday. As for the restart, Mark Blunt beat Blackburn away from the grid to take the lead, but mechanical issues forced him to stop after just two laps. This gave Blackburn P1 once again and despite pressure from Matthew Pimlott not long after, impressive rookie Daniel Robinson put in a fine drive to pass Pimlott and take 2nd place behind winner Blackburn, while Pimlott dropped out on the last lap with mechanical issues, promoting Adam Bissell up to 3rd.
Michael carried on where he’d left off on Sunday and took off in the lead of Race 2, only this time pursued by Daniel Robinson who was looking super impressive on his first weekend in the championship, and kept the leader honest all the way to 2nd place at the flag as Blackburn won again, while Blunt recovered from his mechanical troubles to claim 3rd place. Completing a solid weekend’s work in Wales, Blackburn again took the lead from pole, led every single lap and was virtually unchallenged as he was quick to pull away after a couple of laps. Michael finished his weekend strong with his third win from all three races, leaving Beckett to take his rebuilt car to 2nd ahead of another P3 for Blunt.
The grid also featured defending champion Chris Jones venturing this time in his trusty Escort XR3i as the sole representative in the XR class and after finishing 5th in Race 1, mechanical problems forced him out of the second encounter and on the sidelines for the third race.
MOTORSPORT UK BRITISH SUPERKART CHAMPIONSHIP – THREE-“O” AS MORLEY LOCKS OUT TOP SPOT
The Motorsport UK British Superkart Championship ventured to Wales for their second meeting of the 2022 season, with Anglesey marking their next stop before the finale at Donington Park in September which will also play host to the British Superkart Grand Prix on the same weekend.
GP Plate holder Lee Harpham took pole in qualifying for Race 1, but it was front row mate and O Plate holder Liam Morley that picked up the lead in the opening corners and from here, he was practically uncatchable out in front. Harpham raced as hard as he could in his pursuit, but ultimately Morley’s Anderson-CSK chassis had a little too much race pace for the MS-Kart/VM Lee had at his disposal. A lights-to-flag win for Morley saw him victorious by more than 6 seconds and break his own lap record in the process, while behind Harpham came defending Division 1 champion Ross Allen taking 3rd in his new BirelArt superkart chassis.
Morley was challenged and passed by Allen at the start of Race 2 and then lost 2nd before the end of the opening lap to Harpham, leaving Saturday’s race winner with work to do to get back to the front. Harpham passed Allen at the International Hairpin with Morley following through at the Banking, and soon enough the top two were together again in another duel. Sure enough, Morley was now fully up to speed again and passed Harpham at Rocket to once again head the field and take his second win of the weekend, once again breaking his own new lap record in the process. Harpham again was runner up, this time 5.5 seconds back, and Ross Allen again completed the podium overall with 3rd.
Despite several karts going off at the first corner of Race 3, the same top three drivers held the podium places at the start before the safety car picked up the pack to allow the incident to be cleared. Once restarted, Harpham was again challenged by Morley and just as he had in the earlier race that morning, Morley lined up a move and took P1 into Church. Harpham quickly dropped back into Allen’s clutches initially, but in the end he was able to gap the BirelArt chassis by 11 seconds to take a comfortable 2nd. Likewise, Morley’s winning margin this time was again similar to the other two, while Allen was lucky to take the flag as he pulled off the circuit just after crossing the line.
Lee Plain took all three wins in the Formula 250 category, while Jack Tritton, Ross Witherow and Shane Stoney would each take the top step across the three races in the 125 Open class.
LEGENDS CARS CHAMPIONSHIP WITH MRF TYRES – MICKEL CLAIMS DOUBLE FINAL WIN IN WELSH COAST THRILLER
A very welcome guest addition to the timetable this past weekend in Wales was the inclusion of the incredible Legends Cars Championship with MRF Tyres, with their 5/8ths scale race cars racing no less than six times across both days with two heats and a final on each.
Steve Whitelegg took the lead from the front row in Saturday’s first heat, and was unchallenged all the way to the chequered flag to claim the win by 4.3 seconds. Veteran John Mickel didn’t waste time driving from 17th on the random grid draw through to 2nd place, while Marcus Pett managed to pass Chris Needham late on to pick up the final podium spot. In the second heat, points leader and defending champion Miles Rudman capitalised on a front row draw to lead from the start, but was pressured by Will Gibson, Mickel and Jack Parker early on. Gibson passed Rudman on Lap 3 leaving the #1 to deal with Mickel on his tail, but while Rudman did manage to get the lead back again, it was a daring dive into Rocket on the last lap that won Gibson the place and the race, but only after surviving a wild last corner skirmish to hold on. The top three of Gibson, Mickel and Rudman was separated by a mere 0.176 seconds at the flag!
With the grid for the Final in Legends set by the points scores from the two heats fully reversed, Luke Ttakoushis claimed the lead from the start, but opening lap incidents pushed several cars down the order including defending champion Rudman. All of this saw Jack Parker shake out as the leader with Dan Clark on his tail, while a fast starting Mickel only needed just over two laps to rise from 22nd on the grid to 3rd. After a safety car for an incident exiting the International Hairpin, there was just four laps remaining and Mickel shot past both Parker and Clark in one move on the approach to Rocket to take the lead. Both he and Parker managed to drop Clark, who ended up falling to a charging Rudman, but on the last lap Parker set up Mickel for a superb switchback pass at Rocket to snatch the lead. Mickel was having none of it and passed him straight back at the International Hairpin before holding on to secure the Final win. Parker had to look in his mirrors to hold onto 2nd, as Rudman had caught the top two by the flag.
Sunday’s racing began with former Mini racer Charlie Budd initially leading the opening few corners from the front row, but by the completion of the opening lap, Rudman had his nose in front of Steve Whitelegg at the line. From here, Miles created a gap and remained out of slipstream range from Whitelegg, who in turn was caught by Gibson in the closing stages and passed on Lap 7 to take second place. He was unable to catch heat winner Rudman, but did prevent any comeback from Whitelegg. For Heat 2, the front row men Mickel and Needham had the advantage initially but Parker, who took the lead at half distance from Mickel, replaced Needham as the main pursuer. Soon enough, Rudman, Needham and Pett were all together and at one point Rudman appeared to overtake under yellow flags at Rocket, but in the end Gibson and Mickel collided exiting the hairpin and leaving Rudman to win. After the race, he was subsequently disqualified initially, but after further meetings with the stewards, his win was reinstated.
Then came a thriller of a final – Ben Higgins led the first six laps as both Mickel and Rudman made large strides up the order after starting deep in the pack. Both Whitelegg and Mickel flew past through School corner and then Rudman quickly snatched 3rd in quick succession moments later. In no time at all, the top three were now nose to tail and it all kicked off in the final two laps. Rudman took 2nd after everyone outbraked each other at Rocket, but a lap later on the final tour, Whitelegg pulled off an incredible double pass to steal the lead while Rudman and Mickel ran deep battling each other. Despite big pressure from both in the final corners, Whitelegg just clung on at the flag to win Sunday’s final, beating Rudman and Mickel by just over a quarter of a second. A magnificent conclusion to six very entertaining races!