BRSCC SEES SILVERSTONE SATURDAY SEW UP PROVISIONAL CROWNS
In a day full of intense, dramatic and energetic racing, the British Racing & Sports Car Club put on a sublime one-day event at Silverstone this past weekend, with the National circuit seeing the continuation of two championships nearing their climaxes, while another pair contested their final rounds of the year and provisionally crowned their champions for the season.
MILLTEK SPORT CIVIC CUP
The penultimate stop on the 2023 calendar for the Milltek Sport Civic Cup would see the final triple-header of the year on the Silverstone National circuit before the finale in a few weeks’ time at Brands Hatch. Alistair Camp, Max Edmundson and Dan Thackeray were all the main contenders to bid for the title, and amazingly in the space of a few hours all three of them would take turns in holding the points lead.
However, despite Camp entering Silverstone as the championship leader, by the time race one was ready to go, it had changed hands to Edmundson after points gained in qualifying had helped him hop in front. Alistair’s fortunes weren’t helped by a suspension issue in qualifying, and then a cracked brake on the warm-up lap which forced him to start the race from the back. Thackeray took pole ahead of Edmundson, and Thackeray won the hole shot to lead from the start with Edmundson, Will Redford, David Buky and Dave Marshall also trying to chase them down from the outset.
Redford made an early challenge on the top two as Edmundson tried to give Thackeray the hurry-up early doors, but Dan stood his ground well to resist Max’s advances lap after lap. Time after time, Edmundson threw everything he had to get past, but Thackeray made his Civic the widest in the venue time after time as he constantly denied him a move. Redford and Buky were also in the lead group, keeping the top two honest but not quite able to challenge directly for the lead.
Despite a slow lap in the closing stages, Thackeray kept Edmundson back in second place to take victory in race one, while Redford only just enjoyed a podium finish with third place ahead of Buky and Marshall in the top five. Redford also took the Paul Winfield Trophy for this race, while Anthony Gannon was Diamond Trophy winner.
Race two saw the top ten from race one reversed, with debutant Chris Nylan pleasantly surprised to end up on pole for only his second championship race. Nylan initially got a better jump to lead into Copse with Alex Kite charging into second past front row man Sam Kirkpatrick, but racing was neutralised when an incident towards the back of the field between Mark Hughes and Jackson White brought the safety car out. Alistair Camp also racked up his first DNF after just two laps with an engine issue.
With just under five minutes left, the restart got underway, and it was Kite that led them across after stealing the lead just before the safety car. He survived an attack at Copse from Harvey Caton, but couldn’t resist an attempt from Kirkpatrick that saw him rise into the lead with Caton finally following past at Copse a few corners later. Caton tried his hand at stealing the lead from Kirkpatrick inside the final two minutes and initially succeeded at Copse, but lost out a corner later at Maggotts with the top five closing up as the final lap approached. Caton had one last go at challenging for the lead but Kirkpatrick was ahead enough to hang on and pick up the race win, with Caton settling for second ahead of Dave Marshall in third in his FN2 Civic. Thackeray crucially took fourth place ahead of Kite in the top five, with Kirkpatrick the Paul Winfield Trophy winner and a second Diamond Award win for Anthony Gannon.
Thackeray started from pole once more for race three thanks to second fastest qualifying times with Edmundson and Camp around him in second and third. The top two remained in grid order from the start while a lightning launch from Marshall saw him sail into third around the outside of Buky and Camp. Edmundson immediately began to attack for the lead as he had in race one, but again Thackeray’s defensive skills were on full display as he held firm in front, bringing Marshall, Camp, Buky and co firmly into the mix. Camp almost got a run for the lead heading onto the Wellington straight, but ended up drifting wide at Brooklands moments later.
Edmudson kept on relentlessly pressuring Thackeray for the lead, but every single time the championship leader had an answer to Max’s threats. In the final minutes, Thackeray created a gap to second place, leaving Edmundson to deal with a racey Dave Marshall keen to try and pick up another spot, but by the chequered flag the podium trio was unchanged with Thackeray claiming his second win of the day, Edmundson holding second and Marshall pleased with third. Camp and Buky rounded off the last top five of the day. Edmundson was Paul Winfield Trophy victor this time and Gannon completed a hat-trick of Diamond Award wins too.
NATIONAL FORMULA FORD CHAMPIONSHIP
The fate of the 2023 National Formula Ford Championship title all came down to the final two races of the year on the Silverstone National circuit, where one of the biggest entries of the year turned out for the finale with Jordan Kelly and Lucas Romanek ready to lock horns with each other for the provisional crown.
Kelly was first to strike in qualifying after a late effort put him on pole for race one and gave him the two bonus points that went with it. Romanek’s best lap would place him alongside on the front row, setting up an initial showdown between the pair for race one with Chris Middlehurst, guest driver Jeremy Fairbairn and Morgan Quinn completing the top five starters.
Romanek managed the better start and grabbed the lead of race one from the outset, with Kelly locked in behind him as the pair tried to pull away, while Middlehurst dealt with Fairbairn attacking for P3 behind the top two. Kelly tried to reclaim the lead after a few laps and went side by side with Romanek on lap five, before he briefly slipped to third behind Fairbairn and then repassed a lap later.
Eventually, Kelly got back to the lead on lap eleven after Romanek had held on for ten laps and brought teammate Middlehurst with him, as the pair began to leave Romanek behind to deal with Fairbairn. In the end, Kelly picked up the race win and a crucial bag of points over Romanek heading into the final race to further extend his lead, while Middlehurst took second and Romanek finished third on the road ahead of Fairbairn and the returning Josh Smith in fifth place.
With Kelly now almost twenty points ahead going into the final race, the ball was in his court in terms of the provisional title. From the start, Kelly took the lead from pole this time with Middlehurst again falling in behind and Romanek in third from Elliot Budzinski and Brandon McCaughan. The top five remained as it was for the first part of the race, although Josh Smith eventually managed to move up from sixth past McCaughan on lap 10.
The battle at the front remained the same until Romanek was forced to pit and ultimately retire from the race, thus sadly and ultimately scuppering any final hopes of stealing the National title. With Romanek now out, Kelly was able to cruise home unchallenged with Middlehurst acting as wingman behind, and the Irishman reeled off the final minutes of the season to win the final race of the year and this provisionally claim the National Formula Ford title (subject to official confirmation). Middlehurst took another second place with Lucas Blakeley claiming third, ahead of guest Jacob Tofts in fourth and Budzinski.
Unfortunately for Romanek, a post-race off-track incident led to his disqualification from the event, amending the result of race one to promote Fairbairn to the podium in third.
BRSCC SUPERSPORT ENDURANCE CUP
The first ever championship season for the new BRSCC SuperSport Endurance Cup saw the curtain fall on 2023 with the final round of the year on the Silverstone National circuit. With an overall crown and six individual classes to settle, those in the hunt for their respective title fights (with the exception of Clubman-C class) were ready to square off one last time to provisionally decide their fate.
Qualifying saw outright pole taken by the Pro-A leading BMW 1 Series of Keir McConomy and Bart Horsten with the SEAT of Simon Mason and Chris Bialan lined up alongside for the start of the last two-hour endurance race of the season. Jumping into the lead from the start in their E36 M3 as a guest entry, the trio of Jasver Sapra, Bryan Bransom and Kevin Clarke jumped into the lead from the opening lap, but they were forced to pit after six laps with mechanical issues, handing the lead back to McConomy and Horsten’s 1 Series.
The 1 Series continued to extend its lead over the SEAT of Mason and Bialan, managing to steadily increase it lap by lap to more than 25 seconds before making the first of their mandatory pit stops. Mason and Bialan took over for a few laps until they too pitted for the first time, promoting the McConomy/ Horsten BMW back in front as a result on lap 60. The one and only safety car was called on lap 71 when Leon Bidgway’s championship leading Lotus very sadly caught fire, thus eliminating him from the race and also any chances of winning his class and the overall crown.
After ten laps while the Lotus was cleared away, racing got back underway with McConomy/ Horsten resuming the lead and enjoying a lap over the Mason/ Bialan SEAT as the race progressed into its closing stages. However, the race wouldn’t see the entire two hours as just before it’s conclusion, the Warren Tattersall/ Dave Ward SEAT ground to a halt on track and with no time to clear it before the chequered flag, the race was stopped and declared a few minutes early.
Post-race both the McConomy/ Horsten BMW and the Mason/ Bialan SEAT were disqualified for overtaking under the safety car, which in turn changed the result both in Pro-A and overall. Ricky Coomber would be promoted to victory outright and in class in the Honda Civic. Julian McBride would pick up second overall and the Pro-B class victory in his BMW M3 ahead of Martin Gadsby, with the guest VW Scirocco of Jamie Hayes, Alex Read and Simon Mauger taking fourth overall and Pro-C class winners Stuart Mead and Tim Hartland in their VW Scirocco.
Other class wins down the order also went to the Renault Clio Cup Endurance of Andy Mollison in Clubman-A, and a victory for Matt Adams, Sarah Dennis and Jamie Millar in their Renault Clio RS 197 in Clubman-B.
HICKFORD CONSTRUCTION MG METRO CUP
With two rounds of the Hickford Construction MG Metro Cup left to run heading into the Silverstone National race day this past weekend, points leader Rhys Claydon was keen to continue extending his advantage over his main rivals. With two more races to negotiate, keeping up the momentum was going to be key.
Rhys’ qualifying performance saw him claim pole position by over six tenths of a second ahead of Mike Williams, Matthew Simpson, Jon Moore and Robbie Kenning in the top five. From the outset, Claydon had the pace to quickly pull away from the rest, creating a one second gap in two laps and continuing to break away by several tenths per lap in a lead he wasn’t to lose. By the end of the twenty minutes, he was almost six seconds in front at the chequered flag with Mike Williams picking up second place at a canter. Mark Eales completed the podium with third, while Jon Moore and Les Tyler took up fourth and fifth respectively.
Claydon didn’t get as good a start in race two and only completed the opening lap just four thousandths in front of Williams at the timing line. Despite this, Rhys was able to pick up where he’d left off from race one and started to edge away, helped no end by the early scrap for second between Williams and Eales. The top two managed to get away as Williams closed up on Claydon, but even though Mike got the gap down to less than a second, he wasn’t able to make any more inroads and Claydon held on to collect his second win of the day.
Williams took second place once more ahead of Eales in third, while Andrew Ashton put in one of the drives of the day after he charged his way from the back of the grid to an excellent fourth place, while Jon Moore secured another top five finish with fifth.