Sunshine, blue skies and high temperature greeted the British Racing & Sports Car Club as it dropped in at Donington Park in Leicestershire for two days of club racing action on the full GP circuit. This was a meeting full of both endurance and sprint racing, with no less than three long-distance epics and plenty of entertainment up and down the 280+ car paddock with single seaters, sports prototypes, saloons, hot hatches and sportscars all present.

After a long wait of several weeks since their season opener at Snetterton in April, the Silverlake C1 Endurance Series returned once more with a superb grid of over 50 teams competing over the three hour endurance race. Melboard Racing charged to pole in qualifying ahead of Alpha-Trojon on the front row, who proceeded to take the lead at the start and trade it with CATDT over the opening laps before AF Racing took over and remained in the lead through an early safety car before making their first scheduled stop.

Melboard made their way back to the front as stops took place and remained ahead through a second safety car, and were leaders at the end of the first hour ahead of a battle for second between Brimstone Racing and Silverlake Racing, with Red Sky Racing and Watt Motorsport completing the top five. Silverlake took their turn to lead with Brimstone slowly dropping back, but more pit stop shuffling pushed Alpha-Trojon back into P1 before Melboard eventually took over again, leading at the second hour from AF Racing, DFTS, Alpha-Trojon and TGR Racing.

Going into the closing stages, both of the Trojon team cars, Trojon Motorsport and Alpha-Trojon, led the field in the final hour with the rapid Sid Smith trying to close them down in third for BPC Tyre Buffing, but Smith’s charge would be halted by a lack of fuel as he dropped backwards. Incredibly, Alpha-Trojon also began to suffer fuel issues too and had to make a late stop to top up once again due to the car continuously cutting out.

This left their teammates in the Trojon Motorsport car to race on and take the chequered flag first to win the 3 hour race, with victory for Adam Willis, Austin Munday and Charlie Bingham. CATDT ended up second courtesy of Mark and Colin Hoad ahead of TGR Racing with Luke and Anthony Haberman in third to complete the podium, with the recovering Alpha-Trojon in fourth with Chris Freeman and Jonathan Munday and WRC Developments’ Andy Mollison and David Drinkwater completed the top five.

The day before the C1s took their turn, the PBS Brakes SuperSport Endurance Cup took to the full Donington GP circuit with an entry of some 40 cars turning out with great representation amongst all six classes. Jumping straight into the lead from the front row, the Invitation class Porsche 997 of Stephen Cunniffe and Phil Nagel headed Pro-A leaders Keir McConomy and Bart Horsten in the BMW 1 Series and extended the gap to more than ten seconds after just ten laps. It stabilised at around the 20 minute mark and the 1 Series kept up the chase before the Porsche made its first stop on Lap 24.

The Honda Civic of Ricky Coomber and Mark Lloyd-Jones took its turn to lead outright for a few laps and were leaders at the halfway point before they too made a scheduled stop, promoting the Cunniffe/ Nagel Porsche back to the front. Their teammate Matt Spark in the Porsche 996 and the BMW M3 of Mark Lee and Richard Evans (both heading up Pro-B) also took turns in the lead as the pit stops cycled through, before Cunniffe and Nagel were back in P1. However, heading into the closing stages the 997 hit problems with first an on-track incident and then a black and orange flag, moments before they were forced to pit and withdraw themselves from contention for victory. This now left the top two Pro-B cars out in front, with Spark leading Lee/Evans but losing it to the BMW just as the 997 pitted. Spark kept up the chase but had to settle for second, finishing 0.6 behind winners Lee and Evans but classified 31 seconds behind after a post-race penalty for a short pit stop.

Lee and Evans were overall and Pro-B winners, while other class winners were Tom Evans, Matthew Parkes and Ben Hudson in their M3 (Pro-A), James Alford’s Audi TT (Pro-C), Jamie Hadley’s VW Golf (Clubman-A), overall and class points leaders George Grant and Abbie Eaton in their Mazda MX-5 Mk3 SuperCup (Clubman-B) and the MINI Cooper of Jonathan Salem, Matt Mills and James Larminie (Clubman-C).

A bumper grid also turned out for Sunday’s SW Motorsports ClubSport Trophy race with no less than 40 cars taking the start here too. After a front row match up from qualifying of Jamie Hadley’s VW Golf and James Alford’s Audi TT, it was Alford that had the race under control throughout the first half, remaining in P1 both sides of a safety car that came out just as the pit window opened, allowing some cars to take advantage and make their mandatory stop. 

After the vast majority of the pit stops had shaken out, it was Phiroze Bilimoria that moved up to the front in his VW Scirocco, and he found himself with an unassailable lead that he was never to lose. Always a favourite to win whenever he turns out on a ClubSport grid, Bilimoria cruised home to take the victory overall and in Class A, followed by Alford’s TT in second place, Sam Reddrop in third overall and taking an emotional Class B win in third, then Hadley’s Golf and the BMW 330ci of Saranga Sothisrihari.

Class wins also went to the BMW Compact of Brendan Murphy in Class C, Stephen Harrison’s Renault Clio in Class D and William Gallacher’s Toyota MR2 in Class E.

The Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup & Student Motorsport Challenge ended up being a contest between generations – that of the cars, in this instance. Stuart Bliss was the man to beat all day in both races, but he was joined on the front row for both and chased down each time by the new Gen 2 CityCar guest entry in the hands of Phil House. Race one turned out to be a straightforward affair as Bliss managed to lead for its entirety and took his fourth win of the season, with House an excellent second place in the new Gen 2 car but invisible for points. Richard Jepp completed the podium ahead of Brady Pollock and guest Max Finn, while Jepp also won SMC for Team Northbrook ahead of Pollock for West Suffolk College and Elliot Lettis for City College Norwich.

Race two required two starts after an incident in the opening laps forced a red flag after an incident within the opening laps. The restart would take place over ten minutes, in which Bliss again took the lead and remained there for the duration until the flag. This secured his fifth win of the season with House again second in the Gen 2 guest car ahead of Jepp, Pollock and Haydn Payne. Those finishing third to fifth also made up the Student Motorsport podium for Northbrook, West Suffolk College and Queen Ethelburga’s respectively.

A decent turnout was welcomed for the latest rounds of the Super Classic Pre ‘99 Formula Ford Championship with all four of the class points leaders in attendance in a bid to extend their advantages. Pole in qualifying went to Tom Hawkins, who then had to make two great starts after the first half of the race was red flagged after an incident. Hawkins ensured he was unchallenged on the restart, leading the way to the chequered flag to win from Richard Freye and Vincent Jay in the top three and SCA class. Chris Stones, Paul Britten and Oliver Buckton also won their respective classes.

Race two proved to be a more dominant performance for Hawkins as he completed an excellent double, again leading from start to finish in an uninterrupted race to win overall again and take another SCA class win. Once again, Richard Freye and Vincent Jay made it onto the overall top three, while other class victories this time went to Staurt Kestenbaum, Britten and Ian Fernihough.

The Hickford Construction MG Metro Cup saw a welcome return of former front runner Jack Ashton and he instantly reminded everyone just how good he was by almost a second, before pushing on to dominate in both races. Race one was somewhat straightforward, as he managed to lead every lap and increase the gap each time until he took the flag just shy of six seconds in front. A thrilling battle for second took place behind, with Robbie Kenning taking the place at the end ahead of Jon Moore, Mike Willians and Dan Willars in the top five.

Ashton’s domination didn’t stop there as his performance in race two was a carbon copy of the first and an even bigger winning margin than earlier in the day. Ashton’s gap at the flag this time was almost 13 seconds, while Moore picked up second from Dick Trevett in third, followed by Phil Goodwin and Mike Williams made up the top five spots this time.

A trio of races took place for the Modified Ford Series as they too had an impressive grid with just over 40 cars present and spanning a vast array of Ford models to boot. Dave Cockell’s rapid Escort Cosworth was the car to beat all day across all three races, commanding the first encounter to win by 11 seconds ahead of the equally quick Sierra RS500 of Stephen Scott-Dunwoodie and Piers Grange’s Mk2 Escort on the podium.

Cockell then doubled up in race two to give his Escort Cosworth its second win of the day, followed this time by a charging Lloyd Jamieson in his own Escort Cosworth Maxi, with Grange’s Mk2 again third from ex BTCC man Lea Wood’s Mk1 Escort RSR and the RS500 of Scott-Dunwoodie. The three-peat was complete in their final race, as Cockell completed his clean sweep from Jamieson just behind in second in another Escort Cosworth 1-2, followed by Scott-Dunwoodie’s RS500 completing the podium ahead of Wood and Grange.

The BRSCC Evolution Trophy saw cars represented in all four categories within at Donington – the Ricci Concept Classic VW Cup, Finsport Renault Cup, BMW 1 Series SuperCup and BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Mk4 Trophy all took to the track together once more for a pair of races on the Saturday.

A safety car-affected first race gave Carey Lewis an easy win in the Classic VW ranks as well as crossing the line outright first, with victory in the category ahead of the Mk1 Golf of Donald Dewar and Kevin O’Brien completing the CVWC top three. Race two was somewhat more straightforward for Lewis, running safety-car free and completing a commanding double ahead of Tim Evans’s Audi TT and O’Brien’s Golf.

Honours in the Finsport Renault Cup went to Nick Gwinett in the first race from Matt Dennis in his Megane and the Clio of David Mycock, before the latter went on to pick up the win in race two, while solid drives from both Ben Taylor and Stefan Oates ensured finishes in both races in their Mazda MX-5 Mk4 and BMW 1 Series SuperCup respectively.

In the ZEO Prototype Cup, Mike Jenvey looked as though he was on course to take both race wins, but in the end his day went up in smoke – quite literally. Race one was somewhat straightforward, with Jenvey unchallenged in his Jenvey-Gunn all race to dominate from start to finish. He ended up 15 seconds in front of the Pragas of Shane Kelly and Thomas Canning, Max Windheuser’s Norma and Sir Chris Hoy in the Revolution in the top five.

However, fortunes took a severe nosedive in race two when Jenvey’s car suffered a small engine fire and was forced to pull off onto the grass on the pit straight midway through the encounter. This in turn handed victory to the Spire of Joe Lock ahead of James Abbott’s Revolution, while Shane Kelly completed the top three in the Praga ahead of teammate Thomas Canning and Windheuser’s Norma.

Written by Scott Woodwiss


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