A bright and blustery Snetterton circuit in Norfolk welcomed the British Racing & Sports Car Club for their first visit to East Anglia of 2024 on a superb Spring weekend of club motorsport. The usual fine mix of sprint and endurance racing put on an excellent showcase for all in attendance, with three championships making their first appearance on track this year while another four were back out for round two.

Thomas Langford made sure he maintained his lead in the points standings in the GAZ Shocks Mazda MX-5 Championship, but he had to accept finishing off the podium in their first race of the weekend. Making a surprise guest return to the grid for Snetterton, 2022 champion Fraser Fenwick battled his way to the front to take victory in a thrilling first race, with Jack Noller picking up the 100 points instead in P2 ahead of Luke Pullen in P3. The top nine were covered by just 2.7 seconds at the flag, with a three wide finish for fourth place too!

Langford made sure he was back on the top step on Sunday as he climbed from fourth on the grid to pick up victory ahead of Pullen and Sparrow, before repeating that feat to complete the weekend in P1 again in race three. This extended his tally to five wins from the first six races, while Fenwick and Noller completed the podium behind him.

In the Downforce Radio Mazda MX-5 Clubman Championship, Paul Bateman also looked to keep up his win streak from Silverstone and had competition from Beau Parry all day on Saturday. Bateman managed to pull a gap of almost three seconds by the flag in race one, leaving Parry to collect second with Del Paice scoring third.

The second encounter was a closer affair between the top two as they romped away from the rest of the pack in a fight of their own. This time, Parry not only passed Bateman but held him back all the way to the end, collecting his first win of 2024 and forcing Bateman to settle for P2. Paice once again made up the top three with his third podium finish of the season.

As expected, the Clapham North MOT Mazda MX-5 SuperCup produced yet more wheel-to-wheel action in Norfolk off the back of their thrilling Silverstone season opener. The Snetterton grid saw four time BTCC champion Colin Turkington return after his cameo last month, keen for more track time before his touring car season gets into full swing.

The top four were separated by less than a second in the end in race one, with Patrick Fletcher coming out on top despite pressure from Tom Griffiths, Aidan Hills and Leigh Britten respectively. Sunday’s first race produced a landmark moment, when Griffiths took the lead with a couple of laps to go and batted away all advances from those behind to finally capture an emotional first MX-5 SuperCup for both Tom and his family. Hills and Fletcher made up the top three in Pro class.

The partial reversed grid for race three put Grindrod on pole, but he eventually slipped back to P6 while Fletcher worked his way up to the front of the pack. Fletcher collected his second win of the weekend, followed by Sam Heading in second and another podium for Britten in third. In the Club class, it was domination of the top step for Aimee Watts, as she had her best weekend to date with three wins and three fastest laps to maintain her lead in the class points. She was joined on their podium all weekend by her teammate Wilbur Tiley, Ollie Hall and a first podium for ex-Compact Cup racer Jim Barratt.

Endurance racing on Saturday came courtesy of the first Silverlake C1 Endurance Series three hour test of the year. Trojon Motorsport’s pair of cars were quickest in qualifying, but the random draw to mix up the top ten put Quattro Formaggio on pole next to Red Sky Racing. Scuderia Pollo Rosso managed to slip into the lead before an early safety car, then pitted shortly after the restart, where TGR Racing eventually moved up to head the pack by the end of the first hour ahead of PMF Racing by CSR and Oakley Motorsport.

PMF Racing moved up to the lead by the time the second hour was complete from CATDT and Snail Speed Racing, but the order remained fluid as the laps ran down and the minutes ticked by. Eventually with half an hour to go, the familiar sight of Trojon Motorsport were at the head of the field, with their #421 Alpha-Trojon team rising to the head of the pack and going on to win the first C1 Endurance race of the year, courtesy of Jonathan Munday and Chris Freeman. BPC Tyre Buffing took second driven by Rob and Sid Smith, while the #323 Trojon car of Austin Munday, Adam Willis and Charlie Bingham rounded off the rostrum.

The opening Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup & Student Motorsport Challenge races of 2024 produced some fine competition up and down the grid in all three encounters all weekend. Qualifying produced a momentous occasion when the front row for race one was locked out by two SMC drivers – Josh Jackson and Richard Jepp. However, despite their qualifying performances, neither could prevent Stuart Bliss from taking victory by two seconds, while Jepp won the fight for second with Jackson.

Bliss produced more of the same in race two, but only just ahead of Jepp by three tenths as the Northbrook Racing driver pushed him all the way from start to finish. While Bliss and Jepp took P1 and P2 respectively, a first podium went the way of C1 Endurance regular Chris Parkes for the Quattro Formaggio team as he picked up third. Then came an intense final race of the weekend, which ended up with a lead group of seven cars and an almighty finish. After Jackson tried stealing the win from Jepp at the final corner, Bliss passed both on the final run to the line, completing a hat-trick while Jackson took P2 by 0.020 seconds from Jepp.

For the Student Motorsport Challenge, two wins for Jepp and Northbrook Racing helped them begin their title defence in fine style while Jackson collected a first SMC win for Queen Ethelburga’s in race three. Podiums also went the way of Brady Pollock for West Suffolk College and Jack Wheeler of East Surrey College.

On Sunday, it was the turn of the PBS Brakes SuperSport Endurance Cup to provide the endurance flavour for the day, with another impressive entry of over 30 cars and stacked with variety over all six classes once more. As at Silverstone, the early running was dominated by BMWs at the front, with Aldo Riti and Kevin Clarke taking their M3 to the front all the way through the early laps and a safety car.

Through pit stops, the Porsche 911 of Matt Spark and the BMW 1 Series of Silverstone winners Bart Horsten and Keir McConomy took their turns in the lead, while Riti and Clarke dropped out of contention when their car refused to fire up first time after their second stop and had to be push started. Once the pit window closed and the stops shook out the order, it left McConomy and Horsten to reel off the final minutes and claim their second win of the season, with Spark’s Porsche taking second overall from the M3s of Mark Lee & Richard Evans, Julian McBride and Dave Griffin.

Class wins went to McConomy and Horsten (Pro-A), Spark (Pro-B), Stuart Mead & Tim Hartland’s VW Scirocco (Pro-C), the Mazda MX-5 of Michael Sanford, Lewis Noon & Sam Reuter (Clubman-A), George Grant & Rob Boston’s Mazda MX-5 Mk3 SuperCup (Clubman-B) and Adam Read & David Drinkwater’s BMW E36 Compact (Clubman-C).

Also visiting Snetterton to kickstart their 2024 campaign was the mixed grid of the BRSCC Evolution Trophy, which featured cars from the Classic VW Cup and Finsport Renault Cup for the first outing.

In the Classic VW Cup ranks, it was a double win for Carey Lewis as he charged to two victories ahead of Adam Marshall in both, with Dawn Butcher and Paul Hoggins also claiming top three finishes in the category too. In the Finsport Renault Cup, a brilliant battle for the win between Tony Hunter and Richard Clarke which saw Hunter’s Clio 172 Cup only just beat Clarke’s Clio Cup car to victory in the first race. The second was a little more straightforward for Hunter who again beat Clarke to the flag by almost six seconds, with Jason Brough third overall in both encounters.

Written by Scott Woodwiss


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