CATERHAM ROADSPORT REVIEW
Two new Caterham champions were crowned at Snetterton in an exciting finale to a close season for the Roadsport B and A championships, whilst the remaining podium places were fought out in the Supersport series.
Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport-A
Orton takes the championship and leaves the rest to fight over the scraps…
With light rain and slippery track greeting the drivers for qualifying, Jamie Orton’s pole position was inevitable before qualifying had even started. The Fauldsport driver was nearly a second ahead of team-mate Jonathan Ramsay and title rival JJ O’Malley with Antony Sidney-Woollett a creditable fourth.
But it would be a short lived position for the PIM Racing driver as he was shunted into a spin at the first corner by Paul Latimer, dropping him to the back of the field. Oops-hespunnit’s position was quickly assumed by championship contender Graham Johnson who joined the leading trio to make it a quartet, now quickly leaving the remaining pack behind. Trackcar’s O’Malley held the lead for the first leg of the race, handing it to Ramsay, then Johnson, with Orton also having a little look himself before settling back to watch the rest fight it out. As the race drew to a close, the lead changed regularly until a mistake by Ramsay put O’Malley back in charge. The Irishman would cross the line first, with ever-the-bridesmaid Ramsay in second and Colards Motorsport’s Johnson third. Orton, cruised home in fourth and in doing so (and only confirmed once a laptop had frantically been employed to produce the points table), put the championship beyond anyone else’s reach.
Nursing a sore head from the previous night’s celebrations and with the championship his to lose (if a penalty was incurred), Orton sensibly chose to sit out the final round.
Despite the less than ideal conditions a day earlier, Ramsay had come tantalisingly close to Gary Halcrow’s long established lap record. With speed clearly on his side, a blistering start to Sunday’s race put the Wigan driver in control and slightly ahead of the chasing pack led by O’Malley until he span at the Esses. O’Malley was fighting for second in the championship with equal points partner Johnson. Whoever finished ahead of the other would take the runner-up spot. Trynot-Tobinnit was now promoted to second, a reward for a decent comeback drive in race one, and a great start from eighth on the grid. Charging up from even further back was SPY Motorsport’s Richard Boughton’s similar black Caterham and the pair, joined by Johnson, formed a pack to hunt down Ramsay which they duly did shortly after mid-distance. Boughton was first to take the lead, quickly followed by Could-Hewinnit, the pair exchanging lead a few more times. But Ramsay wasn’t about to let his hard work go so easily and in the final laps, he reassumed the lead to take the win with Boughton close behind and O’Malley snatching third following yet another great comeback drive, a crucial place for O’Malley, giving him the championship second place. Well-Hefluffedit had made an error on the final lap, knocking himself off the podium.
Jamie Orton is the 2010 Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport A champion, JJ O’Malley runner-up and Graham Johnson third.
Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport-B
Webb takes victory in an epic climax to a tight season …
Reece Somerfield who has been increasingly quick all year with his car on pole, looked favourite for the race. Points leader Lee Wiggins lined up alongside with title rival Jeremy Webb behind.
A first lap spin at Sear for Webb was good news for Wiggins, the Essex driver left in a four car battle for the lead, headed by Somerfield and also containing Ben Whibley and Martin Addision (the chief protagonists for the final championship position). As the four took turns to lead, first-time racer Aaron Head was using his karting knowledge of damp lines to put in good times and amazingly bring himself into play. Whibley ran wide at the Esses, a second lost being enough to put him behind the lead group, while meanwhile Webb was making good progress through the pack. Somerfield overcame the lead Wiggins held for a while and would stay there to take the win, whilst a last lap move by Head allowed the novice to come home second, pushing Wiggins down to third. Meanwhile, Webb had fought his way to eighth, only to blow it at the Esses, slipping another ten places.
With Wiggins four points ahead of Webb (now bringing a drop score into play), and Webb languishing in fourth place, Wiggins had little more to do than follow his rival home, in the unlikely situation that the Kent man could catch the lead group.
Somerfield led at the start, with Addison taking a brief turn as another four-way battle set about deciding the lead. Wiggins and Whibley rounded out the quartet, newcomer Head being outclassed in the dry conditions and quietly being consumed by the pack. But Webb was making mincemeat of the cars ahead of him and within four laps was in sight of the lead group. As they continued to battle, Webb was able to close on the fast moving pack, gaining a series of exceptional tows to put in a stunning sub 1:23 lap, three-quarters of a second better than any rival would achieve. Webb was now on part of the lead pack and at half distance, took the lead. Although Somerfield was occasionally able to pass him, Webb was not to be outclassed and would lead to the line. Crucially, Wiggins was not having the best time and was back in an otherwise respectable fourth. However, the win and fastest lap gave Webb the points he needed to take a stunning championship victory from Wiggins, who once again sees an assured title slip from his grasp. Second in the race went to Somerfield, with Whibley rounding out the top three. Whibley and Addison tie on points and have a win a piece, but Addison’s two second places during the year are one better than Whibley’s sole second, giving the Cleveland driver the final championship position.
Jeremy Webb is the 2010 Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport B champion, Lee Wiggins runner-up and Martin Addison third.
Avon Tyres Caterham Supersports
New faces on the podium as the championship runner up positions are settled …
Having secured the championship at Oulton Park, James MacLachlan was absent from Snetterton, having already switched to the R300 he’ll be racing next year. Although this guaranteed a change on the podium, there was no shortage of quality racing.
It was no surprise that runner-up favourite Nathan Lindop had his car on pole, but alongside him was a surprised but happy Andrew Salmon, having rocketed up the grid to enjoy his first view of an empty track ahead of him.
With the track still a little patchy in places following the regular Snetterton showers, arriving at the Esses off-line proved treacherous, as demonstrated on the first lap by a number of drivers, most notably PIM Racing’s Robert Smith who needed every point he could get to secure championship third. The confusion allowed Lindop to make a small break for the lead, which he would never lose. Behind him, Smith’s chief rival for the final championship pot, Paul Begley, had his hands full with Don Lamb, Salmon and a flying Albert Vella who had found the form he last showed in the very first round of the season. The three exchanged places regularly, maintaining Lindop in their sights but never able to really challenge.
Meanwhile, Robert Smith, demoted to fourteenth place after his spin, was carving through the field and by mid-distance had caught the lead group. Smith dispensed with each of the challengers in turn, but the duelling allowed Lindop to break the tow, making the Fauldsport driver’s lead unassailable. A mistake by Smith in the final laps allowed Vella and Begley to overhaul him, picking up second and third respectively as the race came to a close. An excellent first podium for DPR Motorsport’s Vella, he also established the lap record along the way.
A terrific battle for the lead of the second race commenced as soon as the lights turned green with Lindop and Smith leading the charge, hounded by Lamb, Vella and Begley. Occasional racer Lamb found his way to the front and despite regular challenges along the Revett straight would repeatedly emerge in front as the cars exited the Esses. Smith’s fourth in the earlier race meant he only needed to follow Begley home to secure his position, but he wanted to put as much distance between himself and the Trackcars driver as possible, eventually pinching the lead from Lamb. An error by Vella sent him across the grass at Russell, dropping him from the battle, leaving just four to fight it out. Lindop also had a brief turn in the lead before Lamb found his way back to the front with just two laps to go.
The delighted BA pilot held onto the lead to take his first ever win in challenging conditions and against some hard charging rivals. Behind him, Lindop out-dragged Smith to the line, but Smith had done enough to take the championship third from fourth placed Begley.
James MacLachlan is the 2010 Avon Tyres Caterham Supersports champion, Nathan Lindop runner-up and Robert Smith third.