CATERHAMS PROVIDE A SNETTERTON SPRING SCORCHER
James Beardwell justified his leap from Caterham Academy to a 310R with a race victory – impressive! – Photo: SnappyRacers
The surrounding fields around the Snetterton 300 circuit in Norfolk this weekend reverberated to the fast paced action of 17 thrilling races across two days courtesy of the BRSCC East Anglian Centre in their first race meeting of the season. Thankfully, the weather matched the quality of racing on track – stunning!
Caterham Motorsport dominated the bill with the Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport Championship kicking off the action on Saturday afternoon. Anthony Taylor and Tom John locked out the first front row of the year, however it was only John that would stay where he was as he was overhauled come the end of Race 1 by 2016 Academy title contender Jay McCormack. Jay charged from 4th on the grid to lead every single lap and take the win, albeit only by 3 tenths of a second. Pete Walters completed the podium in 3rd a further second back, but he would have to settle for 5th in Race 2. This was because Pete Walters, despite being shuffled down to 6th by the end of the opening lap, charged his way back through to snatch the win on the final lap t, pipping McCormack to the flag by just 0.051 seconds. Tom John couldn’t better 3rd some 2.5 seconds away.
Carrying over their title battle from last season’s Roadsport campaign, the duo of Daniel Quintero and champion Russ Olivant began life in the Alaco Motorsport Logistics Caterham Seven 270R Championship on the front row together for Race 1. From pole, Columbian Quintero enjoyed a thrilling dice with Alan Cooper and Rob Watts with the lead swapping every lap. Eventually, it was Quintero that won out with Messer’s Cooper and Watts trailing home on the podium. Despite having to settle for 4th, Olivant was in no mood to leave Norfolk without silverware and duly pursued Cooper in Race 2 for the majority of the encounter before a late battle saw Russ come out on top by 0.2 of a second with Watts in 3rd.
Tim Dickens has fond memories of Snetterton from his epic peformances there in 2015. Therefore, they must have come to mind during the weekend as he contested the ITC Compliance Caterham Supersport Championship for the second consecutive year. While Race 1 pole man Alistair Weaver wouldn’t last longer than 9 laps, Dickens made the most of his P5 starting slot to muscle his way to the front and snatch a sensational last gasp win. Both Mike Evans and Ben Tuck, 2nd and 3rd respectively, ran him all the way to the flag with the top 3 covered by less than 0.2 seconds. Not content with one win, Dickens did the double in Race 2 as he once again enjoyed a fabulous dice with Evans and Tuck as the trio came home again in the same order.
Over in the ITC Compliance Caterham Seven 310R Championship, the “new Supersport”, you may have expected one of last season’s Tracksport front runners to set the early pace. As it was, it turned out to be James Beardwell, who had made the monumental leap from the Academy last year to go from the front row of Race 1 to take his first ever race victory! Mission Motorsport supported driver Steve McCulley took a fine 2nd place ahead of Lee Bristow in 3rd. As impressive as his win was, Beardwell couldn’t double up in Race 2 as Bristow and McCulley set about a race long duel that eventually left them separated by a microscopic 0.007 seconds – the closest finish of the weekend! Lee Collins took 3rd while Race 1 winner Beardwell couldn’t better 5th.
In the fastest of the Caterham championships on the roster, Lee Wiggins was finally able to clinch a win in the Avon Tyres Caterham Seven 420R Championship in Race 1. That wasn’t to say he wasn’t made to work for it, as both reigning Supersport champion William Smith and Danny Winstanley pushed him all the way. The trio crossed the line covered by just over 0.3 seconds, setting up a fascinating contest for Race 2. Smith would be the one to drop off the podium places as Winstanley clinched the victory ahead of Wiggins with 4-time Caterham champion Stephen Nuttall claiming a long-awaited podium in 3rd.
Away from the Sevens, there was sports prototype action in the special non-championship OSS Trophy, something of a prologue before the official opening rounds at Silverstone in May. On all 3 occasions over the weekend, proceedings were dominated for the most part by the beautiful Class B Chiron LMP of Richard Wise. A retirement from Race 1 left Mark Abbott’s Radical PR6 heading fellow Class C Radical drivers Graham Hill and Lee Torrie home, but with the Chiron back up to full strength Wise would go on to dominate the next two encounters. Abbott would follow him home both times, while Hill and Simon Tilling took a 3rd place each. Amongst the others, there were class wins for Richard Fearns and Max Windheuser in Classes A and E respectively.
There was cause for celebration amongst the Quaife Modified Saloons paddock as club racing veteran Rod Birley went on to officially claim his 600th career victory aboard his trusty Ford Escort WRC. He would go on to take both wins that day with Andy Banham’s Subaru Impreza, Tony Skelton’s Renault Clio and Paul Adams’ Ford Focus RS all sharing podiums between them. They shared the track with the Scrapco Recycling/ Avon Tyres Intermarques, where Lewis Smith would comfortably take his Vauxhall Tigra silhouette racer to both wins from pole position, leaving Malcolm Blackman, Anthony Bennett and Keith White to share the spoils behind him.
The Cannons Motor Spares TinTops saw a familiar name to BRSCC circles take the honours, as former Fiesta Championship winner James “JJ” Ross took both victories in his Vauxhall Astra VXR in emphatic styles. Daniel Fisher took home a pair of 2nd places with a Honda Civic Type R, while Matthew Turner and Robert Hosier claimed a 3rd place each on the day.
You can find the full list of results via TSL Timing here – SNETTERTON RESULTS
A massive thank you to all of our competitors, officials and marshals for ensuring the weekend went smoothly!