FANTASTIC ALFA GRID ON ITS WAY TO CADWELL
Competitors in the BRSCC Alfashop Alfa Romeo Championship obviously like trees, grass and the particular challenges offered by the ups and downs of tracks such as Oulton and Cadwell Park. The one shy of capacity 27 car entry for this weekend’s double-header (Rounds 5 & 6) at the Lincolnshire venue, following a strong field at Oulton in May, certainly makes the point.
Round 4 provided a familiar walkover for Neil Smith’s WTCC 156 but there was a great battle for the runner-up spot between Barry McMahon (GTV) and the slow starting Guy Hale (147 GTA). Guy made it to the flag first in the last few feet of the race. However, Neil is not entered at Cadwell and so the outcome of the races overall is very open with several potential winners using cars that each have a different approach to the conundrum of winning – a big V6 3.8 litre engine powers Andy Robinson’s 156, Barry McMahon should have his turbocharged 4 cylinder 156 this time and Guy Hale will again have a 3.2 V6 powering his 147.
There will also be the nimble 33 16v of Bryan Shrubb, while Chris Oxborough has entered his supercharged 3 litre 75, both of these drivers making their 2013 debut. And if all the modified cars run into trouble, or it is wet, then don’t overlook the ultra-reliable 147 GTA of 2012 Champion Roger Evans, and the Class C GTV of Graham Seager, or the diesel GT of Darelle Wilson in Class B. Darelle has been one of the championship’s major surprises this year with support from Alfa specialists Pro alfa, taking some strong overall results in addition to class wins. There will also be a second diesel power car on the grid, the German series 147, to be driven by Tom Andrew in Class B.
The Championship’s Standard Production Class E goes from strength to strength and makes up almost half the entry at Cadwell. A variety of models – 156, 145, 146, 147 etc, are able to take part, all using the transverse 2-litre 4 cylinder engine that was fitted to the original road car with virtually no change to the original specification.
There have been different winners in each of the four races so far this year – Tom Herbert (156) at Rockingham, Tom Eastwood (145) at Silverstone in a wet race one and James Ford (156) in race two, and then Adie Hawkins (147) at Oulton. Perhaps there is now a chance for the 146? The experienced David Thomas, returning to racing this year in the car raced for a couple of seasons with some success by son James, would like to think so! However, he is going to have to fight off some very strong opposition, headed by all the previous race winners. Others who would undoubtedly like to have a say in the outcome will include Andy Inman and Chris Healey with their 156s plus the 145s of Matt Daly and David Peddie, who have both shown strong form this season. David Peddie is one of the championship’s most loyal competitors, making the journey down from Aberdeen for each meeting, accompanied by his fiancée Maggie.
For several seasons, the Alfa Championship has offered a UK home for a number of Punto Abarths that competed in their own Irish championship. We are pleased to welcome four examples this weekend and they are likely to provide some good entertainment of their own, led by Roger McMahon, previous Irish competitor Alastair Kellett and Fraser O’Brien, at 18 the youngest driver to have raced with us.
Roger Evans has retained his lead in the overall Alfa championship table with James Ford 7 points behind, just keeping himself clear of Graham Seager and Ray Foley. Roger, Andy Robinson, James Ford, Darelle Wilson and Nick Anderson lead their respective classes.
The Championship returns to tracks with wartime airfield heritage after Cadwell – Snetterton on July 20/21 and Thruxton August 17/18. It will be our first visit to BARC’s home track since 1995.