FUNCUP AND CMMC THRILL SNETTERTON SPECTATORS IN SATURDAY SIZZLER
Clear skies and warm weather added to the feel-good vibe at Snetterton this past weekend, with both sprint and endurance racing entertaining spectators on the same day, as the Fun Cup Championship and the Classic & Modern Motorsport Club teamed up to begin the delayed season for the BRSCC’s East Anglian Centre.
The Fun Cup competitors were able to finally begin their 2020 campaign and did so with two races – a one hour sprint and a longer four-hour endurance test. For the first time, the grid was set not by random draw like usual, but instead on the best times in the qualifying session which is normally used to ensure all drivers have completed laps in order to be able to race. Instead, the Track Focused trio of Sean Cooper, Mike McCollum and Neil Smith that took the fastest time to line up on pole ahead of the newly formed Make Happen Racing squad with the familiar 2 Rent Dominos car and pairing of Chris Hart and Henry Dawes, with Team 7 WASPP’s Ed Worthington and Jay Shepherd in 3rd fastest, Axiametrics in 4th place driven by Kristian Rose, Chris Dovell and Riley Phillips, and the Team 7 JL Priory Park car of Jake and James Little rounding out the top 5.
Track Focused held the lead on the opening lap from pole with Team 7 WASPP on their tail and the second Make Happen Racing car of Harry Mailer and Chris Walton jumping up from 10th on the grid to 3rd by the end of the first tour. Team 7 WASPP then took the lead on the second lap and remained in front with Track Focused, Make Happen Racing and the DespatchBay Express car of Andy Bicknell and Marcus Clutton hot on their tail, with the four cars producing some fantastic racing at the front as they continuously swapped positions lap after lap. As the first pitstop window progressed, Axiametrics began moving up the order and into the lead, albeit they were caught by the Team Viking duo of Mark Holme and Nick Nunn.
From there, the top two of Axiametrics and Team Viking went back and forth taking turns in the lead, even through the second pit stop window, and in the closing laps, they were locked in combat with battles for 3rd and 5th also beginning to close in on them. In the end, however, Team Viking raced to the flag and took the first FunCup win of 2020 with Axiametrics just 0.470 seconds behind them, the closest Snetterton finish in the championship’s history. Team 7 WASPP had been charging in the final stint and managed to catch and pass DespatchBay Express before setting off after the top two, but they had to settle for 3rd, while PLR Racing’s Neil Plimmer and Ben Pitch completed the top five after they held on against Hart and Dawes for Make Happen Racing/2 Rent Domino’s.
The second race’s grid went back to being set by the usual random draw, albeit with Race 1 winners Team Viking automatically starting last as per the rules. PLR Racing were the lucky team to pull pole position out of the bag, with Track.Life 4 Hire’s Neil Primrose and Ciro Carannante drawing a front-row starting slot from Team 7 WASPP 2 and Team Greenheath. From the start, Team7 WASPP 2 jumped into the lead and for a few laps remained in front of PLR Racing until they repassed them for the lead briefly before the two cars swapped back again. What neither of them had counted on, however, was the incredible pace of defending champions Uvio/ Hofmann’s Lotus, with “Farquini” and Fabio Randaccio quickly rising to 2nd place behind the leading Team 7 WASPP 2 car as the first pit stop window approached. With the first hour ticking over, Uvio/Hoffman’s Lotus found themselves leading with Enduro Motorsport also rising up the order into 2nd ahead of Team 7 WASPP 2, while PLR Racing and Make Happen Racing completed the top five. The order mostly remained the same throughout the next pitstop window and the end of the second hour, although Team 7 JL Priory Park were up to 5th ahead of Make Happen Racing, before a safety car intervened midway through the third hour to bunch the field back up. The top four remained mostly unchanged with Team7 WASPP up to 2nd ahead of Enduro Motorsport, while GCI Racing had climbed to 5th behind PLR Racing as the final set of stops approached.
Incredibly, another safety car occurred with around half an hour to go to ensure a close and exciting finish, but on the restart leaders Uvio/Hoffman’s Lotus got a great jump on the rest of the field and quickly pulled out an advantage. This was in part due to mechanical failure for Enduro Motorsport, as they pulled into the pits just as the race was getting back underway, moving PLR Racing up tp 2nd but instantly coming under attack from Team7 WASPP, making the move after just one lap and setting off after the leader. Despite pushing hard, the defending champs took the chequered flag as “Farquini and Randaccio won ahead of Worthington and Shepherd, with a late charge from Greensall Motorsport allowing Nigel Greensall, Ryan Lewis and Paul Lewis to claim the final rostrum spot ahead of DespatchBay Express and PLR Racing.
The other racing entertainment came from the Southern division of the Classic & Modern Motorsport Club, with the Super Saloons, Intermarques and TinTops sharing a grid altogether with the Modified Ford Series. The early stages of Race 1 saw Rod Birley’s Ford Escort WRC locked in a battle with Gavin Dunn’s, up until the moment when Birley’s day came to an abrupt end when he lost the left front wheel of his Escort heading down Bentley Straight. The subsequent red flag allowed everyone to regroup, but on the restart, Dunn pulled away once again to take an easy win from a trio of Modified Ford cars in Piers Grange, Paul Nevill and Malcolm Harding, with Danny Smith’s Vauxhall Tigra completing the top five.
The second race produced more of the same for Dunn as he led from pole and was never headed all race, heading to the flag more than 18 seconds in the lead for an easy second win of the day. The impressive Ford Mustang ASCAR stock car of Marcus Bicknell climbed well through the pack to claim an overall 2nd place ahead of the same trio of Ford Escorts as before, with Grange once again finishing ahead of Nevill and Harding as they completed the top 5.
(Photo credit: Stewart Finley)