FUNCUP & ST-XR CROWN CHAMPIONS AT DONINGTON BRSCC FINALE


The last two BRSCC series to decide their champions did so in fine style at Donington Park this past Saturday, as the National circuit played host to the final rounds of both the FunCup Endurance Championship and the ETSL ST-XR Challenge with the last points of the year to be secured and final championship positions to be settled.

Returning to the same circuit they began 2021, the FunCup Endurance Championship put on another 4-hour epic to round off another competitive season of action, as the early stages saw CCS Media, front row starters Enduro Motorsport and Team Greenheath pulling away in a battling lead trio with Nigel Greensall, Morgan Tillbrook and Gary Bate setting the pace. Bate fell away to leave the top two together through the first stint, but when outgoing champions Team Olympian fell off the road at Macleans, the safety car prompted a mass of pit stops as the first pit window opened. The reshuffled order on the restart soon saw champions elect UVio Hofmann’s Lotus’ Fabio Randaccio put the pressure on Enduro Motorsport with Marcus Clutton now at the wheel but with a string of quicker lap times, Clutton held the points leaders at bay through the second stint.

Another safety car allowed UVio to jump ahead to the lead but the two cars ended up trading places through the next few it windows and future safety car periods, the pair never far away from each other when green flag racing was back on. Then another late full course caution period, a rain shower at the beginning of the final hour and a stop-go penalty for Enduro Motorsport all turned the contrast of the race onto its head, with the #103 dropping further back into the top 10. Another late shower of rain saw leaders UVio Hofmann’s struggling for grip initially while Marcus Clutton pushed on to catch the top two. An off at the Old Hairpin wounded the race leader and Clutton took chunks time out of Randaccio’s lead until with just 16 minutes to go the lead changed hands into the Roberts chicane.

The PLR Racing car of Neil Plimmer swept outside of Redgate to relieve UVio of 2nd place just minutes later, but by that point Clutton was already up the road and comfortably ahead, pressing on to take the chequered flag to take his and Morgan Tillbrook’s first FunCup race win, just a month since the duo had won at Donington in the British GT finale. However, drama at the chicane occurred when Randaccio and Plimmer collided, putting UVio out on the spot while PLR limped on in 2nd before a late stop and go penalty pushed them off the rostrum. MJ Tec Giti and MakeHappenRacing, in turn, put on a thrilling duel for what eventually turned out to be 2nd and 3rd with the latter managing to get past and pull away while surviving yet another late shower. With four hours full of drama and excitement, it was a fitting way to conclude FunCup’s incredible 2021 season and despite not finishing, six victories across the campaign ensured that Farquini and Fabio Randaccio were crowned FunCup champions for the year!

It would also be the final rounds of the ST-XR Challenge for 2021 with as many as four drivers still in contention for the overall title. Michael Blackburn got the jump from the front row and initially held the lead with Chris Grimes giving chase, before Grimes managed to slip past and quickly extend a gap out front. A battle for 2nd place raged at the front between Blackburn, Chris Jones, Lee Bowron and Sam Beckett and after several laps of applying pressure, Jones was able to slip by Blackburn at the Roberts chicane for P2 but lost out into the Craner Curves moments later. Jones got him back before the end of the lap with Bowron also picking up a place too, while Beckett and Michael Heath also got their elbows out to ensure an exciting scrap. While Grimes drove on to win with Jones a comfortable 2nd, the hectic 3rd place battle saw Beckett off at McLeans on the final lap while dicing and eventually saw Blackburn pick up the final podium spot. Alex Causer was the runaway winner in the XR portion of the race, finishing 15th overall and ahead of Jason Heneffer’s XR3i and Simon Robinson’s XR2, the latter dropping back to the final finisher overall and 3rd in the category.

With the XRs starting ahead of the STs once again for the final race of the season, they didn’t get much chance to make the most of their head start as an early safety car bunched the field up for the first two laps after cars went spinning at the Old Hairpin. When racing resumed, early leader Causer’s XR fell prey to Jones’ ST, as he swept past and pressed on to lead for the remainder of the final 15 minute encounter. Jone would take the flag not just to win the race, but to also provisionally be crowned both Class D and overall champion for the 2021 season, with Grimes back in 2nd and Michael Blackburn taking 3rd, while Simon Robinson fared better on this occasion to overhaul Causer and take the XR win, provisionally sealing Class A honours in the process; Jason Hennefer also came out on top in Class B too. After a magnificent season of racing where grids were consistently well supported and a healthy mix of experienced and new drivers, we’re greatly looking forward to what the ST-XRs bring in 2022 and a massive credit has to go to Dave Fairclough and his team for all their hard work in successfully growing the championship!

An extra shoutout has to also go to the BRSCC East Anglian Centre rescue unit team of Kevin Lambert, Graham Daly and Mike Rex who were on duty at Donington Park, for their incredible efforts in stopping to help and assist a party of five on the A14 early on Saturday morning, after their car caught fire. The crew aided in calling 999 to request the fire brigade as well as using their own fire extinguisher to help tackle the blaze and corralling the occupants of the car behind the barrier to safety. They remained with them until Suffolk Fire and Rescue arrived before continuing on their way to the circuit. Fantastic quick thinking and efforts from the crew for helping to avoid a potential major disaster!