Our visit to the stunning Thruxton  Circuit delivered a real mix of emotions, from the highs of witnessing some of the most exciting Nankang Tyre BMW Compact Cup racing we’ve seen for years to a Saturday lunchtime parade lap tribute for Stu Wright, a sadly departed and very much missed member of the Compact Cup family. Members of Stu’s family and some of his closest friends were in attendance to witness this small tribute from his racing pals.

The race weekend began with 34 eager drivers lined up and ready to test their skills in our triple-header weekend, and on the fast and demanding Hampshire circuit not one of them had an easy drive to the finish line in any of the races.

In qualifying on Saturday, we saw a real dogfight for the top slots, ending with multiple Compact Cup Champion Steven Dailly on pole, followed by 2020 debutant Jordan Stilp in P2 and Guy Davis in P3 on his first 2020 outing. David May was quickest of our Masters Trophy competitors, lining up in P6 behind Mikey Doble and Ian Jones. 

After a frenetic start and a fight for the lead between a number of drivers, Steven Dailly managed to create a little bit of a gap  and enjoyed looking in his mirrors at the battles going on behind. What he probably didn’t expect to see was a hard-charging David May winning that battle and then start to put real pressure on him for the final laps!  The race ended with Steven Dailly holding on to take the win, followed by May in 2nd overall and P1 in the Masters Trophy. Tom Griffiths made his way through skilfully from 7th to finish in 3rd overall. 

Sunday proved to be even more eventful, with heavy rain forecast for Race 2 and possibly even Race 3.

Whilst in the assembly area awaiting the start of our 2nd race of the weekend, the circuit, which had been drying out after a few light showers, was hit with a heavy downpour which immediately made conditions much more challenging for our drivers, with poor visibility and standing water to contend with. Unfortunately, after a great start to the meeting for both David May and Thomas Langford, their weekends were cut short following a high-speed incident on circuit which left both of their cars badly damaged and caused the race to be red flagged. Thankfully both drivers were okay and a shortened (5 minute) race was then run.  

After an impressive drive in the very demanding conditions, Jordan Stilp took his maiden win followed by Ben Huntley in 2nd having started 8th, and Ian Jones rounding out the top 3. Wayne Flint finished 1st in the Masters Trophy. 

It was, however, a much better race experience for Gareth Claydon whose car was badly damaged in Race 1. His KC Motorsport team had worked through the night in order to get Gareth back out racing, and having started from the back of the grid he gained a very respectable 9 places to finish 21st. Another notable drive was that of Master Trophy competitor Mark Skeats, who was unable to start race 1 due to mechanical problems so had to start Race 2 in P35, and despite the shortened race due to the red flag, managed to finish 10th overall! 

With it being a triple-header race weekend, it meant the return of the random Top 8 grid draw for Race 3: Tom Griffiths was drawn on pole, followed by Ian Jones, Steven Dailly, Jordan Stilp, Guy Davis, Wayne Flint, Oliver Faller and Ben Huntley.

Race 3 was run in much better conditions and gave us by far some of the most intense BMW Compact Cup racing we’ve seen in years! Steven Dailly made sure Tom Griffiths wasn’t going to have it all his own way at the front of the grid and we saw them jostling for the lead position throughout the race. Both drivers put on a stunning performance and a great display of racing skills, and the lead swapped numerous times throughout the race, with Tom Griffiths eventually pipping Steven Dailly to P1 with a gap of 0.125 seconds between them as they crossed the line. 

Not far behind the leading pair, an amazing race-long battle was taking place, at times with cars crossing the start-finish line 4 abreast!  That battle was eventually won by Wayne Flint who secured P3 and also P1 in the Masters Trophy. 

As always is BMW Compact Cup racing, no matter where you looked on circuit there was close and exciting racing happening. That’s actually one of the most pleasing things about this wonderful championship. The fact that even though a driver may not have the good fortune or skills to be able to run at the front, no matter where they find themselves on the grid they will experience great racing! A gap of 0.001 of a second between Martin Gadsby and Will Davison who were battling for 22nd and 23rd place proves that point perfectly!

We’ll see you all again at Brands Hatch on 26th / 27th September.

Charlotte White


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