Amidst late summer sunshine, the BRSCC Midlands Centre put on an enjoyable day of racing at Mallory Park in Leicestershire on Saturday, with a varied mix of single-seaters, tin-tops and sports cars taking to the speed bowl of the Midlands under beautiful weather conditions.

Justin Roberts made a triumphant comeback to the Hyperdrive ST-XR Challenge by taking pole position in his new Ford Fiesta ST150 in Class D ahead of the three main title contenders from Class A with William Heslop heading Adam Brown and Greg Speight. Roberts was quick away from the line and managed to quickly pull a two-second gap in the opening laps, as Heslop and Brown pushed hard in their efforts to keep up. However, Roberts had the measure of the field and in his comeback race, he reminded everyone why he’s a former race winner by taking victory ahead of Heslop and Brown. Meanwhile, fellow Class A contender Speight struggled with a technical issue which saw him drop his pace and fall to 8th by the flag. Come the second race, the issue was resolved and Speight was able to steadily pick his way through the field. At the front, Roberts led the way again from Heslop until a late safety car changed fortunes. At the beginning of the restart, a mistake from Roberts at the Hairpin dropped him to 5th place as Heslop tried to make a clean break.  In the end, he was able to maintain the lead to win, while a late charge from Speight allowed him to clinch 2nd place with Roberts recovering to 3rd.

Over in the Alfa Romeo Championship, the battle for the overall title between defending champion Tom Hill in the Twin Spark Cup and Power Trophy’s Dave Messenger rolled on. Messenger managed to beat the pole man Jamie Thwaites’ Alfa 155 away from the line and led practically the entire race, only for a tyre problem on the last lap to rob him of what looked like a certain victory. Thwaites to the win as a result with Messenger still able to limp home in 2nd place with Andy Inman the final car on the podium. Over in Twin Spark, Tom Hill clinched the class win ahead of Australian stalwart Simon Cresswell and Martin Jones’ Alfa 147. Race 2 was almost a case of deja vu for Messenger, as he led for almost the entire race before once again losing out to Thwaites on the last lap as the 155 slipped by to claim the victory. The top three in both classes ended up as a carbon copy of Race 1 with Thwaites, Messenger and Inman on the Power Trophy podium and Hill, Cresswell and Jones heading up Twin Spark.

The first two rounds of the Reprise IT Monoposto Tiedeman Trophy, the championship’s annual Autumn mini-series, got underway with its first two rounds on Saturday with a fine mix of junior single-seaters. Race 1 saw a great duel between Neil Harrison and Martin Wright in a pair of Dallara Formula 3 chassis, although racing in different classes. Both drivers were evenly matched and were never more than 1.5 seconds apart, even through lapped traffic. In the end, Harrison held on to clinch the first win of the mini-championship, with Wright in 2nd and Bryn Tootell just holding on to 3rd place in his Van Diemen. In the second race, a mistake from Martin Wright saw him drop several seconds behind mid-race and only fight back to a 15-second gap as Harrison captured the second win of the day, while Roger Wright’s Speads RM07 rounded off the rostrum.

Two great races took place amongst the Track Attack Race Club’s Nippon Challenge, Tricolore Trophy and Multi Marques, where the Renault Clio pair of Nick Gwinnett and Robert Buckland were the main pace setters, along with the Honda Civic of Chris Freeman and the Mazda RX-8 of Clive Haynsford. Gwinnett was able to turn pole position into a lights-to-flag victory in Race 1, while Buckland managed to win his duel with Freeman throughout the race to take 2nd with the Civic in 3rd. Going into the second race, Haynsford’s RX-8 had found some pace since Race 1 and wasted no time in shooting his way towards the front. What followed would turn out to be an epic duel between Haynsford and Gwinnett with the Mazda finding a way through to the lead but Gwinnett continuing to hound him. It all came to a head when sadly Gwinnett lost control through Devil’s Elbow, tapped Haynsford in the process before spinning into the barriers and out of the race. This brought out the red flag to stop the race as it was heading onto the final lap, so due to Gwinnett not running at the time of the stoppage and going on countback, Haynsford clinched the win with Buckland and Freeman once again taking 2nd and 3rd places respectively.

The other contest of the day was the visiting Welsh Saloon & Sports Car Championship, where Keith Butcher once again proved dominant in his Audi R8 LMS GT3, taking two very comfortable race wins with Damian Longotano’s Westfield and Mark Williams’ VW Golf completing the Race 1 podium, before Williams took 2nd in Race 2 ahead of Mike Moss’ Caterham.

Scott Woodwiss


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