ROCKINGHAM WHIPS UP A BARNSTORMER
Classes A, B & D in the Quaife Fiestas had their own moment in the spotlight – Photo: James Roberts
In what was, quite possibly, the most action packed and intense weekend of club racing we’ve had to date this season thanks to the BRSCC South Eastern Centre, the Rockingham Motor Speedway delivered an incredible two days’ worth of motorsport from start to finish this past weekend, featuring incredible drives, stunning overtakes and even a couple of first time winners.
The racing began with the Teekay Couplings Producton GTi Mk5 Series, which saw a rather unfortunate incident in qualifying between Simon Hill and Rob Sadler, the latter requiring a trip to the medical centre at the circuit to recover from an impact in the outside wall through the banking of Turn 1. When the action got underway, it was front wheel driver newcomer Andy Baylie using all of his previous experience in Caterhams and BMWs to come up with the goods and win the first race of the series. Mk2 convert Josh Johnson’s transition went smoothly with a strong 2nd place ahead of Simon Gusterson in 3rd. The second race was just as intense at the front between the trio, eventually seeing Johnson hit the front and take the flag ahead of Gusterson and Baylie, who once again led early on before losing out to the pair behind.
The Toyo Tires Porsche Championship produced some of their most intense and entertaining racing in recent times in 3 brilliant races. Multiple champion Rick Styrin continued to exert his authority with another typically excellent drive to victory in Race 1. Following him home were two drivers who had found an extra gear since Snetterton, as James Coleman and Andrew Hack completed impressive drives to 2nd and 3rd respectively. The biggest cheers were reserved for the 924 class as after 4 years of trying, Linda Warren’s efforts finally came good with her first class win ahead of front running returnee Karl Rossin and 3rd placed Niza El-Chamaa.
Styrin doubled up as many expected in Race 2 with the podium ending up as a carbon copy of the first one, as Coleman and Hack once again completed the rostrum. Rossin managed to put one over on the 924 field to claim his first win of the season on his first weekend back, with Warren settling for 2nd and El-Chamaa once again 3rd.
Despite starting deep in the Boxster entry thanks to the reverse grid in Race 3, Styrin once again failed to put a wheel wrong to complete an impressive hat-trick of wins, while Coleman did likewise for 2nd places. 3rd on this occasion went to reigning champion Ed Hayes who was able to find a silver lining to a very testing weekend, after suffering engine troubles that forced him to retire from the first two races and go to a back-up car for the final encounter. It was the turn of Niza El-Chamaa to hit the top step in the 924s, although 2nd placed Linda Warren could have claimed her second win had a half spin at Gracelands towards the end of the race not scuppered that chance. Rossin finished his tour of the podium with 3rd place.
A strong candidate for show stealer of the weekend has to be the Fiesta Junior Championship, as the racing stars of the future provided some of the best racing the championship has seen since its inception. There was certainly a shock on the front row of the grid as Cameron Pugh swiped pole from Bradley Burns, however it was the latter who would jump into the lead from the start and put in a stellar drive to win his first FJC race in phenomenal style. Jam-Sport has cause to celebrate as Harry Gooding and Callum Hawkins-Row completed the podium in 2nd and 3rd. Not content with that result, the duo then each went one step better in Race 2 with Gooding racking up his second win of the campaign in as many weekends with Hawkins-Row in tow. Burns’ amazing weekend was completed with another rostrum visit with 3rd.
Their senior brethren in the Quaife Fiesta Championship were equally as entertaining with split grids allowing for 4 races. The Class C field once again featured bumper to bumper battles, as class points leader Sam Priest started from pole once again and stayed there until the end to claim his second win of the year. Nick Sanderson impressively stayed with him and Specialized team boss Simon Horrobin and while he was 3rd across the line, Sanderson was promoted to 2nd after a 10 second penalty pushed Horrobin down to 4th, allowing Kevin Stirling to claim another brilliant 3rd place. The podium took a completely different complexion as Horrobin got redemption for his penalty with a fairly comfortable victory, while there was jubilation for Myles Baker with his best ever result in 2nd. Nick Bowers had finished 3rd on the track, however the stewards excluded him resulting in Alfonso Skriczka moving up to 3rd.
The separate races for Classes A, B & D were just as entertaining as a trio of Class D cars scrapped for the podium places. The resurgent Alastair Kellett put his Silverstone misfortune behind him to clinch win number 5 of his season, while behind former Mini champion Jamie White made a bold last lap pass on John Cooper to finish in 2nd place. Tim Bennett was on top in Class A while Derek Robinson, only using this weekend as a tester ahead of deciding on the rest of the season, may decide to stay after winning Race 1 in Class B. Kellett once again was never headed in Race 2 as he claimed his second clean sweep of the season, however this time Cooper had the measure of White as the pair swapped places on the podium this time. Bennett and Robinson completed perfect weekends in their respective classes with another win apiece.
Promising much after their epic season opener at Brands Hatch, much was expected of the BMW Race Days Compact Cup – and they certainly didn’t disappoint! Samuel Carrington-Yates was able to get away well from pole and fend off any potential attacks from former British GT champion James Gornall and Simon Walker-Hansell respectively, eventually winning from the pair in Race 1. The second encounter saw another first time victor as Jim Benson showed the rest of the field a clean pair of heels to score his maiden BMW win, followed all the way home by Joe Wiggin and reigning Scottish BMW champion Steven Dailly. The third and final race had both race winners together, although this time it was Gornall who battled his way to the top step and taking the flag first, with Wiggin and Dailly coming through behind.
Accompanying their younger Mk5 siblings, the Teekay Couplings Production GTi Mk2 Championship featured plenty of close battles up and down the field. Ultimately, the weekend and the podium appeared to belong to just 3 men. Peter Milne led the initial laps before Chris Webb took over, however it was left to Nick Porter to make the move on Webb in the final laps to win, with Milne ending up 3rd. The podium was duplicated again in Race 2, as Porter took a brace from Webb and Milne once more. The 8V class saw Matthew Petts continue his unbeaten run by remaining unchallenged in both races at the head of the class.
For a full breakdown of the results from the weekend, you can find them via TSL Timing here – ROCKINGHAM RESULTS.