SEASON REVIEW: ALFASHOP ALFA ROMEO CHAMPIONSHIP
2012 Alfa Champion Roger Evans (left) and Neil Smith finished a single point apart after a tense 14 race season. Photo: Michael Lindsay
LUCKY 13 FOR NEW ALFA CHAMPION ROGER EVANS
The outcome of the BRSCC Alfashop Alfa Romeo Championship yet again went down to the final race of the year. At one point, it looked as though fog at Donington Park on October 21st would leave us with the unsatisfactory anti-climax of a cancelled race. Luckily, at the very last minute, visibility improved and a revised programme went ahead. This meant that Roger Evans started one point clear of Neil Smith and provided he continued his class domination and took fastest lap, the overall championship was his. Despite a couple of tense moments as we watched the timing screens, Roger did all that was required and took his first championship win in thirteen years. Neil Smith also put in a perfect performance, winning both the weekend’s races overall and taking the prestigious Kevin Griffiths Trophy on the Sunday.
At the top of the points table, the season has been all about Roger and Neil, and both used different cars to achieve their goals. Roger started the year by taking three wins with his fearsome bewinged GTV but then switched to the ex-Sarah Heels Class C production 147 GTA taking a further nine victories. Neil took over Emma Karwacki’s 2011 Championship winning Class E 147 and proved unbeatable on nine occasions but also had three outings in the ex-WTCC 156 in one of which he had to give best to Adie Hawkins in his supercharged 33 16v at Brands Hatch, losing a crucial two points in the process. By splitting his efforts between A1 and C, Roger Evans didn’t win a class although he took the overall title.
With Roger and Neil concentrating mainly on production cars, there were chances for other drivers to score overall wins – Guy Hale (Castle Combe) Barry McMahon (Cadwell), Adie Hawkins (Brands), Anthony George (Rockingham) and Bryan Shrubb (Cadwell) all crossing the line first during the season. Guy Hale was a deserving winner of Class A1 while John Griffiths, a latecomer to Class A2, was able to amass enough points to pass Bryan Shrubb who had to withdraw mid-season after a major engine failure.
Class B was a home for some of the older cars, providing some excellent races for the 3 litre 75s of Clive Hodgkin and Robin Eyre-Maunsell and the eventual class winner, Anthony George, another driver to use two cars during the season. Class C saw some close racing between the GTVs of Ray Foley, Graham Seager and Vincent Dubois behind Roger Evans’ 147 GTA for most of the year but it was Graham Seager who was the eventual class winner and also a fine third overall. Class D entries only appeared at the final race, Leon Bailey taking two wins in his 33.
However, as always in recent years, the best battles were in the Standard Production Class E. As already mentioned, Neil Smith was the dominant factor, but James Ford showed himself to be a consistently quick performer, taking three wins in Neil’s absence, while other winners were Matt Daly and Chris Finch. Strong performances also came from Andy Inman, Dave Messenger, Peter Tervet and James Thomas, which all added up to some entertaining racing. There have been some welcome additions to the class with some new young drivers such as Tom Eastwood, Tom Herbert, Darrelle Wilson and Dave Peddie who will certainly have gained a lot of experience that will stand them in good stead for 2013.
The Championship would like to thank Alfashop for their continued sponsorship, now in their sixth season as title sponsors and we are pleased to say that they will be continuing with us in the coming year. Our appreciation also to MMC Motorsport Insurance who supported our Driver of the Day Award once again and to HomeStyle Property Solutions, Trofeo Cars and Hadley Steel Framing whose generosity made it possible for us to appear on Motors TV.
We are, as always, grateful for the BRSCC’s continued strong support and Graham Heels, who took over as Championship Co-ordinator at the start of 2012, can look back on a highly successful first year.
For further information look at the championship website www.alfaracer.com
Michael S. Lindsay