SNETTERTON SERVES UP ANOTHER BRSCC FINALS EXTRAVAGANZA
The final race weekend at Snetterton in 2023 for the British Racing & Sports Car Club produced plenty of dramatic endings as well as the conclusion of one championship and several series in the final rounds of their campaigns. Tin tops and sports prototypes shared a mix of sprint and endurance racing for an entertaining last dance of the year in Norfolk.
SILVERLAKE C1 ENDURANCE SERIES
After another year of trekking up and down the country and covering mile after mile of long distance racing, including the annual C1 24 Hours at Silverstone once more, the Sivlerlake C1 Endurance Series concluded 2023 back at Snetterton for its second visit of the year. Unsurprisingly, qualifying threw up a familiar result as perennial arch rivals Emax Motorsport and Trojon Motorsport ended up at the top of the times before a random draw of the top ten qualifiers put WRC Developments #318 in pole for race one.
Trojon’s #508 car took the lead on the opening lap, but only led for seven laps before they made their first stop, one lap after teammates in the #421 made theirs respectively. Abbott Racing Motorsport had a brief stint out in front, before they gave way to the CATDT car which remained at the head of the field through the conclusion of the first hour. After more stops shook out the order and gave WRC #318 another chance to lead at the end of the second hour, Emax #346 managed to climb up to first and held firm until they had to make their final stop.
With Trojon now back in front and seemingly on course to win again, everything looked to be plain sailing – that is, until #508 literally sailed off the road on the final lap after hitting a damp patch under braking at Agostini hairpin. The subsequent off saw him clout the tyres, but able to continue, albeit losing the lead to winners Emax in the end. Trojan still picked up a 2-3 result with #508 ahead of #421, with WRC and CATDT following behind in the top five.
Conditions for race two were improved over the previous day with Emax #346 on pole courtesy of their Saturday win. Surprisingly, they didn’t get a great start at all as they concluded the first lap back in sixth as Trojon and WRC quickly took over in front, but after a few laps of finding their pace they quickly climbed back up to the lead by lap ten. Trojon’s two cars had again been early stoppers and once again made steady progress back through the order as other cars also stopped around them.
Emax, Quattro Foramggio and #blessed all took turns in the lead as the stops cycled through, with #blessed leading at the end of hour one and Emax at the end of hour two. A mid-race safety car allowed CATDT a turn in front throughout and just after the restart, while another safety car period late in the race bunched up the pack again. BPC Motorsport had managed to get one of their cars in front, but pitting late sacrified a first win. That left Emax and Trojon to have one last dance together on track for victory. Going into the final two laps, Emax #346 led with Trojon #508 right on their tail.
What followed was two laps of some of the best racing of the C1 Racing Club season with both cars swapping the lead back and forth throughout, including more than once on the final lap. Emax held on to grab the final win of 2023 ahead of Trojon in second – on the road, at least. Despite finishing P1 and P2, both cars were penalised two laps due to the equivalent of stop-go penalties, promoting Trojon’s #421 sister car to victory in the result. CATDT also inherited second place and Melboard Racing took an amazing third too, with Abbott Racing Motorsport and Richpop Racing completing the top five.
NANKANG TYRE BMW COMPACT CUP
The only championship to be decided on the Snetterton weekend, the Nankang Tyre BMW Compact Cup concludes its final rounds of 2023 with Gareth Claydon aiming to wrap up the title in any of the last three races of the year.
After making the perfect start to the weekend in qualifying with pole position, a clean start to race one ensured he was 1.5 seconds ahead of the pack by the end of the opening lap, but Guy Davis had the pace to reel him back in over the next few minutes. Davis caught up and stayed on his bootlid for three laps, only choosing to make his move on the final lap to steal away victory. Guy took the win but only by 0.4 seconds at the flag, with Claydon’s P2 doing no harm to his title chances while Jim Barratt was delighted with an overall third place ahead of Matt Flowers and Matt Milson.
Race two saw Claydon get the jump he needed once again to lead the opening lap, before he was pegged back and re-passed by Davis a lap later, a lot sooner than had happened in race one. Now with clear air, Davis proceeded to dominate the moment he took the lead and proceeded in powering away by around a second a lap on average to comfortably take his second win of the weekend with ease. Claydon held second for as long as he could but capitulated to Rudi Macmillan on the final lap, however the third place was enough to put the Compact Cup title out of reach with one race left to run.
Despite starting sixth in the randomly drawn top ten for race three, a lightning start for Rudi Macmillan helped him leap into the lead by the end of the opening lap. Davis and Gordon Macmillan quickly took up second and third, but all the pressure was on Rudi to potentially claim his first Compact Cup win. Davis stayed close but Rudi managed keep him at bay, helping to bring father Gordon into play in the final couple of laps. On the penultimate lap, Gordon found a way past Davis to make it a Macmillan 1-2, and that’s how it stayed to the flag – Rudi clinched his first race win in the championship with Gordon right behind in second, while Davis retained the final podium spot ahead of Henry Cook and Max Noble. New champion Gareth Claydon finished his final race of the year in seventh place.
AUDI TT CUP RACING
At the end of what had turned out to be a phenomenal first season, the Audi TT Cup Racing series geared up for its final three races of 2023 with its biggest entry to date. 23 cars took to the grid on the return leg to Snetterton, showcasing just how far the series had come only a year into its existence.
Carl Swift and Adam Blair immediately began fighting a race of their own at the front, but Swift’s race wasn’t so fortunate as he retired on lap 2 along with Scott Parkin, leaving Blair out in front and unchallenged. The mantle was taken up by Richard Forber in second who managed to keep Blair no more than 1.5 seconds out in front ahead, but with clear air it was Adam’s race for the taking. Collecting a superb first win in the series, Blair took the chequered flag and the victory with Forber maintaining second, while Harry Yardley-Rose finished third on the road byut was handed a 30 second penalty for causing a collision. That left Luke Handley to take to the rostrum ahead of Ryan Edgecumbe and Ross Makar in the top five.
Blair aimed to go for two in a row by jumping into the lead once more beginning race two, and remained there either side of a mid-race safety car. In fact, he wasn’t headed on track at all for the duration, however he wouldn’t stand on the top step of the podium after taking the chequered flag. A five second penalty for track limits denied him a second win of the weekend and pushing him all the way down to fifth place in the end. Forber would inherit the win followed by Handley and Swift on the podium, while Makar and Blair rounded off the top five.
Race three turned out to be a rather straightforward affair as the final TTCR race of 2023 played out all in Forber’s favour. Starting from the pole, Richard never looked back as he reeled off every single lap out on front and wouldn’t be headed. He managed to extend a three second lead and was clear at the flag to take the final race win of the year, with Makar picking up second and Swift rebounding from a tough start to the weekend with third place; Edgecumbe and Parkin completed the top five.
BRSCC EVOLUTION TROPHY
Another decent turnout of cars was in attendance for the final BRSCC Evolution Trophy races of 2023 with cars from the Classic VW Cup, Renault Cup and Classic TT Cup all present on the grid for the development series’ final outing of the year.
Carey Lewis may have felt some of his bad luck had disappeared after claiming overall and Classic VW Cup pole in qualifying, but sadly it quickly returned as he retired after just three laps despite leading early on. This gave the incredible little Mk1 Golf Berg Cup of Tim Moll the lead and he looked to be on course to take an amazing overall win, only for cruel fortunes to strike when he pulled up a lap from home with mechanical issues. In the end, Simon Tomlinson was the victor from Adam Marshall in a Classic VW 1-2 ahead of top Renault Cup racers Matthew Hollier and Nick Gwinnett in third and fourth, while Chris Adams completed the overall top five. Karl Greenfield was top Classic TT Cup home as a guest.
Marshall got the jump on everyone the next morning for race two, leaping into the lead from the front row and never looking back. Using the clear track available to his full advantage, Marshall led from start to finish and added another outright and Classic VW win to his 2023 tally. Tomlinson took second ahead of Gwinnett in third who was also top Renault, while Carey Lewis recovered from race one disappointment to finish fourth overall ahead of Hollier in fifth. Karl Greenfield was again top Classic TT Cup driver at the flag too.
ZEO PROTOTYPE SERIES
After putting on super displays of sports prototype racing across Silverstone, Donington Park and Brands Hatch, the ZEO Prototype Series touched down at Snetterton for the final races of its 2023 campaign. Another excellent variety of machines from Radical, Praga, Juno, CTR, Norma and MCR were present as two more races were left on the schedule for the ZEO paddock.
Former Praga Cup champion Gordie Mutch was instantly clear favourite to win at least one race over the day as he stormed to pole by more than three seconds in qualifying. Despite a quick start to race one initially, he would end the lap behind the ever-formidable Jenvey-Gunn of Mike Jenvey who quickly took over in the lead and was never headed from thereon in. After just four laps, he was at least eight seconds out in front but Mutch managed to maintain this gap for the rest of the race until he retired in the pits a lap from the end. Jenvey, meanwhile, was an unchallenged winner from Max Windheuser’s Norma in P2, followed by the Radicals of Alastair Smart and Daniel Headlam and the Praga of Rodolfo Gonzalez.
Jenvey’s win in race one may have been comfortable, but that was nothing on his winning margin in race two. Ending the first lap over five seconds ahead of Shane Kelly’s Praga, this quickly increased to just shy of thirty by lap five and just kept on rising. In fact, by the time he’d taken the chequered flag to clinch his second win of the day, the gap was over a minute in the end! Gonzalez ended up a distant P2 ahead of Alastair Smart in P3, with Richard Chamberlain in the CTR01 and Ian Charles in the Radical completed the final top five finishers of the 2023 ZEO Prototype season.
CMMC SUPER SALOONS, TIN TOPS AND INTERMARQUES
Offering some great support to the BRSCC timetable as a guest formulae, the Classic & Modern Motorsport Club’s Super Saloons and Tin Tops all combined together on one grid for two races. With all three series lining up together in one field, it was always going to be busy on track for the duration of both races.
Race one looked as though Daniel Smith was on course to take the overall and Intermarques win, but his car faltered a lap from the end. This handed victory to Lewis Smith ahead of Richard Smith in a Mercedes SLK 1-2, followed by Phil Spinks’s Vauxhall Tigra, Colin Smith’s Ginetta G40 and the best of the Super Saloons in 5th with Alex Sidwell winning the category in his Holden Commodore V8 Supercar. Chris Bassett won the TinTop segment in his Peugeot 306.
Race two ended up being another Lewis Smith benefit, as he led from start to finish from pole and dominated the field, winding up almost 25 seconds ahead of Sidwell’s Holden as he claimed another Super Saloons win in second overall. Scott Apriliagno’s SHP Peugeot 206, Richard Smith’s SLK and Spinks’ Tigra completed the overall top five, and another TinTop win went the way of Chris Bassett’s 306 once again.