TCR UK & FRIENDS ROCK KNOCKHILL WITH EPIC RACING ACTION
The rolling hills of the Scottish highlands welcomed the BRSCC with open arms this past weekend as Knockhill provided the setting for the second meeting of the season for the new TCR UK Touring Car Championship and its supporting cast. As you’re about to find out, the spectators didn’t leave on Sunday afternoon disappointed by any means!
The weekend’s main event kicked off after TCR UK points leader Daniel Lloyd maintained his 100% pole position record with the fastest time in Saturday’s qualifying session. Lloyd was able to top the time sheets in his WestCoast Racing VW Golf TCR ahead of the Laser Tools Racing Alfa Romeo of Aiden Moffat and Ollie Taylor’s Pyro Motorsport Honda Civic. Lloyd then wasted no time on Sunday morning converting pole to victory in a safety car affected Race 1, where the action was happening behind him on track. Moffat’s Alfa suffered a driveshaft failure that put him out of the race, leaving the Hondas of Taylor and newcomer Josh Price to duke it out with Lloyd’s WestCoast teammate Andreas Backman. In the end Taylor would take second with Price in 3rd place on his TCR UK debut.
The second race would see fellow debutant Sean Walkinshaw, driving the self-prepared Honda Civic TCR that Howard Fuller drove at Silverstone, start from pole on the reverse grid and lead initially before Lewis Kent took his Hyundai to the front for a few laps. An error into Turn 1 allowed Price to take his turn at the front through the halfway stage, before eventual winner Lloyd completed his charge through the field to pick up P1 and remain there to the end, keeping up his perfect score of four wins from four races. Price went one better with 2nd, while Walkinshaw remained in 3rd to also pick up his first TCR podium.
Playing their support role perfectly, the Avon Tyres National Formula Ford Championship once again produced three different race winners. Race 1 on Saturday would see one of the youngest victors in the championship’s recent history, as 18 year old Matt Round-Garrido took his Team Dolan prepared Medina Sport JL17 to his first National win after picking up his first podium back Silverstone. Dolan teammate Niall Murray took 2nd ahead of returnee Neil MacLennan, before Murray himself struck back in Race 2. Unfortunately benefitting from a mistake from Round-Garrido at the chicane which put him out of the race, Murray captured the lead and remained there to become the first driver to win more than one race this season. MacLennan picked up 2nd and Jamie Thorburn 3rd to continue the Scottish feel good factor.
Race 3 was a little more eventful as the original start was red flagged after just one lap. Round-Garrido’s car never made more than approx. 100 metres from the start line, prompting a safety car. With everyone stacking up on the pit straight to slow down, Murray’s car lost control and punted the barrier. The restart was moved to the end of the day, where reverse pole man Luke Cooper led for most of the way under pressure from MacLennan. Eventually, a mistake exiting Clark Corner allowed MacLennan to pounce and the Scotsman completed a perfect sweep of the podium with victory. Cooper held on to take 2nd with Thorburn taking his second podium with 3rd.
There was just as much entertainment provided by the other permanent support fixture, the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup. Race 1 allowed reigning champion Luke Herbert to finally take the race win he’d been denied at the opening rounds, leading home teammate Aidan Hills in a superb 1-2 finish with James Blake-Baldwin in 3rd. Herbert then went on to do the same again in the second race on Sunday morning to win from Jack Harding with Blake-Baldwin once again in 3rd , but it was the reverse grid third race that threw up a different top step visitor. Despite constant pressure from Hills, Steve Roberts and eventually Herbert, Jonathan Greensmith stood firm in the lead and held on to pick up his second ever SuperCup win and his first of 2018. Herbert claimed 2nd with Blake-Baldwin once again 3rd, with J-BB also assuming the championship lead leaving Scotland.
Aside from the main support package brunt of the weekend’s action was taken over by the epic cars and drivers from Caterham Motorsport, tackling Knockhill for the first time in several years and the first time in the reverse direction. Starting with the Draper Tools Caterham Roadsport Championship, Daniel French reaffirmed his Academy champion status from last season to convert pole in Race 1 into his first win of the season, beating James Murphy by a rather un-Caterham-like 9.3 seconds with Oli Pratt less than a second further back in 3rd. Murphy got his revenge and subsequently his third win from four races in the second encounter on Sunday, beating Daniel Halstead and Race 1 winner French on the podium in the process. The finish on this occasion was much closer with Murphy beating Halstead by just 0.049 seconds. Caterham CEO Graham MacDonald just missed out on a home podium finish in both races, taking a hard fought pair of 4th places.
Pete Walters reminded everyone just why he was Roadsport champion last year in the first ALACO Motorsport Logistics Caterham Seven 270R Championship race as he also went on to turn his pole position into victory, leaving both Jay McCormack and Jamie Falvey to scrap over who would finish 2nd. In the end, another drag race to the line ensured McCormack took P2 with Team BRIT’s Falvey settling for 3rd. The second race produced more of the same for Walters as he doubled up with another top step visit, but this time it was Falvey who took second by some margin, as he ended up dropping McCormack to the tune of some 14 seconds by the flag, with the Irishman fending off James Wingfield and Gary Smith for 3rd place.
The biggest grid of the weekend came from the Santander Caterham Seven 310R Championship, where Gordan Sawyer marked himself out as the class of the field by picking up the win in Race 1 by just over 3.5 seconds, with Lee Bristow and Alan Cooper again leaving the sprint to the chequered flag to decide the fate of 2nd place; on this occasion it went Bristow’s way by 0.028 seconds. Sawyer did it again in the second race and this time more convincingly so, pulling out a gap of almost 9.5 seconds to 2nd placed finisher Chris Hutchinson, with Bristow again taking home another trophy as this time he secured 3rd.
Proving his return to form wasn’t just by chance, reigning Avon Tyres Caterham Seven 420R champion Danny Winstanley made a statement in their first race of the weekend, as he too pulled out a surprisingly sizeable lead advantage by Caterham racing standards to win the first race by more than 5 seconds. Once again, it was left for the 2nd place battle to provide the entertainment as David Henderson put in a sterling performance to beat Jack Brown to the flag by less than half a second. However, as had happened at the opening races at Snetterton, Winstanley was denied from doing the clean sweep of both victories. In Race 2, it was John Byrne who this time usurped Winstanley and picked up P1 for himself, also edging out a winning margin of over 5 seconds himself. Winstanley would still take 2nd place, with William Smith rounding off the rostrum in 3rd.
Away from Caterhams, the Toyo Tires Porsche Championship brought a competitive entry for their three races away in Scotland. Race 1 saw Adam Southgate claim overall victory in the Race Boxster category ahead of James Coleman and Kevin Molyneaux, while in the 924 contingent it was Philip Waters who picked up top spot in class from Gavin Johnson and Karl Rossin. Race 2 would see Southgate provide more of the same as he, Coleman and Molyneaux produced a carbon copy of the Race Boxster podium from Race 1, as behind them Gavin Johnson took his first 924 win of the season ahead of Waters and Rossin. However, Southgate was denied the hat-trick by Coleman in the final race of the weekend on Sunday afternoon as the #00 hit the front and beat Southgate to the flag by less than 0.3 seconds, with Nick Hull put in a fine drive to take 3rd. The 924 podium was a repeat of Race 1, with Waters, Johnson and Rossin coming home in that order.
Last but certainly not least, the weekend’s track action was completed by the SMRC Trophy, a special allcomers-type race open to any and all cars typically seen in any of the Scottish Motor Racing Club’s closed wheel competitions. That encounter was eventually won by the Gould/ Grould Porsche Cayman from the Volkswagen Golf of Kieran Gallagher and Duncan Vincent and the SEAT Leon Supercopa of Keith Cowie.
The TCR UK circus will now move on to Brands Hatch in Kent for Rouds 5 & 6 on June 2/3 and takes the National Formula Fords, MX-5 SuperCup and Caterham Motorsport with them, albeit on this occasion seeing the latter replace the 420Rs with the CarThrottle Caterham Academy, as they contest their first ever circuit race – no pressure there, then! As for the Porsches, they will also be racing on that same weekend but instead feature at the winding and twisty turns of Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire.
For the full breakdown of the weekend’s results, you can view the TSL Timing files HERE.