TEAM 7 WASPP TRIUMPHS IN MAIDEN FUNCUP VISIT TO THRUXTON
Ed Worthington celebrated Fun Cup’s first visit to Thruxton with his first win, after Jay Shepherd took the laurels for Team 7 WASPP in the closing laps of a thrilling four-hour race.
Axiametrics Chris Dovell started from pole, but it was RAW’s John Caudwell grabbing the initial lead. Going into Church side by side with Dovell, both came under attack from Make Happen Racing/2Rent Dominos Chris Hart, who shot ahead into the chicane.
As Hart began to sprint away, Team 7’s Rory Brown was second at the chicane, from Dovell, Enduro Motorsport’s Chris Weatherill, Caudwell and Greensall Motorsport’s Paul Lewis.
But the safety car was soon in action while Chris Walton’s Make Happen car was recovered from the Complex.
From the green flag Brown had the lead into Allard, but Hart snatched it back again on the run into the chicane, while Viking’s Mark Holme was into sixth.
It became four abreast for the lead up Woodham Hill as early as lap nine, with Weatherill nosing ahead into the chicane, from Brown, Dovell, Hart, Holme and Lewis.
Lap after lap it was similar story, with the cars fanning out exiting Church and through Brooklands, before the last of the late brakers into the chicane.
Hart, Weatherill and Brown shared most of the lead, but as the top six ran line astern, Farquini began to close in with the UVio car.
PLR’s hopes of progress were dashed when Ben Pitch crawled into the pits with a terminal electrical problem, but as Farquini began to work his way through the lead group, there was a three-car battle from lap 19, with Weatherill, Farquini and Brown.
Dovell had lost ground though with a grassy excursion, “I touched the kerbs at Church and spun onto the grass,” he explained.
With Farquini ahead from the 21st lap, Hart was challenging, but as Weatherill tried for the lead on Farquini’s left at the chicane, the door was slammed shut and Brown was forced wide onto the grass to try and avoid contact.
“I felt I created that problem, UVio squeezed back across my front, but I shouldn’t have put the car in there,” Weatherill admitted, after contact with Farquini and then the recovering Brown put the Enduro car out of the race.
“I saw the contact with Enduro and UVio and went so far right to avoid them I was on the grass, and as I tried to rejoin Chris came across too,” Brown added.
So the safety car was out and it was the pitstop window too, so the majority of crews headed for the pitlane.
Fabio Randaccio was in for UVio and led after the stops, from Axiametrics Kristian Rose and Viking’s Nick Nunn. But approaching the chicane Marcus Clutton went from fourth to lead out, after he taken over the DespatchBay car from Andy Bicknell, but was back into second at the first hour behind Randaccio, with 2Rent Dominos Henry Dawes a close third.
Rose had sat just off the lead trio as they swapped and changed, but it all began to hot up when RAW’s Dominik Jackson latched on too.
By lap 40 Jackson was third, behind Dawes and Randaccio, but Clutton had retaken them all a lap later. They all took turns to lead, but into the chicane five laps later Jackson and Randaccio wanted the same piece of track and they made contact before battle recommenced.
“It only got rough when Jackson joined in,” Randaccio reckoned. “We had some pace and some contact when I got squeezed a few times,” Jackson replied.
“I was working so hard but as soon as I lost the tow I was a sitting duck and struggled under braking too,” said Clutton. “I decided to sit behind them and just enjoy the entertainment,” Rose added.
At half distance, Riley Phillips was in for Axiametrics and had a 1.4 secs lead over UVio, but Team 7 WASPP were up to third, from 2Rent Dominos, Viking and DespatchBay.
RAW’s hopes of staying in contention were dashed when a front bodywork change cost them two laps.
It was the same top six after the three hours but after some sterling work from Team 7’s Shepherd and Worthington, they were the new leaders, fractionally ahead of UVio, with Axiametrics, 2Rent Dominos, DespatchBay and Viking the only cars on the lead lap.
But as in all Fun Cup races, it all came down to a final sprint. 128 laps down and the safety car was out as Track Focused’s car was stranded on the pits straight. Phillips was leading, Shepherd, Randaccio, Dawes, Clutton and Nunn as the clock counted down.
The green flag was finally waved with 12minutes on the clock and Randaccio was right on Phillips’ tail through Allard. But Shepherd managed to split the duo a lap later, before making his move to wrest the lead from Phillips.
It was far from over as the three-way battle for the lead allowed Dawes to join them again, but they were all taken by surprise when the chequered flag came out about three minutes early, with Shepherd setting the fastest lap of the race on the final lap!
“I didn’t know it was the last lap until the flag came out, brilliant though,” said Shepherd. “I had some tough battles, but clean racing, Worthington added as he celebrated his and the teams maiden victory.
Axiametrcis just held onto second, “I was trying to get a tow from Jay on the last lap and the engine cut out, but I just managed to hold on,” said Phillips after pipping UVio by 0.175 secs.
2Rent/Dominos, DespatchBay and Viking completed the top six, “the splitter had been damaged in Andy’s last stint and it was critical and a track like this,” said Clutton. “We just seemed to be a bit off the pace today,” added Viking’s Nunn.
Make Happen’s Greg Evans/Steve Walton finished seventh, with Trumans’ Colin Kingsnorth/Richard Webb eighth and the top 10 completed by Team Greenheath’s Gary Bate/Simon Smith and Greensall Motorsport’s Paul/Ryan Lewis.