THE WINNERS & LOSERS FROM ROCKINGHAM
Emerging for battle. Caterham racers in a moody pose at Rockingham. Photo: www.snappyracers.com
Rockingham hosted the second BRSCC Midland Centre meeting of the weekend and the drivers had to contend with a mixture weather conditions, varying from hot and sunny through to downright wet and unpleasant!
An impressive grid of Caterham Supersports got the schedule of nineteen races underway and the big story was that championship leader, Jon Mortimer, lost his record of finishing on the podium in every race, returning a disappointing fifth and seventh place finishes. The main beneficiary was Leicester’s Mike Hart, who backed up his second place in the first tour with a win in race two. James Robinson was the winner of the first race with the hard charging Matt Dyer third. The uber-experienced Clive Richards and Chris Rankin completed the podium in race two.
To meet the demand, the Avon backed Caterham Roadsports had four races over the weekend, with each of the thirty-five drivers racing twice. As further evidence of the competitive nature of the Roadsport Championship, the four races produced four different winners in the form of Lee Bristow, Henry Heaton, Will Smith and Jack Sales. Bristow and Sales accrued the most points as each secured P2 in their respective second races. Will Smith was also a podium visitor in each race, coming third in the first race. Chris ‘Cheesy’ Hutchinson had to be satisfied with two runners up spots, as did Dan Gore with a brace of P3s. Brighton Max McDonagh was the other podium visitor, securing third in the final Roadsport race of the weekend.
Paragon Porsche’s Mark Sumpter came up with the goods in both Baylis & Harding Porsche Club Championship races. The East Sussex racer had an almighty battle with Mark McAleer and championship leader Pete Morris in both outings. The margin of victory in race one was just under a second with McAleer beating Morris into third. Morris turned the tables on McAleer in the second race and reduced the gap to just .091 seconds!
The grid for the BookaTrack.com Caterham Superlight R300 Championship may have been the smallest on show of the Caterham championships on duty, but it certainly didn’t lack excitement with some close fought battles throughout the field. At the sharp end, Colchester’s Aaron Head had a rather comfortable time of it winning the first race from Lee Wiggins by six seconds, with Lancastrian Danny Winstanley third. In the second race, Head suffered a 5 second penalty for a track limits infringement but he still had enough time in hand to finish ahead of David Robinson and Jon Barnes.
Richard Avery couldn’t be knocked off his perch at the top of the Toyo Tires Porsche Championship standings. A win in the first race, backed up with P2 in the second was enough to keep the Bedfordshire driver looking down on his rivals. However, he will have to keep a sharp eye on Ed Hayes and Jonathan Greensmith, who were first and second in the first race. Greensmith went onto win the second race with Adam Croft in third. Philip Grayson took his first class win in Class B and Jayson Flegg maintained his good form to be the first Class B man home in the second tour. However, the big news in the Porsche paddock on Saturday evening was the first ever 924 class win for Karl Rossin. Victory was obviously something that suited Karl as he did it all over again on Sunday morning to complete a very satisfying weekend.
In the absence of title rival Pete Fortune, Stephen Nuttall went into the Caterham Tracksport double-header as the clear favourite and he repaid that faith with pole-position and then two wins. In the first race, young Spaniard Andres Sinclair made Nuttall fight every inch of the way with just over half a second separating them, with David Russell completing the podium line-up. There was drama in the second race when a fourth lap incident resulted in a red flag and Solihull driver Mike Evans having to be cut out of his car. The good news is that Mike is okay. The re-started race was similar to the first in that Sinclair made Nuttall work very hard for the victory. Christian Szaruta had something to smile about, the London based driver making his first podium appearance.
The Pickup Trucks kept their hard-core Rockingham fan-base happy with two closely fought encounters, each of which produced two completely different podiums. Suffolk’s Gavin Murray took the glory first time out by holding off a very robust challenge from Mark Willis with David O’Regan collecting the third place trophy. In round two, the experienced Pete Stevens emerged on top from a fraught battle with Dave Longhurst and Michael Smith, with just half a second separating the lead trio.
Group 2 of the Pistonheads.com Caterham Academy Challenge, were the first of the two Academy groups to have their 15-minute race. Dalbeattie’s Paul Aram stole a march on title rival David Webber with a comfortable victory ahead of former Royal Marine Major, Steve McCulley and Barry Moore who was third. After taking pole, Webber never recovered from a start that saw him drop to fifteenth at the end of the first lap and he had to settle for seventh by the end.
In the Group 1 race, Olly Wigg backed up a strong qualifying performance with a ‘lights to flag’ victory, to gain revenge on his rival Alistair Calvert who triumphed at Oulton. Calvert made sure Wigg had to work very hard for it and it looks like the season is shaping up as a great battle between the lead pair. Londoner Duncan Higgins was a distant third.
The HRDC were welcome guests again at a BRSCC meeting and their Touring Greats and Allstars Series’ joined forces to produce a full grid. Richard Skinner proved to be the class of the field with his 1963 Marcos 1800GT keeping the rest of the pack at bay. Matthew Moore’s 1963 Austin A40 was the best of the rest some thirty-four seconds adrift. Alistair Dyson and Dave Bye shared driving duties in a 1959 Ford Zephyr and were duly rewarded with third.
All the results can be found at ROCKINGHAM RESULTS