TURKINGTON WINS TCR UK TITLE ON ACTION-PACKED BRSCC FINALS WEEKEND
The final main season weekend for BRSCC and the Midlands Centre took place under mixed conditions at the Donington Park National circuit, with a number of championships ready to be settled and closed out in fine style. After a long season, it was time to settle scores and go for the final pieces of silverware before the year’s racing was wrapped up.
The main event of the Donington weekend was the season finale of the TCR UK Touring Car Championship and Dunlop Touring Car Trophy, with their biggest grid of the season including some interesting machinery from the BTCC getting a last run out of the year before being tucked away for the winter. The title fight in TCR UK came down to a duel between Lewis Kent and James Turkington, although the initial advantage in qualifying was taken by Darelle Wilson in his Vauxhall Astra TCR with a superb lap to take class pole, with overall honours going to Henry Neal. After an early safety car, Neal and Wilson went into combat with the pair making contact and Neal slipping down the order, while Wilson was hit with a drive through penalty for his part in the incident. This left BTCC ace Adam Morgan to drive on to his first TCR UK win in his Ciceley Motorsport run CUPRA TCR, ahead of TCR Europe race winner Alex Morgan in the Renault Megane TCR and title contender Kent in 3rd, crucially taking points away from Turkington who finished 5th in class but 8th overall.
The second race saw Kent up against it to outscore Turkington by enough points to snatch the title, and he spent most of the race chasing down and passing Alex Morgan for 2nd place in TCR before setting off after Adam Morgan to win the class. Ultimately, despite an incredibly valiant effort Kent would lose out on the TCR UK class in with just 0.8 seconds as Morgan made it two from two, while Henry Neal would dominate the race overall once he worked his way to the lead in the opening laps in the Honda Civic NGTC touring car. Another 5th place in class for Turkington was enough to clinch the TCR UK title, emulating older brother Colin’s title success the weekend before at the BTCC finale at Brands Hatch.
It was an intense two days of competition for the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup with Luke Herbert and Jack Harding facing off for the title in what was to conclude their bitter rivalry over the last couple of seasons. The first race was intense to say the least as Herbert led all the way to the final lap when Harding made a move in the final corners to steal the win. However, the stewards decided that Harding’s pass had gained him an unfair advantage due to cutting the corner a little too much, and therefore a 0.2 second time penalty was applied to give Herbert back the win. This left Harding in 2nd and Simon Baldwin making a worthwhile return with 3rd place. Herbert then went on to pull out a handy lead to pick up his second win of the weekend and effectively put one hand on the title in the process, with Hills second and his teammate James Cossins amazingly continuing his strong form from the Super Series finale to take his first podium with 3rd. Harding finished 4th, and elected to end his weekend there by withdrawing from the final race, leaving Herbert, Hills and Baldwin to round off the season with an incredible battle. The final two laps of the season produced some superb racing, as Hills rounded off his best season to date with victory, followed by Baldwin in 2nd has he only just held off Herbert in 3rd, with Luke clinching his third successive SuperCup title in the process.
Another title was settled on Saturday as the Nankang Tyres BMW Compact Cup saw Steven Dailly, Ian Jones and Tom Griffiths face off for the crown in two superb races to round off the season. All three qualified at the front of the field, but Dailly was quick to claim the lead and stayed there for just about the entire race, pulling away throughout to win by almost 4 seconds from Griffiths and Matthew Parkes, with Jones back in 4th. Race 2 saw an early battle between Dailly and Parkes before the former grabbed the lead back and held on to round off the season with another win. Parkes finished 2nd on the road but was disqualified from the result along with Mark Skeats, both for failing to make their cars available for post-season examination when required. This gave Mikey Doble one of his best results of his Compact Cup career with 2nd place and Oliver Faller claiming a long overdue podium with 3rd. After the mandatory car inspections were completed, it was confirmed that Steven Dailly had indeed claimed his third Nankang Tyres BMW Compact Cup title in a row, much to the delight of Steven and his KC Motorsport team after a tough season full of highs and lows.
Saturday’s action was completed brilliantly by the second ever BRSCC Clubsport Trophy race, with another sold out grid of 40 cars on this occasion ready to tackle Donington Park’s National circuit. Civic Cup drivers mainly locked out the first few positions with Max Lewis and Bruce Winfield on the front row together, with Winfield taking the lead on the opening lap. While fellow Civic racer Paul Taylor took over in the lead for a few laps, Winfield was able to regain the place through the mandatory pit stops and drove away at the front to collect the victory he narrowly missed out on in the first Clubsport race at Brands Hatch. No such dramas with Winfield this time, winning by nearly 8 seconds over Ben Sharpe in 2nd place and Taylor in 3rd, making it three Class B cars on the overall podium. Ben Buckley’s Caterham 270R clinched Class A honours, Darren Stapleton took his Mazda MX-5 Mk3 to Class C victory and a superb drive from the Mk1 MX-5 of Matt Pollard helped him to 9th overall and runaway Class E winner. After two sold out grids, it’s certain that the Clubsport Trophy looks set to return next season with a full calendar after the incredible response from the first two races. Thanks everyone!
Lee Deegan may have already wrapped up the Disklok Civic Cup title for 2019 a round early at Silverstone, but heading to the final rounds at Donington there were incredibly still 6 drivers that could clinch the runner up spot in the standings. Deegan unsurprisingly took pole in qualifying and once again proved to everyone just why he’s now a double champion, taking a lights to flag victory by 6.5 seconds, leaving the rest to fight for the podium places behind him. Daniel Reason took 2nd place but had a nervy moment when he tagged Bruce Winfield as the pair went side by side exiting the Craner Curves, leaving him in the gravel in the final laps; Ballantyne collected 3rd. Not even a reversed top 10 grid for Race 2 could stop the dominant Deegan as he carved his way back to the front and once again drove away to win the last race of the season, with Winfield putting his Race 1 disappointment behind him with 2nd place and Alistair Camp turning a second row start into 3rd place at the flag.
A bumper grid turned out for the final rounds of the Alfa Romeo Championship, with Tom Hill and Dave Messenger both ready to contest the overall title as well as their class honours respectively. Race 1 saw familiar face and former champion Graham Seager bring his fearsome GTV back out to play and he dominated proceedings from start to finish, winning by over 22 seconds from fellow Modified runners Bryan Shrubb and George Osborne, while Messenger and Hill crucially won Power Trophy and Twin Spark Cup respectively. Seager would then go on to repeat his Race 1 performance, clinching the final race win of the year from Mervyn Miller in 2nd, and while Messenger clinched 3rd place and another Power Trophy win, there was nothing more than he could do as behind him Tom Hill clinched Twin Spark honours to clinch his third overall Alfa Romeo title. We wish to say a big thank you to the Alfa Romeo Championship for being an evergreen staple of the BRSCC’s portfolio over the last few decades and we wish them all the best in their new venture with the 750 Motor Club in 2020 onwards.
The Toyo Tires Porsche Championship was another series to round off 2019 at Donington Park, starting with a regular 20 minute race which saw returnees such as James Coleman and former champion Ed Hayes back on the grid once more. In Race 1 itself, Coleman would win with Hayes in 2nd place and champion elect Garry Lawrence taking 3rd, while Peter Smith clinched the 924 class victory. Sunday’s race was another 40-minute two-driver race with some cars featuring co-drivers, but it was the solo effort from Lawrence that helped him take a clean sweep of the final weekend, clinching the Supersport Boxster title in the process. Hayes and co-driver Richard Avery clinched 2nd place and Nick Hull came home in 3rd, as behind them Peter Smith once again won the 924 class to secure his championship crown respectively too. The Porsche Championship takes on a radical shake up for 2020, as it looks to encourage a wider variety of Porsche models, a new calendar and race weekend format and reduced entry fees.
The final rounds of the BRSCC OSS Championship for sports prototypes saw former champion Mike Jenvey back on the grid once more and reminding everyone just why he’d been so dominant in the past. Starting from the back of the grid, he carved his way through the pack in Race 1 to take victory ahead of Nicolaj Lindberg and Richard Fearns, while championship contender Patrick Sherrington had to endure more reliability problems carried over from Silverstone as he suffered a DNF. Thankfully, he was back to full strength for Race 2 while it was Jenvey’s turn to cope with his own issues, as he had to wait a couple of laps to fix a technical problem before he could get out on track, but by that time his chances of victory were gone. While Lindberg led initially, Sherrington was able to catch and pass him swiftly enough to grab the lead and drive on to another win aboard his MCR, with Lindberg and Fearns joining him on the rostrum. Sherrington then followed that up with a win in the final race of the season, while Jenvey’s luck couldn’t continue thanks to a mechanical failure just moments after grabbing the lead at Redgate corner. Sherrington won once again and even though he was runaway Class A champion, he ended up just missing out on the overall crown, as that went to Class C champ Robert Gillman.
Two rather energetic Track Attack Race Club races rounded off the weekend on Sunday, with Richard Hockley taking his Honda Civic to victory in Race 1 ahead of Tony Hunter’s newly built Renault Clio and Jamie Anderson’s Civic, before Race 2 saw David Baldwin take the flag in 1st place from Hockley in 2nd and the Subaru Impreza of Robbie Durant in 3rd.