UVIO/HOFMANN’S MAKE IT TWO IN A ROW IN FUNCUP ENDURANCE AT SILVERSTONE
Written by Peter Scherer – The forecast rain stayed away, but the entertainment certainly didn’t as UVio Hofmann’s Farquini Deott/Fabio Randaccio made it two wins out of two in the Fun Cup Endurance Championship at Silverstone.
Enduro’s Morgan Tillbrook had drawn pole position for the four hour race, and spent the first couple of laps exchanging with CCS Media’s Nigel Greensall.
Gary Bate had slotted into third for team Greenheath, with PLR’s Neil Plimmer and DespatchBay Express’s Andy Bicknell duelling for fourth.
With Greensall edging ahead on lap three, Bate was into second, while Chris Dovell kept defending Champions Team Olympian in touch with Bicknell and Plimmer’s battle.
But Dovell was forced to give best to Team Greensall’s Sam Smeeth, as he came storming through from the penultimate place on the grid.
Smeeth soon reeled in the cars ahead too and was second into Brooklands on lap eight, and poised to challenge Greensall’s lead as they rounded Woodcote. “The field just opened up for me and I made places, but conscious of looking after the car,” said Smeeth.
Bate was still in third, with Track Focused’s Sean Cooper fourth. Bicknell held onto fifth, with both Tillbrook and Plimmer losing out as they slipped to sixth and seventh respectively.
Dovell was hanging on to in eighth, with Randaccio ninth and GCI’s Craig Butterworth duelling with Team Viking’s Nick Nunn for 10th.
Smeeth went ahead a lap later, but had Greensall and Bate line astern, before a slight gap back to Cooper.
But after losing a bit of ground Randaccio was on the attack again, picking off Plimmer, Tillbrook and Bicknell over a four lap period, to reach fourth by the end of lap 14. “I had lost the electrics early on and had to play with the kill switch to get them working again,” Randaccio explained.
Bate was the next to fall to Randaccio’s challenge and soon it was a three-way fight for the lead with Randaccio splitting Smeeth and Greensall as they charged down the Wellington Straight on lap 17.
So it was three for the lead, but it was three for fourth place too. Cooper had been forced to pit, “the alternator belt snapped so we were losing charge, it was a good start though,” he said.
Bate had slowed too and headed pitwards, “we had a HT lead come off, up until then it was brilliant,” he explained.
Bicknell therefore headed the fourth place trio, from Tillbrook and Plimmer, while Dovell still hung on in seventh, with MJ Tec GITI’s Scott Jeffs leaping ahead of the duelling Nunn and Butterworth.
Lap after lap Smeeth and Randaccio swapped and changed for the lead, with Greensall sat just behind, waiting patiently. “It was so exciting watching Sam, but I had to drop back as the water temperature was high,” Greensall added.
From lap 35 onwards the first scheduled pitstops commenced with Dovell first in to hand the Olympian car to Kristian Rose.
Greensall was the first of the lead trio in, handing the CCS car to Bob Tomlinson, before Smeeth handed to father Simon and Randaccio to Farquini.
At the first hour only three cars were on the lead lap however, with Farquini leading for UVio/Hofman’s, from Olympian’s Rose and Viking’s Mark Holme, with PLR’s Ben Pitch, GCI’s Ian Wood and Enduro’s Marcus Clutton the rest of the top six.
Rose continued to hold onto second behind Farquini, but Clutton and Pitch had made it passed Holme, with DespatchBay’s Harry Mailer soon following.
Having already got ahead of Clutton, Mailer snatched third from Pitch on lap 66, but Clutton followed his rival through for a titanic battle before the next round of stops.
Olympian were first in again with Riley Phillips taking over from Rose. “I spent the whole session trying to chase UVio, “Rose admitted.
Holme had dropped to sixth as the pacey Mailer and Clutton progressed. “I was just trying to hold places, as I wasn’t catching anyone,” said the Viking driver.
It was still three on the lead lap as the two hour halfway point arrived, with Phillips in for Olympian with a 35 seconds lead, after Randaccio was forced to make an unscheduled stop for UVio.
“There was contact with a backmarker when I was battling with Riley. I got a rear puncture, but I am not sure if I gave him enough room when we passed,” he suggested.
UVio were still second, 17 seconds up on PLR, with Enduro, DespatchBay and Viking the rest of the top six.
It wouldn’t be a Fun Cup race without drama’s and most of it came in the second half of the race.
Phillips had a 35 seconds lead as they started the third hour and another pitstop window was approaching. But for the defending Champions it was suddenly all over, with Phillips crawling back to the pits with a blown engine.
So into the final hour it was a familiar story, as UVio led by a lap, from PLR, DespatchBay, Viking and Agua Caliente’s Rob Croydon/Paul Turner.
But there was more drama to come. Although it was relatively plain sailing for UVio/Hofmann’s. “My last stint was sweet, just brilliant,” said Farquini as he sealed a 15 seconds victory. “The car was just perfect, so bring on Anglesey,” Randaccio added.
It was going so well for PLR too, “it was going really well and we still had the front splitter,” said Pitch.
As Plimmer headed for the pits, Pitch jumped in, but as he pulled away the clutch exploded. “There aren’t any words to describe that, until then the car had been mega,” said Plimmer.
Mailer brought DespatchBay home a clear second, with Viking completing the podium.
Having run strongly all day GCI were fourth, “we had some good battles with Viking, but couldn’t break the tow early on. The tyre pressures were too high at the start though, they were melting,” Butterworth explained.
Agua Caliente 2 were fifth, “not bad as we were down on power,” said Croydon.
Greg Evans/Stephen Walton completed the top six for MakeHappen, and in seventh CCS’s Greensall/Tomlinson/Alan Honarmand won the Masters class.
Despite their early problems Bate/Simon Smith’s were eighth for Greenheath and in ninth MJ Tec GITI’s Jeffs/Martin Gibson overcame a power loss and drive through penalty.
The Enduro/Axiamatrix car of Chris Weatherill/Jon Currie rounded off the top 10, while their sister car of Clutton/Tillbrook retired with a broken throttle cable.
Warren McKinlay/Martyn Crompton’s Stand2 car just missed out on a top 10 in the final laps.
The next rounds of the Championship are hopefully the double-header at Anglesey on July 10th.