After the Goodyear Britcar Endurance championship held a solo endurance round at Oulton Park earlier in the year, it was time for the Trophy category to headline their own event. This time on the Silverstone National circuit, it would be a frantic day with action all throughout the field.
Qualifying for race 1 once again saw the Woodrow Motorsport BMW 1M of Simon Baker / Kevin Clarke take pole position followed by Lucky Khera in a BMW E36 M3 that he borrowed from good friend, Bryan Bransom.
With the track being damp after an earlier shower, all drivers opted for wets for the opening stint.
Baker led away from pole and by the end of the first lap had built a lead of 3-seconds to Steve Rothery in the Peugeot 308 Gti Cup car with Khera struggling for pace in the opening laps.
From then on it looked as if Baker would continue to pull away and hand the car over to experienced co-driver, Kevin Clarke, with an unassailable advantage. However, his pace gradually dropped off throughout his stint as his Bridgestone tires wore. Mark Lee and Axel van Nederveen (both in Ginetta G56 Academy cars) reeled in the ever-impressive BMW and Van Nederveen quickly jumped Lee in the process.
Just before Baker pitted, Van Nederveen made his move to put his Ginetta alongside the BMW with the move being completed heading through Woodcote corner. Baker chose this opportunity to pit whilst Van Nederveen set about setting a series of fastest laps in an attempt to put some distance between himself and Clarke. Lee tried to follow suit but ended up securing himself a 5-second time penalty for exceeding track limits instead.
Van Nederveen’s fastest lap sequence would not be enough as Clarke decided he would have a go at it himself and would take the lead when the Dutchman pitted.
With no opposition, Clarke eased off towards the end of the race and claimed another victory. Lucky Khera had a quiet race and brought the borrowed BMW home in second after a solid set of outlaps whilst Lee came home third after a late-race squabble with Van Nederveen which saw Clarke sit behind as to not disrupt their battle until the very end where he passed Van Nederveen and cost him any chance of securing third place, even with the time penalty for Lee.
Race 2 saw its start delayed due to an earlier deluge which halted proceedings for over an hour. With the Silverstone curfew fast approaching, the race had to be shortened from 50-minutes to 35-minutes on the sodden circuit.
Kevin Clarke led away from pole whilst Lucky Khera stuck with him this time around. Deciding to make his move exiting Luffield (seemingly a weakness for the 1M), he would tough it out along The national pit straight and make a clean manoeuvre through Copse corner to take the lead. He looked set to pull away from the all-conquering Clarke but a mistake heading into Brooklands on lap nine saw him beached in the gravel putting an end to what could have been a maiden Britcar victory for him.
A lengthy safety car period followed bunching up the pack through the pitstop window and with just 9-minutes to go, the safety car pulled in with Baker sitting sixth in the queue but more importantly fourth in class. Sitting directly in front of him was Mark Lee and the two of them set about scything through the field to take the top two spots. Or so they thought. Lee was hit with a 31-second post-race penalty for a short pitstop dropping him to seventh overall and fourth in class.
This would have promoted the ever-hard working Team BRIT into second place, putting their new modifications to great use. However, they too were struck with the same penalty giving Terry Stephens second place in class and overall. Steve Rothery rounded out the truncated class podium in third despite finishing 38.9-seconds behind Baker.
Unlike Brands Hatch, class 2 was not a Richard Higgins affair as he would take just one class victory this time around.
Race 1 saw a great start for Dave May in the JamSport Nissan 370z as he mixed it up with the Class 1 runners. From then on it looked as if it would be a dominant victory for the series newcomers but an outstanding stint from ELMS frontrunner, Andrew Bentley saw the Ramen Racing Ginetta G40 close by a rate of 1.6-seconds per lap. As if that was bad enough for JamSport, a 5-second time penalty for exceeding track limits certainly didn’t improve team morale.
The stint put in by Bentley, accompanied by the penalty for the Nissan gave the win to the little Ginetta as they sought to keep their Class 2 title hopes alive. Ollie Turner would finish in third in the Mark Wakefield VW Gold Cup but being an invitational entry for Silverstone, the third-place points went to none other than Higgins in the County Classics Porsche 911.
Like with Brands Hatch, the wet conditions favoured the front-wheel-drive machinery for the start of race 2. Ollie Turner made the most of the slippery track to run third overall before the safety car was deployed following Lucky Khera’s off.
Ryan Firth ran seventh after a calamitous race 1 where he pitted on the reconnaissance lap to the grid with what he thought was a technical issue, only to find the button he’d been using to de-mist the screen was rather the button for the Code-60 speed limit (being an endurance spec car). He’d learned this time around and made good use of the Clio’s strong package in the wet conditions.
The safety car shuffled the order and with the track having dried significantly, Richard Higgins made the most of the final 9-minute sprint to take the class victory and ended up being third overall after cars ahead received post-race time penalties. Andy Mollison took over from Firth in the Preptech Clio and finished second in class with the troubled Ramen Ginetta finishing in third, albeit a lap down on its rivals.
Ollie Turner won the invitational class by virtue of being the only car entered but finished strongly taking what would be second place in class 2 with the fastest lap of the race (in class) also.
Higgins now sits just eight points behind Baker in the overall standings with just two races remaining.
Class 3 saw a terrific day for Derek McMahon Racing as they swept both races with each car taking one win apiece.
Race 1 saw the Derek McMahon Honda Civic Type R of Arthur McMahon absolutely decimate the field. Finishing 38.6-seconds clear of the sister Alfa Romeo Giulietta, it looked as though nothing would stop him. The stewards gave it their best by awarding him 15-seconds worth of time penalties for exceeding track limits but this just spurred on the Irishman even more.
Barry McMahon / Paul Plant brought the Alfa home in second giving Derek McMahon a one-two finish with the TSR Golf of Mark Jones / Robert Taylor following them home in a distant third.
Race 2 was another one-two for Derek McMahon with the Alfa Romeo this time taking the flag first and in eighth place overall, an impressive feat for a class 3 car. This was made all the more impressive considering they started at the back of the field, earning Barry the driver of the day award in the process. The third team car piloted by Steve / Edward Cook took second place in their first podium of the weekend whilst the other TSR Golf of Fynn Jones / Tony Rodgers rounded out the top three.
It was yet another tough weekend for the class leaders, Reflex Racing. Steve Griffiths / Jamie Vinall-Meyer endured a torrid weekend with a sixth and seventh-place finish in each of the races. They will be hoping for better luck in the season finale next time out at Donington Park.
The Clio class came into Silverstone with a key entry missing. Richard Colburn / James Black elected not to take part in this meeting despite winning last time out at Brands Hatch.
This paved the way clear for father and son duo, Aaron / Steve Thompson to win both races in class despite collecting the ever common 5-second time penalty in race 1 for exceeding track limits.
Brands Hatch race 1 winner, James Black would secure two-second place finishes in the older Gen 3 Clio Cup with race 2 seeing him just 0.9-seconds shy of the leading car at the flag.
Motus One claimed both third-place finishes in their Praga liveried Gen 4 Clio. Brad Thurston / Matt Cherrington putting in a consistent performance all weekend to grab a strong haul of points.
Darren Geeraerts had a troublesome first weekend driving solo in the Spires Motorsport Clio in which he usually shares with Anton Spires. A bit of over-exuberance in race 1 led to retirement but a strong run in race 2 saw him stay out of trouble despite getting on to two wheels on multiple
Britcar Trophy returns back in its usual slot with the Endurance category at Donington Park for the season finale at the end of October.
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