Sports/Saloon Car Championship – Rounds 5 & 6 - Cadwell Park
SPENCER LEAVES HIS MARK
Joe Spencer’s Stuart Taylor Locosaki made it a double win at Cadwell Park, but there was controversy in race two after Paul Rose’s Saker spun into retirement.
It was yet another capacity grid as the CNC Heads Sports/Saloon Championship made its return to Cadwell Park after a three year absence. Qualifying was cut to 10 minutes and it was a familiar story around the paddock. “I didn’t manage to get a clear lap.” 33 cars went out and both Spencer and Garry Watson’s Westfield SEW saved their best until last to secure the front row. Behind them it was all Saker, with Rose heading Steve Harris, before a three second gap to Matt Spark’s Caterham C400, who just pipped Dave Harvey’s Locosaki.
Although Paul Woolfitt Lotus Exige was next best, he was on the reserve list and failed to get a race. So Luke Armiger’s Vauxhall Tigra headed row four, with Peter Davies’ Spire GT3 alongside, although Jon Woolfitt had pipped him with the MK Indy, but like brother Paul was a reserve. Making his seasonal debut Chris Maries was next with his MK Indy, followed by Oliver Thomas’ Subaru Impreza and Garry Wardle’s Porsche 997, now back in pristine order after its Anglesey shunt. Alongside Wardle was Piers Grange, whose Ford Escort led class E, probably the most competitive in this year’s championship. He had Richard Roundell’s Vauxhall Vectra, Jamie Cryer’s Ginetta G20 and Steve Parker’s BMW Compact to contend with, before the first class F runner, Simon Sheridan’s Honda Civic.
James Aukland’s Capri headed row nine with Roddie Paterson’s Caterham alongside, followed by Dave Chilton’s MK, Mike Hurst’s Seat Leon and Tim Foxlow’s Escort, who was visiting Cadwell for the first time. Although Steven Hibbert’s Elise was next, he was on the reserve list too, so Graeme Laslett’s similar car moved up. Iain Gorrie’s Raw Striker was second in Class F, while Les Kirk’s Fisher Fury was sidelined after he spun into the a barriers cresting the Mountain and had a small fire. Geoff Morton’s Honda Civic, Eric Bamber’s Ginetta G20, Ralph Underwood’s TR7V8, Tony Harman’s G20 and Helen Lingard’s Tiger Avon completed the grid, with Ali Chilton sidelined after problems with his MK’s new engine.
With Harman returning to the paddock on the green flag lap, 27 cars took the start, with Spencer heading Watson through Coppice and building a good first lap lead, from Spark, Armiger, Rose and Harris. Harvey was back in seventh as Davies, Maries and Thomas completed the early top ten.
Rose soon picked off Spark for third on lap two, but the gap to the lead duo had continued to grow. Davies had also ousted Harvey from seventh, while in 10th Thomas had Wardle closing in for the start of a race long duel. Grange managed to hold his class E lead but had Roundell threatening, while Paterson began to close on them both, having fought his way around Aukland. There had been contact approaching the Mountain though when Cryer caught Sheridan and bounced the class F leader off the Armco. “It was me I just caught him as we turned in,” said Cryer. Duels and battles continued to develop, with Harris taking fifth from Armiger and closing in on Spark by the end of lap four. Davies’ duel with Harvey had ended however, with the Spire driver back in a solitary eighth. “I had got him quite easily, but then avoiding the cones at Hall Bends I spun, got a misfire and couldn’t close up again,” Davies explained.
Wardle tried every line he could to wrest 10th from Thomas but began to run out of options. Any threat they had from the closing Paterson ended on the fifth lap though. “I had been cautious but was making my way through when the fuse for the fuel pump went,” Paterson explained.
Spencer was flying and out of reach as he secured the win by over six seconds. Rose caught Watson however and his challenge for second began. “We did touch at Park. But the car was great and I had a brilliant race with Garry, but had to work for it,” he said after clinching second. Watson was out though having had a breakage in his suspension, putting him off at the Mountain approach. He rejoined but peeled off to the paddock a lap later. Harris was briefly up to third and had begun to drop Spark. “I got him at Mansfield with two wheels on the grass, then had a moment at Hall Bends and he got me back. I think I overdrove,” he admitted after finishing fourth. “That was hard work, but very good and at my maximum on the twisty stuff,” Spark added after third place gave him the class B victory spoils.
Down in fifth Armiger had a fairly solitary race, “I had a rub with Paul’s Saker at the start but just not fast enough on the straights here,” he said.
While Harvey and Davies held station in sixth and seventh, Thomas was left in a solitary eighth after his duel with Wardle came to a premature end. “I did everything I could to keep him behind, it was a big defensive drive,” admitted the Subaru driver. Wardle had got by onto the Mountain as Rose came up to lap them. “I had a touch with Paul at Park, flat spotted a tyre and spun,” he explained after touring home in 16th place.
Maries had almost joined their duel too until he retired five laps in. Foxlow made a gradual climb through the order from 20th on the opening lap. On lap nine he headed a five car train, from Grange, Roundell, Aukland and Parker and managed to hold onto ninth place in the final laps, as his rivals held station behind. “I shaved eight seconds off my previous best time, so very pleased with that. I messed up the start though and just picked them off one at a time,” he explained.
“It had been really close with Richard,” I kept looking in my mirrors and he was right on me,” Grange added. “I was just waiting.” Roundell reckoned, a view shared by Aukland too. Hurst secured 14th with a lap to go, as Cryer and Wardle followed him to the flag. Dave Chilton and Hibbert were next home, before Gorrie claimed the class F win after Sheridan had been black flagged due to his bodywork damage. “Ok on the straights but not in the twists,” Laslett reckoned after coming in 20th, while Morton, Bamber and the clutchless Underwood completed the finishers.
RESULT 1 Joe Spencer 9Stuart Taylor Locosaki) 14 laps in 21m31.849s (85.32mph); 2 Paul Rose (Saker RAPX) +6.459s; 3 Matt Spark (Caterham C400); 4 Steve Harris (Saker RAPX); 5 Luke Armiger (Vauxhall Tigra); 6 David Harvey (Stuart Taylor Locosaki); 7 Peter Davies (Spire GT3); 8 Oliver Thomas (Subaru Impreza); 9 Tim Foxlow (Ford Escort Mk1); 10 Piers Grange (Ford Escort Mk2).
Class A: 1 Rose; 2 Harris; 3 James Aukland (Ford Capri); no other starters.
Class B: 1 Spark; 2 Armiger; 3 Foxlow; 4 Bamber; no other finishers.
Class C: 1 Spencer; 2 Harvey; 3 Davies; 4 D.Chilton; no other starters.
Class D: 1 Thomas; 2 Mike Hurst (Seat Leon); 3 Garry Wardle (Porsche 997); 4 Ralph Underwood (Triumph TR7 V8). No other starters.
Class E: 1 Grange; 2 Richard Roundell (Vauxhall Vectra); 3 Steven Parker (BMW Compact); 4 Jamie Cryer (Ginetta G20); 5 Steve Hibbert (Lotus Sport Elise); 6 Graeme Laslett (Lotus Elise).
Class F: 1 iain Gorrie (Raw Striker); 2 Geoff Morton (Honda Civic); no other finishers.
Fastest lap: Spencer 1m30.032s (87.44mph).
For the second race it was Spencer and Watson sharing the front row again, with Harris and Harvey on the second, while Rose was back in sixth alongside Spark. Wardle had the class D pole on row six and Sheridan’s patched up Civic headed class F from the eighth row.
There had been showers between the races, but it was bright and dry as the grid lined up.
Spencer once again rocketed into the lead, climbing the hill through Coppice to Charlies with Watson heading the pursuit from Harvey, Spark and Davies. Watson was doing his best to stick with Spencer as both eased clear of the chasers. Rose was up to fifth on the opening lap from Jon Woolfitt’s MK Indy, Harris, Davies, Armiger and Paterson, while Wardle had to overcome Maries before resuming his race one duel with Thomas for 11th.
Davies was the first casualty, “my best start with his car and then the misfire was back, so I pitted to save the engine,” he said. Harris began his climb from his early seventh, taking Armiger and Spark on consecutive laps, while Woolfitt was in trouble too after a stunning start. While Spencer’s charge at the front continued, Rose was into second on lap five and started chipping away at the lead. Although Harvey had been holding onto fifth, he had Harris closing and succumbed to the lurid green Saker a lap later. Spark was still a threat to Harvey too, while in seventh Armiger was on his own again, similarly Paterson in eighth.
Wardle’s patience in his duel with Thomas wasn’t quite so tested as in the first race, and ousted his rival on the fourth lap. “I got him into Coppice, but he had been better than me in other parts, so I knew I had to get a run on him passed the pits,” he explained.
Back at the front Rose had caught Spencer and managed to get a nose ahead. “He got me on Park Straight, then he touched the grass and spun,” said Spencer. “I tried to get Joe at Mansfield and he moved over me and then on Park Straight he moved again to defend and then went back and put me on the grass where I spun,” Rose added. With Rose gone Spencer was left clear to take a comfortable second win of the day, seven seconds clear of Watson. “It just got too difficult to stay with Joe through the backmarkers,” Watson replied.
Harris’ hopes of a podium were dashed again when he slowed cresting the Mountain for the penultimate time and pulled off on the grass. Spark had managed to get Harvey into Park on lap seven and with Harris’ demise completed the podium for a second time, “I got Dave under braking but had struggled to catch him at first,” said Spark. Harvey had lost his engine cover early on, “it distracted me a bit especially when it flew off,” he said. Armiger and Paterson were the only other drivers on the lead lap. “I was fairly happy to be on my own so I could learn the circuit again,” Paterson admitted.
Wardle was seventh having finally shaken off Thomas. “I lost more ground near the end as it kept cutting out on me,” said Thomas. Foxlow again picked his way up the leaderboard, but had a serious challenge from Hurst in the closing laps, before securing ninth, “when I get to the front of the queue I seem to slow, as I need someone to follow,” Foxlow reckoned.
Hurst’s challenge came to nought however when he was in trouble with two laps to go.” We were virtually out of fuel,” he admitted after coughing and spluttering over the Mountain. Grange, Roundell, Aukland, Parker and Cryer all went by before he finally took the flag 15th. “I was at the front of the line until Piers got me, then just sat behind again,” said Roundell. Chilton and Laslett may have been in different classes, but they had an entertaining duel which went in the MK’s favour. Sheridan made up for his race one disappointment with a class F win, a lap up on Gorrie as they had Maries between them.
Hibbert, Morton, Bamber and Harman completed the finishers.
1 Spencer 13 laps in 19m56.926s (85.51mph); 2 Garry Watson (Westfield SEW) +7.304s; 3 Spark; 4 Harvey; 5 Armiger; 6 Roddie Paterson (Caterham R400); 7 Wardle; 8 Thomas; 9 Foxlow; 10 Grange.
Class A: 1 Aukland; no other finishers.
Class B: Watson; 2 Spark; 3 Armiger; 4 Paterson; 5 Foxlow; 6 Chris Maries (MK Indy RR); 7 Bamber.
Class C: 1 Spencer; 2 Harvey; 3 D.Chilton; no other finishers.
Class D: 1 Wardle; 2 Thomas; 3 Hurst; no other starters.
Class E: 1 Grange; 2 Roundell; 3 Parker; 4 Cryer; 5 Laslett; 6 Hibbert; 7 Tony Harman (Ginetta G20).
Class F: 1 Simon Sheridan (Honda Civic); 2 Gorrie; 3 Morton; no other starters.
Published by Peter Scherer for BARC North West, May 14th 2017