Sports/Saloon Car Championship – Rounds 10, 11 & 12 - Anglesey
TRIPLE VICTORIES FOR ROSE & THOMAS
Paul Rose may have taken a clean sweep of three wins from three, but with a split grid due to the number of entries, there was a second treble winner. Having taken class wins before, Oliver Thomas had his first overall race win in the dry on Saturday, before his Subaru Impreza came into its own with two more wins on a very soggy Sunday. Rose was on pole for Saturday’s class A-C race with his Saker, with Garry Watson’s Westfield SEW alongside. Steve Harris’ Saker headed row two from Joe Spencer’s Stuart Taylor Locosaki, while Dave Harvey’s similar car had Danny Bird’s Spire GTR alongside on row three, as 16 cars lined up for the start.
Watson made the best of the start and led the opening lap from Spencer, Rose, Harvey, Harris and Luke Armiger’s Vauxhall Tigra. Rose had ousted Spencer from second on the second lap and had taken Watson’s lead a lap later. “He caught me quicker than I was expecting, he just shot by on the back straight. I did manage to stick with him for about five laps though before he got away,” said Watson.
Rose had been forced to back off slightly towards the end, but still won by over six seconds. “We changed some gearbox software and I had to short shift as the problem got worse,” he explained. Spencer had held onto a clear third, “I could still see Garry ahead of me, but could only stay with him in the corners though,” he said. Harris had to chase down Harvey in the early laps, but had to get passed Armiger first on the opening lap first. “It was my usual start. But after I got Luke it took a couple of laps before I could challenge for fourth,” he said.
With Harris consolidating his hold on fourth, Harvey had his hands full with Danny Bird for a while, after the Spire driver had been forced to start from the pitlane. “We had a misfire in qualifying, then it was stuck on full throttle going to the assembly area. I had just started to have a good duel with Dave when the misfire came back,” said Bird. “Danny did get alongside going into Rocket bit I managed to hold him off,” said Harvey after retaining fifth. Bird still held onto sixth as Armiger had been an early casualty with diff failure. Alastair Chilton’s MK GTi held seventh after taking debutant Robert Wakelin’s Subaru Impreza on lap 12. Wakelin managed to retain eighth though despite some late dramas. “We had guessed the fuel for the race and started to get a small oil leak onto the exhaust too. Then we lost the boost control towards the end and it was over boosting,” he explained.
Tim Foxlow’s Escort and Les Kirk’s Fisher Fury completed the top ten. “After a little fight with Luke I was on my own,” said Foxlow. “My starter button fell off in qualifying, then I stalled at the start again and had to catch up again,” Kirk added. James Aukland’s Capri, Dave Chilton’s MK and Karl Mason’s Ginetta G20 completed the finishers, the latter two having swapped on the last lap when Mason’s pursuit of Aukland left him in a spin.
Eric Bamber crashed out heavily in his Ginetta G20 exiting Turn One and John Murphy also retired his unique Locost Honda.
1 Paul Rose (Saker RAPX) 19 laps in 22m05.253s (80.00mph); 2 Garry Watson (Westfield SEW) +6.641s; 3 Joe Spencer (Stuart Taylor Locosaki); 4 Steve Harris (Saker RAPX); 5 David Harvey (Stuart Taylor Locosaki); 6 Danny Bird (Spire GTR); 7 Alastair Chilton (MK Gti); 8 Robert Wakelin (Subaru Impreza); 9 Tim Foxlow (Ford Escort RSR); 10 Les Kirk (Fisher Fury).
Class A: 1 Rose; 2 Harris; 3 Wakelin; 4 James Aukland (Ford Capri); no other starters.
Class B: 1 Watson; 2 Foxlow; 3 Karl Mason (Ginetta G20); no other finishers.
Class C: 1 Spencer; 2 Harvey; 3 Bird; 4 A.Chilton; 5 Kirk; 6 D.Chilton.
Fastest lap: Rose 1m06.300s (81.69mph).
The first race of the weekend for the class D, E & F class cars had to be restarted after Stephen Doran’s Seat Leon and Geoff Morton’s Honda Civic collided.
With Garry Wardle’s pole sitting Porsche 997 another first lap casualty when the clutch failed, it was Oliver Thomas’ Impreza that led the way from Robert Burkinshaw’s Honda Integra and Piers Grange’s Escort. Alistair Stenhouse’s BMW M3 got passed Grange on the second lap, but neither were a match for the lead duo. But Thomas was never headed and took his first overall win by just over two seconds from Burkinshaw. “I got my mojo back, but Robert’s Honda was close enough to keep me on my toes for the whole race,” he said.
While Grange held onto fourth, there was almost up to five cars disputing fifth. Steven Parker’s BMW Compact got ahead of Graeme Laslett’s Elise on the second lap, but couldn’t get clear initially, which allowed Steve Rowles’ Honda Civic, Richard Roundell’s Vauxhall Vectra and Jamie Cryer’s Ginetta G20 to join in. Parker finally got some daylight to seal fifth, “I have got a more standard engine, less torque but I am quicker. I got away but could still see the mayhem behind,” he explained.
Rowles had got ahead of Laslett, but Roundell caught the Elise as he made a challenge. “I could see Steven getting away and Jamie Cryer closing in, so I tried to get Steve and ended up hitting Graeme at Rocket. Then I locked up there on the next lap and flat spotted a tyre,” said Roundell. Laslett came out of it all to reclaim sixth, with Cryer seventh. But with Rowles out, it was Nicholas Bartlett’s BMW M3, Iain Gorrie’s Raw Striker and the recovering Roundell that rounded off the top 10. “The ABS went and then the ECU fell off. It was my first time out in this car,” said Rowles.
Chris Maries just missed out on the top 10 in his Honda Integra R, while Ralph Underwood’s TR7 V8 pipped Tony Harman’s Ginetta G20 for 12th on the last lap. Russell Hunter’s MGB was next home, while Steven Hibbert’s Elise was way of his normal pace in 14th. David Bird was second to Gorrie in class F after Clive Dix spun out at Turn One in his Ford Puma, not helped by a “notchy gearbox.” David Jones’ Ford Focus, Helen Allen’s Ford Fiesta Zetec and Alex Modro’s Focus were the remaining finishers.
1 Oliver Thomas (Subaru Impreza) 14 laps in 17m27.635s (74.56mph); 2 Robert Burkinshaw (Honda Integra) +2.175s; 3 Alistair Stenhouse (BMW E36 M3); 4 Piers Grange (Ford Escort Mk2); 5 Steven Parker (BMW Compact); 6 Graeme Laslett (Lotus Elise); 7 Jamie Cryer (Ginetta G20); 8 Nicholas Bartlett (BMW E30 M3); 9 Iain Gorrie (Raw Striker); 10 Richard Roundell (Vauxhall Vectra).
Class D: 1 Thomas; 2 Stenhouse; 3 Ralph Underwood (Triumph TR7 V8); 4 Russell Hunter (MGB); no other finishers.
Class E: 1 Burkinshaw; 2 Grange; 3 Parker; 4 Laslett; 5 Cryer; 6 Bartlett; 7 Roundell; 8 Chris Maries (Honda Integra R); 9 Tony Harman (Ginetta G20); 10 Steven Hibbert (Lotus Sport Elise); 11 David Jones (Ford Focus); 12 Alex Modro (Ford Focus).
Class F: 1 Gorrie; 2 David Bird (Honda Civic); 3 Helen Allen (Ford Fiesta Zetec S); no other finishers.
Fastest lap: Thomas 1m13.732s (75.67mph).
It was wet and windy for the second class A-C race on Sunday morning. Only Eric Bamber’s Ginetta was missing from the grid, but Wakelin peeled off into the pitlane after the out laps, due to a lack of suitable tyres.
Watson elected to start on slicks as his wets were passed their best, so Spencer led through Turn One but Rose had already shot by before they exited Church on the opening lap. Harvey was second, from Bird, Armiger and Harris, as Spencer had gone straight on at the Banking Hairpin and recovered in sixth, just ahead of Watson, Foxlow, Kirk and Murphy. ”I just went in too quick maybe and overshot,” Spencer admitted.
Rose soon built a good lead but Harvey was under pressure from both Bird and Armiger, while Spencer was closing in again too, having retaken Harris. Into Turn 1 for the third time Spencer retook Armiger and had demoted Bird and Harvey too before the end of the lap to reclaim second. Harvey was then caught on the hop too on lap four, “Luke went by into Rocket and I didn’t realise at first that Danny was following him,” he said. Bird then fell back after going straight on at Rocket, but at the front it was clear cut with Rose the victor despite being closed on considerably by Spencer in the closing laps. “It was a good early lead, so I didn’t push too hard after that until I saw Joe catching me,” said Rose.
Armiger was a clear third, “not bad but I love the wet. It was good chasing Dave Harvey, as I leaned on him a bit so he braked first,” he said. Harvey retained fourth from Harris and Bird, “So much understeer made it hard to drive,” said Harris. But in seventh Foxlow had managed to gap Watson for sixth and second in class B until disaster struck. “Then I was coming into the Banking Hairpin and the throttle stuck open. I switched the engine off to try and slow down, but it hit the grass and then head on into the barrier,” he explained. Watson therefore claimed the place, with Murphy in eighth. Aukland, Kirk, David Chilton and Mason all made it to the flag, after Alastair Chilton was forced out on the green flag lap when a bolt failed in the rear suspension.
1 Rose 17 laps in 22m01.332s (71.79mph); 2 Spencer +1.162s; 3 Luke Armiger (Vauxhall Tigra); 4 Harvey; 5 Harris; 6 Bird; 7 Watson; 8 John Murphy (Locost Honda); 9 Aukland; 10 Kirk.
Class A: 1 Rose; 2 Harris; 3 Aukland; no other finishers.
Class B: Armiger; 2 Watson; 3 Murphy; 4 Mason; no other finishers,
Class C: 1 Spencer; 2 Harvey; 3 Bird; 4 Kirk; 5 D.Chilton; no other finishers.
Fastest lap: Spencer 1m16.438s (73.00mph).
Absent from Sunday’s first Class D-F race were Morton, Doran and Hunter from the first race, while starting on the back of the grid was Garry Wardle, having taken his Porsche home and returned with his Mini Cooper S. It was persistent rain as the lights went out and Thomas shot off into an immediate lead, with Grange second in Turn One, from Stenhouse and Birkinshaw, while Roundell quickly made it past Rowles on the run up to Rocket. Thomas’ lead was substantial by the end of the opening lap, while Roundell was into fourth and challenging Stenhouse for third. Wardle was 11th after one lap and continued his rapid climb through the field.
Thomas cruised through the race with somewhat ease in worsening conditions, taking win number two by almost 30 seconds. “I had it on low boost and feathered the throttle, otherwise I would have just slid on the water,” he explained. Both Grange and Roundell had managed to establish themselves in second and third until the weather caught them out. Roundell went first on lap eight, “it was going great I didn’t think I was going too quick, but just skated off at Rocket and just missed the bank,” he said. A lap later it was Grange’s turn at the same place, “I was changing down from fifth to fourth and didn’t see the standing water, so just skated off and managed to rejoin,” he added.
Others misfortune played right into Wardle’s hands, and on the last lap before the race was red flagged he secured a fantastic second place. “That was really good coming through from the back of the grid, but vision was horrendous and seemed a bit mad really,” he said. Stenhouse held onto third, “I was aquaplaning a lot and was whistling to stop myself from being scared as I don’t know where I didn’t slide,” he admitted.
Parker and Rowles remained remarkably close in the duel for the class E victory, taking fourth and fifth for their troubles too. Bartlett had split them earlier, “I was ahead of Rowles and thought I saw a flag, so backed off and he went by. I tried to rechallenge into Rocket and then saw the water,” he said after finishing sixth. As Birkinshaw’s lack of wet tyres sent him down the order, Hibbert secured seventh on the last lap, from the recovering Roundell, while the Honda driver managed to retain ninth as Laslett completed the top 10.
Maries was 11th and Grange having rejoined came home 12th. Underwood was next home, having gained by David Bird, Jones and Cryer all going off at Rocket and ending the race prematurely. “I went off and I think four more followed,” said Cryer. Gorrie moved up to 14th and took class F again, as Bird’s late off had robbed him of a probable class victory. Harman, Modro, Dix and Allen also survived the distance.
1 Thomas 9 laps in 12m58.432s (64.51mph); 2 Garry Wardle (Mini Cooper S) +29.492s; 3 Stenhouse; 4 Parker; 5 Steve Rowles (Honda Civic); 6 Bartlett; 7 Hibbert; 8 Roundell; 9 Burkinshaw; 10 Laslett.
Class D: 1 Thomas; 2 Wardle; 3 Stenhouse; 4 Underwood; no other starters.
Class E: 1 Parker; 2 Rowles; 3 Bartlett; 4 Hibbert; 5 Roundell; 6 Birkinshaw; 7 Laslett; 8 Maries; 9 Grange; 10 Harman; 11 Modro.
Class F: 1 Gorrie; 2 Clive Dix (Ford Puma); 3 Allen; no other finishers.
Fastest lap: Thomas 1m22.995s (67.23mph).
Twelve cars survived for the A-C finale and with Watson one of the absentees, it was between Spencer and Rose at the start. Despite an excess of wheelspin Spencer got away first but Rose was already ahead as they came out of the Banking Hairpin. Armiger was third, from Harvey, Harris, Bird and Aukland, but Harris was into fourth as they took Turn One for the second time.
Bird was the first retirement when his Spire broke its chain and he vacated sixth. Aukland briefly moved up before he was usurped by Alastair Chilton. A lap later Harris was out too, “it snapped a driveshaft on the pits straight, but had felt really good until then,” he said. Harvey had lost out to Armiger on the second lap, but stayed in touch and took him back for third on lap five.
From there on the lead quartet stayed relatively dormant, with Rose the victor for the third time in the meeting, having over 50 seconds in hand over Spencer. Harvey was a lap down in third but pulled well clear of Armiger during the closing laps.
Chilton’s climb brought in home in fifth, having demoted Murphy on lap 11, while in seventh Aukland was two laps down. Kirk managed to retain his eighth place, despite collecting a 10 second jump start penalty, while Dave Chilton and Mason completed the survivors. Mason in particular had luck on his side, when a wild spin exiting the final Turn left him inches from the pitwall.
1 Rose 17 laps in 21m30.407s (73.51mph); 2 Spencer +50.498s; 3 Harvey; 4 Armiger; 5 A.Chilton; 6 Murphy; 7 Aukland; 8 Kirk; 9 D.Chilton; 10 Mason.
Class A: 1 Rose; 2 Aukland; no other finishers.
Class B: 1 Armiger; 2 Murphy; 3 Mason; no other starters.
Class C: 1 Spencer; 2 Harvey; 3 A.Chilton; 4 Kirk; 5 D.Chilton; no other finishers.
Fastest lap: Rose 1m14.801s (74.59mph).
It was still wet as the third and final D-F class race lined up on the grid, with 17 starters. Thomas took off like a rocket again, despite the wet conditions. Wardle headed the pursuers, from Parker, Rowles, Roundell and Stenhouse. Roundell had already taken Rowles and shot past Parker into Turn One on the second lap, but the lead pair were already going solo. Stenhouse was struggling after the wrong tyre choice, but Hibbert was having his best run of the weekend in fifth.
It was comfortable for Thomas however, but easy to make a mistake in the conditions. He survived to take win number three by 19.7 secs. “Unbelievable really, really enjoyed it. I was playing safe and it worked,” he said. Wardle had remained equally safe in second, “I couldn’t have done more in the circumstances really,” he added. Having lost his top three position in race two, Roundell made sure he didn’t make the same mistake again either. “I think Steven could have got me if he had really wanted too though,” he said after retaining third. In Steven he was referring to Hibbert rather than Parker. As they had exchanged places on the eight lap. Hibbert was only O.695s adrift of Roundell at the flag, while Parker and Laslett completed the top six and were the last to go the full distance.
Underwood had an outstanding race from 13th on the opening lap, to seventh by lap nine, after taking Grange eventually following a number of exchanges with the Escort driver. Dix also made it past Grange on the last lap, while Maries held onto a top 10 finish despite a grassy moment at Turn One on lap six when he tried to hold off Underwood. Rowles was next home, with Bird, Harman, Modro, the sllck shod Bartlett and Allen all making to the flag too, while Stenhouse surrendered to the conditions having started on slicks too.
1 Thomas 16 laps in 22m41.979s (65.55mph); 2 Wardle +19.700s; 3 Roundell; 4 Hibbert; 5 Parker; 6 Laslett; 7 Underwood; 8 Dix; 9 Grange; 10 Maries.
Class D: 1 Thomas; 2 Wardle; 3 Underwood; no other finishers.
Class E: 1 Roundell; 2 Hibbert; 3 Parker; 4 Laslett; 5 Grange; 6 Maries; 7 Rowles; 8 Harman; 9 Modro; 10 Bartlett.
Class F: 1 Dix; 2 Bird; 3 Allen; no other starters.
Fastest lap: Thomas 1m23.259s (67.02mph).
Published by Peter Scherer for BARC North West, September 6th 2017