ROSE, HARRIS & WOOLFITT SHARE THE VICTORY SPOILS
It was the CNC Heads Sports Saloons first visit to Knockhill since 1994 and some mixed weather conditions and using the circuit in both directions, led to plenty of action.
Paul Rose's Saker secured pole for the first race, but only 0.264 secs ahead of Roddie Paterson's Caterham. "It was fine, no problem," he said. Only 0.038 secs split second row men Paul Dobson's Locost and Jon Woolfitt's Spire GTR. "I stayed out the whole session to learn the track," said Dobson. "I tried following Roddie for most of it, as he was the local driver. It helped massively," Woolfitt replied.
Steve Harris' Saker was next up. "I just couldn't get on with the track in anti-clockwise. Two corners I just couldn't get right, disaster," he said. He had Luke Armiger's Vauxhall Tigra alongside, "I just took it steady, didn't want to go mental and damage anything," he reckoned. Row four was headed by Jack Egar's BMW, with Andy Bicknell's Ginetta G50 alongside. "I was really trying and the car seemed Ok," said Bicknell.
Guy Carter was ninth best in his TVR Tuscan, with Jamie Cryer's Ginetta G20 completing the top 10. "It was all fine, I just concentrated on learning the circuit," said Cryer. Cryer's class rival Paul Rotheroe was only 0.316 secs slower than him. "It was close with Jamie and it carried on all weekend. I wasn't at full speed, but then I got a misfire. Thanks to Jon Woolfitt for sorting it with a new fuel pump," Rotheroe explained. Richard Hall's Caterham completed the row, while Jake Johnson was back in Grandad Chris Maries Honda Civic Type R, to head the next row from Ian Bruce's similar car.
On row eight Connor Modro was out for the first time in a Ginetta G40 and he had Ric Walker's Mini R56 JCW alongside. Behind them it was the duel for class F, with Bruce Carter's Honda CRX 0.211secs up on Graeme Smith's Mazda MX5.
Dobson led off the start with Woolfitt in second, but Paterson was challenging too. Paterson was into the lead as Dobson and Woolfitt shared a couple of exchanges, before Rose joined in and was second over the line, behind Paterson after the opening lap. Armiger was next up, from Harris, Egar, Carter, Cryer and Bicknell. "I lost two places off the start," Bicknell explained.
Rose soon started to threaten Paterson's lead and was ahead on lap three. "I was expecting to be beaten away at the start, but once my tyres were up to temperature I was into second and then got Paterson into the Hairpin," Rose explained. Woolfitt and Dobson became settled in third and fourth, with Woolfitt getting close to challenging Paterson at times. "I followed him but just couldn't get close enough to make a real challenge," said Woolfitt. "Once Jon had got me back on the straight after our early exchange, he started to pull away. I had started to come back at him a little when the race was red flagged," Dobson replied.
It had been a fairly solitary race for Armiger in fifth though. "I was in the same position for the whole race and had just started to close a little when it was red flagged," he said.
The race was classified after nine laps when Egar pulled off from seventh place and brought out the red flags. Rose was the victor by almost 18 seconds from Paterson, with Woolfitt, Dobson, Armiger and Harris the top six. "I had a lonely race too as the gap to Luke remained about the same. I just did the best I could," said Harris.
Carter, Cryer and Rotheroe spent much of the race in a three way battle. "We were in a queue and I was trying to defend from Paul too," said Cryer. "After I got Andy Bicknell early on, I was back in touch with Jamie," Rotheroe replied. Carter had moved up to seventh after Egar pulled off, but Bicknell had closed on to the back of the Cryer and Rotheroe duel.
On lap eight Rotheroe made his move. "I was aware of where I was going to try it, but didn't want to let him know. I had made up time under braking and then went for it from about six lengths back at the Hairpin. He gave me plenty of room too," Rotheroe explained. "I could see him coming, but thought he was too far back to try," Cryer replied, after Bicknell followed him through too. Cryer therefore dropped to 10th, with Johnson 11th and a lap down. Hall ousted Bruce for 12th on the last classified lap. Modro eased clear of Walker after a mid race exchange, while Bruce Carter held off Smith for Class F by just 0.599 secs.
1 Paul Rose (Saker RAPX S1-500) 9 laps in 8m20.845s; 2 Roddie Paterson (Caterham C400) +17.238s; 3 Jon Woolfitt (Spire GTR); 4 Paul Dobson (Locost Mazda); 5 Luke Armiger (Vauxhall Tigra); 6 Steve Harris (Saker RAPX S1-500); 7 Guy Carter (TVR Tuscan); 8 Paul Rotheroe (Citroen Xsara VTS); 9 Andy Bicknell (Ginetta G50); 10 Jamie Cryer (Ginetta G20).
Class A: 1 Rose; 2 Harris; 3 Carter; 4 Bicknell; no other starters.
Class B: 1 Paterson; 2 Woolfitt; 3 Dobson; 4 Armiger; 5 Jake Johnson (Honda Civic Type R); 6 Richard Hall (Caterham); 7 Connor Modro (Ginetta G40).
Class C: no starters.
Class D: 1 Ric Walker (Mini R56 JCW); no other finishers.
Class E: 1 Rotheroe; 2 Cryer; 3 Ian Bruce (Honda Civic Type R).
Class F: 1 Bruce Carter (Honda CRX); 2 Graeme Smith (Mazda MX5) no other starters.
Fastest lap: Rose 52.435secs (86.981 mph).
All 18 cars made it onto the grid for the second race of the weekend and it was Paterson and Woolfitt vying for the lead into the first corner. "I went in too deep though and Dobbo got me, but I retook him into McIntyre's and followed Paterson up the hill. I got the inside at McIntyre's again, got the lead, defended and got a slight gap," Woolfitt explained after leading from lap two.
Dobson was in third with Rose closing in, while behind them it was Armiger, Egar, Bicknell, Carter, Cryer and Rotheroe. "Not such a good start for me, as Roddie and Jon got me," said Dobson. Rose stormed past Dobson on the straight for third on lap three, before taking Paterson a lap later for second. "Then I got Woolfitt into the Hairpin," said Rose as he started to build his lead. In fifth Armiger took a few laps to get up to pace. "I started to close on Dobbo as he was duelling with Paterson," he said.
By lap six Harris had climbed to sixth, after taking Egar, Bicknell and Carter and consecutive laps. "I had stalled it on the grid and just sat waiting for the bang, which fortunately never came. It was fun driving back through though," he explained.
The safety car was out for a few laps which closed it all up again, but on lap 13 it was all change. "I had a long brake pedal so was coming down the box to slow down, then it just swapped ends on me and stalled, "said Rose. Woolfitt, Paterson, Armiger and Dobson all went by before he recovered, after Armiger had got the better of Dobson. "He had a slight off on the pits straight and I got him," said Armiger. "I had missed a gear and was stuck in third," Dobson replied.
Rose's recovery was swift however and he was back into second three laps later, closing rapidly on Woolfitt. "I tried to defend but he got me again, but it didn't count as the race was stopped early again with red flags," said Woolfitt. Armiger was finishing strongly too and was only fractionally behind Paterson in fourth. Dobson was fifth and Harris remained in sixth. "The others were just too far ahead," Harris admitted.
Egar's mid race seventh gradually faded as both Carter and Bicknell got by after the safety car. "I had a good duel with the TVR but couldn't find a gap to try and get him. We got separated for one lap when the BMW was between us, but it was close again at the end," said Bicknell. Egar retained a clear 10th ahead of the class E duel. This time it was Cryer with the advantage over Rotheroe for most of the race. "It was a really good battle again, we swapped a few times and were side by side quite a lot, until Paul had a coming together with Hall's Caterham," said Cryer.
"The safety car had helped as it bunched us all up again. I tried to get Jamie at the Hairpin but he had it covered and again at least three more times on the straight. I did dive ahead and we were side by side inches apart into the chicane, then I had contact lapping Hall, it damaged the bodywork and did an oil pipe," he explained after dropping almost four seconds to Cryer.
Johnson was a lap down in 12th and with Hall out, Walker, Smith and Modro completed the finishers. Bruce had retired after five laps, "a power or fuel issue," he reckoned. Bruce Carter's retirement was more obvious. "It blew up in front of me," said Class F rival Smith.
1 Woolfitt 17 laps in 17m59.785s; 2 Rose +0.488secs; 3 Paterson; 4 Armiger; 5 Dobson; 6 Harris; 7 G.Carter; 8 Bicknell; 9 Jack Egar (BMW M3); 10 Cryer.
Class A: 1 Rose; 2 Harris 3 Carter 4 Bicknell; no other starters.
Class B: 1 Woolfitt; 2 Paterson; 3 Armiger; 4 Dobson 5 Johnson; no other finishers.
Class C: no starters;
Class D: 1 Egar; 2 Walker; no other starters.
Class E: 1 Cryer; 2 Rotheroe; 3 Modro; no other finishers.
Class F: 1 Smith; no other finishers.
Fastest lap: Rose 51.411s (88.713mph).
Qualifying for Race Three
It was down to 16 cars for Sunday mornings qualifying in the wet, but this time the circuit was clockwise, the same as had been used in pre-race testing on Friday. Rose was comfortably on pole, his best lap 1.714 secs quicker than second best Dobson. "It felt good and everything was Ok again," he said. "It was fantastic, my car suits the wet," Dobson added.
Paterson was only 0.13 secs slower than Dobson however, sharing the second row with Woolfitt. "I did my fastest lap in the heaviest rain too," Woolfitt admitted. Harris was fifth best. "Clockwise suited me much better, my wipers didn't work though, which wasn't good when you caught another car," he explained. Armiger was alongside him. "It was in the wet and then it got wetter. I did my laps and then came in," he said. Bicknell was next up, explaining his relish for the wet conditions. "I like it, so it went well." Rotheroe was alongside him, "I like the wet too, but my car wasn't perfect after the coming together yesterday. It was driveable though," he added.
Adam Egar had taken over the family BMW from son Jack and headed row five with Cryer. "I gradually built up my pace in the conditions, but had a half spin into the gravel at the Hairpin," Cryer admitted. The next row featured two cars from the previous day's races but different drivers. Bruce Carter was in the TVR Tuscan, having replaced Guy for his first race in the V8 beast, while Chris Maries had reclaimed his Honda Civic Type R from Grandson Jake Johnson.
Walker's Mini was next quickest, from Smith and Modro, but there were casualties. Bruce's Honda had stopped again without completing a lap, but Smith was out too. "It was bottom end failure, but hopefully I will be back out for the Oulton Park finals," he said.
So there were 15 cars lining up and all had opted for wets except Armiger. Dobson grabbed the initial advantage from Rose, Paterson, Woolfitt, Harris and Armiger.
"It was wet with a drying line, but it was good with the short lap as the Saker's couldn't use their speed advantage," said Dobson. "I got him on the second lap as the track was drying, but then my tyres started overheating," said Rose, after leading from lap two. Harris was on the move taking Woolfitt on the second lap, before Paterson and Dobson followed on consecutive laps.
"I was struggling, third into Duffus Dip on the first lap, but then Paterson retook me. A brake disc mount had broken, so effectively I was racing with brakes on three wheels," Woolfitt explained as he lost ground in fifth place.
Paterson ousted Dobson from third on lap six and having got his tyres up to temperature Armiger closed in too, after demoting Woolfitt another place. "It was a struggle at the start and I had to repass Rotheroe. I had a good dice with Dobbo and then started to close on Paterson for third," said Armiger.
It was getting closer at the front however with Harris ever closer to Saker team mate Rose. "When I saw him closing I pushed hard again but my tyres had gone and I wondered why his hadn't too. Then I pushed hard at the first corner as we went onto the last lap, and went straight on and onto the grass," Rose explained.
"I had just sat behind Paul, followed his line and tried to worry him like I used to do. I was right on his gearbox and the last lap board went out, but he just went straight on at the first corner. I was too busy to laugh as I nearly followed him, but what a cracking race," said Harris.
So it was Harris taking the victory with Rose still second but 2.387 secs behind. Armiger was challenging for third with three laps remaining. Into the chicane he nosed ahead, but as he turned right, Paterson headed straight on and into the side of the Tigra. "He came back like a missile and turned into me," Armiger replied, after both lost out to Dobson again. "I had lost a splitter so it affected my handling. I had lost ground on them, but got it back and more when they collided at the chicane," said third placed Dobson.
Both drivers recovered with Paterson taking fourth on the road and Armiger fifth, until a post race penalty for Paterson reversed the order. The struggling Woolfitt completed the top six, a lap down. "Three wheeled brakes and wrecked wet tyres, not easy," said Woolfitt.
"I was catching Woolfitt near the end too, but my tyres were destroyed too. Rotheroe mugged me at the start, so I had to get him back before making progress," said seventh placed Bicknell.
Bruce Carter and Egar were fairly solitary eighth and ninth, after passing Rotheroe in the early laps. But for most of the race Rotheroe managed to keep Cryer at bay. "I had dropped back a bit looking for grip. I had then started to close on Paul and for the last 10 or 12 laps it was nose to tail, until he outbraked himself at the Hairpin," said Cryer.
"I had a great start, but was losing out on the drying track. I had even got Luke at the start, but he got back into Duffus Dip. I was holding Jamie off Ok until I locked up at the Hairpin, and he was through," Rotheroe replied.
Maries, Walker, Bruce and Modro completed the finishers.
As well as winning the second race of the weekend, Jon Woolfitt was also the winner of the Cam Forbes Trophy. The action now moves on to Oulton Park on October 23rd, for the double header finale to the season.
1 Harris 23 laps in 21m20.943s; 2 Rose +2.387secs; 3 Dobson; 4 Armiger; 5 Paterson; 6 Woolfitt; 7 Bicknell; 8 B.Carter; 9 A.Egar; 10 Cryer.
Class A: 1 Harris; 2 Rose; 3 Bicknell; 4 B.Carter; no other starters.
Class B: 1 Dobson; 2 Armiger; 3 Paterson; 4 Woolfitt; 5 Maries; no other starters.
Class C: no starters.
Class D: 1 Egar; 2 Walker; no other starters.
Class E: Cryer; 2 Rotheroe; 3 Bruce; 4 Modro; no other starters.
Class F: no starters.
Fastest lap: Armiger 53.018 secs (86.024mph).
Published by Peter Scherer for BARC North West, September 24th 2021