CNC Heads Sports/Saloon Car Championship – SEASONAL REVIEW
FIVE DIFFERENT WINNERS, BUT BAMBER SEALS THE TITLE….ON A TIE BREAK!
While many Championships have struggled for grid sizes, the CNC Heads Sports/Saloon Car Championship has continued to thrive, averaging over 32 every meeting and concluding with a maximum number of starters at Oulton Park.
There have been five different winners this season too, with Andrew Southcott’s Lenham MG Midget the winningest with five wins to Paul Rose’s four in the Saker.
Southcott started the season with a double win at Cadwell, but after problems in testing, he was forced to miss the first Anglesey triple header. He was out of luck at Oulton too, retiring on the green flag lap with a paddleshift problem, before race two was abandoned due to rain. Having lost out in tyre choice in the first of the Donington races, he was back on top of the podium in race two, before weather played it’s part in the return trip to Anglesey.
It was mainly Southcott v Rose for the race lead with the Lenham coming out on top in two of the three races. He was second in race two after couple of spins, while he tried to decipher his traction control. He ended his season with an off at Oulton and lost the Class A title to Rose by six points.
Rose missed the Cadwell rounds, but was straight into winning form at Anglesey winning rounds three and four, before losing out on a hattrick having pitted with a rising engine temperature. He won the next round at Oulton too, and was leading the second race when it was abandoned due to pouring race. He pitted for slicks in the first Donington race, and was left playing catch up. He was the chaser again in race two after a tyre change, seeing off all but Southcott, to take second and a class win. The second trip to Anglesey was his last of the season, he won race two, but lost out to Southcott in the other two races.
Arron Armiger was the third winner of the year in his Vauxhall Tigra at Anglesey in round five. Although Steve Harris’ Saker won on the road, track limit penalties dropped him to second, handing Armiger his maiden victory. Harris finally got his win in race one at Donington, which was his highlight in an otherwise disappointing season, with various problems.
Our final winner of the year was Roddie Paterson in his Caterham. He won both races at the Oulton finale and had six other podiums too. A broken driveshaft on the grid an Anglesey cost him dearly and could have cost him the overall title too.
The actual title fight went down to the wire, with Ian Bamber’s Class E Ginetta G20 winning the Class in 10 of the 13 races. He was second in two others, and his only retirement came at Anglesey in round 10 when his clutch failed. He had four top six overall results too. Stephen Parker’s BMW Compact kept Bamber on his toes though all year, and he took the three remaining class wins at Anglesey and Oulton. He was sixth overall too in round seven at Oulton, and as well as securing second in the Class Championship, he was third overall too.
Third in Class E was Matthew Jones’ Ford Focus. He had four third in class finishers at Anglesey, Oulton and Donington, but ended his season with a sizeable off in the Oulton finale. Peter Koukoulas’ Toyota MR2 and Tony Harman’s Ginetta G20 contested most of the rounds and finished tied on points for fourth in Class. Third at Cadwell in the second round was Koukoulas’ best, while Harman was on the class podium at Cadwell and Donington.
Rob Phillips only brought his Honda Civic out for the two Anglesey triple headers, with a best of second place in round 10. Maddy Maguire’s MG ZR, Graham Saul’s Mazda RX8, Darren Scholes’ VW Golf Gti, Peter Gillatt’s Honda Civic and the Clio’s of Angus Eddowes and Cavan Taylor, also raced in the class.
Behind Rose and Southcott in Class, Harris was third. Apart from his Donington win, he had a second and third at Anglesey too. Duncan Aukland made the occasional appearance in his Proton Putra. He was second in Class in both Cadwell races and had a third at Anglesey, to finish fourth in the final class standings. Garry Wardle’s Seat Cupra TCR almost took an outright win at Oulton in the penultimate round, but he got the lead as the race was red flagged. He won the Class still from third overall and was also on the class podium on four other occasions, with a best of second at Anglesey.
Simon Allaway’s Lotus Esprit V8 made a few appearances too. He led overall in round nine at Donington, before finishing third and was third again in the next round at Anglesey. His tyre choice, let him down a couple of times too. Julian Wood brought out his Kia Optima out on a number of occasions and third in class on the first visit to Oulton was his best, while David Clark came out too in the third Saker. He was fourth overall in round six and second in class, from 20th on the grid, but a dropped valve in qualifying at Donington ended his year.
Guy Carter’s TVR Tuscan, Ray Harris’ Ginetta G55 and Chris Petch’s Ginetta G50 all came out at Donington. Harris was fourth overall and second in Class with a failing clutch, which left him side-lined for race two. Petch had a fourth in Class but retired in race two. Matthew Sanders also appeared in a BMW M3, along with James Aukland in his Capri.
Paterson’s Caterham dominated Class B and only missed out on the overall title by a tie break, after finishing the season level on points with Bamber. But it Anglesey that cost him dearly with one win and two zeros. Armiger beat him at Donington too when he struggled on wet tyres, but both challenged overall too, with Armiger fifth overall in the final standings, with four wins and three seconds.
The Ginetta’s of Jamie Cryer and Connor Modro had some good battles. Modro’s G40 had a few too many excursions, but had four class podiums, while Cryer’s G20 was on the podium nine times to clinch third in class. David Green’s Honda Civic had a much better season, despite a few problems along the way and Tim Foxlow’s Escort RSR had a third in class at Donington.
Robert Wakelin’s Peugeot 205 had to be rebuilt after a startline shunt at Cadwell, but he had a third and a fourth in class at Anglesey. Thomas Frankland’s Renault 5GT Turbo made a few appearances too, along with Richard Hall’s Caterham, Darren Owen’s Escort, Mark Primett’s Banks Europa, Aleks Modro’s Fiest, Colin Robinson’s Escort and Thom Evans Caterham. Evans proved to be a frontrunner debuting in the Oulton finals meeting. Third and fourth overall, he was second in Class both times, while Primett was on the opening round Class podium, taking third.
Class C was really a duel between the Caterham’s of Bod Buckby and Connor Harvey. While Harvey was often the quicker, Buckby took the Class wins, with nine to Harvey’s one. They even managed to collide with each other at Anglesey, but Buckby was Class Champion and fourth overall.
John Curry’s Caterham appeared in the opening rounds at Cadwell and the final rounds at Oulton, but netted three wins from four starts. Gary Warburton’s Mini was the only other starter in the Class, but couldn’t mix it with the Caterham’s.
Class D had a number of drivers taking part but few on a regular basis. Hence there were seven different winners. Ric Walker’s Mini JCW took the Class title, winning rounds two and three at Cadwell and Anglesey. Oliver Thomas’ Subaru Impreza led some races overall, finishing second overall at Oulton and taking five class wins. But he had to withdraw after qualifying on a couple of occasions, which cost him the Class title.
Despite having a problematic first half of the season, David Jones’ Ford Focus settled down and finished third in Class, after a win on the second visit to Anglesey. Although Paul Goodlad’s VW Scirocco finished fourth in Class, second at Anglesey was the best of his six podiums. Clive Dix was another who finally was able to show the promise from his Mazda RX7 and was a double winner at Anglesey.
Marshall Groves’ Vauxhall Vectra, Ric Wood’s Nissan Skyline and Jas Sapra’s BMW M3 each had a Class win too, while Tom MacFarlane’s Scirocco ran strongly after debuting at Anglesey. Bob Claxton’s Golf Gti, Andrew Smith’s VW Beetle, Ralph Underwood’s TR76 V8 and the Vauxhall’s of Cliff and Julie also came out.
Class F was mainly a family duel, with Helen Allen’s Fiesta getting the better of husband Brian’s Puma on six occasions. She took the title by 10 points, but after winning both rounds at Cadwell in his Mazda MX5, Graeme Smith left the Championship, while the BMW II6’s of Andy Bicknell and Harry Ormerod came out at Anglesey, with Bicknell taking two wins to Ormerod’s one.
Outgoing Champion Jon Woolfitt re-appeared in his Spire at the Oulton finals, but was the only starter in Class G all year.
Published by Peter Scherer for BARC North West, December 11th 2023