Race 2 report by Ian Boulton
So as the grid assembled for race 2 we were unfortunately two drivers short.
Jonathan Harker had once again suffered with his LE500 season long brake issues and he didn’t feel comfortable driving the car.
David Thompson’s rental car was still in the garage with the mechanics trying their best to fix the problem.
So the slightly reduced grid of 19 PBIC cars and 14 Metro Cup cars took to the track.
Richard Buckley had recovered from his last minute, 4 lap, super dash qualifying and took up P2 on the grid next to Peter Burchill who had managed to grab pole position away from the Tomcats. Matt Simpson was on row 2 in his super shiny Tomcat, on row 4 there was the hyper dayglow orange dream machine of Craig Bayston. A little further down the grid on row 7 was Kayleigh Twigger, feeling more confident racing in her back garden. Dave Nixon was parked right behind her and keen to get going, after months off racing following engine issues. Mike Willliams knew that his rocket powered Metro did not actually need to qualify so he took up his position on the back of the grid, surrounded by old friends from the Metro Cup and ready to embark on his burn from the stern. As the lights went out Mr Buckley shot forward, Mr Burchill went backwards and Mr Simpson joined Mr Buckley at the front as they turned into Redgate. They were probably both surprised to find the 1.4 litre Metro of Jack Ashton was keen to take them on for the race lead. After a super start Richard Buckley was not to see another car again until he started lapping Metros on lap 8 and would continue to lead the race all the way to the chequered flag for a convincing win. Peter Burchill was keen to recover from his poor start and slipped back in front of Matt Simpson under braking into the old hair pin. Matt Simpson was still fighting hard but now with the Metro of Jack Ashton. At the other end of the grid Mike Williams had passed 5 cars before Redgate, passed Kayleigh Twigger by the old hairpin and had overtaken 18 cars by the end of the first lap! He passed Dave Nixon going into Redgate on lap 3 to get up to P5 in class. A lap later he repeated the move on Craig Bayston for P4, on lap 5 he passed Iain Dowler and Matt Simpson and on lap 6 he found that Ian Boulton was only too keen to surrender P3 (for some reason) and he let him through. He then continued to chase Peter Burchill for P2 and eventually went down the outside of Peter approaching Redgate putting him both P2 in class and overall. Peter put in a sterling effort chasing after the Metro and attempting to not break at all for the chicane. On the final lap Peter suddenly remember that he was now writing the race report so he turned left rather than right at then chicane leaving Ian Boulton 3rd place and the race report to write. Class C finished Buckley P1, Williams a very hard earned P2, Burchill 3rd in class. Craig Bayston finished an impressive 4th in class having got in front of Matt Simpson on lap 10, Craig also took a second and a half of his best qualifying lap time. 5th in class was Dave Nixon who had negotiated his way past Kayleigh Twigger and Simpson, in his first completed race since Snetterton last season. Despite power issues costing Matt Simpson about 2 seconds a lap, from lap 9 onwards he managed to finished 6th in class after a long race being swamped by Metros. Kayleigh Twigger finished 7th and had run a great race despite a little spin exiting Redgate on lap 13. Kayleigh was clearly getting more confident in her car as she also managed to shave over two seconds off her qualifying lap time taking her into the 1:26 zone.
Class B welcomed Shaun Holmes who had purchased beautiful blue ZR to have a go at front wheel drive racing, starting on row twelve amongst the Metros. Iain Dowler was also back with a vengeance after half a season absence and was starting on row three, Ian Boulton lined up behind him in his ZR. James Darby, who holds the class B lap record at Donington, started on row 6 in his MGB alongside the gleaming ZR of Nick Arden. As the lights went out the Dowler’s ZR was struggling to get into gear and anchored behind Burchill’s ZS that was also struggling to move. Boulton drifted past Dowler into the class lead. Back on row 6 Arden had made a better start than Darby and was up to P3 in class. Dowler was hot on Boulton’s tail for the first two laps leaving Boulton little choice but to get in front of the speedy Tomcat of Matt Simpson. Boulton closed his eyes and slung his ZR round the outside of Simpson round the Craners and then managed to keep the tomcat behind for long enough to put a cushion between himself and Iain Dowler. Dowler continued to push hard and chase after the Metros and Matt Simpson. This tenacity was rewarded the black and white flag with a 5 second penalty for racing class C cars too hard. Having an equally impressive battle further down class B were the MGB of Mr Darby and the ZR of Mr Arden. The two were never more than 2.5 seconds apart, Nick managed to hold James off until lap 5 when the two cars were side by side though the Schwantz curve and McLeans. Mr Darby edged ahead as the two turned into Coppice and took P3 in class. The race for P3 was not over and went right down to the wire with the two cars finishing 0.4 seconds apart! Shaun Holmes was enjoying racing with the Metros he also improved his best qualifying lap time by 2 seconds. Class B finished Boulton P1, Dowler P2, Darby P3, Arden P4 and Holmes P5.
Class A had 6 contestants, Hannah Brian was out for her first drive of the season with her Metro gleaming with its new bum and feeling comfortably at home with all the other Metros (4 of whom she had out qualified). Dale Reet was also out for his first race in his equally shiny 160ZR. Hannah made the better of the starts and led Dale for the first three laps. Dale managed to get ahead of Hannah and also managed to reduce his best qualifying lap time by 3.5 seconds. At the other end of class, Darren Harris led Steve Tyler off the lights with Stuart Emmett taking up P3 in class, Steve was hot on Darren’s tail for all of lap 1 until the two were briefly split by the rocket powered Mr Williams making his way through from the rear. The top three stayed in that order for the race although they had some fun with a few Metros on their way to the flag. Rod Oakenfull was in P4 in class and had a great race with the Metros. He also managed to reduce his best qualifying lap time by 2 seconds during the race.
The only DNF was Chris Hughes the sole runner in the invitational class, in his beautifully prepared 1.6 litre Rover 100 which completed 13 of the 14 laps and produced some impressive lap times.
It was another weekend of rapid repairs and some very close racing but all went home without any major damage and most with big smiles from a great days racing on our hottest race day of the year so far.