Cambridge 23/04/17

This weekend we paid our first visit to Cambridge Autograss Club of the season. This was again a Concord Essex (my own club) points meeting as part of our National Qualifying.

As it was also the East Anglian league’s first National Qualifying meeting it was quite a busy meeting, which provided some brilliant racing.

Team Concord had 15 cars and 21 drivers representing the club.  Michael Winkworth (C211E) in his class one, was once again the strongest contender and still remains unbeaten, taking another 3 wins away from this meeting. We saw the return of Allan Crowther (C5E) in class three after a few years out, and this meant that we saw a close battle with Anthony Teather (C1E), something we should expect to see more of in the meetings to follow.

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Amongst the rest of the classes there were a few stand outs. First of all was the class six battles that we saw over the heats and finals between Paul Horwood (SN263), Jordan Spavins (SN451), Tom Hall (SN12) and Gary Taylor (CA18). This looks set to be a great battle to continue throughout the season, with places being swapped and changed throughout the races. It will be interesting how this one pans out.

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Another stand out performance was from the class seven driver of Mike Mackenzie (CA12). Unbeaten over the day with comfortable wins, it looks like he’s the fastest seven in the south and it’s going to take some to beat him.

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Another battle that will be good to watch over the course of the year is the class two boys of Dan Robins (SN34) the defending British champion, and Ollie Sole (SN668) the defending National champion. This time it was Dan that had the edge, taking three wins, but Ollie was on his tail, and we could easily see that tables turn next time out.

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Thank you to Andrew Ashfield for allowing me the use of his photos. To see more check out the Cambridge Autograss Club Facebook page.   

A big thank you to Lee Forster and his team at Cambridge for a great days racing and hosting the Concord Essex Club, we look forward to being back on 14th May.

The next stop on the tour will be this weekend at Trent Autograss Club for Round 1 of the UK Autograss Championship. See previous posts for my preview on the series.  

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UKAC 2017 Preview Part 2

With just over a week to go until the bungee is up on the 2017 UK Autograss Championship at Trent Autograss Club, here is the second part of the preview to the championship looking at the even classes and junior specials.

Men’s Class 2

We see champion, Jay Albrighton (N156) and runners up Philip Clark (CA85) and Sam Begley (Y143) return for 2017, and all again we will see running at the front. But close competition will come in the forms of Craig Conway (SC126), David Farrow (C16E), Lloyd Morgan (C64), Dave Jones (SV51) and Andrew Jones (SV151).

Ladies Class 2

A strong field will see the return of last year’s top two, Emma Clark (CA85) and Fiona Mauchland (CS44), both of whom we should see battling it out again for the top prize. They won’t be on their own though, and we should keep an eye out for Katie Jones (SV51). Jess Roberts (SC126), Hannah Hinton (NASA25) and Kelly Read (ST474). 

Men’s Class 4

In 2017 we will see a new champion, as Nick Williams, the only class 4 champion of UKAC history, moves onto a different class. However it could still be the same car as Nick’s son Jamie Williams (M58) has taken over the seat. He will have strong competition though in the shape of Luke Oakley (E51), Gary Pemberton (CA242) and Colin Attrill (IK272).

Men’s Class 6

Last year we saw a close championship battle between Jamie Ivermee (G17D) and Matt Baker (L117) and both are back again. But could we see the likes of Andy Russell (IK64), Jamie Hornby (ST47) or Jordan Spavins (SN451) taking over the championship crown?

Ladies Class 6

We see four entries this year; Kristina Hall (SR888), Tina Hilton (ST46), Kelly Read (T13) and Louise Rowley (WS24), but who will come out on top?

Men’s Class 8

All of last year’s top 4 are back again; Alex Hall (R411), Kenny Smith (S41D), Lee Cox (B2H) and Matt Bishop (YS37). None of them can be ruled out of appearing at the top of the sheets again, but neither can the likes of Mike Mumford (160F), Stu Whitehouse (T5), Dan Mackenzie (CA44) and Paul Prior (IK66), to name just a few.

Ladies Class 8

Clare Horner (M62), multiple champion, is back and can never be ruled out of taking the crown. However neither can Cat Mumford (160F) or Sue Nicholls (YD7), whilst there will also be strong competition in the shape of Abi Shields (N24), Charlene Harrison (ARC90) and Vikki Lamb (NW181).

Men’s Class 10

Another class where last year’s top 4 are back and are again contenders; Tony Jones (SR117), Matthew Booth (SR46), Julian Heath (E111) and Kevin Mumford (60F). But we could see Andy Lee (R99), Matt Duffell (L1), Ian Stott (A10) or Alex Kershaw (SC21) mixing it up at the front too.

Ladies Class 10

Defending champion Diane Heath (E111) is back, along with Kelly Bishop (YS37), Terri Mumford (60F) and Gina Lee (R98), all of whom we should see battling out for the championship along with Michaela Hazell (A10), Jemma King (R99) and Megan Booth (SR46).

Men’s Stock Hatch

Last year we saw a close battle between Paul Maxim (C23E) and Mick Wood (L2) for second and third, could this be the year they are able to move up to the top step. Could it be class newcomer Ian Fay (WS500), or even previous lady racer Vivienne Chapman (CA149), who takes the crown?

Ladies Stock Hatch

With no defending champion, and only two entries, will we see experienced class 3 racer Lisa Hills (WS500) take the crown of can Mandy Kennedy (SB6) do it?

Junior Specials

It was Mollie Richardson (T492) who took the 2016 crown, and she is back to defend it. But she will have strong competition in the form of Sam Middleton (T909), Jay Gallagher (LM13), Andrew Gaylard (WS10) and Chloe Richardson (P6EM).

See you all at Trent! Let’s go racing!

UKAC 2017 Preview Part 1

With less than 2 weeks to go until the first round of the UK Autograss Championship, which will be hosted by the Trent club, it is that time to look ahead at the entries to see who we should be looking out for over the course of the championship.

I am going to do this in two parts, part 1 will be looking at the odd classes and the junior saloons, whilst part 2 will be looking at the even classes and junior specials and will be posted later this week.

Men’s Class 1

One of the strongest contenders for this year’s championship would be defending champion Caine Parnell (SP129), but he’s got strong competition from the rest of the entries. Ones to look out for over the year are Sam Fenton (R1), Kaine Salmon (ARC14), Dave Owen (NW97), Jonathan Crosby (N80) and Lee Poole (S70D).

Ladies Class 1

Defending champion Linda Lawlor (NW143) is the only one returning from last year’s top four, but there are new names that could give Linda a run for her money including; Bethany Embling (C535E) , Chloe Reynolds (SC630) and Hannah Hinton (IK225).

Men’s Class 3

Last year’s top four are all back again and we could easily see them all back at the front of the grid again; Adrian Herbert (S26D), Mick Sumners (R169), Ian Fay (WS5) and Martin Beaney (IK316). But we will also see strong competition in the shape of Aaron Mackenzie (SP401), Martin ‘Noddy’ Roberts (PAC157), Lee Wakefield (R388), Phil Thompson (Y51) and Adrian Joyce (WS22).

Ladies Class 3

We saw a depleted field last year, but with more entries for 2017 we’ve got plenty to look forward to. Defending champion Donna Brown (CM4) is back, whilst there are also strong contenders in Shell Sumners (R169), Jo Thompson (Y51) and Lisa Hills (WS5).

Men’s Class 5

One of the closest championship battles last year was between Julian Heath (E10) and Mike Sullivan (C11E) and this year we should see them battling hard again. Also strong though are Ben Harper (M11), Stuart Deacon (S60D), Daniel Godfrey (CA10), Lewis Richards (TA451), Brian Wright (P24EM) and Wayne Orton (M45). 

Ladies Class 5

Last year’s top three, Diane Heath (E10), Natalie Green (R420) and Janet Murray (38F), are back and again look strong, but could we see an upset from Kirsty Godfrey (CA10), Barbara Harper (M11), Cat Mumford (158F) or Emily Saitch (C11E).  

Men’s Class 7

Two-time champion Will Barrett (R313) is back, but so are father and son Paul (139F) and Lee Waldron (4F), who are always part of that championship battle. I could easily list the whole entry list as ones to wathc, but a few highlights come in the form of Mike Mackenzie (CA12), Paul Bacon (N60), Colin Reid (CS21), Mike Hockley (62F), Barry Hathaway (C183E) and Martyn Tinker (Y10).

Ladies Class 7

Can the defending champion, Emily Barrett (R10) hold onto her title this year? With multiple champion Clare Horner (M60) now in the class it could be difficult. And with strong racers in Nicola Mackenzie (CA141), Jo Thompson (Y55) and Sue Bacon (N60) also on the list we look set for an exciting year.

Men’s Class 9

Last year’s champion, Jason Richardson (P5EM), would have to be one of the favourites for this year’s title, but could Marcus Mills (LUD3) or Mike Liddiatt (309F) move further up the table from last year. However we could also see Martin Bugg (M14), Sean Collin (SN257), Tony Wilson (SP10), Joey Matthews (ARC6) and Jamie Hollingsbee (IK111) up at the front of the field, fighting it for the top step.

Ladies Class 9

There is no defending champion, but we still have strong racers in the form of Dru Hollingsbee (IK111), Helen Rummery (IK214) and Brooke Irving (SL99), so let’s see who can come out on top come September.

Men’s F600

Multiple UKAC champion, Andrew Watson (SB20) is the strongest contender for the title this year, but you can’t rule out Jason Garnett (T692), Andy Reeve (N28), Matthew Hickingbotham (ST62) and Josh Tickle (P74EM). Will one of them get the upper hand and claim the title?

Ladies F600

There are only two entries in the form of Georgia Garnett (T692) and Susan Dawson (SL103), so will it be Georgia who takes the crown again or will Susan be able to stop her.

Junior Saloons

With last year’s top two moving up into the adult classes, we are set for a new champion. Will Baxter Pargeter (N45) or Tom Herbert (S31D) promote themselves to the top, or will we see Tom Marshall (ST6), Sorren Powell (T777), Lewis Woodruff (WR72) or Rachel Alderson (YD63), to name a few, take the title.

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for part 2 later this week.

 

Invicta Kent 09/04/17

This weekend we paid a visit to Invicta Kent Autograss Club in Romney Marsh. This was the first meeting down South for this season, and was set to be a busy meeting. And we were blessed with the weather, with a hot and sunny day.

This meeting was also hosting the first of Concord Essex’s Club Championship, and was being counted towards their National Qualifying. This is the club that I belong to, and it was good to see some of the gang there. We had 16 cars taking part amongst Kent’s own members, and we saw plenty of them up at the front of the packs. The strongest of the Concord’s contenders was the class 1 of Michael Winkworth (C211E), who came away from the day unbeaten. There were plenty more top three finishes amongst the rest of the gang, and another of the stand out drivers of the day was Paul Maxim (C23E) in his new look Stock Hatch. Both of these we should see doing well over the course of the season. On the contrast there were a few broken cars coming back to Essex, the worst of these was Trevor Martin (C18E) in his class 7 who had a spectacular roll over in his second heat. Thankfully he was ok and hopefully will be back out again soon.  

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As I was busy taking the results for the Concord members, I didn’t take much else in from the rest of the racing, but one of the things that did stand out throughout the day was the Thorndyke brother’s battle. Both Ian (IK22) and Colin (IK2) have had success across the country with Ian being the 2016 Class 5 British Champion, and each having made it into the Nationals finals over the last 2 years, this shows how quick these two are. The race between these two that stood out for me was heat 1. During this race the brothers broke away from the rest of the grid and were locked in a battle between themselves. All I would say is don’t be surprised if you see them both in the top finals over the course of the season.

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Thank you to Andwag Photography for the use of their photos.

A big thank you to the Invicta Kent for a great day and for hosting the Concord Essex Club, we look forward to being back on 21st May.

Next stop for me will be Cambridge on 23rd April, this will be the next stop on the Concord Essex Club Championship. Fingers crossed for more weather like we have had this weekend.

BTCC R1 Brands Hatch

On Sunday I took the trip to Fawkham to attend the first weekend of the British Touring Car Championships at Brands Hatch. And what a way it was to kick of the championship, not only did the sun shine all day, there was exciting racing and three different winners.

It was thanks to Power Maxed Racing that I was attending this meeting. They hosted a great day for us, including an opportunity to go out on the grid before Race 2, more on that later.

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This is about the fifth time I have attended a BTCC meeting with Power Maxed, my very first one was back when they were only a driver sponsor. So ever since they became their own team I have been a supporter.  So to be there this weekend when they scored their first podium and to be the lead manufacturer after race 1 was brilliant, especially as they had two new drivers, one of which is a rookie and a new car. It is the Vauxhall Astra that Tom Chilton and Senna Proctor are racing this year.

So back to that grid walk. This is probably the best moment of the day. Before the second Touring Car race we got to go out onto the grid and once all the cars had lined up we could take a wonder round and have a closer look at the cars and see what steps the teams took prior to the race. The atmosphere on the grid was just electric and the buzz that it gives you is just brilliant.  

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The BTCC got off to a spectacular start with two of the early championship favourite’s, Colin Turkington and Matt Neal, colliding off of the start, causing a safety car to come out. The top three then finished with Tom Ingram taking the first win of the year ahead of Gordon Shedden and Adam Morgan.

The grid positions for the second race are based on the results from race 1, so it was going to not only be interesting to see if Ingram could repeat his race 1 success but to see how Turkington and Neal would fare as they would be starting at the back of the grid. The second race got off to just an exciting start, after an additional warm up lap due to Ingram having a technical fault, the race was then red flagged, the cause of which was that Jason Plato, another championship favourite, had a very heavy shunt into the pit wall. Once the race got going again we saw what we expected and that was for Turkington and Neal to work their way through the field, with Turkington making it into the top 10. Out front there was also a change of order, with Shedden taking the second win of the day ahead of Rob Collard and Ingram in second and third respectively.

For me though it was all about the last race of the day. For this race it is a reverse grid from the results of race 2, this meant that Tom Chilton started on pole on his first weekend back into the category. However a fast starting Andrew Jordan got ahead to take the lead going into the first bend, although Chilton didn’t fall far behind him. It was then Turkington that Chilton and Jordan needed to worry about, after starting ninth for the race he was making short work of gaining places and it wasn’t long before he was in third and closing the gap on the leading duo, and then this is where the excitement started. On the tail of Chilton, Turkington took his time to pick the right moment to pass, and then it was on to chase down Jordan. With only a couple of laps left to go Turkington was looking to make the move for the lead. Even going into the last bend of the last lap it looked possible for a change of lead, but it wasn’t to be. Jordan was the third different winner of the day, with Turkington second and Chilton holding onto third.

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There are number of different support categories, each of which provide great entertainment. The Porsche Carerra Cup GB was the first race of the day. A safety car on the first lap didn’t stop double champion Dan Cammish taking the win, which he would do again later in the day in race two. His closest competitor in the first race was Charlie Eastwood although not close enough to make a challenge. This was again the case in the second race, but this time out Eastwood had some competition for second place in the form of Dino Zamparelli. I’m looking forward to seeing how this develops in the championship.

The other support category that is a favourite of mine is the Renault UK Clio Cup. I have been following this category for a number of years from knowing people that work in a couple of the teams. However, I didn’t get to see this race in full, due to having to make it into the PMR garage at the same time. But I was pleased to see that after the weekend that WDE Motorsport are leading the Team championship.

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What else is there left to say, 5 days later and I’m still grinning after such a brilliant day. Hopefully I will get to go back for another round this year, but I will definitely be watching closely on how the most exciting circuit racing category pans out over the rest of the year.

My next stop will be back to Autograss, this time it will be a visit to the Invicta Kent club in Romney Marsh, where we will also be hosting Round 1 of the Concord Essex club championship.