Drama in British GP Historic supports as heatwave hits national meetings
There was late drama in the Masters Historic GT support races at the British GP last weekend, as leaders Julian Thomas and Andrew Jordan came together on the final lap. Elsewhere, crowds enjoyed plenty of track action at Snetterton and Donington Park as well as sunshine off it.
Julian Thomas came within a couple of corners of a double win in the Masters Historic GT support races at the British Grand Prix, his Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe triumphing easily in race one but having a much tougher time in race two.
In both, he was bettered off the line by 2013 British Touring Car champion Andrew Jordan (AC Cobra Daytona Coupe) but, while Thomas grabbed the lead on lap two in the opener, he couldn’t unseat Jordan as easily on Sunday morning. Jordan was on the limit in his defence, the snaking Cobra’s tail wagging as he tried his hardest to keep Thomas’ car at bay.
Running wide at Abbey gave Thomas a chance to challenge on lap five of 12, but Jordan hung on, as he did a lap later when Thomas moved ahead at Abbey before the ex-BTCC driver changed lines and retook the lead at Village. Thomas finally went ahead at Aintree but Jordan never gave up and made a huge dive up the inside at Stowe on the last tour.
Julian Thomas and Andrew Jordan spin at Stowe, Silverstone British GP supports 2021
Photo by: Motorsport Images
As he tried to slow the car, Thomas took the apex and contact sent him wide and Jordan spinning. Through the drama came James Cottingham (Shelby Cobra) to take the win, having been third on Saturday, while the TVR Grififths of John Davison and John Spiers, who had battled behind, were ultimately elevated to second and third.
Eddie Powell (Lotus Elan) produced a great drive to take 10th in race two from the rear of the grid after a carburettor fire, while Jeremy Welch (Austin Healey 3000M) bagged a brace of class wins.
Other drives of note included Chris Lillingston-Price (Jaguar E-type) who recovered from a spin in race two to take 13th and Roy Alderslade (Daytona Cobra Coupe) who yo-yoed through the order in race one, coping with a flapping driver’s door and a spin at Copse to end up 10th.
Snetterton 750MC: Roots digs deep to share Sports 1000 victories with Yarrow
Ryan Yarrow (Spire GT3S), Sports 1000, Snetterton 2021
Photo by: Richard Styles
The 750 Motor Club’s first Snetterton visit of 2021 provided numerous nailbiting finishes, while a heatwave amounted to incredibly tough conditions for drivers across all classes.
The Sports 1000 races were impressive, with the usual battle between Mittell and Spire chassis taking place at the sharp end. Ryan Yarrow in his Spire GT3S and the Mittell MC-53s of Michael Roots and Victor Neumann were the three main protagonists fighting for victory.
Yarrow came out on top in the first encounter, after a race-long pursuit of Neumann finally paid dividends on the penultimate lap, courtesy of a poor run for the Frenchman out of Oggies. Roots finished third, over six seconds back from the top two, but come the second encounter he was firmly in the fray. He eventually claimed the win after several lead changes forced by the slipstream down the Bentley Straight.
“It reminded me of my time in go-karts,” remarked Roots, praising the close racing, which did feature some slight contact between himself and Yarrow, who received a 5s penalty post-race for a track-limits infringement.
Three spectacular Locost races featured the slipstream battles typical of the category’s Snetterton appearances, the order invariably changing on each run down the Bentley Straight. Race one had to be restarted owing to a red flag, after oil was laid on the track and several cars had incidents. Martin West fought with Craig Land on the restart, with West taking victory by a mere 0.08s. Land got the upper hand in race two but, once again, it went to the wire, with West and Andrew Tait crossing the line within 0.1s of stealing victory away. The top five was completed by Simon Walker-Hansell and Paul Clark, who both took the flag within 1s of Land.
John Munro (Lotuse Elise S2), Roadsports, Snetterton 2021
Photo by: Richard Styles
Yet, somehow, this wasn’t to be the closest finish of the weekend, as race three featured a seven-car scrap for the lead. The battle was not incident-free: Tait and Walker-Hansell collided at Riches and dropped out of the leading pack, although both still took the flag within the top 10. The victory was determined by a drag race once more and, this time, Land was judged to have won by just 0.01s over West.
John Munro claimed overall victory in Saturday’s Roadsports race, on his debut in Class A driving the Lotus Elise usually piloted by Alan Henderson. The Scottish racer was untroubled throughout the 45-minute contest, quickly building an advantage that he maintained and gradually extended across the early stages. His win was aided by a mid-race safety car that picked up the second-placed car rather than himself, granting him the best part of a lap as a cushion for the closing stages.
That same Elise would also perform extremely well the following day during the two-hour Club Enduro race, this time back in the hands of Henderson. After taking an early lead, Henderson steadily pulled clear of the pack prior to a safety car just before the halfway point, which triggered the majority of the field to serve their mandatory stop.
After Henderson’s out-lap, the SEAT Leon Eurocup of Rob Baker was suddenly in his mirrors; a brief misfire and a battle with the master switch for Henderson had delayed the Elise driver. Henderson soon built the gap back out to over a dozen seconds, before pace seemingly started to elude him once more in the final quarter of an hour.
The gap between Henderson and Baker, who was sharing with Carl Swift, continued to shrink before the SEAT driver finally took the lead with just three laps remaining. Andy Schulz finished third in the BMW shared with Matthew Hampson, after a storming drive necessitated by a pitstop that came just moments before the safety car intervention.
Rob Baker/Carl Swift (SEAT Leon Eurocup), Club Enduro, Snetterton 2021
Photo by: Richard Styles
The Armed Forces Race Challenge included two impressive displays from guest driver Paul Cook. After a dominant first race, where he finished with a winning margin of 47s in his BMW E46 M3, Cook followed through on a joking remark made during his post-race interview for the PA system and started from the pits for race two. Despite this handicap, Cook stormed through the 34-car grid to win once more, this time by 18s.
Tensions arose in the Formula Vee races as James Harridge and Craig Pollard had a superb battle in the opener. Reigning champion Harridge took top spot in his Maverick, while the often impressive Daniel Hands retired after just three laps.
AHS Dominator driver Hands saw the chequered flag first in race two, in which the on-track action proved to be physical. Pollard found himself out of the race after a touch with Harridge on the run to Riches. Then, as Hands and Harridge ran through Brundle and Nelson, contact put Harridge off onto the grass. Hands crossed the line to win, with Harridge recovering to second. While both were summoned to the clerk of the course, each was judged to be at fault. Therefore, the result was unchanged.
Adam Shepherd took two dominant victories in the Type R Trophy, in spite of a car that understeered too much for his liking in race one. The crew made changes for the second bout, which seemingly bolstered the ex-Ginetta racer’s already impressive exploits against fellow title contender Lee Deegan and the chasing pack.
James Coleman took his first win of the year in the Campaign Against Living Miserably All Porsche Trophy, while Richard Prior was in a class of his own in his JGS in Historic 750 Formula. After a stellar run in qualifying and the scratch race, he admitted he had failed to recall that the second encounter would be a handicap affair. Gerry Fincham exceeded expectations in the handicap to win by 7s.
The Alfa Romeos had a first race run almost entirely under a safety car, after Gethin Llewellyn and Andrew Bourke had a big collision at Agostini. Thankfully, both drivers walked away despite their cars looking very second hand. Barry McMahon’s 156 took two easy victories in the races for the Italian machines.
Donington Park MGCC: Kirkpatrick’s winning run finally comes to an end
Sam Kirkpatrick (ZR 190), MG Trophy, Donington Park 2021
Photo by: Mick Walker
The MG Trophy has followed a pattern this season: two young guns, Sam Kirkpatrick and Fred Burgess, battling over first, with Kirkpatrick prevailing. The 20-year-old had won six from six before the baking-hot Donington Park meeting last weekend and, in the opener, he made it seven.
Burgess, true to form, was attacking Kirkpatrick throughout, and he reckoned he could have made a move had the race not ended early with a red flag after a spectacular clash between Paul Savage and Josh Bacon.
Race two was a similar tale, but this time it had a last-lap twist.
Burgess looked stronger throughout than Kirkpatrick out of Old Hairpin and, on the final tour, he got alongside. They touched and an unhappy Burgess spun, dropping to ninth, while Kirkpatrick was first home to seemingly claim win number eight. But he was docked five seconds for an unsafe track rejoin amid the frolics, meaning he was demoted to third, with Doug Cole declared the winner.
“The tow is pretty massive up the hill [out of Old Hairpin] and, on the last lap, he [Burgess] tried to go round the outside and I’d lost my mirror, I didn’t know where he was, and we touched,” said Kirkpatrick. “It’s been a really close fight all year with Fred – I just managed to get out on top.”
Burgess stated: “He’s just run me off the road. I was quite clearly the quickest car [in the race]. I would have taken the lead with two corners to go. He knew I was there. He came and apologised to me in assembly so I think he probably feels like he’s got a little bit of blame.”
Richard Buckley (Rover 220 Tomcat Turbo), MG Cup & Metro Cup, Donington Park 2021
Photo by: Mick Walker
The MG Cup’s frontrunning fight in 2021 has similarly been a tale of two drivers, with the names changed to Mike Williams in his Rover Metro and Morgan Short in his MG ZS 180. Short was unable to take part at Donington as his rebuilt engine overheated in Friday testing, but this did not leave Williams on easy street.
Champion Richard Buckley is back this year in his frontrunning Rover 220 Tomcat Turbo, and in both races he relegated Williams to second, the runner-up lamenting that he couldn’t compete with the Tomcat on Donington’s two straights. Mark Eales meanwhile claimed two wins in the Metro Cup – which shared a grid with the MG Cup – to make it four victories in a row after a nightmarish Brands Hatch season opener.
Midget & Sprite Challenge frontrunner David Morrison made his first appearance of the season, while 2018 champion Steve Collier was a surprise eleventh-hour returnee as the pair checked out at the front and shared the wins. Morrison held Collier off in race one, before Collier made his move on Morrison for first at Coppice at half distance in race two and then built a three-second lead.
Ollie Neaves continued his BCV8 championship domination, bagging two more wins even though he wasn’t happy with his MGB’s handling. He had a close battle with Neil Fowler in race one, passing him early on, while Neaves won the second bout by over half a minute.
The Cockshoot Cup also had a double winner, albeit a much less likely one in Karl Green, who took his first two wins in the category. Ray Collier, who’d won four from four heading in to the event, had to make do with a second and third.
Richard Wilson (Maserati 250S), Donington Park 2021
Photo by: Mick Walker
Tom Hardman in his MG Bellevue Special won the first pre-war Triple M contest, while his closest chaser Harry Painter had a spectacular Redgate exit when his left-front stub axle broke. Hardman had to depart the meeting before race two, and Painter’s father Mike took victory in his Kayne special.
Bernardo Hartogs in a Lotus 15 and Richard Wilson in a Maserati 250S won Equipe’s three-hour relay, benefiting from lengthy and consistent stints. Power beat handling in the first of Equipe’s 40-minute races, with Jamie Boot’s TVR Griffith getting the better of Jon Harmer’s Lotus Elan 26R. Harmer then dropped out late on with a plug lead problem. Cliff Gray and Will Nuthall later restored Elan honour by winning the second encounter, passing Boot in the closing stages.
Bill Lancashire won the opening Morgan race, then his son Howard took over for race two and, after starting from the back due to qualifying out of session, he powered through to finish second behind comfortable victor Oliver Pratt.
Reports by Mike Holder, Adam Weller and Graham Keilloh. Photography by Motorsport Images, Richard Styles and Mick Walker.
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Stephen Collier (MG Midget), Donington Park 2021
Photo by: Mick Walker
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