TOCA supports in action at Thruxton as historics hit the track for Gold Cup
TOCA supports were in action last weekend at Thruxton, where there were plenty of thrills and spills as Theo Edgerton wrapped up the Porsche Sprint Challenge GB title. And at Oulton Park, an eclectic mix of historic cars hit the track for the popular Gold Cup meeting
The Fortec squad may have endured the disappointment of championship contender James Hedley jumping ship to Carlin, but its two remaining drivers, Oliver Gray and Joel Granfors, showed their own British Formula 4 title-fighting credentials as they sealed their maiden wins in a Thruxton team treble.
The success started with Gray snaring a narrow double pole in qualifying over Matias Zagazeta – the Argenti driver being another to have crept into the title picture in recent events. But Gray’s advantage did not last long as Zagazeta powered past on the opening tour before a safety car – with Hedley crashing trying to avoid a spinning Joseph Loake at the Club chicane – halted their battle.
Gray did not let Zagazeta escape on the restart and, with three laps to go, dived down the inside of the chicane but the Peruvian cut the corner, flying over the kerbing to stay ahead. Gray regrouped and retook the lead at Allard at the start of the penultimate tour but that meant it was Zagazeta on a charge into Club for the final time. He tried around the outside, cut the corner again and got to the flag first. Unsurprisingly, the positions were later swapped, with Abbi Pulling third.
Gray did not have to wait long for his second win with his race-three triumph coming under very different circumstances. He led the finale throughout but had to first fend off Pulling and then Granfors to take a hard-fought victory. Granfors attacked into Club on the last lap but succeeded in just cutting the corner, being launched airborne and dropping behind Zagazeta.
Pulling slipped down the order and then sent Zak Taylor rolling at the Complex, but she came close to a maiden win in the reversed-grid second race.
Granfors snuck ahead as Pulling lost time tussling Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak, before she desperately sought to get ahead of the Swede. She grabbed the advantage at Village, but that only lasted until the chicane, where Granfors tried a move, the pair made contact and Pulling was sent spinning. That allowed Granfors to win from David Morales and Hedley had something to celebrate with third.
But it was his former team-mates who stole a march, each closing to within 50 points of the summit as leader Matthew Rees only managed a best result of fifth.
Theo Edgerton, Porsche Sprint Challenge GB, Thruxton 2021
Photo by: Porsche
Theo Edgerton secured the Porsche Sprint Challenge GB title with a round to spare thanks to a double win at Thruxton. The Worcester teenager may have lost out on pole to main rival Jack Bartholomew, but kept his head when it mattered.
The duo went shoulder to shoulder into the Complex at the start of race one before Edgerton made his move stick around the outside and, from then, former Lamborghini Super Trofeo driver Bartholomew kept the Total Control Racing ace under fierce pressure. In company with the rest of the field, they both got increasingly lairy as their tyres faded and, when Edgerton went wide into the chicane with three laps to go, it appeared to give Bartholomew a chance.
On the penultimate lap Bartholomew ran wide at Noble, and then disaster struck when he lost it out of the chicane and spun heavily backwards into the wall. That promoted Charles Clark, who had kept the leading pair in sight, to second, with Matthew Armstrong a distant third.
Bartholomew was absent from the second race, and Edgerton dominated to clinch the crown. A blistering start from Alex Malykhin rocketed him into second from the third row, but he ran wide out of the chicane at the end of a lengthy safety car period, and Armstrong moved into second.
Malykhin then focused on defending from Clark, recovering from a slow start. When they clashed at the chicane with four laps to go, that allowed the guesting Tim Harvey to complete the podium from Clark.
Louie Capozzoli, Mini Challenge Trophy, Thruxton 2021
Photo by: Jakob Ebrey
Whether of the modern or the classic variety, Minis often provide fantastic action at Thruxton and that proved to be the case again with the Mini Challenge Trophy, the lead changing virtually every lap.
Charlie Mann, Dominic Wheatley and Louie Capozzoli all had spells in front of the opener but it was Capozzoli who took his maiden win after grabbing the advantage approaching the chicane for the final time. However, it all ended in tears behind. Wheatley was collected and Lewis Saunders and Lee Pearce were caught up in the chaos. Alfie Glenie was second across the line but was given a five-second penalty for also colliding with Wheatley, promoting Nelson King and reigning champion Harry Nunn.
Capozzoli then doubled-up after another slipstreaming classic in race two, grabbing the advantage into the chicane on the final racing lap as the contest ended behind the safety car when Glenie clattered the Club kerbs and went straight into the barriers.
The finale also ended prematurely as, for the second year in succession, Clark Wells had a massive Thruxton crash. This time it was exiting Church, smashing into the barriers after contact. Pearce led throughout with the battle raging behind, King and Alex Jay being ahead when it mattered.
Adam Smalley, Ginetta GT4 Supercup, Thruxton 2021
Photo by: Jakob Ebrey
Thruxton proved to be a happy hunting ground for Adam Smalley in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup as he retook the points lead after a near-perfect weekend.
The first two races could not have gone much better for Elite Motorsport driver Smalley, as he won both and key rival Tom Hibbert could only take fourth each time. Josh Rattican shadowed team-mate Smalley throughout both contests, and got especially close in the second, until running wide late on.
It was James Blake-Baldwin who was happiest after the partially reversed-grid finale as he claimed his maiden series win. He passed polesitter Joe Marshall exiting Church on the fourth lap and did not look back, building a 9s advantage. And it was Smalley who finished as his closest rival, having benefited from a chaotic first run through the Complex.
Rattican tagged Hibbert, which sent him spinning and Luke Reade got caught up in the melee. Carlito Miracco then broke his suspension after hitting Blake-Baldwin, leaving Smalley third.
He did get demoted by a charging Blake Angliss but Smalley regained that place when Angliss spun at Club, before then passing Marshall to grab second. Hibbert kept going to take ninth in class but it was not enough to prevent Smalley snatching a 12-point advantage.
Robert de Haan, Ginetta Junior, Thruxton 2021
Photo by: Jakob Ebrey
The Ginetta Junior formbook was once again turned on its head at Thruxton as scholar Robert de Haan won twice in a thrilling weekend of racing.
It was established frontrunner Callum Voisin who initially led the way in the opener before Elite Motorsport racer Will Jenkins seized the lead with a brilliant move around the outside ofthe Club chicane. His time at the head of the field was brief, however, as Voisin was back ahead on the next lap before storming Richardson Racing driver de Haan picked off Jenkins and Voisin on successive tours and then defended his advantage impressively to the flag.
Voisin dropped back after tangling with Josh Rowledge at the chicane, for which he was then penalised down to 22nd, while Jenkins repassed Liam McNeilly on the final lap to seal second. Voisin only qualified seventh for the second contest but was soon on a charge and worked his way past long-time leader Jenkins on lap eight of 12 at Allard. More and more cars were joining the queue and, at one point, the top 10 ran line astern.
But, as the battling intensified in the final stages, Voisin was able to make a slight break to take the win. Jenkins retook second at Goodwood on the final lap but he was later handed a 10-second false-start penalty that relegated him to 17th and meant Seb Hopkins and Aston Millar completed the rostrum.
Voisin was also initially penalised, like half of the grid, for cutting the chicane but R Racing was able to appeal this and keep Voisin’s seventh win of the season, which means he and brother Bailey – a title contender last year – have now become the most successful siblings in the category’s history.
Voisin was again in the thick of the action in the finale and built a significant lead on the first lap only to be left frustrated as the safety car was deployed and he instantly had the chasing pack on his tail again. And they pounced on the restart, with de Haan’s move at Noble in turn dropping Voisin back to fourth.
Voisin fought back with a superb double pass at the Complex – he usurped Hopkins on the outside before then diving up the inside of McNeilly – to grab second. He and Hopkins then squabbled frantically over the place for the rest of the race, helping de Haan to maintain the lead to grab his second win. Elsewhere, after his four podiums at Knockhill, just the one at Thruxton was still enough for Millar to extend his lead to eight points at the head of the table.
HSCC Oulton Park: F2 Gold Cup glory for Watts
Matthew Watts (March-BMW 782), Oulton Park Gold Cup 2021
Photo by: Steve Jones
“It was all about patience,” said Matthew Watts calmly, having screamed his stunning March-BMW 782 to victory in Monday’s Oulton Park Gold Cup title decider as glorious Formula 2 cars returned to the wonderful Cheshire venue where works March drivers Niki Lauda and Ronnie Peterson won in 1972.
Andy Smith had aced Sunday’s opening leg – red flagged almost immediately when a brush of wheels between Mark Dwyer (BDG 742) and Rob Wheldon (BMW 762) left both Marches stranded with front punctures – by 4.955 seconds from Miles Griffiths (Ralt-BDG RT1), and was therefore a strong favourite for the aggregate result.
Griffiths staved Smith off until Miles’s engine cut at the Britten’s chicane on lap six of 16 in race two. As his hand went up, Smith couldn’t avoid tagging the Ralt’s rear wheel and exhaust. Watts and Dwyer raced past as Smith resumed, with scuffed nose rubbing on his left-front wheel, side-mounted radiators fortunately unaffected.
“It understeered a lot after that,” said Smith, but carrying a 10.980s cushion over Watts – third on Sunday – he pressed on until “a catastrophic engine failure, with no warning”, again at Britten’s. Watts’s pursuer Dwyer’s motor then began smoking – “I did miss a gear” – and blew at the same spot. Wheldon charged to second, but a track limits penalty dropped him behind Callum Grant (March 79B) and James Murray (ex-Peter Gethin Chevron-BDG B25).
Dwyer’s consolation was a pair of Aurora wins, over Geoff Lees Trophy victors Sam Harrison (Dallara 389) and Rory Smith (Ralt RT4), respectively, while Andy Smith’s March 783 Classic F3 double was impressive as ever.
Mancunian Tom McArthur’s finely crafted Historic Formula Ford 1600 victories in the Hadfield Motorsport Titan sealed the inaugural Paul Simms Memorial Trophy on aggregate. Triple champion Benn Simms, Paul’s son, presented the beautiful piece of silverware after all 24 starters finished!
With a 12s cushion from the opener, in which the scrap between Horatio Fitz-Simon and disgruntled double champion Callum Grant was rather too brutal at times, the 2019 Northern FF1600 champion could have watched them from a safe distance. Not a bit of it. McArthur wanted to win from the front and repassed Grant to ace a stunner in which 0.307s split the trio, clear of Sam Harrison and Danny Stanzl.
Graham Fennymore (Reynard SF81), Oulton Park Gold Cup 2021
Photo by: Steve Jones
Straightforward wins for Graham Fennymore in Monday’s Historic FF2000 races – the first restarted after a four-car start shunt – added another title to his CV. With Benn Simms and Lee Bankhurst parked, Drew Cameron (Royale RP27) landed a popular second from multiple champ Andy Park. Ian Foley was fourth, hounded by Molly Dodd, who qualified ninth but got away almost last when first gear popped out at the lights. Park was closer to Fennymore in race two, when Dodd harassed Cameron, before 2014 champion Simms stole third from under their noses.
Multiple Monoposto title winner Jeremey Timms left 1000cc Historic F3 rivals gasping in his Chevron B15. In Sunday’s super clean scrap for the minor places, Ian Bankhurst (Alexis Mk8) pipped Simon Armer (March 703) and enthusiastic Swiss visitor Christoph Widmer (Brabham BT18A). Monday’s repeat performance lost Armer mid-race, enabling serial spinner Paul Waine (de Sanctis) to retrieve fourth.
Undeterred by dropping his ex-Drs Peter Taggart/Tony Goodwin Chevron B6 at Cascades and grazing its tail against the barrier in qualifying, Andy Newall made it four from four in his Guards Trophy campaign. Having shot past Westie Mitchell’s B8 and Ben Tusting’s Lenham to lead, soloist Newall sparred with Tusting, indeed was happy to let him make the running, knowing father Rob on anchor leg wasn’t quite as quick – he later slipped to fifth. Ben Mitchell was another matter. He took over the ex-Nikolaus Killenberg B8 26s behind, but slashed his deficit to nine.
Arborist Clive Richards topped the Historic Formula Junior tree, the Caterham ace winning both races imperiously in his Lotus 22. Nick Fennell (27) and Adrian Russell (22) completed a marque 1-2-3 first time out after Mark Shaw (ex-Denny Hulme Brabham BT6) rotated on oil and pitted.
The Scot finished second in the sequel following a tussle with Fennell, who retired. Newcomer Stuart Jones (20/22) grabbed third. Championship favourite Nic Carlton-Smith (Kieft) extended his unbeaten Class C2 run, battling back past Keith Pickering (Britannia) in Sunday’s finale.
Grunt over agility decided Historic Road Sports, Kevin Kivlochan (AC Cobra) trumping John Davison (Lotus Elan), still unbeaten in class. Rupert Ashdown (Elan) sat third throughout but, having forged his Morgan +8 up to fourth, John Shaw spun out at Knickerbrook, promoting Jonathan Stringer (Lotus 7 S2).
Andy Newall (Chevron-BMW B6), Oulton Park Gold Cup 2021
Photo by: Steve Jones
The 70s equivalent began with Will Plant’s al fresco Morgan clear of Kivlochan’s hard-topped version and championship leader Jim Dean’s Lotus Europa before a safety car. ‘Keki’ lost his brakes at Old Hall thereafter and signalled retirement. Charles Barter (Datsun 240Z) swerved to avoid him, speared across the Cascades greensward and collected Dave Karaskas’s TVR 3000M. Dave Tomkinson (TVR Vixen) and Gary ‘Elio’ Thomas (Lotus 7 S4) squabbled over Class D until Tomkinson broke.
Jordan Harrison earned a Classic FF1600 double, but from a separate grid Heritage winner Rory Smith (Medina) finished on his tail first time out. Parky Parkington survived a five-way fight to finish a distant second in the pre-1982 bout. After launching Rick Morris at Druids, Jake Shortland retrieved third on the line from Joseph Ahrens (RF80).
New Zealander Warren Briggs (Ford Mustang) just repelled Neil Wood’s pristine 1500cc Ford Anglia 105E in the Historic Touring Car opener. Contact between points leader Mike Gardiner and Michael Cullen put both out. Graham Pattle (Cortina) and Wood beat Briggs to Old Hall in race two, but power prevailed. Wood kept second as Canadian Pete Hallford (Mustang) bustled through to third, with Cullen in his mirrors.
Simon Garrad (Nissan Skyline) and Ric Wood (ex-Garth Tander Holden Commodore) won thin Dunlop Saloon Car Cup races. Dave Coyne (in Mark Wright’s) and David Tomlin’s Ford Sierra RS500 third place battle in the opener ended when Tomlin’s new clutch failed dramatically.
Reports by Stephen Lickorish, Marcus Simmons and Marcus Pye. Pictures by Jakob Ebrey/Motorsport Images and Steve Jones. Want more reports from the world of national motorsport? Subscribe to Autosport magazine to never miss your weekly fix of motorsport
Warren Briggs (Ford Mustang), Oulton Park Gold Cup 2021
Photo by: Steve Jones
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