A racing car is an animal with a thousand adjustments.
The month of May has produced some close racing across three different circuits. Silverstone, Mallory and Croft all took place in the late spring sunshine. Scroll down to see a selection of pictures from Croft, race reports, news and an SJN first!..
Mallory Park - 5 Formulae arrived at Mallory park as the 750 Motor Club returned their after missing last year. The Classic Stock Hatch saw Pip Hammond return in his Nova. He managed to qualify on pole by just 0.08 second. Sadly his engine expired the next lap which meant a day of sitting on the sidelines cheering on fellow PDC teammate Jason Wood who had his best qualifying to date finishing a fantastic 6th place. In the races it was Marcus Ward on fine form who completed the double in his Fiesta. Sports Specials qualifying was red flagged due to a horrible accident involving Clive Hudson who rolled numerous times in his Eclipse, thankfully he was ok apart from being battered and bruised, we send our best wishes to him..Martin Gambling and Rob Johnston shared the wins in the two races. Historic 750 Formula saw strong grid numbers again for their second rounds of the year. Wins went to Ben Myall after claiming double victory. 750 Formula saw Ed Pither claim pole by over a second. Race he won by over 10 seconds from Bill Cowley. Sadly race 2 was cancelled due to a few incidents in the Sports Specials and MR2 races. The MR2 Championship had another large entry of 35 cars which were split into groups for the races. Paul Cook won the first race of the day taking the lead on lap 11. Race two was red flagged from the off with a nasty start line incident taking out David Shead and Paul Cook. The shortened race was won by Tim Heron. Race 3 was a five lap sprint to the finish with Ben Rowe taking victory.
Croft - With 9 Formulae taking part across the two days, the spectators were to see a great variety of cars take part. The Allcomers race which allows any type of car to take part saw BMWs to Locost racers take part. The 20 minute race was dominated by the two radicals with Doug Carter coming out on top by 0.25 seconds! A brief red flag half way through to recover the Porsche of Alasdair Gauld meant a 10 minute dash to the finish. In the Hot Hatch, Class A was dominated in both races by Ben Rushworth making up for the car woes he had at Brands Hatch. Alistair Camp was all set for two second places but his Fiesta broke down in the second race. In class B Rodren Vella comfortably won both race fighting it out with the class A racers. In class C Micheal Winkworth done the double and finished in the top 10 overall in the second race. The BMW M3 cup and 330 challenge saw Paul Cook take double victory for the first time, with Tom Coller second in race 1 and Simon Walker – Hansell taking second in race 2. The 330 Challenge saw Darren Ball complete double victory. Locost racers had a busy weekend with 3 races. In a tight championship were slipstreaming is key, Mark Burton timed his 3 races to perfection taking treble victory. This is something that is very difficult to do and all three races were won in a different way with different strategies. RGB had a mixed grid in the first race due to various penalties from Brands Hatch. Soon the normal order was restored with Billy Albone taking double victory. Mittell Cars had a good weekend with Chippy and Paul Smith finishing 2nd and 3rd in race 1 and Paul finishing 2nd in race 2. Formula Vee was a tight contest with Craig Pollard coming out on top in both races. With former champion Daniel Hands finishing 2nd in the first race. James Harridge won class B and finished 2nd overall in the 2nd race of the weekend. The BMW Car Club enjoyed strong entries for the third round of their season. Michael Cutt won ahead of Kirk Armitage in race 1, Lee Deegan won the 6 class in both races. Kirk went on to win the second race from Richard Marsh. MX-5 Cup had a triple header with Ben Short taking all three victories across the weekend. The Roadsports mini endurance series saw a variety of cars take part across the 45 minutes. Andy Ebdon in his Caterham won overall and class A, five seconds behind him was Imran Khan in his BMW E36 class B car. Class C victory went to Sam Smith in his Mazda MX5.
Driver(s) Of The Month - Mark Burton & Marcus Ward
In an SJN first for driver of the month we have our first double winners of the award!
It was really difficult to choose just one driver as May had some marvellous racing. This is Mark's second award after winning driver of the month for April. Marcus won driver of the month last July, this is also his second award.
Mark Burton - well what can we say! Mark arrived at Croft leading the championship after a successful Castle Combe and Brands Hatch. Testing was held in wet conditions which proved tricky to find a nice balance. Qualifying was always going to be tricky, Mark qualified in 4th. Race one was a waiting game, Mark timed his move to perfection staying with the leading duo he slipstreamed past them and on the final lap he crossed the line in 1st. Race 2 Mark tried to make a break, Martin West and Mark exchanged places until Mark managed to break away for his 2nd win. Race 3 again Mark led for most of the race until 'Slippy' Ian made a comeback from a poor start and took the lead on the penultimate lap. Mark made his move at 'Sunny In' regaining the lead, they ran side by side for a while with Mark coming out on top to take the treble! This is amazing in Locost racing as it's very difficult to break the tow. Congratulations Mark for winning driver of the month again...
Marcus Ward - After a difficult Brands Hatch meeting, Marcus Ward looked to make amends at Mallory. In his own words he "had a word with his motor" and gave it some TLC. Well it certainly worked! Qualifying 4th but starting 3rd due to Pip Hammonds engine expiring. Race 1 and Marcus led from the start leading every single lap of the race and claiming the fastest lap. He went on to win by 3.37 seconds. Race 2 wasn't as straight forward. Reigning champion Lee Scott led off the line and held a slim gap to Marcus. A red flag caused a 5 lap restart this was his chance, Marcus got the jump and led for the second half the race crossing the line just 0.73 seconds ahead of Lee. He also added another fastest lap. Congratulations Marcus!
Meet The Driver - Ben Rushworth
Ben Rushworth - Hot Hatch Driver in his Honda Integra DC2.. We put 10 questions to Ben about his racing career...
1. When did you start racing and where? - My first moment piloting anything was in a Kart, and I spent a long time lapping a desolate circuit in the armpit of the Hong Kong Countryside. I did a small amount of kart racing when I was a teenager in China, scrapping around on old tyres, a chassis nobody had ever heard of and just enjoying myself. I was lucky enough to do so in part of the world where motorsport was not easy to get into unless your wallet doth overspillith! I didnt get my ARDS licence in the UK until 2012 where a best mate persuaded me to do so, stuck me in his historic FIA MGB and sent me out to race the best guys in the MGB world with the MGB 50th anniversary series. We got pole, but it wasn't until my second race I got a win. I went on another hiatus until 2014 where I did my first full season in the MG Metro Cup, and came second 2 years in a row until I won it in 2016.
2. What is your favourite race circuit? - I don't really have a favourite circuit, more favourite corners. Surtees/clearways at brands, Tower at Combe, Maggots/Becketts at Silverstone, piff/paff at Rockingham, the chicane at Croft. Anything that really requires a step up and commitment to carry a few mph extra through compared to other drivers.
3. Do you have any pre race superstitions? - No, I'm usually late to every session, so I don't have time to plan anything like that. I give my missus and little boy a kiss before I head out, but thats it.
4. Did you ever imagine your Vlogs would be so popular? - Are they? haha. No, I started doing them as I thought they would bring a unique addition or perspective to club racing. You have to keep peoples eyes on you to attract sponsors and provide some sort of value to them. I needed to differentiate myself from other drivers
5. Sum up your 2017 season in 5 words? - To quote the fast and the furious....Dude, I almost had you.
For the full interview check out the link below! I need a driver for the next newsletter.. If you would like to be featured get in touch or nominate a driver you would like to know more about..
Macaw Motorsport had a testing weekend at Croft. Rob's car was all repaired from the Brands incident and testing went well. In qualifying he suffered with rear locking but still managed to claim his first class C pole by over half a second! Race one the rear locking still caused Rob issues including losing the rear and dropping back. Fighting his way back up to the 3rd, the car stopped four corners from the end with a loose connections. Race 2 and Rob was hoping his luck would change, by the end of the first lap after a great start Rob was battling for 3rd getting past Tony Hobbs. On the 2nd lap and closing in rapidly on William Hornsey, Hornsey broke a lot earlier then Rob expected sadly crashing into the back of him and ending both their races. We are hoping Robs luck will change as the pace is definitely there and he deserves some good results. Next up for the MACAW boys is Pembrey at the end of the month.
Jason Wood - Mallory park proved a great weekend for PDC racing driver Jason Wood, after improving on his results last year and gaining confidence, Jason had his best qualifying, lining up in 6th place. In race 1 a slight off track moment meant a fight back up the field eventually finishing 12th. In race two however Jason held on to 8th place his best finish to date. Next up for Jason is Pembrey..
James Cater - After having troubles at Brands, James arrived at Croft hoping the engine would hold. In race 1 James had a great battle, the lack of power hindered his progress finishing 16th. In race 2 Glenn managed to find some more horsepower and James drove the wheels of his Vee! Having to fend off Bill Garner and Jamie Harrison he finished a fantastic 10th overall and 3rd in class!