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Donington Race Reports - by Joshua Barrett

Tue 24 Sep 2013

Classic Stock Hatch

The Classic Stock Hatch Championship produced questionably the most exciting racing of the weekend at Donington Park with multiple place changing in the leading pack.

Dan Gibson took his first pole position and converted that into an early race lead in the first race of the weekend from Paul Thorpe and championship leader Lee Scott. Thorpe managed to find his way ahead of Gibson on the fourth lap of the race with Scott following him through. The lead didn’t last long, however, as Scott passed Thorpe too.

Light contact was made between Thorpe and the charging Damian Cottrell, who was driving Richard Herbert’s car, which caused Cottrell to retire from the race with a puncture. Meanwhile, Martin Cayzer had joined the battle for the lead.

Four cars battled for the lead on the final lap. Thorpe, who started the lap in fourth, passed both Gibson and Cayzer heading through McLean’s. Cayzer had a spin which dropped him back into ninth place. The leaders came upon a spinning John Hill into the final chicane which Scott managed to narrowly miss to take another win, however Thorpe found himself nowhere to go and badly damaged to Ford Fiesta XR2i.  This allowed Gibson to finish in second with Andy Philpotts in third.

Mervyn Beckett had his first pole position in the second race of the weekend but it was Philpotts who lead the early stages of what was to become a thrilling race with seven cars battling for the lead. Philpotts dropped back to tenth place with a mechanical issue and the ever improving Ryan Lowry had to retire with bent valves after changing into the wrong gear.

Gibson led the way until the penultimate lap when Cottrell, who started fourteenth, took the lead which he wouldn’t lose. The squabble for second was decided at the chicane on the final lap which saw Scott come out on top, which gave him the 2013 title. Cayzer finished in third ahead of Beckett and Gibson.


Stock Hatch

A strong start from pole man Shayne Deegan allowed him to take a lights-to-flag victory in race one even with a broken driveshaft on the final lap of the race. Shayne’s brother Lee finished in second place ahead of Tom Bell. Andrew Tibbs, who returned to the series, finished fourth. Tibbs battled with Patrick Fletcher, Jake Farndon and Nathan Saunders who all retired with separate mechanical issues. Phil Wright came home in fifth and won the battle of the race, although he pulled away before the end of the race from Steve Powlesland, Scott Sharp and Paul Jarvis.

The most competitive Clio 182 series race to date also took place with Matt Fincham, Martin Ward and Ben Seybold all battling for honours. Seybold came out on top after passing Fincham on the final lap and Ward fell back after a mistake.

Bell won a furious battle in the second race of the weekend and with the victory, he took the 2013 Championship. In the early stages of the race Bell battle with Fletcher and Saunders after Shayne Deegan had a trip through the Old Hairpin gravel trap. With Fletcher and Bell trading places it allowed Lee Deegan, Jarvis and eventually Shayne Deegan back into the leading battle.

Bell took the victory ahead of Saunders and a delighted Jarvis who scored his first podium. Shayne finished in fourth ahead of his brother who had a gearbox issue. Early leader Fletcher had another car issue which dropped him down to eighth.

Seybold took his fourth Clio victory this year after early leader Fincham ended the race with a mechanical issue. Bill Gregory finished in second ahead of Ward.


Locost

With forty-six entries for Locost it meant that a group system would have to be used and therefore three races over the weekend with each driver competing in two.

Lee Bankhurst drove a dominative first race which saw him pull out an eleven second victory by the time the chequered flag flew. Richard Bradley scored his first podium of the season in second place ahead of Danny Andrew who started back in twelfth place. Anthony May had one of his best performances finishing in fourth place ahead of Richard Jenkins who is challenging for the title.

The second race of the weekend saw a trio of cars battling for the victory. Matt Cherrington took the victory after playing a tactical race and taking the lead at the chicane of the final lap. However, Alastair Garratt tried to draw alongside him and only lost by 0.02 seconds. Sian Stafford-Atkinson finished in third after dropping away from the two leaders in the final stages.  Bradley finished in fourth after a poor start. Paul Bryant beat Steve Wells in a titanic race long battle for fifth place which involved five cars.

The final race of the weekend was the most entertaining for the race lead as four cars battled throughout the race for the victory. Bankhurst was the driver who took the victory, his fourth in succession, after making a gap on the final lap which meant he didn’t come under fire at the chicane. Garratt clinched another second place, this time beating Cherrington with Jenkins in fourth.

Despite a better weekend, Garratt will battle for the title at Cadwell Park against Jenkins. Bankhurst also has a slim chance of winning the competitive championship.


Formula Vee

Donington Park hosted the final two rounds of the Formula Vee Championship with Paul Smith the favourite to clinch the title.

Smith took the early advantage in race one; however he was being hunted down by both Martin Farmer and Graham Gant. Farmer took the lead on the third lap of the race and soon saw Smith falling away in his mirrors. This was because Smith had pulled his gear stick off and had to continue the race in fourth gear. Smith drove well to still finish in fourth position behind Gant and Ian Buxton. Class B champion, Ian Jordan, took another victory in the class beating Peter Studer by ten seconds. Jack Wilkinson finished third in class.

Smith was still the favourite to win the championship, despite the problems in race one and he drove a faultless second race to cement this fact as he won the race and took the title. Farmer managed to hold off a charging Gant for second place, although finishing eight seconds behind the champion. A race long titanic scrap raged for fifth, behind Ian Buxton, which feature twelve cars at one point. Daniel Pitchford managed to come off the best despite cars heading two or three wide at points. Craig Pollard finished in sixth ahead of Peter Belsey and Studer, who clinched the class B victory. Jordan finished second in class B after a spin on the first lap; this was his worst finish of the season. Wilkinson finished third in class again.


Roadsports

The new for 2013 Roadsports series left their most thrilling race to their final race of the season which took place at Donington Park.

JM Littman and Rob Horsfield had a thrilling battle which saw the pair battle side-by-side for the majority of the first section of the race. Despite a slower pit stop for Horsfield, the Toyota MR2 driver made the most of the Safety Car, which was caused by Neil Livesey, to re-join the battle for the lead. Horsfield went to the outside of Littman at Redgate but the two made contact with the MR2 driver spinning.

Horsfield recovered to third place overall but still won class A ahead of Gary Goodyear. Littman held on to take the overall victory and class B win ahead of Matt Cherrington and Martin Gambling who shared the BMW Z3. Michael Comber drove a dominative class C race and finished in fourth overall, he won by twenty-one seconds to Jim Davies.


750 Formula

Despite making a poor start in the first 750 Formula race Billy Albone fought back in his Batten 3 to take the lead when Dave Hodkin got held up in traffic through the Craner Curves. Albone held on to beat Hodkin with Robin Gearing in third after a fighting drive closing in the top two in the final stages. Andrew Kemp took the class B honours in ninth place overall ahead of Huw Davies who just held off Mark Glover.

A red flag meant that race two had a four lap sprint to the flag. Bill Cowley, who lead the start of the first part of the race, took the early lead but had to retire on lap two which allowed Albone to take his second victory of the weekend and once again ahead of Hodkin. Bill Rutter had a strong race to finish third on the podium. Kemp was the B class winner again, but this time coming home in a strong fifth place in the overall standings. Andrew Lake finished second in the class ahead of Nigel Harvey.


Sports Specials

A red flag flew in the first race after just the first corner as Charles Stirling and Patrick Mortell had a coming together at Redgate. Clive Hudson won a further shortened race as a second red flag came out for the SR&GT car of Stuart Gibbons. Paul Boyd finished the race in second after moving ahead of the eventual class C winner, Paul Collingwood. Mark Cousins finished second in class ahead of Harry Gordon-Finlayson. Adrian Cooper won class B in ninth overall. Meanwhile, the SR&GT part of the race was won by Ken Culverwell.

Race two went the full distance and saw a great battle between the Eclipses of Hudson and Boyd. Hudson held the lead for the whole race despite a challenge where Boyd out-braked himself at the final corner on the final lap, which meant Hudson took the win from Boyd. Collingwood finished third which allowed him to win class C again from Cousins and Gordon-Finlayson. Cooper took another class B win from Colin Benham. Culverwell took another SR&GT win in his Lotus 23R.

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