The 750 Motor Club returned to the Rockingham Motor Speedway for what is now becoming an annual visit to the Northamptonshire venue. A busy 24 race programme provided plenty of entertainment across the two days, with the occasional shower only adding to the spectacle.
Demon Tweeks | Yokohama Classic Stock Hatch Championship
Highlights of the weekend came from the double header for the Demon Tweeks | Yokohoma Classic Stock Hatch Championship.A train of ten cars were scrapping headed the order at one point but Imran Khan, on his return to the series, claimed the opening victory.
Khan (Ford Fiesta) started race one from pole but dropped back as far as sixth. Khan didn’t let that phase him though as he put his head down and fought back through the field, setting fastest lap after fastest lap. He earned the lead when he went around the outside of Gordon MacMillan (Peugeot 205) on the fifth tour at the Tarzan hairpin. MacMillan swiftly fell back to fifth.
Khan's pace was outstanding; only three other runners were able to get within a second of his best lap time. Andy Philpotts (Fiesta) took second after dominating the slippery qualifying session but had to start further back due to a grid penalty. Matt Rozier (205) finished on the third step of the podium thanks to working his way ahead of his rivals after being as far down as eighth.
It was another slow get away from Khan in the second start which dropped him down to tenth by the end of the first lap. Once again he muscled his way up the pack but only managed fourth on this occasion. At the front of the pack Andrew Thorpe (Citroen AX) made a good start but out-braked himself at the Deene hairpin before retiring from the race. This left Philpotts to illustrate a master in defence, firstly holding off Lee Scott (Fiesta) and then Rozier as the latter passed the multiple champion. Philpotts came home to take only his second success in the category.
Safety Devices | Gaz Shocks BMW Compact Cup
With another over-capacity grid three races were needed, utilising the group system.
The first match saw Simon Roche fall back to third, from pole, after Stuart Voyce and David Drinkwater passed him to head the pack. A red flag was called at the end of the second lap when Gregory Barlow hit the wall on the oval. On the restart Drinkwater jumped Voyce to take the lead. Drinkwater held off Voyce by the slender margin of 0.19 seconds at the end. Roche lost out on a podium finish when he went off at the Deene hairpin on the final lap which gifted Josh Harvey another podium after taking his first last time out at Castle Combe.
Race two saw a lights-to-flag triumph for Roberts. He initially pulled out a gap of over a second but Alex Dew reeled him in but lost out by only 0.18 seconds. Mike Tovey made a phenomenal start and moved up from tenth to third by lap two when he passed Simon Roche at Kirby. Roberts took another win in the third encounter when he beat Voyce off the line. Drinkwater passed Voyce at the Deene hairpin to clinch second and finished only 0.28 seconds off Roberts in the largest Compact Cup victory margin of the day.
Protech Shock Sports Specials
Clive Hudson (Eclipse SM1) led the initial stages in the first Protech Sports Specials race of the weekend but cracked under pressure while lapping a slower car on lap six which allowed Edward Ives (Elite Pulse) to take his first ever car victory. Hudson's class A Eclipse rival Paul Boyd finished second to win his class battle after Hudson's spin at Yentwood.
The second contest saw a mighty battle between Ives and Boyd break out with the two switching positions multiple times throughout the course of the race. The deciding move was made by Boyd when he passed Ives at the Deene Hairpin on the final lap. Ives tried to fight back but missed out on the victory by 0.09 seconds, in what he claimed to be the most exciting battle of his life.
Adrian Cooper (Procomp LA Gold) dominated the action in class B with a fifth and eighth place finish overall. Reigning champion Colin Benham (STM Phoenix) fought off Paul Cooper (RAW Striker) in race one for second in class. Marcus Roskill (Sylva Phoenix) beat Benham in the second encounter by less than half a second.
Millers Oils Toyota MR2 Championship
Matt Palmer was finally beaten in the Millers Oils Toyota MR2 Championship. Jim Davies beat Palmer to take a double victory. Davies pulled off a stunning move around the outside of Palmer on the final lap at Gracelands which allowed him to take the first battle. Palmer was unable to put a real challenge in during race two but still claimed two second place finishes.
Shaun Traynor earned his first MR2 podium in race one after passing podium regular Staurt Nicholls. Nicholls would retake that position in the second contest but also tried to challenge Palmer for second but was unable to get ahead of him. Traynor and Ben Rowe joined them on the back of a five car train for the lead.
Premier Choice Group 750 Formula
750 Formula provided two great races with a good grid of cars. Billy Albone's winning streak came to an end when the Batten 3 suffered a seized back axle in race one. Robin Gearing (Darvi P88) was the man who made the most of it and crossed the line first after incredible pressure from Bill Cowley (Cowley Mk4). Andrew Kemp brought his RaceKits Falcon home in third. Albone returned to victory lane after passing Cowley on the fourth lap of race two at Deene. Mark Glover gave the RaceKits Falcon a double podium after Gearing pulled out after just two turns. In a competitive class B grid, Ian Barley (RaceKits Falcon) was the double victor.
Demon Tweeks | Yokohama Stock Hatch Championship
The Deegan brothers were the drivers to beat in Stock Hatch. Shayne held off Lee in race one before Lee dominated the second, after his brother was knocked into a spin by Tom Bell at the Deene Hairpin at the start. Despite dropping to last, Shayne fought his way ahead of Bell on the final lap. Bell took two third ahead of Justin Drury both times in Drury’s only second Stock Hatch meeting.
K-Tec Racing Clio 182 Series
Patrick Fletcher earned a double win in the K-Tec Racing Clio 182 Series, despite Matt Fincham taking both fastest laps. Both Fincham and Jeff Humphries shared a second and third place finish. The combat for fourth was more fiercely fought in both encounters. The first race saw Mathew Pewsley take the position ahead of Martin Bentley with Martin Ward seuring that spot on Sunday with Pewsey, Matt Digby and Bentley in close proximity.
Disklok RGB Championship
Matthew Higginson claimed his second double triumph of the season. Race one was headed by John Cutmore throughout until contact between the Spire rivals spun Cutmore round. The red flags flew shortly afterwards for a separate incident that should have given Cutmore the victory, when the results went back to the completion of the previous lap. However, Cutmore was handed a five second penalty for an indiscretion with a back marker which dropped him to third behind Alastair Boulton.
The second race saw Higginson once again beat Cutmore with Boulton completing a second all Spire podium.
Class F, for front-engine cars, was headed by Richard Wise (Phoenix) in race one. He beat Stephen Bell (Arion) who was close in combat with Paul Rickers (STM Phoenix). David Watson (MNR GM2) passed Bell on the eighth lap of race two which gave him the class victory. Stephen Malyon (MNR GM2) finished in third.
Spire Sports Cars Bikesports Championship
James Breakell (Radical PR6) lucked into two victories in Bikepsorts. Tim Gray (Spire GT-3) had pulled out a seventeen second lead in race one but got stuck in fourth gear, which allowed Breakell to take the lead on the final lap. As the problems continued to strike Gray, he was unable to compete later in the day. Philip Cooper (PR6) took a double podium finish on his debut in the series. Richard Wise (Spire) claimed both class C races and also finished on the overall podium in race two. Adrian Reynard (Radical SR3) was the double victor in class A despite spinning.
Cartek Roadsports Endurance Series
The Anthony Sharp / David Scarborough shared Lotus Elise used a clever pit stop strategy to claim the victory. They pitted under Safety Car conditions which catapulted their car into the lead and went on to pass the chequered flag half a minute clear of Gary Goodyear (Lotus Exige). Class B winners Matt Cherrington and Martin Gambling (BMW Z3) took third overall after Rob Horsfield (Toyota MR2 Turbo) retired. Christopher Fellows and Matt Faizey (Ginetta G27) won class C in fifth overall.
The Demon Tweeks / Yokohama Locost weekend was full of red flags. The first encounter was aborted but Michael Wellard took his first victory in the category ahead of Richard Jenkins and Shaun Brame in race two. Lee Bankhurst returned to winning ways in the final race of the day with Ian Allee and Matthew Booth chasing him to the flag.
Ben Myall (Gerrell Mk1) fought back after a slow start to come from the back of the field to succeed in the 750 Trophys sole race, after passing Danny Ruta (DNC) on the final lap. Michael Penrose, Cliff Ringrose and Christian Pederson all retired from a podium opportunity which gave a surprised Helen Gilfillan (Centaur Mk16) her first podium finish. Andrew Hobson won the Austin 7 dice for class A honours after passing David Whetton on the penultimate lap.