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Donington Park Race Report

Wed 08 Oct 2014

The 750 Motor Club finals weekend took place at Donington Park with a busy 24 race programme which was action-filled. The Demon Tweeks Yokohoma Classic Stock Hatch championship was up for grabs and saw its largest ever grid with 32 cars on circuit but it was incident-filled.

Andy Philpotts’ (Ford Fiesta) championship challenge came to an end when he was caught out by cold tyres and was collected by Stuart Window (Citroen AX) and Richard Ware (Vauxhall Nova) at the start of race one. Pip Hammond (Nova) went on to dominate the restart while a vast battle broke out for second.

Andrew Lightstead (Fiesta) ran in second in the early stages before being muscled out and five cars came through in one swoop. Matt Rozier (Peugeot 205) held second for a lap before Imran Khan (Fiesta) came through and held onto that position for a Hull University Go-Karting Society 1-2. Lee Scott (Fiesta) was the star of the race but only after he ran extremely wide at Coppice on the opening tour falling back to 13th. He set fastest lap after fastest lap to finish on the podium. Rozier, Mervyn Beckett (Nova), Gordon MacMillan (205) and Ted Cooper (Nova) were also involved in that battle.

Another first lap crash caused a red flag in race two when Gary Campbell (Fiesta) was stricken in the middle of the track. Campbell finished 8th in race one, in only his second car meeting. Hammond and Scott diced for the victory in the restart. Scott won taking his fifth title. Beckett took his only podium of the year in third after beating Martin Cayzer (Fiesta).

Two almighty Tillotson Formula Vee races greeted Donington Park. Craig Pollard (GAC) started from his first pole position in race one but fell off the circuit on the opening lap but recovered well to seventh. In the meantime, Martin Farmer (GAC) led but spun off into the gravel after a nudge. Graham Gant (WEV) also retired when he flew over the top of Ian Buxton (GAC) which eventually put them both out. This left Daniel Pitchford (GAC) and Tim Probert (Storm) to contest the lead. The pair fought so hard it allowed Pete Belsey (Spyder Mk2) to come through to take his first victory. Pitchford came second with Probert in third for his first podium.

Sunday’s Vee race saw an old-fashioned slip-streaming affair. After seven laps of action there was a ten car train for the lead – almost unheard of in any of category of racing. Steve Ough (AHS), Pitchford, Paul Taylor (AHS) and Ian Jordan (Sheane) came together at Redgate breaking up the pack. Jordan re-joined the circuit to claim second in the championship. It was the 2014 champion, Farmer that crossed the line first ahead of Pollard and Probert. Jack Wilkinson (Sheane) won both races in class B but Sam Engineer (Sheane) took the title.

Shayne Deegan won the Demon Tweeks Yokohama Stock Hatch championship after a season long battle with his brother Lee. L.Deegan saved a mammoth slide at Redgate on lap one, triggering lots of other drivers behind him to take to the grass. Only Steve Powlesland was unable to continue. L.Deegan chased his brother but was never able to pass him. Toby Bearne beat Philip Wright and Carl Swift in the dice for third.

L.Deegan had a trip through two gravel traps on the opening lap of second encounter. The second ended his championship assault after contact with Bearne. Swift won the race ahead of S.Deegan and Paul Jarvis. L.Deegan recovered to sixth after falling down as far as 16th but he was the first to congratulate his brother.

After claiming the title last time out at Silverstone in the Safety Devices Gaz Shocks Compact Cup, Stuart Voyce took another double victory. The group system was back in place with an over-capacity grid with 44 cars. Voyce won by six seconds in race one ahead of Owen Hunter who seized his first podium in the series after passing James Nutbrown. Nutbrown also fell back to fifth behind David Drinkwater and James Gornall.

Outgoing champion Steve Roberts had to defend all race in the second encounter as Hunter was never more than four tenths behind him. Fast starting Mike Tovey finished in third. Voyce beat Roberts and Drinkwater in the third battle. Former BTCC racer Paul O’Neill made his debut in the series scoring a couple of top ten finishes.

Jeff Humphries got off the line quickly in the opening K-Tec Racing Clio 182 Series race but went sideways at Redgate allowing Matt Fincham and Patrick Fletcher through. On the fourth circuit Fincham was caught out by the slippery track and Fletcher took the lead. The pair were nose-to-tail in the closing stages with Fincham overhauling the former Stock Hatch champion with 50 metres to go. Ed Pead, who won 17 times in the Clio Cup, started from the back and clawed him way up into the top five on the final lap.

Humphries led every lap of the second encounter after seeing off various different challenges. Pete Morgan battled Humphries at the beginning and end of the race but could never pass him. Matt Digby was able to overhaul Humphries but as soon as he did, he lost his wheel and his Clio fell onto its side. Patrick Fletcher joined in the battle for the lead and finished third but only 0.5 seconds off of the victory.

Nick Holden’s Ariel Atom was flying around the Donington Park Circuit taking both Protech Shocks Sports Specials victories. Race one was wet which suited the Atom and Holden won by 34 seconds with Eddie Ives (Elite Pulse) and John Moore (Arrow 2013) on the podium. Struggling with grip the best class A car was Paul Boyd (Eclipse JM1) in fifth overall but it was enough to claim the title. Ives finished second again on Saturday evening ahead of Howard Cramer (Caterham 7). Boyd won class A again with Adrian Cooper (Procomp LA Gold) taking both class B victories.

Bill Cowley (Cowley Mk4) had to work hard to take both victories in the Premier Choice Group 750 Formula championship. Bob Simpson (SS/F) had his best race of the season in the wet as he fought hard to beat Cowley but was unable to overhaul the youngster. His assault for the lead came to an end with a trip through the gravel at the chicane on the penultimate lap but still held on to second ahead of Mark Glover (Racekits Falcon). David Bartholomew (PRS 1B) finished just half a second behind Cowley in the second encounter with Glover in third again. Ian Barley (Racekits) and Nigel Harvey (PC Special) shared honours in class B.

Martin Gambling and Matt Cherrington (BMW Z3) were delighted to take their first victory in the Cartek Roadsports Series. Cherrington passed Craig Lawton (Renault Clio) who led after Ed Pead took that car to an early advantage. They fell down to fourth at the flag when the track had dried out. Alec Livesey (Jensen Healey) finished second just under five seconds behind the winners claiming the honours in class A. Steve Brown (Porsche Boxster) came third. Mike Comber drove a magnificent stint after taking over Thomas Collins’ Mazda MX5. They started the race in 26th and ended up fifth overall, winning class C.

Ben Short and Will Blackwell-Chambers had a trip through the gravel trap in the opening 5 Club Racing MX5 Cup battle allowing James Rogers to take his first victory. Short fought back to second after dropping as far down as fifth, passing Jason Greatrex on lap six. Blackwell-Chambers only managed sixth. A slipstreaming second race saw Short win ahead of Blackwell-Chambers, Greatrex and Rogers.

The 2014 Demon Tweeks Yokohama Locost champion Mathew Brooks took both victories again. The rookie won six times this year, half of the races he has competed in. They didn’t come easy though with the massive slipstreaming in Locost. Ian Allee finished second in both encounters with Tom Coller and Lee Bankhurst taking a third place each.

Rich Hockley was the man on form in the Tegiwa Civic Cup and took a double victory. He beat Robert Baker who fought off Andrew Gaugler and Mark Higginson in the opening encounter. Higginson got second in race two but despite the reverse grid couldn’t fight off the charging Hockley. Daniel Webster finished in third after leading the early stages.

The double Millers Oils Toyota MR2 champion Matt Palmer convincingly won twice. Stuart Nicholls and Alex Knight joined him on the podium in both encounters. Nicholls made the better start in race two but Palmer took the place back before the end of lap one. 

Despite the excellent racing, the Classic Stock Hatch races were overshadowed by crashes. Andy Philpotts and Gary Campbell were both taken to hospital with the latter suffering broken pelvis, four ribs and a shoulder.  Graham Gant was also taken to hospital after the first Formula Vee race and has a compounded vertebra. The whole of the 750 Motor Club hope all the drivers have a successful and speedy recovery.