The fourth meeting of the 2015 2CVparts.com championship saw the racers head up to Croft Circuit near Darlington. With its medium-fast corners and bumps, it's a challenging circuit, and the local supporters are vey knowledgable and love a good race. Fortunately the 2CVs were able to provide them with 2 great sprint races and an intriguing 2 hour enduro!
Qualifying for the 1st sprint race was relatively incident free, except for a blown engine for Nigel Hollis and a non-starting car for Adam Bollons. Pete Sparrow took pole position by 1 second, with Matt Hollis flying into second place. Nick Crispin was 3rd and Kris Tovey 4th, then Philip Myatt, Caryl Wills, Richard Lambert, Mick Storey, Glenn Oswin and Simon Turner making up the top 10.
"Incident free" is a phrase that definitely could NOT be applied to the first sprint race, held on the Saturday afternoon. After the start, the race order was the same as qualifying order, with the exception of the fast starting Phil Myatt squeezing up to 4th ahead of Nick Crispin and Kris Tovey moving up to 3rd. Matt Hollis, Myatt and Sparrow battled for the lead for the first few laps, but then a misjudged overtake move on the inside of Sunny corner by Nick Crispin saw him spin Myatt around, resulting in both of their cars suffering damage and not finishing. This promoted Tovey to 2nd and Lambert to 3rd. Caryl Wills pitted at the end of lap 2, as did Adam Bollons with more engine difficulties. A lap later, Steve Walford retired the #55 car with a flipped up bonnet - somehow he'd managed to lose the front left wing which left the bonnet insecure.
At the front, Sparrow and Tovey kept each other honest, and despite Tovey taking the lead on a couple of occasions towards the end, the race finished in Sparrow's favour. Quite a long way behind at this point was the epic scrap for 3rd place, which had been going Matt Hollis' way until he slipped back. In his place came Richard Lambert briefly, before he also slipped back to 5th. A delighted Paul Taylor was able to pick up the pieces and steal 3rd at the end from Sammie Fritchley 4th, Lambert in 5th, and then Simon Turner in 6th after an early spin at the Complex. 7th was Richard Hollis, then Mick Storey, Mike Fox, and Nick Clarke rounding out the top 10.
Qualifying for the second sprint race took place on the Sunday morning, and with the returning David O'Keefe taking over from Pete Sparrow only lining up 10th, the top of the timesheets was claimed by Kris Tovey. Nick Crispin qualified a season-best 2nd, Phil Myatt 3rd, Tom Perry 4th and Caryl Wills 5th. Louis Tyson's car ended up parked at the back of the circuit afjust just 2 laps with a smoking engine, and David Beatty didn't take part in the session due to engine problems.
Come the race, Tovey held the lead on the first lap, but O'Keefe made a great start and by the end of the first lap he was in 3rd, making it up to 2nd place on lap 2. O'Keefe and Tovey would scrap for the lead for most of the race. Behind them, Tom Perry and Nick Crispin battled it out for 3rd place, with Wills remaining in 5th, Mick Storey in 6th, and Matt Lambert in 7th, recovering from a poor start. The order remained the same for quite a few laps with the leading two swapping places occasionally, but on lap 8 the order got well and truly shook up! After managing to get past Tom Perry, Nick Crispin dropped back a few places in the fight for 3rd place, and Matt Lambert was able to capitalise on the chaos and move up to 4th. However, up at the front disaster struck Kris Tovey, who missed a gearshift and over-revved the engine. As his car coasted to a halt, an absolutely flying Matt Lambert took the lead, followed closely by O'Keefe, Perry and Wills, with Crispin and Storey hanging on to their coat-tails. A lap later and Wills was forced to park up and retire his car, and Crispin was passed by Storey, who'd managed to set the fastest lap of the race on lap 4! Meanwhile at the front it was a close battle and O'Keefe used all his experience to squeeze past Lambert in the complex on the last lap and snatch the victory by just 0.102 of a second! Perry took 3rd, Storey 4th, Crispin 5th, and then Glenn Oswin 6th, Julie Walford 7th, then Alec Graham, Louis Tyson with a new engine 9th, and Richard Hollis closed out the top 10.
Qualifying for the 2 hour enduro race took place just before lunch on the Saturday. The Gadget Racing entry of Simon Clarke, Sammie Fritchley and Tom Perry took the top spot, followed by Crisis Racing 3 (Kris Tovey), Axtron Limited (Richard and Matt Lambert) in 3rd, Myatt Racing in 4th (Phil Myatt) and Crisis Too Racing (Lien Davies/Caryl Wills) 5th.
At the start of the enduro race the usual suspects were up at the front battling - Phil Myatt took an early lead, with Rosie Racing (Mick Storey/Nick Clarke) in close attendance. The Sealion car of Pete Sparrow/David O'Keeffe/James Winstanley initially shot up the order from 7th but fell back into the mid-pack after the initial charge. After a very long pitstop in the middle of the race they managed to claw back some places to finish 6th. Despite qualifying 3rd and challenging for the lead early doors, the Axtron entry was stationary in the pits for several minutes during the middle part of the race, and slipped well down the order. Crisis 3 kept up a very steady pace the whole race long and came home 2nd, Phil Myatt similarly had no issues and took the last of the podium spots, and then MIM Racing (Nick Crispin) took 4th with a steady drive, and Tete Rouge 5th after a slightly lengthy mid-race pitstop. But the winners after 2 hours of superb driving and quick pitstops were Gadget Racing! Simon Clarke, Sammie Fritchley and Tom Perry rightly very happy with their result.
Maria's photo gallery: https://www.flickr.com/photos/maisiehexagon/sets/72157655886409182
Kris Tovey's onboard: race 1. race 2
Peter Rundle's onboard from the enduro race: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSoiZlHC4FA
TSL results PDF: www.tsl-timing.com/file/?f=BARC/2015/1528212cv.pdf