There were three different winners over the Croft weekend, with 2CV Racing legend Pete Sparrow taking the first, before Ash Carter celebrated his maiden success. The pair then joined up for the Enduro, but proved to be second best to Lien Davies and Ainslie Bousefield.
Sparrow was on pole for race one by a healthy 1.406s from defending Champion Davies, but there was little to separate Matthew Hollis and Jim Henshaw on the second row.
Sandro Proietti and Nick Crispin completed the top six qualifiers, with 18 cars ready for the early afternoon sprint.
As the lights went out Sparrow led into Clervaux, with Proietti edging out Davies for second. But the Champion quickly fought back, “Pete had a great start, but Sandro just had me for second. I soon got him back though and we stuck together and got away, “Davies explained.
With Proietti back in third from lap two, the chasing pack began to close, with Matthew Hollis, heading Crispin and Alec Graham.
“I was in the battle as we went into Tower but got forced out by Proietti and Crispin and had to take it too tightly, hitting the kerb. It bounced me back into Crispin and put the rear wing onto the tyre, then I spun at Tower a lap later and Mick Storey spun too to avoid me,” Hollis explained.
Proietti was still in third, but had Crispin in his wheeltracks, Graham closing and Jim Henshaw into the top six too.
It continued to be tight at the front as Sparrow and Davies shared a few exchanges. “I kept him on his toes, kept it clean and then thought second is better than nowhere,” said Davies after taking the flag 0.411s away from Sparrow and victory.
Proietti had continued to have the edge over Crispin for third until lap six, when they delayed each other, which handed the place to Graham, after initially splitting the duel a lap earlier. “I had a good start and made two places before Clervaux. I could see Sparrow and Davies getting away, but I was in the scrap for third down and had wanted to hang onto them. I had a few engine woes and definitely down on power on the straights,” said Graham.
Henshaw had also made it ahead of the Proietti and Crispin duel with a lap to go, “that was hard fought and I had some contact after not starting well, having taken fourth gear instead of second. I was on for fourth though until Sandro got me back on the last lap,” said Henshaw.
Julie Walford, Brian Heerey and Mick Storey completed the top ten.
Only 0.6 secs covered the top five after qualifying for race two, with Carter on pole from Ainslie Bousfield, Mick Storey, Luca Proietti and Henshaw, while Matthew Hollis completed the top six.
Bousfield grabbed the lead as the race got underway, heading a three car break from Carter and Proietti.
There was barely a coat of paint between the lead trio and Proietti made it into second on lap three. “Our battle allowed Crispin to close on us too though,” Carter explained.
Crispin had gained from Hollis’ misfortune, “the engine had been pinking, then the note changed and I pulled off, before limping through the rest of the race,” he said.
But on lap eight there was a sort out at the head of the field. “I got a run from third into Tower and passed Luca with two wheels on the grass, leading on the exit as Ainslie and Luca delayed each other,” Carter explained.
Crispin had also gained in the sort out and he piled the pressure on Carter for the remaining two laps. But it was a first win for Carter, from Crispin, Proietti and Bousefield, all covered by only 0.787s.
Storey had started the last lap in fourth, but lost out to Proietti, while Steve Walford, Sparrow, Glenn Oswin, Henshaw and Paul Rowland completed the top ten. “I had lost fourth gear part way through the race, so struggled to keep up,” said Henshaw.
Davies and Bousfield had pole for the two hour enduro, but there was some confusion at the start. As the grid exited the Hairpin and approached the line, Bousfield rightly took control of the pace as poleman while fellow front row man Chris Hall hung back.
Bousfield was then given a 10 second penalty for being out of position!
Different strategies from different pairings made the race even more confusing at times. Bousfield had led the opening lap, but made the compulsory three stops on the next consecutive laps. “We had worked out barring safety cars, that was the most effective way to change, so I got in from lap three for the rest of the race,” Davies explained.
So Sparrow led for the majority of the race, making his stops midrace to hand to Carter, while his co-driver then got into Hall’s car for the remainder of the race.
“We had to check an oil leak before I got in and then I climbed back to second and was following Matthew Hollis,” said Carter. “I had started last as I didn’t qualify as I had changed engines. I stayed out as long as possible hoping for a safety car, so then had to make three late stops,” said Hollis.
When Hollis made his second stop Davies took over the lead. “They kept putting P2 out to me as we had to consider the 10 second penalty. So I didn’t know we were leading or that we had won until I was first into parc ferme,” Davies explained.
Carter was second for the last four laps after Henshaw made his last stop, but he still held onto third, “I had changed the gearbox, but had no idea what was going on really. But I joined Graham and Nick Clarke in a great battle, although I mainly sat behind them and watched,” said Henshaw, celebrating his first solo podium finish.
Crispin just held onto fourth from Hollis, with Clarke/Storey sixth. Roy Eastwood, Paul Rowland/Graham, Oswin/Heerey and Chris Yates completed the top ten.
The next round of the Championship is in 2 weeks at Cadwell Park, May 13/14th