Reigning Champion Lien Davies was declared the winner of the first of the two opening round races, after leader on the road Sandro Proietti was given a jump start penalty. But in race two it was lights to flag for Matthew Hollis.
Qualifying for both races took part in the dry with Davies claiming pole by 0.030secs from debutant Brian Heerey. “Braking for Shell was very greasy, but the exit of Knickerbrook was even worse,” said Davies.
With Nick Crispin and Sandro Proietti close too, the top four qualifiers were covered by only 0.259secs. Chris Yates and Matthew Hollis completed the top six, “I came in early to help fix my Dad’s car, as we are drivers and mechanics,” Hollis explained.
Simon Crook was back in his old car, “I sold it to Ash Carter in September and bought it back in November as my car isn’t ready. But I had no brakes,” he explained after qualifying seventh.
“I hadn’t driven my car since last year’s 24 hour race, it felt good though,” said eighth best Martin Riman. James Dartiailh and Julie Walford rounded off the top ten.
Jim Henshaw improved massively from the first session for fourth with Mick Storey and Crispin completing the third row.
Heerey was seventh, with Yates, Steve Walford and Richard Hollis completing the rest of the top ten.
Although the rain had held off, it arrived just before lunch and was still raining as the grid lined up for race one. One notable absentee was Matthew Hollis, whose car refused to start in assembly area.
As the lights went out and 18 car field headed into Old Hall, Davies led from pole with Proietti tucking in second. But Heerey was in trouble, “it just switched off and I had to start it again,” he explained.
By the end of the opening lap the lead quintet had made a slight break, with Davies and Proietti heading Crispin, Julie Walford and Mick Storey.
Proietti had the lead a lap later, but both he, Storey and Ronald Mears had been handed 10 second jump start penalties. “I didn’t know about the penalties, so kept chasing and then went onto one cylinder briefly, overwhelmed with spray,” said. Davies.
Crispin took advantage and was second on lap four, before Davies’ car recovered, claimed the place and set off for the lead again.
Crispin was third on the road before being promoted, “it was really difficult following and I judged my braking from where Lien braked. Then I got passed him and fell back more,” he explained.
Walford had looked settled in fourth until Yates closed in on the final laps. “It wasn’t my best start and I missed second gear,” he said.
Nick Clarke dropped back after contact with Heerey, who then retired with gearbox maladies. “I was on the grass at Island when the gearbox just went, “said Heerey. Yates was then suddenly up two places and made the last lap count as he snatched fourth, which after penalties became third. “I got Julie on the inside of Shell, as I knew which line she would take,” he said.
“I could see Chris closing in and knew he would get me, still my best result though,” Walford replied.
Martin Riman completed the top six, “I got bogged down at the start so had to fight back,” he added. Ash Carter clinched sixth on the last lap, with Dartiailh, the recovering Clarke and Henshaw completing the top ten.
All three Hollis’ made it to the grid for race two and it was poleman Matthew that made the most of the start. Bousefield was initially second, until Storey managed to split them, leaving Bousefield under attack from a train of cars, led by Steve Walford. Luca Proietti and Crispin.
With Bousefield back into second, the lead duo started to escape as the fight for third reshuffled and intensified between, Proietti, Crispin, Yates, Walford and Heerey.
It was just as close for tenth too, as Carter, Storey and Crook chased down Richard Hollis.
Bousefield briefly threatened to close on the lead, but it was Matthew Hollis’ victory. “I was trying to watch was going on behind and had a few slides as Ainslie closed,” he said.
“Mick Storey got me at Lodge and then went off, but I lost some ground looking where he might get back on,” Bousefield replied.
Proietti fell to the back of the third placed train for a while, which left Crispin and Walford side by side past the pits on lap four, before Walford went through at Old Hall to steal the final podium place.
Proietti fought back to regain fourth from Crispin with a lap to go, while Richard Hollis completed the top six after ousting Yates. “I got mugged on the Avenue,” Yates explained.
Mick Storey’s recovery netted him ninth, with Crook completing the top ten after demoting Carter on the last lap. “After not getting to the flag in race one, finishing was the aim and got the place when Ash went off at Cascades. I had a really good view of it,” Cook confirmed.
The next round of the Championship is at Croft on April 29/30.
Published by Peter Scherer for the 2CV Racing Club, March 18th, 2017.