|Dunlop Motorsport News Saloon Car Championship Review|
~ Lydden June 29th ~
Round four of the DMN saw a return to Lydden for the first time this year. The weekend was a festival of saloon and sports car racing, and was blessed with glorious weather. Saturday featured heats for the production BMWs, and races for Drayton MG's, Intermarque league, Tigers and single seaters. On Sunday we were joined by a marvellous selection of Fords celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Ford Escort. Our black WRC headed the lunchtime parade, which made a wonderful sight.
Qualifying saw Rod gain pole position with a time of 43.058 seconds, which he knew before we put the board out thanks to the Alfano timer working correctly for the first time. Ron Kiddell joined Rod on the front row, but he was 2 seconds slower. Third should have been Josh Ronchetti with his Talbot sunbeam, but a broken half shaft terminated his day. Rick May therefore became the fastest class B runner. Stephen Craig headed row three in father Nigel’s Subaru (makes him sound like a priest!). Peter Taylor was sixth with his immaculate Ford Sierra RS500, followed by Paul Dickinson and Nick Hayes, both in Seats. A troubled Darren Bly was next, suffering from fluctuating boost pressure.
With standing starts being the order of the day, it was not surprising to see the grey Nissan head the charge to the first corner. Craig’s swift starting Subaru held second until Chesson’s Drift where Rod powered around the outside. Up to the North Bend hairpin and Rod reeled in Ron, and then took a much tighter line to emerge in the lead. That was it as far as these two were concerned, but further back there was a lot going on. Darren “Banzai” Bly quickly worked his way up to fourth but then seemed to stutter again. Whether it was the practice gremlins returning it is difficult to say, but he slipped behind Rick and Peter and became involved in a battle with Paul Dickinson. Unfortunately this had a dramatic conclusion on the final lap. Opinions differ as to what exactly happened but suffice to say that both the Seat and Nissan touched and the big yellow car speared into the Armco barrier with drastic results. The leaders had already taken the chequered flag, but almost simultaneously the red flags appeared. The rescue and medical services sprung into action, and although it all looked very dramatic, it was pleasing to later see that Darren was alright. The car looked a sorry state indeed. With the results taken a lap back it still meant that Rod won from Ron, with Stephen Craig third, from May, Taylor, Dickinson, Cris Hayes, Nick Hayes, Andy Wickens, John Cross (back in a Seat this time), a slowing Steve Dann (loose turbo and tyre problems) and finally Peter Clarke. Ray Adams had pulled off on lap four.
The second race was somewhat subdued. Again Kiddell led away from Craig, whilst Rod took a more leisurely approach, picking off the Subaru before the Devil’s elbow, and then the Nissan at Paddock Bend. A couple of quick laps saw Rod finally lower his lap record by almost a second to 43.474 an average speed of 82.808 mph. Kiddell kept the pressure up with a consistent drive, and Craig junior enjoyed his father’s Imprezza and claimed a worthy third place. Paul Dickinson worked his way into fourth aided by a slowing Rick May with overheating issues. Peter Taylor was the meat in a Seat sandwich as Nick Hayes chased him hard for fifth place. Nick kept just far enough ahead of the battling John Cross and Andy Wickens, Cross gaining the upper hand this time. Cris Hayes nipped past May to claim fifth in class B. The final runner was Steve Dann, who had a pit stop to try and rectify a broken throttle cable. Poor Peter Clarke had to pull off with his Lancia after it developed a misfire.
The races for classes C, D and E provided plenty of entertainment, especially between championship protagonists Richard Brent and Bill Richards. Richard triumphed twice although the second encounter saw Bill lead up until the last lap. Both races featured lots of battles throughout the field, with James Lindridge taking class C honours. Special mention must go to Ken Welch, who’s Mini almost rivalled Bill Richards wheel waving antics. David Usher improved greatly in the second race, and Paul Goddard had a good tussle with Andy Pipe, much to the appreciation of the assembled Ford owners.
The Quaife awards went to Andy Pipe, Andy Wickens, Darren Bly and Richard Brent whilst Bill Richards gained the best prepared car prize. The Backdraft VAG goodies went to Paul Dickinson and John Cross, making it a successful return for the X-Sport team.
It is just three weeks to the next round, which is the final “away” meeting of the year. Castle Combe is the venue, where a capacity entry is already assembled.