Dunlop Motorsport News Saloons - Lydden Hill 29th July
The DMN bandwagon rolled into Lydden Hill for the mid point races in our very competitive championship. Once again class A produced the biggest turnout with Mark Thurston-Jones appearing for the first time in a very bright turbocharged VW Golf. In class D, Russell Turner arrived with a smart Mk.1 pinto engined Ford Escort.
Our Escort had received its usual pre-event preparation, including a brake calliper seal change. Practice was interrupted by the need to replace a rear wheel, but Rod secured pole position with a time of 44.073 seconds, just over a second quicker than Greg Rose. Amazingly Steve Weatherley posted the third quickest time, with Ray Adams fourth in the quickest Seat. Next class A driver was John Cross in fifth, from a rather subdued Andy Thompson. Rick May had fitted a new head gasket and headed row four, from the two Craigs in their Subarus. Returnee Peter Taylor had his smart Sierra Cosworth take him to tenth quickest time, from Thurston-Jones, Anthony Ahmed and Nick Hayes (who uses Ahmedís Golf from last year).
With rolling starts everyone charged away, with Rod taking the early lead. The expected challenge from Greg did not materialise, and after a couple of laps he was having to fend off Steve Weatherley.
With cheers from the crowd Steve overtook Greg and actually closed up slightly on Rod. Sadly the grey Sapphire wilted and retired when a nut came loose on the actuator arm, which was a great shame. With Rose now safely back in second the attention focused on Rick Mayís progress. From seventh place he eventually made it up to third overall and won class B. His progress also netted the Quaife driver of the race award. John Cross pulled off on lap three with a puncture, possibly caused when he touched Ray Adamsí Seat.
Ray continued to second in class B, but could not fend off the two Subarus. Andy Thompsonís dismal day continued when he pulled off on lap ten. Peter Taylor had Thurston-Jones for company all race long, with Ahmed not far behind. Hayes was the only lapped runner.
Race two again saw Rod slope off into the lead, although Greg challenged hard on the opening lap. The multi coloured RS500 was suffering a few minor maladies, such as fluctuating boost and a tightening steering rack, so there was to be no contest really. The winning margin being over ten seconds by the chequered flag. All eyes were on the progress of Steve Weatherley from the back of the grid. Driving with great skill, Steve picked off John Cross, both Craigs, and Ray Adams, before latching on to Rick May. For the remainder of the race the two Cosworth powered cars had a superb tussle. Rick defended well and just held on to third overall and first in class. Fittingly, Rick got the driver of the race award in part one, whereas Steve took it in race two. Steve was also voted overall driver of the day for the Motorsport News award.
The action didnít stop with this battle though. A four car group containing the two Subarus, the grey Seat and the Mercedes V8, became a little physical at times culminating in a tangle between Nigel Craig and Ray Adams at the North Bend hairpin. Whilst the Subaru nestled in amongst the tyres, the Seat managed to continue. Two laps later John Cross pulled the big Merc off with gearbox maladies. Thus Stephen Craig ended up all on his own in fifth overall, and final unlapped runner. Peter Taylor found that he had a brace of VW Golfs chasing him, although this time Nick Hayes proved to be the strongest challenger, finishing less than a second adrift of the blue Sierra. Thurston-Jones was almost caught by a recovering Ray Adams, whilst Anthony Ahmed completed the classified finishers in his pretty Ibiza Cupra.
In the races for the smaller capacity cars, it was the Richard Brent and Bill Richards show at the front. Bill secured pole position but Richard twice outdragged the smaller engined Mini. Despite being in different classes this year, they still enjoyed a good battle which Richard won both times. Stuart Thomas has got to grip with his new Peugeot 306 and held off Chris Adams in the first race, but a spin in the second encounter led to retirement. Chris won the best prepared car award with his immaculate (and sexy, according to a young lady) Honda Integra. A good tussle in both races between Andy Woods-Dean, Lee McNair and Peter Crewes resulted in the same finishing order each time, but it was mighty close. Woody winning the driver of the race award in the second run for his stoic defensive driving.
In class D there was a brilliant four car battle, which resulted in a first time win for Russell Turner in his very tidy Mk.1 Ford Escort, this also earnt him the Quaife driver of the race prize.. Alex Ribbens fought hard with his Mk.2 version, but he also had to fend off Jamie Goldthorp in his Honda CRX and class championship leader Andy Pipe. In their second race Alex triumphed after Russell had a brief off track excursion. Phil Brent non-started with a rotor arm failure initially, but made it out for the later race and drove well to third in class behind Jamie.
Yet again the DMN boys and girls put on a good days racing, which was blessed with fine weather.
All images courtesy of www.snappyracers.com