Dunlop Motorsport News Saloon Car Championship Races - Lydden Hill 5th September 2009
The weekend effectively started on Friday for our team. BBC South East news visited us on Friday morning to interview Rod about the meeting and the chance of him scoring his 500th win. With only two races on the card it was down to finding a drive in the afternoon oval races, but the possibility of competing in a pick up truck was passed up to Brian Edwards. Brian is a director at Cannons Motor Spares and will be 50 in a few days time so it seemed more appropriate to let him have a go, especially as he last raced at Lydden over 20 years ago.
The BARC South East Centre paid its second and final visit of the year to the Lydden Hill circuit on Saturday, for the annual festival of motorsport event. The DMN championship was split into two groups as there were 25 entries received and the circuit capacity is 24. Qualifying on pole position for the A/B race, Rod was initially beaten away by the similar Ford Escort WRC of Malcolm Wise. However, the Londoner only led as far as the North Bend hairpin where Rod calmly drove around the outside. From here on it was a fairly easy run to the chequered flag, especially after Malcolm retired when his exhaust came loose. Rick May inherited the runner up spot although he was over 24 seconds behind at the chequered flag. The race sadly lost two other runners when Steve Dann pulled off after a front strut broke and Stephen Craig (in his father’s Subaru) suffered brake vibrations. Peter Taylor was unable to start as he was busy fitting our spare turbo charger after his own unit failed in qualifying. Despite all this there was a good battle for third position as Andy Woods-Dean somehow managed to just hold off Cris Hayes. Woody’s efforts earnt him the driver of the race award and also maintained the closeness in the class B points battle.
Race two saw Birley take the lead from the start although Wise quickly came through to second. For the first six laps the pair ran close together; then Rod gradually pulled away. It turned out to be a decisive move as near the end of the race an electrical problem started to afflict the black Ford. Although his pace dropped by over two seconds per lap Rod held on to take his second win of the day. Rick May finished third behind Wise, just doing enough to keep away from his class rivals, who this time finished with Cris in front of Andy. Both Dann and Taylor fixed their cars as Steve came home sixth whilst Peter lost a boost pipe but soldiered on to get some points in seventh. Despite the late scare Rod also set the fastest lap of the race and is now just one win away from the magic 500.
The other pair of races for classes C, D and E saw Bill Richards and Richard Brent take a win apiece. Richard suffered a slight misfire in the first encounter but cured this for the second race. Both drivers lowered their respective lap records, such was their pace. Graham Bahr and James Lindridge also reversed their respective positions as they seemed to be evenly matched. James’s stoic defence on the final lap of the second race gained him the driver of the race award. Alex Ribbens had two good runs to take fifth each time (second in class D), with his well presented Mk2 Ford Escort. His efforts were rewarded with the Quaife Engineering Best Prepared Car Award. Likewise David Usher was consistent in gaining two sixth place finishes. Class E saw a really close battle between the two Minis of Ken Welch and Chris Watkinson. The first encounter ended with Ken just in front by half a second. Sadly the second race saw Ken hit by another car and his pace slowed dramatically although he did keep going to gain more points and secure his championship lead in class E. Chris therefore took a comfortable class victory. The class D trio of Nick Proudlock, Andy Baker and Paul Goddard ran close together, with Nick gaining the upper hand first time out, whilst Baker was to the fore in part two. David White had a steady run in his new Sierra as Dan Parker completed the finishers in his BMW 318.
The Championship resumes at Silverstone using the Grand Prix circuit on October 4th.