Dunlop Motorsport News Saloon Car Championship - Lydden Hill - 6th September
The sixth annual Festival of Motorsport brought together the usual format of circuit races in the morning, followed by oval and truck racing in the afternoon. The day dawned very damp after a very wet Friday evening, and a small shower meant that treaded tyres were required for qualifying. Rod used his “worn out” wets to secure pole position from Andy Thompson, who was going very well in his Seat. Cris Hayes beat brother Nick to the class B pole, whilst Andy Woods-Dean headed the class C runners in fifth. Peter Taylor completed row three, with Andy Wickens and Andrew Williams on row four. Lurking back in 10th and 11th were the two Skylines, both struggling with the same transmission fault. Missing qualifying altogether was Steve Dann who discovered he had a broken brake disc. Quick action to get a replacement saw Steve manage to join in for the races.
The first race, with a rolling start, set off on a dry track. Rod got away perfectly and Andy slotted into second. Both the Nissans were making up places from their poor practice. Nick Hayes usurped Cris to annex third spot. Around half distance the rain began to fall, and the first casualty was James Lindridge, he hit the barrier near where Darren crashed back in June. Next to go was David Usher, he went straight on at the hairpin and into the tyre wall. By now the surface was very slippery indeed and Rod’s lap times had increased by nine seconds. Ron Kiddell was the next to encounter drama as he spun at the Elbow. With his big Nissan straddling the corner the wise decision was taken to stop the race. As more than half distance had been run, the results were declared. It was another win for us, with Thompson second from Nick Hayes, Darren Bly, Cris Hayes and Andy Woods-Dean. Williams, Taylor, Dann and Phil Usher completed the top ten.
Race two saw all three retirees return for another go, although Thompson was missing when his power steering failed as he was getting ready. The track was drying from another shower of rain, so we elected to run slicks. The rolling start was very slow, which meant that the tyres would still be cold. As Rod sped into the Elbow he endured a lurid slide and with Bly on intermediates the big Nissan homed in on a rather sideways black Escort WRC. Somehow contact was avoided and Rod gathered it all together, just about still in the lead. Initially it looked like Darren had the better tyre choice but gradually the racing line dried out. By half distance the odds had swung in our favour and the lead was increasing. Meanwhile Ron Kiddell was making good progress and he set the fastest lap of the race. Sadly his charge ended when his car mysteriously cut out.
For the remainder of the race Rod gradually pulled further away to notch up win number 13. Darren had a good run to take second with Nick Hayes third (and winning class B again). Cris Hayes was fourth, followed by Welsh visitor Andrew Williams just holding off Peter Taylor. “Woody” claimed class C again, on a day when he also won the first intermarque race outright and then took a class win in the second one. David Usher brought his repaired Peugeot home 8th, with dad Phil right on his rear bumper. Andy Wickens, James Lindridge and Steve Dann completed the runners, with Steve admitting he used the wrong tyres.
In the class D and E races Richard Brent won the first encounter, whilst there was a terrific dice for the runner up spot. This went the way of Gerald Dale, from Ken Welch and Bill Richards. Part two was won by Bill Richards, from Gerald Dale and Richard Brent. Richard slowed towards the end and his brother Phil closed right up. However, Phil was duty bound not to overtake so Richard gained maximum points. With the championship being so tight this might prove decisive.
One thing is certain and that is that Rod cannot now be beaten for class A in the championship. There is still a lot of racing to go though with a return to Lydden on October 4th. The rest of the meeting went very well, with the afternoon staying dry. The truck racers entertained as usual whilst all the oval racers had a great time. Long may this meeting continue.