2014 ByBox Historic Touring Cars Championship
The 2013 reigning champion, Tim Davies, retained his crown in the 2014 ‘ByBox’ Historic Touring Car championship in true champion style by scoring in all of the 15 rounds held at the 10 meetings organised by the HSCC. Not only did he score in all rounds but won his class in all rounds and scored eight outright race wins along the way. It was not a one horse race, though, for past champion, Simon Benoy, ended the season only 5 points adrift and won his class in each of the 11 races in which he finished. Only a couple of early season retirements and his decision to miss the double header races at Croft in favour of attending the Imp Club annual bash prevented him from becoming overall champion again. I do note that the 2015 Imp Club meeting is being held at Darlington on the same weekend as the Croft race so he will no doubt attend both events next year! Simon’s class E Imp actually led the championship for the first five races of the year as Tim Davies suffered from an early season lack of entrants in class B.
The season opener at Donington Park saw a disappointingly low entry and the twenty or so saloons were joined by some class B cars from the oversubscribed Guards Trophy race but as lap times of the two categories were comparable. Tim Davies took pole but Neil Brown’s Mustang led the field at the conclusion of the first lap and the race seemed to be a continuation of the previous season with the two pulling away from the rest until Neil dropped out and handing the win to Tim’s Lotus Cortina. The Easter Thruxton two day event was a double header for the saloons and Tim was on pole only for Neil Brown’s Mustang to lead from the start and win the race to compensate for his horrendous roll on the opening lap of the 2013 race here. Sean McInerney was third in this race and he won the second race of the weekend as the weather changed to a miserable drizzle following the sunny but cold weather of the previous day. Roger Godfrey’s Mini took second place in conditions which are ideal for this car/driver combo and the Imps of Simon Benoy and Adrian Oliver also showed well up the finishing order.
Another disappointingly small entry arrived at Silverstone for the International Trophy meeting on the Grand Prix circuit. Personally I don’t think the new GP layout is a patch on the previous layout with some challenging corners being replaced by bland F1 ‘approved’ featureless changes of direction. Mike Gardiner’s class C Lotus Cortina just edged the Neil Brown Mustang for pole with Tim’s Cortina in third and Colin Gunton’s class E Imp took a stupendous fourth on the grid at this power circuit. However, neither Mike nor Colin were destined to last more than three laps and Neil won by a narrow margin from Tim though the Cortina did get a chance of having a clear view ahead for a lap at mid-distance. Tim Davies took a firm hold on retaining his championship at the next two meetings at Snetterton and Cadwell Park in June with a brace of wins at both these double header events though pole was taken at both circuits by the Mustangs of Neil Brown at Snetterton and Warren Briggs at Cadwell. It was good to visit Cadwell without the bracing winds or wet weather usually found there in April and it looks like the 2015 race will also be held in June.
A damp Brands Hatch welcomed the series to the fabulous Grand Prix circuit for the Superprix meeting in mid July and Mike Gardiner put his Lotus Cortina on pole ahead of Tim Davies with Simon Benoy a splendid third in his Hillman Imp. Tim however took the lead onthe opening lap and Neil Brown followed past the Gardiner Cortina on lap 2. The leading duo pulled well clear of third place before swapping places on lap eight with the Mustang holding the lead to the end. The Croft Nostalgia weekend followed in early August with the Saturday being wet part of the day (practice and race 1 for the saloons, typically!) and dry on the Sunday. A trio of Lotus Cortinas topped the practice time sheet with Mark Jones ahead of Tim Davies and Mike Gardiner. Come the heavier rain just before the start of the first race and the Minis of Roger Godfrey and Pete Morgan soon found their way through to the head of the race, well clear of the battling Jones/Gardiner Cortinas. By Sunday the skies had cleared and a dry track for race two saw the quicker Fords soon pass the Minis and Mike Gardiner led the first couple of laps before Tim nosed ahead. Mark Jones and Warren Briggs also passed Mike’s Cortina though Mark’s race ended with two laps to go as his Cortina’s diff cried enough.
The Gold Cup meeting at Oulton Park in late August brought the best grid of the year, 32 cars, to this challenging circuit though the rain tried it’s best to dampen the spirits. A shame as the Historic Touring Cars had been rewarded with a second race at this prestigious meeting following the failure of the Super Tourers to raise a decent grid. Tim Davies took pole on the wet track but the Minis packed thee cars in the top six and prayed the rain might stay. It was still damp for race one and Pete Morgan’s Mini led for a couple of laps before Tim got past though the Mini stayed close and finished less than half a second adrift. A fine dust up for third involved a couple more Minis, a couple of Lotus Cortinas, an Anglia and a Mustang and showed off the fine variety of Historic Touring Cars competing in this championship. It was a bit wetter for race 2 and Pete Morgan took the lead from Mike Gardiner's Cortina on lap 2 which he held till the end as Tim Harber in his Mini worked through the field after a slow start up to 2nd place ahead of Gardiner.
Reports, photos and results for the races of the 2014 Season