Donington Park - 30 May 2010
ByBox Historic Touring Cars
The HSCC chose the right day of this weekend, overcast at times but it stayed dry with a fresh wind.
Qualifying was all about Mustangs duking it out with Lotus Cortinas with Warren Briggs’ Mustang pipping Tim Davies’ Lotus Cortina to pole by less than a tenth. Right in their tracks were Greg Thornton’s Mustang and Mark Davies’ Lotus Cortina. Just a second covered these top four. Neil Brown only managed three laps before a fuel pump wire detached, hence he lurked back in seventh behind John Avill’s Lotus Cortina and Pete Hallford’s Mustang (described by Marcus Pye as being ‘ochre’ which doesn’t really do it justice). The top ten were rounded out by Bob Bullen’s Anglia (punching above his weight according to Marcus), Andrea Lazzari’s Lotus Cortina all the way from Verona (very welcome) and Tim Harber’s Cooper S (the first in a gaggle of four Minis who were destined for a great scrap in the race). The field of 27 all came back (generally in one piece – but see later comment) from qualifying, rounded off by Dragon’s Den celebrity Theo Paphitis (henceforth to be known as Stavros Young - you’ll have to ask) in his first race and trying to keep out of trouble (successfully).
In the race, any thoughts that V8 power would prevail off the line were dispelled by a Hamiltonesque start by Tim, able to pick his line into Redgate with no trouble. Warren was a comfortable second with the squabbling just behind him led by Greg Thornton. The first six laps or so were quite frenetic as Warren increasingly threatened Tim, Neil came up the order, Greg loomed large in all their mirrors (until a kerb launching moment at the chicane brought an early bath) and Mark Davies/John Avill impressively kept in touch (unfortunately with each other on lap 5 instigating Mark’s retirement). In the second half of the race Tim slowly built a lead over warren and Greg’s departure elevated Neil to third. Pete Hallford, quietly making up ground after a sluggish start, took fourth just from a sparkling Bob Bullen’s Anglia. A recovering John Avill fought back up to sixth, clear of a super race long battle of the Minis. For the first four laps this was Jon Milicevic, Tim Stanbridge (gear lever came off in me hand guv), Tim Harber and Roger Godfrey. Tim’s retirement, having made fastest lap, (he really was annoyed that he recalled checking everything else apart from the gear lever clamp) left a furious three way dice (is that a thrice?) generally (and finally) led by Jon. In the last couple of laps Tim and Roger held themselves up and let Jon off the hook. Roger, in typical last ditch effort, took eighth from Tim. Simon Benoy had a somewhat lonely run to fifth in the first of the Imps and Andrea Lazzari was the last of the unlapped runners in eleventh. Steve Platts brought the Singer Chamois (posh Imp!) to twelfth from David Lloyd’s Mustang and Tom Westley Jnr’s Cooper S. In fifteenth it was nice to see Mike Smith’s Mini mounted chum Will Dick and then the evergreen Ed Glaister’s 100E (as immortalised by Dinky) who fended off series newcomer David Alexander’s Alfa. A bit of a gap then to a great scrap between Charlie Birkett (Cooper S), Dave Cabena (Alfa) and Gary Wright (Cooper S). Good to see long time supporter Colin Flynn (Cooper S) finishing ahead of Theo’s Anglia, who actually went quicker in qualifying, but all credit for finishing and surviving the lappery of the guys at the sharp end.
This was a good, clubby meeting at a circuit that brings close racing. It was, however, marred by some untypical bumping and boring which is not our way. Grahame (White) will lead a driver’s briefing at Snetterton to make it clear that driving standards will be closely observed. Please, let’s all behave in a way that helps taking our cars (and ourselves) home in one piece.Report by Peter Hore
We were THERE!
Let's go RACING!