Snetterton 300 – 13 June 2015

Race Report

Snetterton ByBox Historic Touring Cars

13th June 2015

The weather gods were in a grump and the forecasters got it wrong. Saturday was wet. Very wet. But all got on with it and in qualifying the first to show pace was the Mini of Jon Milicevic. I was watching as others tiptoed round for a lap or so but Jon showed he was on it straight out of the pits into Riches. However, he was pipped to pole late in the session by the Lotus Cortina of Mark Davies but kept Roger (rain dancer) Godfrey’s Mini back on the second row. Only these three were under 3 minutes. The other second row slot was taken by Simon Benoy’s Imp, then Bob Bullen’s Anglia (going well but unfortunately lunched its engine as the flag went out), Steve Platts’ Singer Chamois (sounding so on song), championship leader Tim Davies’ Lotus Cortina, the Mustangs of Alasdair Coates and Pete Hallford and Graham Pattle’s Lotus Cortina. Quite an eclectic selection! Bringing up the rear of this twenty car grid were Jim Chapman’s super, dare to be different, Chevrolet Corvair (helped out by the borrowing of a wiper blade from Tim) and returnee John Pugsley’s Lotus Cortina, only managing a couple of laps after a fraught time finding brakes. The clerks took his previous experience into consideration though and (amazingly?!) allowed him to start. Only joking John, good to have you back.

After qualifying there was a driver’s briefing regarding driving standards. Grahame White reviewed the season so far – Thruxton damage (a couple severe, but generally self inflicted), clean racing at Silverstone and a rash of contact panel damage at Donington. OK, it’s unfortunate that not all those involved at Donington were at Snetterton, but that’s why I’m reporting it here. There were also a number of ‘off track limits’ excursions at Donington that went unreprimanded. But we’re up for a run of MSV circuits now and, besides abiding by the rules, Mr. Palmer doesn’t like his grass chewed up and has ways of recording offenders. Please think hard about this and try to keep on the right side of good close racing but with the cars (and drivers) going home in one piece.

Race one, lights out, much wheelspin on the front row. Simon and Roger from the second row, with Steve, get away better and they’re all together through Riches. Jon reasserts himself on that busy first lap and sets about establishing a gap whilst Mark lies third behind Simon. But by lap two Mark is past Simon (whose gearlever snaps on lap three) and homing in on Jon. The pass for the lead comes on lap four, around the outside of Coram. I held my breath (great view from the Agostini raised viewing bank) but Mark got it all slowed down for Murrays and was away. Very trusting driving from both of them, but round the outside of a Mini in the wet…..10/10! Mark pulled away for the win, Jon secure in second from Roger (trying out new suspension bits but not quite adjusted right as yet). Into fourth came Leo Voyazides’ Falcon after an adventurous run, including a spin and an off track moment, otherwise just keeping Pete Hallford’s Mustang at bay. Steve Platt’s Singer Chamois was a bit lonely in sixth, comfortably clear of the squabble between Tim Davies, Charlie Birketts’ Mini and Graham Pattle’s Lotus Cortina. Finishing off the top ten was Alasdair Coates’ Mustang.

Race two, a better start from pole for Mark and a straightforward lights to flag victory. Jon took a couple of laps to get in his stride, but away from the third row, benefitting from an empty spot in front of him (Leo’s Falcon suffering a rear brake issue on the warm-up lap) was Steve’s Singer Chamois. Steve was away and held second until lap four when the closing Pete Hallford and Jon passed him in succession. And who could be coming up next, a great run from the back of the grid? – it’s Simon with his new gearlever. On lap five he’s past Steve and on the same lap Jon finally gets the better of Pete, who are both too far away and too quick for Simon to make further progress. So it’s Mark, from Jon, Pete, Simon, Steve at the flag. A super run to sixth for Charlie Birkett’s Mini Cooper S from Alasdair’s Mustang, harried by Dean Trower in Roger’s Mini, another well judged drive from the back of the grid. Mark Watts’ Mustang (bonnet staying in place this time!) held off John Pugsley’s Lotus Cortina, who had Tim Brooks’ Mini in close attendance. Tim Davies slumped to twelfth (I never thought I’d be saying that!), struggling with old tyres and dry setup. The finishers were rounded off by John Davison’s Lotus Cortina and Gary Wright’s Mini.

So, well done all for good clean racing. Let’s keep it up for Cadwell at the end of the month, and Brands Superprix just a couple of weeks after that. See you there!

Peter Hore    

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