Mallory Park race report from Lee Sutton

Once a year the club runs its own meeting at Mallory Park. This year we were joined by the Classic touring car racing club, the BRSCC Formula Fords, the 500 owners club single seaters, the Hyundais and MG owners club. This eclectic mix made for a superb two days of genuine club racing under sunny skies.
On Saturday the Hoosier Tires Intermarque Silhouettes had their two races. It was disappointing to see only seven cars , but at least they put on a good show. In qualifying it was Paul Knight who was quickest, just edging out Colin Smith. Mick Robertson headed row two with Warren Farazmand alongside. Welcome returnees Jon Price and Sean Pooley occupied row 3. Sadly Phil Spinks suffered an engine failure and non-started.
Knight edged into the lead at the start of race one , but Smith slipped by on lap two. Paul redressed the situation a lap later and held sway until lap 10 when Colin re-took the lead. Such was their battle that Farazmand closed in to make it a 3 way contest. Knight was back in front on lap 11, as Smith had his mirrors full with a Peugeot. Warren timed his attack well and moved into second on lap 18. He quickly closed on Paul, but time ran out as the chequered flag appeared. The finishing order was Knight, Farazmand. Smith followed by Robertson who had a lonely run in fourth, but well clear of Price who completed the finishers. Pooley having retired on lap 16.
The first four finishers were reversed for the second race starting grid. This meant Robertson was on pole with Smith alongside. Colin didn’t hang about and was into the lead straight away, with Knight following him through. Warren took a little longer to pass Mick, but then stormed past Paul as well. Again the leading trio embarked on another entertaining battle, but sadly we lost Price on lap 6 as his engine cried enough. Meanwhile all eyes were on the leaders, as Knight got past Farazmand on lap 9 and closed on Colin. As the race progressed all three had entertaining power slides out of Shaw’s hairpin. In the end they finished in the order Smith, Knight, Farazmand, Robertson and Pooley. Special mention to Warren who raced with a couple of cracked ribs, following a sneezing fit earlier in the day. Hopefully there will be bigger entry for the American Speedfest next month.
On Sunday it was the turn of the Ashstone MEP Super Saloons and Tin Tops. With some drivers racing at Thruxton on Saturday, it was good to see all except Colin Claxton survive to join us. We also welcomed Danny Cassar and Nigel Ainge in their immaculate Honda Integras. Qualifying saw Adrian Bradley set a really impressive time, over two seconds quicker than Ronan Bradley. Paul Watson and Dave Avis shared row two in their BMWs with Jacques Whitehead heading up row three. Chris Bassett was the quickest tin top in sixth followed by Danny Cassar. Then it was Martin Reynolds in his smart Mk.2 Ford Escort. Heading row 5 was Sam Haywood, who is getting to grips with his Renault Megane turbo, whilst Mark Cripps completed the top ten in his BMW. Two drivers who missed qualifying were Rod Birley and Nigel Ainge.
Race one saw Adrian blast away and lead by over two seconds at the end of lap one. This was the last anybody else saw of him, until they were lapped, in an impressive display of fast controlled driving. Ronan seemed to have the measure of Paul Watson for second, whilst a really exciting battle emerged for fourth. The quick starting Bassett was fending off the challenges of Whitehead, Avis, Reynolds and Cripps. This high speed train looked very interesting and kept everyone entertained until the end. Further back James Hunt was having a good battle with Heywood and Neal Gardiner. Sadly neither Cassar or Ainge started the race and both Matt Rowling and Martyn Scott had mechanical issues early on and retired. However, Birley had managed to get his car fixed and joined in at the back.
Meanwhile as Adrian Bradley took a comfortable win, Ronan had an off course excursion at the hairpin which handed second place and the class B win to Watson. Bassett somehow held off the snarling pack of super saloons to take fourth overall and an easy Tin Top win. Whitehead got the better of Avis to take class C honours, as Reynolds took seventh overall. Cripps retired with an engine issue so this promoted Hunt to 8th, with Haywood 9th (winning T1) and Gardiner 10th (second in T2). Matthews was fairly lonely in 11th followed by Birley (class A winner) then came Rick Skelsey and Ian Seale (winning TP). The two Audis of Shorney and Cleugh retired, the former with a wheel bearing failure the latter with fuel issues.
Race two saw Adrian Bradley make a more leisurely start, which allowed Ronan to lead from Watson. By lap 4 Adrian swept past both of them, mainly due to Ronan having another off at the hairpin which dropped him to 7th. Watson then cheekily took the lead for two laps before Adrian redressed the balance. From then on the red BMW stretched its legs and pulled away to take another comfortable win. Ronan recovered to third place by lap 17, but then had another moment at his least favourite part of the track (hairpin) saw him tumble back to sixth. This promoted Avis to a class winning third, chased by Bassett (winning the tin tops again) with Whitehead right on his tail. Hunt had a lonely run in 7th the final unlapped runner, who also took the Caesar Electrical best prepared car award. Gardiner got the runner up spot in Tin Tops, along with the AFR Media award. Neal was happy to banish the memories of last year’s accident. A good battle went race long between Birley, Haywood and Matthews. The trio were never more than a second or two apart. Birley led most of the way, but a missed gear allowed Heywood to nip through and also win T1. Birley won class A, whilst Matthews won the BMR driver of the meeting trophy. Martyn Scott had a steady run to take 12th (winning class D) as Rick Skelsey, Ian Seale (winning TP) and Lee Cleugh completed the finishers. Both Reynolds and Cripps non-started, whilst Rowling had a sadly miserable day and pulled off at the start.
Next up for the Supers and Tin Tops is Lydden Hill, which is a circuit we have not been to for a couple of years.

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