Meeting report (TT &SS) Saturday by Lee Sutton

The annual trip to Mallory Park this year was over two days. Organised and run by our own club, it was an ambitious step forward with an eclectic mix of races for modern and classic cars, plus the classic motorcycles and a kart demonstration.

Qualifying on Saturday saw the tin tops and super saloons out together. Despite a rather busy track it all went reasonably smoothly, with Rod Birley (Escort WRC) topping the time sheets in 50.333 seconds, just over a second quicker than Ronan Bradley (BMW E36). Gavin Dunn was third quickest in his BMW, followed by Martyn Reynolds in his class C leading Ford Escort Mk2. Adrian Bradley only managed a couple of laps in his BMW but still lined up fifth, then came Martyn Scott whose BMW was now in class B (having fitted a lighter roof panel). Colin Claxton should have been next in his Ford Escort, but engine issues forced him to withdraw. Jacques Whitehead had his brightly coloured BMW going well in 8th whilst Marcus Bicknell had left the wrong gear ratios in his mighty V8 Ford Taurus Ascar. Completing the super saloons were the VWs of Kenny Hunt and Steve Dann (this time in the white Polo instead of his Scirocco).

In the Tin Tops it was Chris Bassett who was quickest in his Peugeot 306, half a second up on Dave Charlton (Seat Leon). Dave Hutchins was third in his Honda Civic with Warren Johnson alongside in his rapid Peugeot 205. Row three was headed by Ken Angell (BMW 328i) then came the unusual Volvo C30 of Adrian Matthews. A trio of Hondas were next driven by Gideon September, Vic Hope and Alex Baldwin. Angelo Massonetto rounded out the top ten in his T3 leading Citroen Saxo. Justin Ross lined up 11th in his Renault Clio followed by  Jon Wild (Fiesta), Alex Martin (Saxo), Richard Skelsey (Honda), Ian Seale (Fiesta) and newcomer Callum Perfect (BMW). A late addition would be Chris Burley in his Fiesta.

The first race was for the Tin Tops and a second rolling lap was necessary, as the field was a bit strung out and not in two by two order. As soon as the red light went out Bassett headed off into an ever increasing lead, extending it to 15 seconds by the chequered flag in an emphatic display. Charlton held second spot for nine laps but came under increasing pressure from Hutchins, who found a way past in traffic on lap ten. Johnson then harried the white Seat and he too found a way past on lap 14. Charlton held onto fourth, also winning class T1 as the first three were all in T2. Ken Angell ran in fifth position until lap 15, when Matthews squeezed past in the Volvo. Next up were a quartet of Hondas in the order Hope, September, Skelsey and Baldwin. Alex winning the TP class. Massonetto just had the legs on Wild to take T3 honours, with Ross, Perfect and Martin enjoying their own battle. Burley got the better of Seale at the tail of the field, as everyone finished the race.

The super saloons had a smaller entry than usual, but produced a fantastic lead battle. From the start it was Birley into the lead with Ronan Bradley hanging on in second. Adrian Bradley was up to third straight away with Reynolds also getting past Dunn. The first three soon pulled out a gap to Reynolds, but the battle was certainly on. Ronan kept Adrian behind until lap 7 when a slight error let him through. Adrian then harried Birley, drawing alongside around Gerrards on several occasions, but the Ford just had enough power to edge away. This lasted until lap 16 when Birley suddenly slowed on Stebbe Straight and coasted to a halt with a silent engine. Adrian completed the last two laps to win by 13 seconds from Ronan, with Dunn a distant third having displaced Reynolds. Martin also fell behind the hard charging Bicknell, who now had the correct gear ratios fitted. Whitehead was a lap down in sixth, as Hunt coasted in with a slipping clutch. Both Scott and Dann retired, and along with Birley were non-starters for the second encounter.

The combined second grid lost another quick car on the rolling lap, as Bassett pulled off with failing oil pressure. An interesting start saw Dunn dive past both the Bradleys to take the initial lead. He held the lead for 3 laps, until Ronan took over. Adrian moved into second a lap later, as the Fina BMW dropped back. Ronan kept the lead until lap 10 when Adrian hit the front. The pace was not as hot as the first race, as Adrian stroked it home for his second victory. Ronan kept him honest just a second or so further back. Dunn consolidated third making it a BMW 1, 2, 3. Reynolds upheld Ford honour in 4th, with Bicknell charging up to fifth. First tin top home was Hutchins, who had Johnson for company for most of the race. They both had to get past a fast starting Angell, who just had the measure of Charlton and Matthews. These three were covered by just over a second at the finish. Angell took the T1 win, whilst Baldwin won TP again although Seale had a better run to threaten the Honda driver. In T3 Martin steered his Saxo to class success as Massonetto fell to the tail of the field.

The next round is the first visit of the year to Brands Hatch on June 26th.

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