Race Reports – Cadwell Park on 25th July 2021

Meeting report by Adam Grant – thank you!

The co-promoted meeting with Darlington & District motor club would see all three of our southern based series making the trek to the Lincolnshire Wolds.  The weather forecast at first did not look too promising, but it actually stayed dry all day, with small amounts of sunshine.

The entry list was a little disappointing, but a combination of the distance, summer holidays and covid app pings depleted both fields. The intermarque were first on track, with most of the front runners present. Qualifying initially saw Scott Aprigliano quickest which was quite a surprise, but gradually the favourites got their act together with Ray Harris taking pole position from Lewis Smith. Daniel Smith was an impressive third, followed by Malcolm Blackman and Dave York. Aprigliano ended up sixth, with Philip Young going well in seventh. Colin Smith had a rough sounding engine and should have been eighth, but he withdrew. The rest of the grid comprised of Chris Ayling,  Philip Spinks and Jon Price. Sadly John Steward’s long trip from Kent ended in engine failure, so he also loaded up.

The first race saw a dramatic start as Harris and Lewis Smith anticipated the drop of the union flag well, but as they went round Coppice into Charlies they simultaneously spun. Lewis Smith regained the tarmac first whilst Harris rejoined at the rear. Meanwhile Lewis’s brother Daniel popped into the lead with Blackman in pursuit. Most people thought that Malcolm would soon challenge for the lead, but instead Daniel pulled away at around a second a lap. Into third York was staying with the red Tigra, his recent test day providing dividends. Lewis Smith soon regained fourth, so attention focused on this trio. Ayling was holding onto fifth from Aprigliano, until Harris passed the pair of them on lap five. Further back the two Philips (Young & Spinks) were having their own little battle. On laps 6 and 7 both Lewis Smith and Harris retired, in the case of the No.5 Ginetta it was overheating due to grass in the radiator.

Meanwhile Daniel Smith serenely went on his way to a ten second victory, with Blackman just holding off York. Ayling took fourth by half a second from Aprigliano, Chris also winning the seniors section. Young held off Spinks by a similar margin. Price completed the finishers. With just ten starters the reverse grid draw was halved, so only the top three were inverted for the second race. Local track hero Tony Sugden was the person who did the draw, the smiling Yorkshireman raced well into his 70s and there is even a book on his exploits.

Race two saw Blackman lead the first lap, but it was  Daniel Smith who  soon usurped the two front row starters. Lewis Smith and Harris charged through from the back row to occupy third and fourth spots by lap two, as York slipped behind Ayling. It all looked like second place was suddenly getting a bit crowded, until Lewis suddenly slowed and pulled off, whilst Blackman made an uncharacteristic error with an off course excursion. The inevitable grass in the radiator forced Malcolm to retire. However, the race was still on, as Harris soon ate into Daniel’s lead. By lap 7 the two cars were together, as Ray looked for a way past. The tenth and last lap would prove decisive. On the run from Mansfield to the Esses it was Harris who outbraked the blue Mercedes, but Daniel held on around the outside. As both cars jumped over the Mountain it was still anybody’s race as they disappeared through Hall Bends. All eyes focused on Barn corner and it was No.33 just in front by 0.3 of a second. York drove sensibly to take third spot, after Ayling pulled off at Barn corner on lap 5. Aprigliano chased the grey Tigra even though TSL decided to stop timing him (due to a malfunctioning transponder). Scott was awarded the driver of the day award for his sterling performance in his Peugeot 206. Young had more of a gap on Spinks this time, although the Tigra driver did win the seniors section. Sadly Price retired, so it was a very depleted list of survivors.

The BMR super saloons were combined for their two races and qualifying saw them sharing the track with the CMMC classics. The mix worked well, although it took Rod Birley until his last lap to secure pole position. This was the first time Birley had raced at Cadwell since 1992, and back then it was in a Peter Bevan owned Ford Anglia. Second on the grid was Paul Watson in his BMW, followed by late invitation runner Mark Hadfield in his rapid Ford Puma. Ken Angell was next up and the leading tin top runner, followed by Gideon September in his Honda Civic. Series sponsor Martyn Scott took his smart BMW into sixth quickest time, followed by TP runner Richard Sanders (Ford Fiesta), Jacques Whitehaed BMW and Alex Baldwin (this time in a T4 Ford KA instead of his Honda Civic).

The rolling start again saw the drop of the union flag as the field sped off into Coppice. Birley held the lead, but Watson closed up going over the Mountain. Coming out of Barn corner Birley appeared on his own, as Watson trickled into the pit lane. Paul had knocked off the ignition inadvertently, but once rectified he sped back out to rejoin at the rear. As Rod cruised away in the lead the focus moved on to the battle for second as Angell had taken the spot as soon as Watson slowed. Scott and September squeezed past Hadfield, but all four were lapping very close together. Meanwhile Watson was catching up and by lap six he had caught the back of the pack. On lap 7 he passed both Hadfield and September. A lap later the orange BMW swept past Scott and Angell, without affecting their battle. As Birley won by 26 seconds, Watson took second and Angell just hung onto third (winning the tin tops section). Scott was a fine fourth, whilst Hadfield overtook September on the last lap to claim fifth. Sanders did enough to keep Whitehead in his mirrors, the Fiesta driver missing his regular sparring partner Ian Seale. Baldwin completed the finishers, meaning there were no retirements.

Race two saw a much closer lead battle as Watson put the pressure on Birley. This meant that lap times tumbled as the pair set a hot pace. The Escort clearly had the legs on the straight bits, but the BMW appeared to be a bit more agile in the twisty sections. Gradually the black Cosworth eked out a small lead as the laps ticked by. At the chequered flag the margin was just over two seconds, as Rod took his second win of the day. The battle for third was a bit more intense. Angell held sway right up until the last lap, when Scott made a bold move which started around the outside of Chris curve. The two BMWs went side by side through the Gooseneck, which gave Martyn the inside for Mansfield and the position was his. Angell still won the tin top section, as he held off a fast closing Hadfield. September was the first lapped runner in sixth, whilst Whitehead upped his pace to beat Sanders. Again Baldwin completed the finishers, as everyone survived the tortuous circuit.

Next stop for the supers and tin tops is back at Brands Hatch their spiritual home on August 7-8. Whilst all three series go the Silverstone national circuit on August 21st.  The good news is that an additional event has been shoe horned into the calendar, as again all three series will appear at Brands Hatch on November 14th. The tin tops and super saloons getting a rare race into the sunset and a little bit of night racing!

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