Race reports CMMCS at Silverstone National 21/22 August 2021

Report By Lee Sutton

It was one of those days at Silverstone. The day started reasonably well, as the predicted light rain shower turned up for the super saloons and tin tops qualifying. Initially it looked like Birley had secured pole position, but right at the end Alex Sidwell and Paul Watson snatched the first two positions. Birley was still third with Ronan Bradley alongside. Nick Sutton put his Mitsubishi into fifth, followed by Martyn Scott and Peter Seldon (in their respective class C and D BMWs). The leading tin top was Chris Bassett in eighth followed by Adrian Bradley in ninth. Dave Charlton rounded out the top ten in his class T1 Seat Leon. The full set of times are on TSL at: https://www.tsl-timing.com/file/?f=BARC/2021/213321sul.pdf as 26 cars qualified

Race one took place on a dry track and saw Sidwell lead the field through Copse and down to Becketts. Birley slotted into second and chased the big Holden V8 along the Wellington straight. Through Luffield the black Escort hugged the inside line and got better traction though Woodcote to take the lead. For 7 laps these two put on a good display of fast close racing, never more than 0.4 of a second apart. Then on lap 8 Rod locked a front wheel going into Brooklands and the lead changed hands. The black car visibly slowed two laps from the end, as a steering bolt worked its way loose causing the wheel to undo. Retirement came at Brooklands, which handed Alex a comfortable win.

The battles behind were no less intense. Watson and Ronan Bradley battled over third position, until they clashed and pirouetted together at Brooklands corner on lap 3. They both rejoined in 9th and 11th. This allowed Nick Sutton into third, but he retired on lap 8 with a suspected front differential problem. This promoted Adrian Bradley into third, which became second when Birley retired, and he also won class C. Meanwhile Gavin Dunn was making good progress in his BMW, as he climbed up the leader board to eventually come home third in his E36, to also claim class B honours. Fourth went to the recovering Ronan Bradley who just got the better of Watson. Scott drove well to take sixth in his BMW, with Bassett rather lonely in 7th but winning the tin tops section easily. Nick Wall hustled his invitation class Renault Clio into 8th, as Ken Angell held off Dave Charlton for T1 honours. Despite a quick spin Jeremy Sutton brought his Sierra Cosworth home in 11th. Andrew Presswell started from the back in his Vauxhall Astra, but climbed up to 12th, with Mark Williams next up in his Peugeot 205. Nick Lunn, Jason Stone (class D winner), Jacques Whitehead, Steve Dann, Angelo Massonetto (T3 winner, No2 in the photo, right) and Alex Baldwin (T4 winner) completed the finishers. Besides Birley and Nick Sutton the other retirees were Andy Woods-Dean, Graham Richardson, Peter Seldon and Ian Seale.

The conditions for the second race had deteriorated considerably, as heavy rain was falling. The track had large puddles and rivers running across it, but two safety car laps later the field was unleashed. As they all made it through Copse it was Sidwell in the lead with a pack of BMWs fighting over second. It appears that Watson aquaplaned off on the approach to Becketts, he slid across the grass back onto the track straight into the driver’s side of the hapless Sidwell. Both cars were heavily damaged and thankfully their occupants emerged relatively unscathed. With debris across the circuit the red flags appeared. What happened next was fairly shambolic. The Holden was towed whilst it was still in gear, which was one issue. The second was the fact that the drivers were lined up in the pit lane with little knowledge of what was going to happen. Some were asked if they wanted to race and as the clock ticked by one by one they pulled out and returned to the paddock. Meanwhile the rain got heavier and the small number of spectators who remained were entertained by two tractors, fighting a losing battle, trying to push water off the track.

Almost 45 minutes past by when finally just seven drivers were sent out for a rather meaningless 5 minute sprint. Credit to Steve Dann and Ken Angell who put on a good show in the awful conditions, with victory going to Dann. Everyone else tip toed around and were probably pleased to keep their cars in one piece. Oh yes the other finishers were Ronan Bradley, Stone, Adrian Bradley, Birley and Baldwin. Most of whom won their respective classes in the 5 minute ‘race’

The intermarque silhouettes had a good turn out with most of the main protagonists present, along with a new driver namely Eric Boulton (in the ex-Mark Sear Vauxhall Tigra). Former champion Malcolm Blackman claimed pole position, just edging out Ray Harris by a quarter of a second. Dave York continues to impress with his turn of speed to secure third position, with Ian Hales alongside in his similar Vauxhall Tigra. Daniel Smith lined up fifth in his blue Mercedes with a very impressive Boulton in sixth. Mike Thurley was the leading senior class driver in 7th fractionally ahead of Richard Smith (white Mercedes SLK). Pat Kiely was a good 9th from an on form Phil Spinks in 10th. The rest of the 18 car grid lined up as shown on the TSL page.

The first race, on a dry track, was a brilliant advert for the series. From the off Blackman set a blistering pace to just hold off Harris, with Daniel Smith, York and Boulton in tow. These five made a terrific sight as they battled it out, often side by side. Gradually Boulton slipped off the back of the bunch, but nevertheless it was an excellent showing by the new driver who has got experience in tin tops and Ginettas. Meanwhile Harris snatched the lead briefly on lap 4, only for Blackman to retake it a lap later. Daniel Smith then slipstreamed past Harris into second, but again the retake was only a lap later. For two laps these two drivers went side by side around the whole circuit with barely a millimetre between them, as York had a perfect view of the action. Eventually Harris shook off Smith’s attention and reeled Blackman back in, but the red Tigra just got to the chequered flag first. Smith held off York to complete the podium with Boulton fifth, just six seconds further back. Thurley claimed senior honours once again, although Ayling did get ahead when they were battling with Kiely. In the end Ayling settled for 7th (second in the seniors) with Kiely 8th. Mick Robertson went well to come home 9th, just getting the better of Spinks, whilst Philip Young held off the attention of Warren Farazmand. It was good to see Nigel Beardsmore back with his Mercedes, who had a steady run to 13th followed by Jon Price and John Steward. The retirements were Ian Hales, first lap spin after an apologetic York had tapped him, Simon Hutt (whose BMW had a misfire) and Richard Smith (half shaft oil leak from his Mercedes).

The reverse grid draw (courtesy of the duty scrutineer, who watched the race from the startline and was very impressed) saw Mick Robertson occupy pole position. Race two took part in extremely wet conditions, which were totally unsuitable for these type of cars. Suffice to say there were just four survivors, as most of the drivers pulled off. It was Robertson who led initially and the Corrado driver was driving well, as he held the lead for 2.5 laps. When Harris got by the No.52 VW ground to a halt with suspected drowned electrics. From there on Harris led to the chequered flag with a real surprise coming into second place. It was John Steward, who had a fairly standard rather old engine in his green Mercedes and John seemed totally at home in the conditions. The former world hot rod champion displayed excellent car control and not only won the senior class but was awarded the driver of the day prize. Ayling splashed his way into third, followed at a distance by Daniel Smith, as they all completed 8 laps.

There is now quite a long break, until all three series reconvene at Snetterton on October 9/10.


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