Snetterton Report

And so to our final event of the year. Instead of finishing at Brands Hatch on a cold November day we all travelled to Snetterton, for a cold October day (but at least it was dry and sunny).


With all three categories present, the qualifying was split into two groups so as to give everyone a clearer run. In the super saloons and tin tops it was a three way battle for pole position between Adrian Bradley (BMW), Alex Sidwell (Holden) and Rod Birley (BMW). In the end they finished in that order, although Birley only did three laps due to a clutch issue. Setting the 4th and 5th best times were Paul Watson and Ronan Bradley in their BMWS, followed by Lee “tractor boy” in his V8 Pontiac. Another BMW was 7th quickest, namely Mark Cripps, followed by Marcus Bicknell in his Ford Taurus V8. Next up was the quickest tin top (Chris Bassett in his Peugeot), with Dave Avis (VW Golf) completing the top ten. As usual the full list of times for this group is here:


The intermarque silhouettes had a smaller than expected field. Missing was Ian Hales, suffering from covid, and none of the west country drivers made the long trek to Norfolk. In the end it was Daniel Smith who topped the time sheet, with Colin Smith (back in his Ginetta) second quickest. Paul Knight qualified third, but a gearbox issue prevented him from racing, so he was a disappointed withdrawal. An impressive fourth would be Scott Aprigliano in his Peugeot 206, followed by Phil Spinks (Vauxhall Tigra) and Mick Robertson (VW Corrado). Senior runners filled the next five positions in the order Chris Ayling (Tigra), Jon Price (Tigra), Baz Johnson (Pontiac), Volker Timm (Audi TT) and Stephen Phillips (Fiesta). Only doing one lap each were Lewis and Richard Smith, both having issues with their Mercedes.


The grid for race one had the silhouettes starting ten seconds in front of the supers/tin tops. Both groups had an orderly start with Daniel Smith leading from Colin Smith and Spinks. Sidwell headed the next group with Bassett in second after Adrian Bradley had several brake lock ups, Ronan Bradley had an off course excursion and Birley was slipping back with his recurring clutch issues. At the front both Lewis and Richard Smith were carving their way through, quickly appearing in second and third respectively. Sidwell was in amongst the silhouettes and stretching away from an impressive Maddox,  Adrian Bradley, Watson and Ronan Bradley. All four having demoted Bassett (who lost time on lap 5). Another driver on the move, having missed qualifying, was Peter Seldon. Back in his usual class D BMW Peter was making good progress. In fact there were lots of battles going on throughout the field, such as the two T1s Hondas of Gideon September and Graham Richardson, who had Alex Baldwin (TP Fiesta), Rick Skelsey (T1 BMW) and Alex Quach-Tea (T3 Citroen) for company.


Meanwhile at the head of the field it looked like Daniel Smith had everything under control from his brother Lewis. However, on the last lap the blue Mercedes suddenly slowed exiting the hairpin as the engine cruelly let go. Despite a track limits penalty Lewis therefore took the win, with his father Richard claiming second and winning the senior class. Spinks drove well to claim third, as Colin Smith fell back to fourth. Next up was Sidwell winning the super saloons, as he caught and passed Aprigliano and Robertson.  Adrian Bradley (who won class B) got the better of Maddox a couple of laps from home, but tractor boy deservedly got the Caesar Electrical driver of the race award. Next up was Ayling pursued by Watson, then came Ronan Bradley, Seldon (winning class D) and Baz Johnson. Johnson drove the final lap on a deflating tyre and his effort won him the Avon Tyres silhouette driver of the race award. Bassett comfortably won the tin tops section. Jacques Whitehead finally got his first class C win in his BMW, chased by newcomer James Hunt (BMW E30). Stephen Phillips completed the intermarque runners, followed by Birley (winning class A), then came Steve Dann (VW Polo) followed by September just beating Richardson. Gideon winning T1 in the tin tops and also the AFR media driver of the race award. Completing the finishers were Alex Baldwin (TP winner), Skelsey, Quach-Tea (T3 winner), James and Ian Seale.

As well as Daniel Smith the other retirements were Price, Martyn Scott (who spun off at Riches), Bicknell, Avis, Cripps and Restall. Non-starters included Bob Hosier, Lee Cleugh, Timm and Dan Fisher.


Race two saw the top 7 intermarque finishers reversed, meaning Ayling would start from pole position. Robertson should have been alongside, but Mick elected to start from the back of this grid. Again it was an orderly start from both groups, but by the end of lap one Lewis Smith was already in the lead by over four seconds. Aprigliano was going well in second, with Ayling still third initially. Spinks was making progress and took over second spot on lap 4 with Colin Smith following in his wheel tracks. Sidwell led the saloons pursued at first by Watson, then Adrian Bradley. Maddox demoted Watson on lap 3, but the BMW driver fought back on lap 6. Bassett had a time consuming spin on the first lap, which dropped him to the tail of the field. His come back to 17th was quite entertaining. Bicknell and Cripps made good progress from the rear of the grid, the pair being evenly matched. Ronan Bradley and Seldon had a good race long scrap, with the class B BMW just edging out the class D version.


Meanwhile Sidwell used the prodigious speed of the V8 Holden to catch the silhouettes. His progress eventually took him to second place overall, as Lewis Smith was still 24 seconds up the road. Colin Smith pulled off on lap 7, just as Aprigliano got back past Spinks. Richard Smith then further demoted the black Tigra on the last lap to take the senior honours again. Robertson finished sixth overall, then came Adrian Bradley, chased hard by Watson who was followed equally closely by Ayling. Chris did win the Avon Tyres silhouette driver of the race prize. Maddox completed the top ten, as Ronan Bradley just held off Seldon. Price was next in his Tigra, with Cripps getting the better of Bicknell, although Marcus got the Caesar driver of the race award. Whitehead took class C honours as Bassett easily won the tin tops again. Avis got his VW Golf up onto 2 wheels at Murrays as he came home 18th (second in class D) with Birley 19th (winning class A). Restall did get in front of these two, but then spun at Oggies. Phillips finished right on the tail of the Sapphire Coswoth with Hunt close behind. Richardson eclipsed September for T1 honours, whilst Baldwin took TP honours. Skelsey won the AFR media tin top driver of the race trophy as Quach-Tea won T3 pursued again by James and Ian Seale.

Besides Colin Smith, the only other retirement was Johnson, although Dann and Scott failed to start the second race.


All of this meant there were some significant changes in the various series final reckoning. The biggest surprise was Daniel Smith losing out to his brother Lewis, when his engine let go. Aprigliano’s good results hauled him up to third, at the expense of Colin Smith and Ian Hales. Scott has only failed to finish one race all season in his family run 206. In the seniors Knight just clung on from Robertson. Mick had needed two wins, but could only manage two third places. Keith White held onto third.


In the tin tops Bassett had a comfortable margin over Baldwin. Alex surpassed the absent Sam Haywood to take TP honours. Although Ken Angel was also absent, he maintained his buffer over Hosier (who non-started due to gearbox issues). T3 went the way of Massonetto in his Citroen Saxo.


The super saloons went to Birley, who finished every race this year (unlike last year’s problems). His tally of 12 class wins plus 1 second, was enough to hold off Sidwell’s late season charge. For the second year running it was Adrian Bradley pipping Ronan in class B, with Cowan taking class C. The drama in class D unfolded when Scott spun and then failed to start race 2. Seldon snatched the class honours at the last gasp.

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