Thruxton race report by Lee Sutton

A rare chance to compete at Britain’s fastest circuit (Thruxton) did not entice enough competitors, so our super saloons and tin tops were combined with the WRDA series. This seemed to work quite well and certainly balanced the books as far as our club is concerned.

With the weather forecast predicting just the odd light shower, it did in fact stay dry for all our sessions. Graham Richardson unfortunately had issues at scrutineering so he withdrew, whilst qualifying saw the demise of Alex Baldwin as a pulley bracket broke and did some engine damage. Andy Woods-Dean only managed one lap in his Holden Commodore and Dave Avis sadly suffered more gearbox issues. In the end Ronan Bradley was quickest in his BMW E36 just edging out Rod Birley who was back in his Escort WRC. Marcus Bicknell was third quickest in his V8 Ford Taurus followed by Dave Cowan (BMW E46). Chris Bassett was leading tin top driver in his Peugeot 306, then came Jacques Whitehead (BMW M3) and Alex Sidwell (Holden Commodore). Like many of our drivers Alex was experiencing Thruxton for the first time. Martyn Scott (VW Golf) was next followed by Alan Breck (Ford Capri V8) and Ken Angell (tin top BMW). Luke Bennett added to the class S runners in his Mercedes V8 ex-eurocar, with Woods-Dean unable to fix his Holden.

The rolling start saw the four quicker WRDA cars of Tommy Field (Escort RSR), Nigel Mustill (Volvo V8 supercar), Chris Everill (Ginetta V8) and Ian Hall (Darrian wildcat V8) occupy the first four places. Meanwhile an early scrap between Bradley and Birley was entertaining, as Rod twice got past going up Woodham Hill only for Ronan to come back under braking. This battle lasted until lap six when a puff of smoke from the Escort going into Campbell signified a problem. As Birley dived into the pits it turned out that a power steering pipe had fractured. After a quick check he was allowed to continue, but at a reduced pace. Meanwhile Bradley caught and passed Hall for third overall (after Everill pulled off with a broken driveshaft). Cowan was on the move, quickly demoting Bicknell and chasing after Bradley. Bassett had been running in a strong sixth overall until his gearbox got stuck in fourth gear. Despite dropping down the field he still won the tin top group.

As the race concluded it was the mighty Volvo which took victory with former intermarque racer Field in second. Bradley won the super saloons from Cowan (class C winner) and Whitehead. Jacques had driven well, as he got used to the circuit. Sidwell came through to beat Bicknell for the class S honours. Marcus did win the Caesar electrical driver of the race award. It may be his last season of racing, but his enthusiasm still shows. Bennett increased his pace to come home tenth overall, followed by team mate Breck (who won class A). Bassett was next,then came Scott (winning class D) and Angell (T1 winner). Birley trailed home 17th overall.

Race two was without the Volvo and Darrian, but all of our drivers made it out onto the grid. Unfortunately a bizarre puncture on the rather slow rolling lap saw Whitehead receive the black and orange flag. He did respond to it immediately, but it meant the start was aborted. The second attempt saw a rather shambolic start, but it was Field who led away and disappeared into the distance. Bradley slotted into second from a fast starting Sidwell. Cowan was fourth and somehow Bassett was already up to fifth. Everill soon powered through into second from the back of the grid, whilst Birley was making steady progress as well. Sidwell passed Bradley on lap four, but then he spun exiting Seagrave on lap 7. This dropped him behind Bassett. Meanwhile Birley was having an entertaining battle with Bicknell, who he got past on lap 7. Marcus was then caught and passed by Bennett as the big V8s thundered around together.

Bradley therefore took his second win, with Cowan chasing him closely at the flag. Dave again won class C.  Sidwell (class S winner) just got past Bassett (tin top winner) on the run to the finish line. Next up was Birley (winning class A) followed by Bennett and Bicknell. Luke won the driver of the race award this time. Breck man handled the big Capri to stay ahead of Scott (class D) with Angell (T1 winner) completing our finishers, although Ken did have a good battle with the Welsh BMW of Mike Cook.

It is back to the familiar surroundings of Brands Hatch next. The tin tops have their pit stop race on August 19th whilst the super saloons have their races the next day.

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