RACE BULLETIN No. 1 – 11th April 2017
This was the second year in succession that we opened our season at Donington. Last year saw 27 cars entered, this year 34 with no less than 9 new drivers on the grid and 3 returnees, what a great way to start my last season as co-ordinator.No significant changes to the regs were made following the drivers meeting but just one dropped score will be permitted this year. All the cars sprouted four towing eyes in anticipation of the change to the regs in 2018.
There were a few track and test days on the weeks running up to the Sunday races with the last one being on the Friday beforehand, several drivers utilised these days to have a pre-season shakedown, several with new cars to try out for the first time.
Returning & New Drivers
Drivers returning to the Trophy were, in class A, Gary Wetton and Ross Makar who had both been racing at the front in the Cockshoot Cup, Makar taking the title last year. In class B we welcomed back Tom Butler who had taken time away racing in the Clio’s, Tom was 3rd overall in the Trophy in 2013. New to the Trophy were, in class B Phil Tomlinson, James Blake, Andy Firth, Adrian Wray, Adam Jackson and Oli Hood and in class C, John Booth, Andy Spencer and Joe Cruttenden, we wish all our new drivers the best of luck. 2016 Trophy champ Will Payne and team mate Gianni Picone moved up from class C to class B.
Our 34 entries reduced to 33 as Paul Croker’s car wasn’t ready in time. Our season kicked off with us as track sweepers again and, due to noise retrictions, all 33 cars were noise tested in the pit lane as they took to the circuit at 09:04 to commence qualifying. The Carrot Racing car of Jason Burgess just made it out in time following a last minute electrical fault. There was not a ‘wet’ in sight as Sunny/Dry conditions were noted by TSL. Initial front runners were Roberts, Rogerson, Ross, Makar, Walker, Wray, Cole (D), Wetton and Luti. The class A cars then started to dominate as expected and at 4 laps the order was Cole(D) Ross, Walker, Roberts, Jackson, Makar and Wetton. Walker then took P1 briefly with 5 minutes left to run with Cole(D) Ross, Roberts, Jackson, Luti and Makar next in line, Turnbull headed the class C runners in P16. Makar made pole at 09:15 only to be deposed by Cole(D) on his 7th lap, Makar then regained pole and at the flag the order was Makar, Cole (D), Ross, Walker, Wetton then Roberts with the first of the class B cars. Turnbull held on to the class C pole in an excellent 20th overall. Both Roberts and Turnbull were under the official class lap records but qualifying doesn’t count. Several cars explored the track extremities at Redgate, the Old Hairpin and Coppice leading to a chat with CoC Andy Green.
As there were no significant qually dramas all 33 cars took the start of the first race of the day at 12:00, conditions reported as Sunny/Dry.
Makar lost his pole slot on the first lap to Ross at Coppice with Wetton, Cole and Walker next in line, Walker had a brief off at Redgate on his second lap and rejoined well down the field in 23rd place. Ross maintained his lead, but was initially under a lot of pressure from Makar, Cole moved into P3 and Burgess now claimed 4th from Wetton these two racing side by side at times down through the Craners. Cole then put Makar under a lot of pressure until he was able to snatch P2 on lap 7 and just 2 laps later was only 0.39s behind Ross. Walker continued to pick off cars working his way back up the field. Cole took the lead on lap 14, after Ross missed a change, to take the win after pressurising Ross for several laps. Ross was just 0.32s in arrears at the flag, Makar hung on to 3rd Burgess and Wetton rounding out the top 5.
At the end of the first tour the order was Roberts, Byrne, Luti and Rogerson. Luti had a moment on his second tour dropping down to 6th place. Roberts then started to ease away from the other class B cars eaking out an ever increasing lead. Blake had an off at the bottom of the Craner Curves on lap 3 ending his first Trophy race. The class battles continued and by half distance Rogerson, Luti, Wray, Cole, Byrne were all fighting over second place. Butler, Jackson and Firth(R) were next up three abreast at Coppice before Firth parked his car on lap 9 his race over with a puncture, Byrne joined him two laps later his fun also over. Roberts was wondering where the other cars in his class were as his lead stretched to almost 9 seconds at the finish an excellent and well deserved first class win. Luti had recovered from his earlier mishap to take 2nd, Rogerson third, Wray was a close 4th followed by Cole with ex Clio man Butler, 5th.
Turnbull held his class C pole and was in front of some of the class B tailenders at the end of lap 1, he continued to set a steady pace at the front of the class with newcomer Spencer in P2 followed by Heasman, Booth and Jones. Martin’s 2016 bad luck was still in evidence with him bringing up the rear after a temporary pull off the circuit on the Wheatcroft Straight with no electrics. Newcomer Booth(J) was out on lap 10 his race over. Heasman had an off at Coppice losing a place to Jones so at the flag it was Turnbull (also his first class win) by over 16 seconds from Spencer, Jones 3rd, Heasman and Cruttenden completing the top 5.
Fastest laps Class A was Cole with a 1:20.826 on lap 9. Class B was Roberts with a 1:24.445 on lap 3 and Class C, Turnbull on lap 9 with 1:26.482 (n/r).
Driver of the Race Doug Cole.
In the interval, Blake sorted out his clutch problem, and those that suffered due to a lack of fuel (no names!) added a bit more for race 2. Heasman got the OK to race with the damaged screen missing and the tailgate removed, draughty !!
All 33 cars took to the grid for our second race of the day at 17:04 conditions still Sunny/Dry.
Cole was on pole for race 2 but lost it to the fast starting Makar going in to Redgate. Ross in P3 pressured Cole, Makar held on to P1 but on lap 5 contact with Cole allowed Ross to take advantage and he slotted into the race lead with Cole now 3rd. Walker was back up to 4th and Wetton who started in 4th now 5th. A lap later Cole regained second and initially pressured Ross but Ross drew away and took the win by 2.5 seconds, Cole held P2 Makar taking his second third place of the day. Wetton had regained P4 on lap 10 ahead of Walker, Burgess a lonely 6th with a lack of power.
Pole sitter Wray lead the class B race with Roberts and Rogerson in close contention, Luti 4th. 2016 champ Payne’s day was over as he pulled off on his first tour. Wray was down to 5th on lap 2 leaving Rogerson and Luti now leading the class, Roberts in 3rd. Luti took over the class lead on lap 6 with Rogerson, Roberts, Wray, Cole and Firth still in close formation. Very close racing and some minor contact between Rogerson, Roberts and Wray kept the commentators busy. Savage was out on lap 9 with fuel surge problems. Wray and Roberts swapped places on lap 10 but Roberts again took over P3 on lap 13 as Firth temporarily took 4th place from Wray only to lose it on the penultimate lap. At the flag Luti had a clear win by 3.3s from Rogerson, Roberts 3rd, Wray and Firth rouding out the top 5.
Turnbull was again on pole for the class C race which he lead from the off with Spencer in close contention then a big gap back to the windowless Heasman and Booth. Cruttenden was out on lap 4 with no oil.
Turnbull pulled away from Spencer as the race progressed and at the flag he took his second class win of the day the only class C car to complete 15 laps. This and his two class poles and two fastest laps see him at the top of the table. Newcomer John Booth took 3rd, the cold Heasman 4th and Jones 5th.
Fastest laps Class A was Ross 1:21.179 on lap 11, Class B, Roberts 1:24.547 on lap 15, Class C, Turnbull 1:26.916 on lap 11.
Driver of the Race Graham Ross