Posted on In General
Former champions, Racelogic, finally returned to the top step of the Fun Cup podium at Silverstone, for their first championship victory since 2015, but it wasn’t a good day for many other expected front runners.
After the usual frantic opening lap, Jonathan Hoad began to escape for Trumans, leaving GCI’s Craig Butterworth at the head of a four car battle for second, from JPR UVio’s Farquini Deott, DespatchBay.com’s Andy Bicknell and Charlie Kennedy.
As rain began to fall at Maggotts, Kennedy took Bicknell and on lap three, while Butterworth and Deott began an exchange that continued over the next five laps, until Kennedy and Apollo’s Guy Wenham parted them.
Kennedy’s charge then took him passed Deott into second, before Wenham took him a lap later, with Deott following, as Nigel Greensall closed in on Kennedy, taking him on lap 11.
All the changes just increased Hoad’s lead and after 13 laps he was 4.398 secs clear. But Greensall’s charge had made him the new second placed duellist with Deott. Kennedy and Wenham continued their fight for fourth from Butterworth, which allowed 2Rent Domino’s Chris Hart and Team Sherardize’s Peter Belshaw to close in too.
“I had aimed to get away, so it was head down, don’t look in the mirrors and go for it. It was helped as the car was really good,” said Trumans Hoad. “It was just great, but the pitlane limiter wasn’t working and we got a penalty,” said CCS’s Greensall.
“That was a real duel I had with Nigel, but feels like our car again now after the problems we had,” said Deott. “Brilliant, we really wanted a good finish so I stuck with the top boys and we pulled away,” Kennedy explained.
Although 2Rent Dominos were still in the hunt, they had a recurring problem. “We are still getting that misfire, its fine when you draft and slipstream, but rubbish on your own,” said Hart.
GCI’s Butterworth was pleased with their start though, “it all got blocked up a bit, after I got stuck behind Charlie,” he said.
The first pitstops came at lap 34, with Belshaw and Wenham the first of the frontrunners to stop from fourth and eighth respectively. Hoad stayed out for another four laps before handing the Trumans car to Colin Kingsnorth, which then gave Deott the lead, until he handed over to Fabio Randaccio. Greensall pitted from second on the same lap as UVio and with Ciro Carannante in the CCS car, they then led until Marcus Clutton charged clear for Sherardize.
At the first hour Clutton’s lead had grown to 9.684 secs over Carannante, with Randaccio third for UVio, from 2Rent Dominos’ Henry Dawes, Trumans Kingsnorth and Team Kennedy’s Rob Croydon.
GCI’s Ian Wood, Team 7 Fun Bikes 2’s Edward Bridle and Team Viking’s Nick Nunn were still on the lead lap too, while Ryan Burke was a lap down for Apollo.
Clutton continued to build his lead, “I didn’t expect to be in front so early into my first stint though,” he said.
As the second pitstop window opened, the safety car was out too, and not surprisingly chaos reigned as almost the whole field pitted on the same lap.
During the confusion, Belshaw managed to emerge a lap clear of the rest, with only Paul Turner’s JPR 99 on the lead lap, as Agua Caliente were third with Matt Hogg, from Chris Bridle (Team 7 Fun Bikes 2), Kennedy, Deott, Hart, Apollo’s Zoe Wenham, Honeywell’s Tim Wheeldon and DespatchBay.com’s Bicknell.
Bridle was soon into second, as Deott, Hart and Kennedy all ousted Turner. But Kennedy had to pit again. “The right front steering was out and we had to replace a damper,” he explained.
As Belshaw continued in control, Bridle and Deott had a duel for second, until Hart latched on. Bridle managed to make a slight gap as Deott and Hart duelled.
Turner was still in the mix too, while Hoad, Wheeldon, Butterworth, Viking’s Mark Holme, and Zoe Wenham contested the rest of the top 10.
As the completion of the second hour approached, Belshaw had to head for pits. “The right upright broke,” he confirmed as they were out of contention.
Bridle became the new leader, but the second placed duel between Deott and Hart reeled him in, both getting by as the halfway point was reached. UVio just had the lead by 0.537 secs over 2Rent Dominos, but Team 7 Fun Bikes 2 still had a three second cushion over fourth placed Trumans.
JPR 99 just held onto fifth from Honeywell and GCI, while Racelogic had started to climb the leaderboard to eighth and Team Viking and Apollo completed the top 10.
“Back where we belong, but Team 7 did impress me,” said Deott. “It took us a long time to get in there, as we got a bit caught up at the start,” added Honeywell’s Tim Wheeldon.
The first sign of stability began to show as JPR UVio, 2Rent Dominos, Team 7 Fun Bikes 2 and Trumans settled as the top four.
It was Racelogic that started to come to the fore however. Jon Tomlinson was flying and only Hoad was anywhere near him.
Three hours in and there were still seven cars on the lead lap. Racelogic had 21.558 secs in hand over JPR UVio, who had Trumans duelling for second, while Team Viking had a gap in fourth; fifth had become a duel too between Team Honeywell and Track Torque 2Rent Dominos.
While Racelogic continued to consolidate, the fight behind became any one from five for the podium as the crews made their final stops. As Julian Thomas got into the lead car he managed to add further to their lead until a dramatic last lap. “We had damage early on when a car spun in from of me, so decided to change the front in one of Jon’s stints. He just got out before the safety car and went from virtual last to lead, a fantastic drive,” he said. But on the last lap I ran out of fuel and was on the radio asking how long. It cut out on me and then I managed to start it again on the Wellington Straight and we made it,” he added.
“We had tie wrapped the front on as the clips had broken. But I had just managed to stay on the lead lap and just seemed to pick them off after that, I just felt so focused,” said Tomlinson.
“I could tell it was going well as David Denyer was being so precise on the radio,” said Thomas. “Precision and perfection,” Denyer reckoned.
Behind them though, the swaps and changes continued up to the final stint too.
Trumans and JPR UVio started the final four in the podium places, but neither were there at the end. “I made a slightly ambitious move on UVio, clipped him, spun and was left facing the wrong way”, admitted Kingsnorth.
But Chris Bridle drove the race of his life to bring Team 7 Fun Bikes 2 home clear in second. “I think I rejoined fifth or sixth, after Ed and Chris Dovell had done a great job. Then I got lucky in traffic, but got worried when it rained. I expected something to break so was so relieved to see that chequered flag,” he said.
Plimmer found himself trapped behind two cars a lap down, having their own battle. “That was just awesome. I had struggled with understeer but could see Henry Dawes and knew I needed to get by for the championship and I did it,” he said after snatching the final podium place three laps from home.
Dawes still held on to fourth, “Henry said if he can’t beat the captain, he will probably go off, and then he spun,” said 2Rent Dominos team mate Hart.
Both Team Viking and JPR UVio were close to the podium too, with Nunn ousting Randaccio in the final stint, before Plimmer took them both. “There was something wrong with our suspension after we had been pacing ourselves with Trumans. It became a case of nursing it home,” said UVio’s Deott. “I did get into third, but compromised my line too much and spun,” added Team Viking’s Nunn.
Viking and JPR UVio completed the top six, while Trumans finally came home seventh, a lap down. Bicknell and Harry Mailer had a quiet day but still brought their DespatchBay.com car home eighth, as GCI and JPR 99’s Turner, Chris Weatherill and Kristian Rose completed the top 10.