CCS Media Top Spa Brit Podium
After 25 gruelling hours at Spa Francorchamps, Nigel Greensall, Bob Tomlinson, Alan Honarmand and Steve Johansen took a four lap victory over newcomers “Painters & Decorators.”
Greensall took the start for CCS, “it was great and we had a 40 second lead in our class. But we decided to pit early, just under the first hour while the safety car was out,” he said after continuing his double stint.
At the one hour mark Stanbridge Motorsport’s diesel car with David Pittard had just over 30 secs in hand, with Chris Hart’s Track Torque FNS and Painters & Decorators Ed Morris almost tied in second and third. “That was hard work in the mid pack as we were quicker than some cars and they just block you and don’t work together,” Hart explained. “When I made my first stop there wasn’t a scratch on it, but what a chaotic start,” Morris added.
Terry Clarke started in Jason Kennedy Racings diesel in fourth, with CCS, Crossacre’s Ryan Hooker next up and Team Brit in seventh after two early stops for Warren McKinlay. “We had splitter damage and checked the tyres,” said McKinlay.
Two hours down and Bob Tomlinson had taken over from Greensall and CCS were back in front, with Crossacre’s Chris Wilson a lap down in second. Stanbridge had changed to Graham Wilson in third, with Gavin Henderson fourth for Painters & Decorators, followed by Charlie Kennedy, Track Torque’s Steve Walton and Andy Searle for Team Brit.
“We then got stuck in fifth gear for the last three laps of my stint, we had to change the paddleshift,” Tomlinson R explained after dropping to fifth after three hours.
Kennedy was now in front, “sideways all the time, smoking tyres, just great,” said the new leader. Painters & Decorators were the new second crew, “the only problem we had was getting swamped at the restarts from the safety car,” said Henderson senior.
Greg Evans took the third stint for Track Torque, but as they moved back up to third, Crossacre had Adrian Watt on board for fourth with Stanbidge down to sixth behind CCS.
The fourth hour came and went with Kennedy still heading Crossacre, with CCS back in third, from Painters & Decorators, Track Torque, Stanbridge and Team Brit. But as darkness closed in Team Brit had to be recovered after James Hill had an off at La Source. “I carried too much speed in, then an Evo 3 slowed and I was off and broke a front wishbone,” he explained.
Track Torque took charge from the fifth hour and continued to hold the advantage up to midnight, with Britcar chief Rob Hedley taking his first stint. Adrian and Joe Watt had been out for Crossacre and were a lap off the lead, before Kennedy’s CCS and Painters & Decorators were all on the same lap and in contention for third. “The car felt very heavy and those restart from the safety car are just scary,” added Kennedy’s Simon Tomlinson.
There were more dramas for Team Brit too, while McKinlay was trying to get some sleep Ted Williams crashed out and was taken to hospital for the all clear while the rest of the crew got the car fixed and back out again.
But it was all over for Stanbridge just after Mono racer Andrew Barron had handed to US visitor James Rogerson. “An injector broke and fell into engine, so the engine died,” said Rogerson. “What a real shame, so enjoyed that start but disappointed not to get out in the dark,” added team mate Pittard.
Damage to a front wheel in the early hours lost Track Torque the lead. “It had been great until I got hit at Pouhon. Greg had been hit too on the same wheel. We got it back OK but had to change a track rod end,” Hedley explained.
So with 13 hours completed and the halfway point of the race passed, Painters & Decorators were out in front but CCS Media were closing in and on the same lap, with Track Torque still on the same lap too, but down in third. “I was in the car for the brilliant sunrise and then handed the car back to Alan,” said Greensall.
Kennedy’s diesel was holding fourth, but Crossacre had lost out and dropped to fifth. “We had the class lead briefly early morning but had to change the starter motor and lost a few laps,” said Hooker.
Team Brit were still out there too, despite a number of needy repairs. “The team worked so hard to get us back out there, but I had oversteer and understeer and got hit at the bus stop and damaged a rear corner,” McKinlay explained.
Gradually CCS closed in on the Painters & Decorators and after completing the 15th hour 15 seconds down, an hour later they were a lap up.
The lead continued to grow and Greensall handed to Johansen for the final hour. “It’s been a brilliant weekend and proud to be part of such a great team,” he concluded after sealing the victory with a four lap cushion.
Painters & Decorators had briefly dropped to third behind Track Torque. “It was like the wild west out there, door banging at Pouhon and not even for places,” said P & D’s Robert Fellowes. Rory Henderson brought their car home in second, but Track Torque were still on the same lap as Hart took over from Evans to complete the podium, “it’s been a great experience but just disappointed about the incidents Rob and I had in the night,” said Evans.
Crossacre came in fourth with Joe Watt at the wheel, and after running out of fuel during the morning and having to change the slave cylinder after the clutch failed, Kennedy’s came in fifth, with Team Brit completing the finishers. “After we lost our time with the starter motor, we couldn’t close the gap again as the UK cars seemed so evenly matched,” said Crossacre’s Chris Wilson.
1 CCS Media (Nigel Greensall/Bob Tomlinson/Alan Honarmand/Steve Johansen)
2 Painters & Decorators (Ed Morris/Gavin Henderson/Rory Henderson/Robert Fellowes/Martin Eyears)
3 Track Torque FNS (Chris Hart/Steve Walton/Greg Evans/Rob Hedley)
4 Crossacre (Ryan Hooker/Adrian Watt/Joe Watt/Chris Wilson)
5 Jason Kennedy Racing (Terry Clarke/Charlie Kennedy/Simon Tomlinson) Class winners
6 Team Brit (Warren McKinlay/Andy Searle/James Hill/Tony Williams/David Williams)
7 Stanbridge Motorsport (David Pittard/Graham Wilson/James Rogerson/Andrew Barron)