Posted on In General
There were three possible champions seeking the Fun Cup title at Donington Park. But, just when it looked as if outgoing title holders JPR UVio would end the season on a high, they ran out fuel after adopting Team Honeywell’s strategy and Henry Dawes not only took the flag for 2Rent Dominos, but the Championship too.
From the start it became a three car break, with Nigel Greensall leading for CCS Media, from Guy Wenham’s Apollo car and Greensall Motorsport’s Sam Smeeth.
“I got the lead out of Coppice on the opening lap, after taking Guy at the Old Hairpin. But Guy followed and tried to rechallenge,” said Greensall.
Behind the lead trio there was an early duel for fourth too, with DespatchBay.com’s Andy Bicknell sharing exchanges with Kennedy Racing’s Rob Croydon.
Greensall had soon started to consolidate his lead, as Smeeth duelled with Wenham for second, but the fight for fourth had not only been caught, but overhauled too by JPR UVio’s Farquini Deott.
“I had a really good start and was really enjoying the duel with Guy,” said Smeeth until a 16th lap slip at McLeans put them a lap down and brought Deott into third. “I nearly followed him, but it was just pure skill that kept me going,” reckoned Wenham.
UVio weren’t the only team making rapid progress though, as PT Motorsport’s Ian Payne had also got passed Kennedy’s and began to close in on third, while Bicknell slipped down the order after a straight on at the chicane on some oil.
The first safety car intervention came as the pitstop window and the end of the first hour approached, with almost everyone pitting together it still caused a reshuffle in the order, however.
Ryan Burke had taken over the Apollo car and was the new leader, from Bob Tomlinson’s CCS car, UVio’s Fabio Randaccio and 2Rent Dominos’ Dawes. “There had been spinning cars and crashing and stuff, so we just carved our way through and avoided contact,” said Deott.
At the completion of the first hour, Burke was still 2.967 secs up on Tomlinson, but Randaccio, Dawes, PT’s Paul Voakes and Team Viking’s Nick Nunn completed a compact top six, with only 8.5 secs covering the whole of the top 10.
Burke began to feel the pressure however, “it felt like they were swamping me, so I just tried to keep out of trouble,” he explained, after giving way to both Randaccio and Dawes.
As Tomlinson began to slip down the leaderboard, Harry Mailer was flying for DespatchBay.com. From 10th on lap 38, he led eight laps later. “I had built a two seconds lead then got a box of neutrals,” he said.
Randaccio was back in front, from Dawes and Burke, while Nunn had worked his way into fourth, before making an early stop to hand the Viking car back to Mark Holme.
Although there had been some stability in the top four, the rest of the field continued to swap and change. UVio had managed to increase their lead to almost nine seconds as the halfway point was reached, while 2Rent Dominos and Team Viking, continued a duel for second, having eased themselves clear of fourth placed Apollo. “It had been a good grid draw for us, but we sat back and watched until it began to unfold,” said Viking’s Holme.
Kennedy’s were still running strongly in seventh, with JPR GT Radial, Team Honeywell, CCS Media, TFL Racing and GCI Racing all on the lead lap too. “It had been mega up to fourth, got hit and then a drive through penalty,” added Charlie Kennedy.
“We were just trying to fight our way back after four impacts and being put on the grass in the first stint, I think everyone had a go at us; it was very aggressive,” said Honeywell’s Tim Wheeldon.
UVio’s Deott and Randaccio continued to set the pace and as the penultimate hour came to its conclusion, they were a lap clear, but 2Rent Dominos and Apollo were still contesting the other podium places, from Kennedy’s, GT Radial and Team Lane Roofing, with Viking down to seventh.
It began to look as if the outgoing Champions were going to finish a disappointing season on a high, but the tide turned against them yet again.
With the clock counting down Randaccio ground to a halt at the chicane and it was all over with only a couple of laps to go. “I knew it was fuel or electrics,” he said. “Can we just drop 2018 as we seemed to have finished how we started,” Deott added.
Their departure left the way clear for Hart and Dawes to not only take the win, but the title too. “We have been waiting quite a few years for this,” Hart confirmed. “It was quite an easy race for me, I didn’t spin or hit anyone. No issues and felt more like the races we used to have, but I couldn’t catch UVio, so it was a bit cruel for them at the end,” added Dawes.
The Apollo trio came in second, from Team Viking, which made Holme/Nunn the championship runners up. “I was stuck in fifth gear, two seconds a lap slower, so can’t believe we still did this,” said Nunn.
Martin Gibson/Ellis Hadley brought GT Radial home fourth, with Team 7 Fun Bikes trio of Road Barratt, with Alan and Rory Brown fifth and CCS Media competing the top six.
A late engine failure robbed the Kennedy duo, but they were still classified ninth, behind GCI’s Craig and Grahame Butterworth, with Ian Wood and the luckless UVio duo, while TFL’s Riley Phillips/Richard Baxter completed the top 10.
1 Track Torque 2Rent Dominos (Chris Hart/Henry Dawes) 162 laps in 4h00m58.975s (79.81mph); 2 Apollo Motorsport (Guy Wenham/Ryan Burke/Zoe Wenham) +18.603S; 3 Team Viking (Mark Holme/Nick Nunn); 4 JPR GT Radial (Martin Gibson/Ellis Hadley); 5 Team Fun Bikes 7 (Rod Barratt/Alan Brown/Rory Brown); 6 CCSs Media (Nigel Greensall/Ciro Carannante/Bob Tomlinson); 7 GCI Racing (Craig Butterworth/Grahame Butterworth/Ian Wood); 8 JPR UVio (Farquini Deott/Fabio Randaccio); 9 Team Kennedy Racing (Charlie Kennedy/Rob Croydon); 10 TFL Racing (Riley Phillips/Richard Baxter). Fastest lap Neil Plimmer (Team Honeywell) 1m23.570s (85.25mph).
Published by Peter Scherer for Fun Cup, October 23rd 2018.