Snetterton hosted the 750 Motor Club season opener after the extended break with the 200-layout providing action-packed racing for over 300 competitors.
Kicking off the proceedings on Saturday was the fastest two categories: Bikesports and Sports 1000. The combined grid of over 30 cars was headed by Josh Smith in race one, but only briefly as he pitted on lap two. Martin Brooks moved into first place and never looked back. Behind Scott Mittell in his Mittell MC 41R made a move for second ahead of former single seater racer Charles Hall. Smith would return to the track to set a new lap record albeit a lap down. Smith avoided retirement in the second outing to win ahead of race one winner Brooks, and Mittell.
For the Sports 1000 category, there was drama as early leader Danny Andrew retired, allowing regular front runner Richard Morris through to take his first victory in the category ahead of Ryan Yarrow and newcomer Victor Neumann. The second race saw Yarrow take the lead and build a healthy gap to the cars behind, as Andrew once again was struck by bad luck and retired on lap 8. Morris set about closing Yarrow’s lead and got to within a second as they entered traffic but it wasn’t enough to deny Yarrow his first victory in the category with newcomer to Sports 1000 Joe Lock rounding out the podium after switching from Bikesports.
New to the 750MC, the Alfa Romeo Championship boasted big grids for its club debut. Barry McMahon’s Modified Alfa Romeo 156 took him to a dominant victory in race one, finishing 55 seconds ahead of Graham Seager in his Alfa GTV. It would be McMahon’s only race as mechanical trouble ruled him out of race 2. The Power Trophy class which caters for cars upto 195 bhp/tonne, with Fiat and Lancias also eligible, was headed by reigning champion Thomas Hill in his Alfa GT. There was a great scrap between the two Fiat Punto Abarths of Chris and Simon McFie for fifth and sixth in class. The twin spark class featured close racing. The class which is for standard production Alfa Romeos that use the 2000cc 16v twin spark engine and a control tyre. Andrew Bourke finished four seconds ahead of Gethin Llewellyn and Richard Ford. Seager went one better to win race two to win, Richard Thurbin charged up the field from the back to grab third after clutch issues hampered his progress. Hill repeated his victory in the Power Trophy but this time finished fourth overall, whilst Bourke did the double in the Twin Spark Trophy. There was drama for both the McFie’s as they retired with Chris having a steering failure at the end of the Bentley straight.
James Harridge produced two impressive drives in the Formula Vee Championship to do the double, but it was not without drama behind. With Daniel Hands on pole, mechanical issues would ultimately hamper his day, he managed to finish third in race one but retired in the second outing. Long standing Vee racer Ian Buxton finished second in both races, the second race he pushed Harridge all the way until the red flag, which stopped the race due to Richard Rainbow being stranded at Chapman curve. Harridge having made up an impressive 16 places in race two.
The Toyota MR2 Championship produced close racing with Aaron Cooke continuing his impressive form from his debut season. He beat Paul Cook by just seven tenths to win race one. Shaun Traynor, who has switched from his trusty Mk2, to a Roadster and enjoyed a solid debut with a third and a second across the two races. Race two was more dramatic with Cooke and Cook coming together at Riches causing damage on both, this allowed Nick Williamson to drive to an early lead which he held to take his first victory. Daniel Bryant joined Williamson and Traynor on the podium beating the damaged car of Cooke.
Ryan Polley remained the man to beat in the Clio 182 Championship with two dominant drives despite having brake problems throughout. He was never troubled in either race, with Don De Graaff bagging a front row start for race two after qualifying woes. He got to within eight tenths of Polley in race two but never close enough to challenge. Scott Edgar enjoyed a podium with a second in race one holding off newcomer Simon Freeman. Edgar would have finished third in race two only to make a bold move against Josh Larkin which allowed Nick Garner through on his return, Larkin would also be given a five second penalty for track limits promoting Edgar back to fourth.
Ben Short did the treble in the MX5 Cup, even a top 10 reverse grid could not stop him from being victorious in all three. The racing was as close as ever with slipstreaming and the grid was full with reserves. Steve Foden kept Short honest in the first two races, the third race saw Callum Greatrex finish second on his 5 Club debut. Reigning champion Ben Hancy built his speed throughout the weekend, with sixth place in the opener and finished on Sunday with two third places.
Snetterton 200 is a great layout for slipstreaming, it certainly did not disappoint for the Locost championship. Race one the lead changed numerous times as a group of five cars fought for the lead. In the latter stages Craig Land led, but at Wilson he spun causing the pack behind to take avoiding action, this in turn allowed the trio behind close in. David Mason and Paul Clark battled down to Brundle with Clark spinning out of contention. The race went to the line with Geoff Peek winning by just 0.02 seconds ahead of Martin West and reigning champion Tom Gadd. The second race would again have numerous lead changes, behind the drama was unfolding with several cars pulling off with damage or mechanical gremlins, with Locosts scattered around the track the safety car was called and would stay out until the end. Murray Shepherd won from Peek and Land. The third race saw Murray Shepherd and Land break away by over eight seconds ahead of West. They enjoyed their own private battle for victory with Shepherd just coming out on top. Further back a four-car battle for third which was held at the beginning by Tim Penstone-Smith but ultimately went the way of West, the slipstream coming into effect as they went four-wide down the Senna straight.
The Sport Specials grid enjoys plenty of variety, the front runners carried on their 2019 form with Andy Hiley and Paul Collingwood fighting it out for victory in race one, Hiley came out on top by just over a second, as third place finisher Anton Landon finished sixteen seconds behind. Stewart Mutch enjoyed a dominant class C victory and fourth overall, but he would go one better in the second race to finish third. Steve Wells took class B victory and looked set for another in race two until drama struck the SEWC Subzero, as he pulled off the circuit the car ignited causing a fire which entered the cockpit. Wells quickly escaped the car, with one foot on fire, the fantastic efforts by the marshals put out both Wells boot and the car out. Wells is fine and the car is already being stripped down in preparation for a rebuild. Hiley had dramas in race two, as he retired whilst chasing down Collingwood who went on to win ahead of Landon.
New for 2020, the Ma7da series featured a healthy grid. The winner on the road in race one was Scott Mansell however several drivers fell afoul of being underweight which promoted Jonathan Lisseter to victory ahead of David Winter and Oliver Batten, who started near the back of the grid. The top two would remain unchanged in race two as Lisseter carried on his Snetterton form having won there twice in Locost at the end of last year. Sam Mckee enjoyed his first taste of sprint racing, normally having raced his BMW in Roadsports Club Enduro. He finished fourth in race two. The series will only look to grow over 2020 with big grids not too far away.
Classic Stock Hatch produced two cracking races, with Pip Hammond returning in his Nova and Lee Scott in his Fiesta XR2i lining up on the front row. Hammond got the better start and managed to defend every attack that Scott threw at him, in the meantime Andrew Thorpe was closing in bringing newcomer Ryan Morgan, who started near the back, with him. This is the order they would finish in as the race would finish under the safety car as Terry Roughton rolled his Citroen AX at Murrays. The second race saw a four-way battle for the lead, Hammond and Scott going side by side around Coram with Scott eventually taking the lead. Morgan behind had picked off Thorpe and chased down Hammond who he passed just over half-way through the race. Morgan chipped away at Scott’s lead to be on his tail taking the lead at Nelson only for Scott to fight back. All four were now within a second of each other as the battle went to Murrays. Scott would defend from Hammond as Morgan ran slightly wide. Morgan still had the momentum – while Scott and Hammond touched. Morgan took an incredible victory ahead of Scott and Thorpe.
The weekend featured an endurance race in the form of the 116i Trophy. 28 cars took part with some fantastic liveries. The 90-minute race which featured one, two or three driver teams saw Sam Carrington-Yates win by just over 40 seconds ahead of Anthony Seddon and Alan Corfield, third place went to James Alford. Autosport journalist Stefan Mackley debuted the guest car alongside Freddie Tatham and former Formula One driver Martin Donnelly, they finished 15th after some close battles in the middle of the pack.