A fantastic 26-race programme celebrated the 750 Motor Club’s 80th anniversary meeting at the club’s home, Donington Park. An event where 350 competitors were racing and 80 Austin 7’s took to the circuit for a lunchtime parade.
Further to the celebration of eighty years of the club, the Raceparts 750 Formula Championship celebrated its 70th anniversary. Peter Bove’s Darvi beat the Racekits Falcon of Mark Glover in both races, narrowing Glover’s championship lead.
It was the battle behind between multiple former champions Bob Simpson (SS/F) and Mick Harris in his wife Sue’s Darvi that sparked many memories of the category’s history. Mick Harris won that battle in the opener and therefore returned to the podium. Martin Kemp took his Racekits to third in race two. Richard Rothery won class B twice and put his PRS to the top of the class standings.
Ben Rushworth (Honda Integra) dominated the opening Royal Purple Hot Hatch race – beating Gary Prebble’s Honda Civic by 15 seconds. Ben Leach (Civic) held off Ryan Steel (Citroen Saxo) to third. Race two was more entertaining – following a fast start from Prebble. Rushworth went around the outside of him at Redgate on lap four but had a huge spin at the Craner Curves, taking Prebble off the road with him. Leach looked set to win before engine dramas would halt his pace. Prebble caught and passed him but Leach held on to second – ahead of Jonathon Swift (Civic).
Martin Ward flew to another double class B victory with his family-run Civic. Alistair Camp (Ford Fiesta), Tony Perfect (Civic) and Leon Shepherd (Fiesta) took class podiums. Ian Williamson (Citroen Saxo) narrowly failed to beat David Drinkwater (BMW Compact) in class C, with Dan Gibbs (VW Golf) claiming a double third place. Ward and Drinkwater remain very close in the championship on adjusted scores with the latter just ahead.
Donington Park always creates spectacular Heritage Parts Centre Formula Vee races and this season was no different. An action-packed final turn to the opener saw Danny Hands (GAC) launched airborne in front of the pack. The driver who was at the back on the leading quintet came out best. After 17 years of trying, Tim Probert (Storm) won, narrowly squeezing past Craig Pollard (Bears GAC). Pollard was deemed at fault for the incident – which promoted Ben Miloudi (Storm) and John Hughes (Scarab Mk5) onto the podium.
Miloudi and championship leader Graham Gant (WEV FV01) dropped out of race two – following an incident at Redgate which saw Miloudi launch into the gravel. Hands and Hughes recreated their battles from the last decade, in which the 2008 champion won and therefore kept his title aspirations alive. Probert took another podium with third. A double class B victory promoted Jack Wilkinson (Sheane Mk3) to second in the class standings behind Vaughn Jones (Spyder Mk2).
Stewart Place was a popular first-time winner in the Demon Tweeks / Yokohama Classic Stock Hatch Championship when he passed the similar Peugeot 205 of Matt Rozier, which was suffering with a misfire. Place ended up winning by four seconds, chased by fellow 205-racer Matt Stubington and championship leader Lee Scott, with his Fiesta XR2i. A double win was off the cards for Place when his engine expired in race two, that left Stubington to win for the first time this season – narrowly beating Scott and Andrew Thorpe (Citroen AX).
The K-Tec Racing Clio 182 Championship provided a pair of action-packed races once again. Ryan Polley looked to put one hand on the title with a win in the opener before a broken fuse stopped him in his track. That allowed Jack Kingsbury to win, beating James Bark and Don De Graaff. Polley fought back in race two in which he was victorious despite contact with Bark at the Old Hairpin. He passed Kingsbury into the chicane on the final lap, with Bark coming home third.
Lee Morgan won twice in the 365Hosts F1000 Championship, scarcely beating Matthew Booth on both occasions – and therefore closing the gap to him in the championship standings before the final event at Snetterton. However, in the reverse grid race Booth beat Morgan – as they flew through the pack. Dan Gore looked set to win though but made a mistake at the Old Hairpin with a couple of laps to go and dropped to third. He also finished in that position in race three, but Dan Clewes took those honours in the opener.
A dominant double victory, bringing his total to ten, was enough for Christopher ‘Chippy’ Wesemael (Mittell MC-53) to wrap up the Zamp Helmets RGB Sports 1000 Championship. He beat Spire-racer Richard Morris by eight seconds in race one followed by team-mate Ryan Yarrow. James Walker raced fantastically to second in race two in his older-shaped Spire GT3. Jonathan McGill (Spire) was classified third, his first overall podium – like Walker, following a track limits penalty for Morris. That excludes McGill from the Sportsman Cup, which promotes Colin Chapman to the top of that table despite a luckless weekend.
A Safety Car affected Tegiwa Roadsports race was won by series debutant Warren Allen with his Porsche Cayman. He beat Paul Cook’s BMW M3 by 9 seconds. Class B winner Peter Erceg took third overall, also in a Cayman. After Cadwell’s fiery engine explosion, Chris Morton dropped his Vauxhall Corsa into class C and won that category after a late-race pass on Matthew Welford (Toyota MR2). Adam Read (BMW Compact) took class D honours.
Martin Depper (Centuar Mk14) held off the attentions of Simon Boulter (Time 3B) in the opening Raceparts Historic 750 Formula race, with Roger Rowe (RWR) taking third. Boulter dominated race two though, leaving Depper to overcome Trefor Slatter (Centaur Mk11) for second after a fantastic race-long scrap, where the pair switched positions many times. Al Frayling-Cork stormed to a double Austin 7 class A victory.
A double victory in the Gala Performance Toyota MR2 Championship was enough for Shaun Traynor to be provisionally crowned champion. Stuart Nicholls, Aaron Cooke, Alastair Topley and returnee Paul Cook all stood on the podium. Nicholls – a double class C victor while Dave Hemingway did similar in class A.
Will Blackwell-Chambers was beaten by a whisker in both tightly contested 5 Club Racing MX5 Cup races. Mike Comber raced for the first time in 12 months and won the opener, while Ben Short added another MX5 victory to his tally in race two. Ben Hancy raced superbly to third in race two. Ian Tomlinson narrowly leads Jordan Johnson in the championship standings, with Paul Bateman also involved on adjusted scores.
Mark Inman’s Vauxhall VX220 beat Robert ‘Matty’ Taylor (BMW Compact) twice in the Armed Forces Challenge. Taylor looked set to win race two before a big spin through backmarker traffic. Mark Jones fought through the field both times to third with his Seat Leon. Jamie McHugh (Porsche 944) and Ben Williams (Renault Clio) won class B, whereas Chris Slator (Peugeot 306) and Darren Howe (VW Golf) shared class C honours. Paul Waterhouse (Peugeot 306) and Eddie McKean (BMW 325i) were the Performance Index winners, leaving the former heading the standings.
The BCV8 Championship guested with the 750 Motor Club for the fourth time this season at Donington Park. Neil Fowler won twice, narrowly beating Rob Spencer in race one. James Wheeler and Jordan Spencer won the tightly contested class C races, while Russell McCarthy and Luke Spencer were double winners in class B and AB respectively.
Words: Josh Barrett
Photos: Sam Nudd