The opening day of racing from the 750 Motor Club’s December season finale at Donington Park focuses on Tin Top title deciders in damp conditions.
Josh Larkin took a pair of victories in the Clio 182 Championship to add to his Oulton Park win. He passed Ryan Polley on lap six and pulled out a two second victory to win the opener. An off at McLeans followed for Polley – allowed Simon Freeman and Scott Edgar through to the podium. Edgar was recovering from a first lap gravel trap excursion. Polley took fourth – enough to wrap up the championship.
A spin for Larkin in race down on the exit of the Craners Curves on lap three looked to drop him out of contention. A phenomenal recovery drive – setting lap times two seconds faster than the leaders in drying conditions – allowed him to catch and then pass the leader Simon Freeman on the penultimate lap. Newcomer Simon Gruber completed the podium ahead of Jack Dwane.
Paul Cook tamed the powerful M3 pack to win the wet opening BMW Car Club Racing Championship race in his M2-spec E46. He beat Mike Cutt by 1.7 seconds – his E36 started from the pit lane and stormed to second overall and the winning M1 car. Steven Schweikhardt impressed with pole and a third-place finish in his M2 E46 Compact.
A drying race two saw Michael Pensavalle (M1 E46 M3) beat Cook by just 0.15 seconds in a tight battle, where the pair traded positions. Graham Crowhurst (M2 E46 M3) took a lonely third. Kevin Denwood (E46 Compact) lucked into the 6-cylinder victory in race one when Cavan Grainger (330) was spun out. Bill Reddrop (330) won race two. Karl McMillan and Clive Watson shared the Cup class victories for 325 Ti’s.
A first and second within class 6 was enough for Kevin Denwood to wrap up the overall championship, while Pensavalle (M1), Cook (M2) and Watson (cup) took class titles.
The lone class A Honda Civic of Gary Prebble won both Hot Hatch races. Phil Wright came through to win the Civic-dominated class B in race one – he passed both Tony Perfect and Alistair Camp. After passing the fast-starting Perfect in race two Wright went off with three laps to go at the Old Hairpin – allowing Perfect to win the race and class title. Chris Smith came through well to finish second ahead of Camp.
David Drinkwater’s BMW Compact won class C twice – brining his tally to seven and clinched the overall title again. He had to pass newcomer Olivia Martin (Citroen Saxo) in race one, who impressed to second ahead of William Hornsey’s Peugeot 106. Their positions were reversed in race two. Jack Martin and Matt Digby shared the Type R Trophy honours.
There was an amazing 39-car grid for Roadsports, in a race contested less than two weeks before Christmas. Jonathan Packer drove an exceptional race to win overall in a class C Area Motorsport Honda Civic. He battled with the class A BMW M3 race long of David Gardner / Christopher Mills. The M3 won on the road but was penalised for speeding in the pit lane. That promoted Nick Vaughan to second overall and class A victory with his Audi A3, who recovered from an early off. He beat Warren Allen’s Porsche Cayman by 1.1 seconds.
Josh Johnson’s Volkswagen Golf won class B by over a minute. Alistair Camp’s Civic led in the opening stint but wife Hayley went off in her relayed Fiesta. Christopher Freeman / Jonny Munday’s Civic also retired – which allowed Nick Gough’s Audi TT to second and narrowly beat Tav / Giles Kirk (Renault Clio).
Packer won class C by 58 seconds ahead of Civic team-mate Andy Baylie, who also took an impressive sixth overall. Marcus Clutton clawed Fynn Jones’ Volkswagen Golf to third – passing Sami Bowler’s Mini in the closing stages.
Thomas’ Holland Smith relayed their Mazda MX5’s to class D victory by 14 seconds over the relaying BMW Compact’s of Birkett winners David Drinkwater and Adam Read. The Nissan Almera of Daniel Cogswell and Mark Gillam came home third ahead of early class leaders Ben Hancy / Adrian Johnson (MX5).
Action resumes again tomorrow with the Locost, MR2 and MX5 titles all up for grabs alongside a 100 minute Club Enduro race.