Donington Park’s Mammoth 750MC Meeting

A mammoth 25-race programme meant for a busy 750 Motor Club meeting on the Donington Park National Circuit, which featured nearly 350 entries.

A capacity grid led to two action-packed MR2 Championship races. Several drivers were caught out at Redgate in the damp opener but Shaun Traynor overhauled pole man Nick Williamson on lap two. Returning driver in 2021, Cam Walton led briefly mid-race but was quickly passed by the 4-time champion. Traynor went on to win by a narrow margin over reigning champion Aaron Cooke. Both drivers now in Mk3 Roadsters. Walton was third and best of the class B Mk2s. Paul Hinson recovered to fourth after an early trip into the gravel. 

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Race two was just as frantic in the dry. Paul Cook led the race early from a flying Darren Aldworth. Traynor, who started further back thanks to slower fastest lap in race one, took the lead on lap five but a lap later he, Cook and Paul Hinson arrived at the chicane three-abreast. Cook spun and Hinson took a clear lead, which he would never loose. Traynor fell to sixth at the flag with Cook ninth. Hinson beat Cooke by 3.5 secocnds with Adam Lockwood and Williamson close behind. Dave Hemingway was the best class A Mk1 both times.

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Lee Scott (Ford Fiesta XR2i) returned to the Classic Stock Hatch Championship and overhauled the fast-starting Stewart Place on Saturday on lap three. Place tracked him right to the end. Ryan Morgan (Ford Fiesta XR2) held off Martin Cayzer (Ford Fiesta XR2i) for third while Jason Wood (Vauxhall Nova GTE) was the best of the rest. Despite his Peugeot 205 GTi being full of ballast Place impressively beat Scott, the most successful driver in the championship’s history off the line and was never passed in race two. The pair finished 15 seconds ahead of the rest, again headed by Morgan with Martin Rodgers (Peugeot 205 GTi), Cayzer and Ben Bateman (Vauxhall Nova GTE) in hot pursuit. 

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For the first time, the series had three races in a weekend, and it is a good job because race three was a cracker. Morgan took the lead this time, although it transpired his start was assisted by not starting where or when he should have done, so would later be penalised. Scott, Bateman and Place took their turn to run in second during the race, but it was impressive circuit racing newcomer Bateman that took the challenge to Morgan and beat him on the road by 0.02 seconds in a near photo finish. Place claimed second in the classification, chased home by Wood and Chris Dear (Peugeot 205 GTi). Pete Morgan (Ford Fiesta XR2) finished fifth despite grass tracking in a bizarre incident at one point.

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The Sports Specials Championship had an impressive 29-car entry. The Eclipse SM1 of Paul Collingwood failed off the line to leave the similar cars of Martin Gambling and returning Paul Boyd to chase the reigning champion Andy Hiley with his Chronos HRS1. Hiley struggled with fourth gear which initially allowed Gambling to lead and later Boyd. Boyd won by 0.4 seconds with Hiley catching at the flag and Gambling some 17 seconds back. Silverstone winner Anton Landon (Cyana Mk2) beat Mark Conroy (Cyana S2000) for fourth. 

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Hiley easily won race two after Boyd fell off the road when rain dropped at the start. Gambling and Landon completed the podium. Stewart Mutch (MEV Exocet R) took fourth, narrowly ahead of the flying Boyd. Mutch shared class C victories with Ben Short. Brendan Dudley (Procomp LA Gold) dominated class B in race one and looked to do similar in race two before retiring, which promoted Warren Vessey (Fisher Fury) to the victory. Martin Buckland (STM Phoenix), Colin Benham (CB Fury) and Martyn Hayward (Sylva Phoenix) finished on the class podium.

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Alistair Camp won twice again in the Honda Civic-dominated Hot Hatch races. He did have to pass fast-starting Jack Ashton, who was flying his Rover Metro GTi. Ashton ended up having a big spin at the chicane, eliminating him. Ryan Polley did head Camp for the few laps in race one but fell to third behind Wright. Chris Smith started quickly in race two but dropped to fourth by the flag matching his race one result after Martin Ward was excluded. Polley beat Wright on Sunday by a tiny margin. Cameron Elder and Jonathan Hayes (BMW 318Ti) took a fifth place each.

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Dan Gibbs’ upgraded Volkswagen Golf GTi passed Neil Stringfellow (Peugeot 205 GTi) in the opening race to win class B. However, he had an off on Sunday down the Craner Curvers, gifting Stringfellow the win. Daniel Cogswell (Nissan Almera GTi) completed the podium both times, behind Anthony Woodhams (Citroen Saxo) in race two. David Drinkwater continued his unbeaten run in class C with two more wins with his BMW Compact. He did have to work hard to pass Paul Kaynes (Citroen Saxo) on Saturday though after grass tracking in avoidance at the start. Chris Woods passed Kaynes too by the end to give the Citroen C2 its best result yet. Woods took second again on Sunday after Kaynes was excluded and Olivia Martin (BMW Compact) recovered to third.

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Brad Sheehan won both BMW Car Club Racing Championship races with his E46 M3. He dominated the opener, beating the E36 M3s of Mike Cutt, who recovered from a slow start, and Lee Piercey, who was penalised for track limits. Rick Kerry (M140) took fourth ahead of pit lane starter Niall Bradley (E46 M3) and Paul Cook (E46 M3), who started last. Race two was much closer but Sheehan kept 1.6 seconds clear of the dicing Bradley and Cutt. Bradley finally passed Cutt on lap 14 at Coppice. Cook fell away towards the end while Kerry finished behind in fifth.

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Wayne Lewis won the E46 M3-dominated M2 class in the opener after Adrian Williams spun, promoting Gary Burstow and Steven Schwiekhardt’s E46 Compact to the podium. Lewis started race two late which meant Williams won from Burstow and Schwiekhardt. Jim Benson came out on top after a race-long scrap in the opening race with Ben Pearson’s similar E46 330ci for the 6-cylinder win. Benson was a long way clear in race two. Dan Harborrow (E30) and Bill Redrop (E46 330ci) took a third place each. Karl McMillan won both Cup class races for the 325Ti from David Morris and Gareth Thomas.

Jonathan Lisseter passed Ben Powney on the penultimate lap of the wet opening Ma7da race to win for the first time this season. Simon Cort won a tight tussle for third, albeit 18 seconds behind the winner. Daniel Sibbons and David Mason completed the top five, while double Silverstone race winner Danny Andrew finished seventh after a lap one incident behind Daniel Cort. Lisseter skated off at the start of race two, which took place in the dry – leaving pole man Sibbons to head the pack. He was never headed, despite pressure from Powney. Sibbons won by 4 seconds in the end as Powney pulled off on the final lap. Simon Cort was the best of the rest with Andrew and Winter behind.

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The F1000 Championship races were overshadowed by yellow and red flags. Dan Gore led initially in race one but was passed by both Matthew Booth and Elliott Mitchell. Booth took his first victory in 18 months. Lee Morgan went off at the Old Hairpin, promoting Jack Tomalin and Paul Butcher into the top five. Mitchell flew to the lead in the partially reversed race two grid. He beat Booth by a second with Morgan taking an impressive third from P15 on the grid. James Hills made the most of a front row start to take fourth with Edward Falkingham the best of the rest.

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23 cars qualified for the 750 Formula Championship, the largest for some time with seven former champions on the grid but no one could touch David Bartholomew’s PRS 1b, which won both races. Chris Gough, the only non-champion in the front pack, took his CGR2 Evo ahead of a faltering Peter Bove (Darvi 88P) to take second in race one. Mark Glover (Racekits Falcon) narrowly beat Mick Harris (Darvi 597). The returning Bill Cowley (Cowley Mk4) was a clear second in race two with Glover, Gough and Harris behind. Raymond Barley (Racekits Falcon) was well ahead of any other class B runners in both races.

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Barry McMahon dominated both Alfa Romeo races in his 156. George Osborne (75) was chased throughout the opener by Tom Hill (GT) but was never passed for second and the Power Trophy victory. Hill overhauled Osborne on Sunday. Dave Messenger (156 GTA) and Graham Seager (147 GTA) completed the top five overall in both races. Andy Page (Giulietta 116) and Keith Waite (75) finished on the Modified podium both times. Andrew Bourke (156) won the Twin Spark Cup twice. Richard Ford (156) narrowly beat Andrew Fulcher (147) in race one while James Ford (156) fought through from the back in race two to take second with Jonathan Billingsley (147) behind completing the class podium.

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Jack Kingsbury won all three Clio 182 Championship races. In the opener he had to pass Jack Dwane, which he did on lap seven. David Garside took a lonely third with Scott Edgar and Andrew Harding behind. Stephen Richardson flew to sixth from the back of the grid in a crazy battle for that position. Garside took the battle to Kingsbury, passing him at McLeans at one point but fell five seconds behind by the end. Richardson, Harding, Christopher Keir and Dwane all finished within 1.5 seconds of him at the end. Race three was the easiest for Kingsbury. Dwane came through to second after starting seventh. He passed Andy Harding with two laps to go. Chris Lawrence and Richardson completed the top five after Jason Pelosi rolled out of Schwarz Curve.

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Richard Prior (JGS 3) won the scratch Historic 750 Formula race by 11 seconds from former Formula Ford champion John Village (Village V2). Tim Sage (Mallock U2 Mk4) passed Martin Depper (Centaur Mk14) for third, with Graham Wilson (Time 3B) completing the top five. Al Fraying-Cork (Blackbird) was chased by Tim Roebuck (Special) throughout for the Austin 7 Supercharged class victory. Simon Gallon (Pigsty Special) took third. Charlie Plain-Jones (A7 Cowley Special) beat Archie Waterfield (Austin 7) for class A honours. Prior and Village diced throughout the Handicap race and unusually overhauled everybody by the end of ten laps, with Prior on top again. John Moss (Austin 7 Sports) took third ahead of Gallon and John Ingram (Arthur Mk2).

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The 116 Trophy race saw a close opening stint battle for the lead between Tim Crighton, Sam Carrington-Yates and Alan Corfield. The crucial moments of the race though happened with pit stops amongst two safety car periods. It worked out best for Corfield, who relayed to Anthony Seddon. They ended the 52-lap race 25 seconds ahead of Mark Sullivan and Carrington-Yates. Ian Carvell’s solo run saw him finish third after being passed near the end. Peter and Harry Ormerod took fourth, replacing Crighton. Lewis Tindall narrowly beat Louis Woodward at the end in the fifth-place dice. 

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