The 750 Motor Club hosted its third Snetterton meeting of the season with a 17-race programme on the 300 Circuit, where the weather was ever changing and some champions were crowned.
Rob Welham starred to take two F1000 wins, after missing the opening two meetings following engine dramas. He took a lights-to-flag victory in Saturday’s opener despite championship leader Dan Clowes catching him at the end. Some excellent late-braking moves saw Elliott Mitchell get to third after passing former champions Lee Morgan and Matthew Booth. An engine lacking power saw Dan Gore drop to sixth from a front row start.
Sunday morning’s wet reverse grid race did not stop Welham charging to victory from eighth on the grid. He took the position by lap four and pulled out a five second gap to Ben Powney’s invitational class car. It was a first podium in the category though for the Locost and Ma7da winner. Mitchell drove well again to another third, while Gore held off Booth and Clowes for fourth.
Morgan made an amazing start from fifth to lead race three. He drove off in the distance to win, with Booth the best of the rest five second back. Mitchell and slow-starting Welham clashed on the final lap – which inverted Mitchell’s Jedi but Welham jumped from his car to his competitor’s assistance. That left Clowes to come home third – Powney profited to fourth with Motorsport UK Academy students Jack Tomalin and Billy Styles completing the top six.
Series newbie Stephen Scott-Dunwoodie made an exceptional start in the damp opening BMW Car Club race to take victory in his E46 M3 – a model that boasted the top six positions. He pulled out a five second lead before the Safety Car brought the race to an early close. Paul Cook’s M2 machine revelled in the slippery conditions to take second overall ahead of M1-winner Michael Pensavalle. Like Scott-Dunwoodie, Jason West ran in the invitational class and finished fourth ahead of Hugh Gurney and Mike Eustace.
Mike Cutt (E36 M3) and Rick Kerry (M140) charged to the head of the pack from row four in the dry second race, which saw the lap record tumble by two seconds. Cutt passed Pensavalle on lap four at Hamilton when the pair brushed. Cutt beat Kerry by four seconds at the flag. Pensavalle had to serve a penalty for a pre-race infringement, dropping him to fifth behind Cook and Gurney.
Cook won the M2 class twice – ahead of Graham Crowhurst’s similar car. Wayne Lewis and Adrian Williams – again both E46 M3s took a third place each. Kevin Denwood’s E46 Compact romped to two 6-cylinder victories cementing his lead in the championship heading to the final meeting. Stuart Pywell (125i), Rob Lyons (E46 330ci) and Paul Travers (3.0 Compact) all picked up class trophies. Karl McMillan won twice in the Cup class for 325 Ti models.
Rob Baker and Carl Swift dominated the 2-hour Club Enduro race in their Seat Leon Eurocup car. A textwork pit strategy gained them further advantage and they ended the race two laps clear of the pack. Area Motorsport made it a 1-2 with brothers Matthew and Simon Wallis coming home second in their similar car. They passed the fastest starting BMW E46 M3 of Matthew Hampson in the second hour after he took over from Britcar champion Andy Schulz. Alan Henderson’s Lotus challenged Baker in the early laps but only lasted 13 laps and Joe Lock’s BMW M3 GTR crashed out on lap four, causing an early Safety Car.
Class B was a competitive affair with Brian Chandler’s Lotus Exige setting the pace early on, bettering British GT race winner Callum MacLeod’s lap record. He battled with the Volkswagen Golf of Mark Grice and the Honda Civic of Christopher Freeman in the early stages. However, a slow pit stop dropped Chandler back and then had to pull off out of the race in the final third. That left SC pit stoper Luke Handley (Honda Civic) taking it to the other two despite a couple of earlier dramas. Jonathan Munday, who took over from Freeman, battled with a missing third gear, which dropped the Civic to sixth at the end. That left William Beech, replacing Grice, to take the class win by 33 seconds. Handley passed late stopping John Atherton (Lotus Elise) on the final lap while William Stacey, in Peter Mansfield’s similar car, caught them both but was unable to make a move.
Andy Baylie’s Honda Civic dominated class C until the car slowed in the final stages, necessitated a late pit stop. That left Father-and-Son duo Darren and James Kell to take the flag first in their Mazda MX5. They beat the Honda Civic of Alec Livesley and Jermey Crook by 90 seconds, while Joseph Marshall’s MX5 came home third. Baylie recovered to fifth behind Paul Sheard and Steve Dolman’s Mk4 MX5.
Christian Pederson dominated the damp scratch race for the Historic 750 Formula Series. His supercharged Austin 7 single seater won by 41 seconds. Martin Depper led home a trio of Centaur’s in second – with Trefor Slatter and Jonathan Sadler behind. Kevin Welsh’s Warren was fifth ahead of the best class A Austin 7 of James Miles. Mark Elder and Timothy Roebuck’s similar cars starred in the early stages battling for a mighty second overall, hustling their cars – sideways a lot of the time – but both retired. That left Simon Gallon and Charlie Plain-Jones to pick up class A trophies.
Gallon outsmarted the handicapper to win the 6-lap Handicap by an unusual 40 seconds – while the next ten came across the line less than 20 seconds apart. Stuart Rose (Austin 7) and Plain-Jones completed the podium, while Welsh was the best class C car in fourth.
Charles Hall slick choice ended up being correct in the Bikesports damp opener. After trading places early on with wet-shod Anthony Ayres, he took his Spire to victory by 11 seconds. Returning to the driving seat, Richard Webb also passed Ayres in his similar Radical SR3 to take the class B victory and second overall. Ayres held on to an overall podium – with Martin Brooks (Radical PR6) narrowly headed the SR3’s of Michael Chen and Richard Wells in a tight scrap for fourth.
Tyre troubles saw Hall drop to third in race two but that was still enough for him to take the title. Brooks charged through to win by 20 seconds and take the lap record. He finished just one point behind Hall in the standings – ruing penalty points from earlier in the season. Richard Webb came second again and the best of the class B cars. Wells was demoted to fifth behind class B champion Chen – after being penalised for his driving standards.
Gary Prebble took two more Hot Hatch victories – his Honda Civic unfortunately the only true class A car again. A big class B pack was competitive though with a hoard of Honda Civics at the helm and Tony Perfect came home with two victories. Silverstone winner Ian Williamson spun in the opener – leaving Philip Wright to chase Perfect but fell nearly five seconds behind. Paul Bancroft came home third in class ahead of the recovering Williamson. Wright had got ahead of Perfect in race two but fell off at the Bomb Hole and recovered to third behind Williamson.
David Drinkwater narrowly beat Dan Gibbs in race one, with William Hornsey’s Peugeot 106 completing the podium. Josh Larkin’s Citroen Saxo led initially but crashed at Palmer. A lap one clash damaged Drinkwater’s BMW Compact causing his first loss of the season. He still came third behind the Volkswagen Golf Mk2 pairing of Gibbs and Tim Hartland.
The BMW E46 M3 of Hugh Gurney dominated the 45-minute Roadsports race after Bradley Philpots’ Lotus spun out of the race. Gurney finished 20 seconds ahead of the Porsche Cayman of Warren Allen, while the E36 M3 of David Gardner and Christopher Mills came third. Paul Cook charged from the back to put the E46 M3 relaying pair of he and Wayne Lewis in contention. They finished fourth, beating the road-legal Audi A3 of Nick Vaughan.
Class B were hit with a number of pit stop infringements but Christopher Freeman’s Honda Civic was eventually victorious. He beat the similar car of Paul Bancroft and Liam Crilly’s BMW Z4. Neil Savage made a last lap pass in Sam McKee’s BMW 328i to beat the Track Obsession Renault Clio of Matthew Creed to the class C victory. Graham Kelly’s 325i took third. David Drinkwater’s BMW Compact won class D ahead of Daniel Cogswell / Mark Gillam (Nissan Almera) and Douglas Inglis (Mazda MX5).
Dave Hodkin dominated both 750 Formula races and took the first victory for the HRD Mk2. He beat Peter Bove by 17 seconds in Saturday’s dry race. Bove would go on to claim his fifth title but his first in twelve years, driving the Darvi 88P. Andrew Kemp led home a trio of Racekits Falcon in third – Mark Glover and Raymond Barley behind.
Bob Simpson was the best of the rest in Sunday’s wet encounter – using over 50 years of experience to guide his SS/F home second – ahead of Locost graduate Richard Jenkins (Sheppard). Glover beat Kemp this time for fourth and finished second in the championship behind Bove.
Richard Morris spun away a Sports 1000 victory and any realistic championship hopes in the opening race – leaving rival Ryan Yarrow (both Spires) to win, beating Mittell’s Victor Neumann. Richard Miles (Spire), who led during the middle of the race, finished third. Morris recovered to fourth ahead of Michael Roots (Mittell) and Jonathan McGill (Spire).
Miles took a 25-second victory on a drying circuit in race two. Slow starting Morris recovered well to second – beating team-mates Neumann and Roots. Yarrow’s fifth place was enough to take the title while James Walker chased him to the flag.
Photos: Sam Nudd