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Team 76 lining up for the scruitineer. Behind Neil's Capri David Thomas is sitting in his car talking to David Weir.
The weather forecast was accurate. It would start raining at around ten, during Group1 qualifying and stop around five in the afternoon when it was time to go home! The conditions were tailor-made for the Fiesta and Neil easily won his class and finished fourth overall, despite a spin. The Capri was a bit more of a handful but Neil bought it home safe and sound for a second in class behind David Thomas.
It started to rain just as Neil went out for qualifying. We thought he had done very well but when the times were issued he was two seconds slower than Don Hughes in his Golf Gti. Don posted his quick time in on his second lap, just before the session was red flagged and delayed for 10 minutes after David Weir spun on his own oil following a severe leak on the Hermetite Capri. Neil was still warming up when the red flag came out, and didnít get going for his quick one until after the session resumed, by which time the track was awash with water.
The rain persisted throughout the morning and come the race there were a lot of spinners. Stacy Vickers won in his Mazda RX7, followed by Jim McLochlin (Capri) and David Thomas (Mk1 Capri). Jim McLoughlin had led off the start, followed by the two Jaguars of David Howard and Brian Stevens. David Thomas had been slow away but made up ground and by the third lap the battle for the lead was between the Mazda and the two Capris who came together on one occasion and spun off at least once each, ensuring victory to the Mazda.
Neil didnít make a great start but benefited from indiscretions, including class rival Don Hughes, to make his way up the order to be fourth overall at the end of the lap four after passing both the Jaguars of David Howard and Brian Stevens on the outside of Gerrards. With the nearest class rival more than 20 seconds behind Neil could have eased off, but was thinking overall win as the leaders were in his sights! However, a trip onto the grass at Gerrards on lap 7 dropped him back so he sensibly settled for an excellent fourth overall, and a class win.
It was even wetter than Group 1 and quite a battle up front between Steve Primett and Simon Kinsey (both in Escort RS2000's) and Dave Thomas in his Capri. Simon Kinsey was in fact first across the line but was relegated to second after a 10 second penalty for jumping the start. Front row starter Steven Young was racing his Mini 1275 GT for the first time since his Thuxton accident in the wet this time last year. He made a good start but pulled up at the hairpin on the first lap.
David Howard had a lonely race in fourth, finishing 36 seconds behind the winner. Some 10 seconds behind David there was a ding-dong between Tony Crudgington (Dolomite Sprint), Neil and Tony Crates (Lotus Cortina Mk2), who goes very well in the wet. They were very close for most of the race, swapping positions but finished in that order.
Neil's no 2 Capri went well and was probably better suited to the conditions than no 1 with its peaky Ric Wood motor
Page added 14 May 2007