Classic Touring Car
Racing Club meeting on 14/15 July 2007 organised by the BARC
Wins Group 1 Outright in Fiesta
Neil with his Garland and Trophy after
his superb victory in the Group 1 race.
Neil won the Group 1 race in convincing style, starting towards the back
of the grid but making up places on the grid and gaining the lead on a
dampish track on the second lap. Pete Halford won both of the Double
Header Post Historic races, winning from Stephen Primett and David Thomas
in the dry first race and David Thomas and Roger Stanford in the damp
Post Historic Race 1
James Christie had the bearings on
one of his half shafts disintegrate in qualifying but repaired the
Avenger for the race.
PHTC has been joined by a brace of Stanford BMW's.
Neil hanging onto Simon Kinsey
through the Complex (picture by Alistair Bray).
Halford struggled for grip in the early stages of the race but was
away once he got the Camaro wound-up. (picture by Alistair Bray).
Pete Halford set a convincing pole in qualifying on
a dry, but very windy day. Competitors really enjoyed this challenging
circuit. The hairpin before the finish line was
particularly difficult and quite a few cars either spun or under
steered off. Roger and Jack Stanford were welcome
additions to the grid. Their Lester Owen engined BMW's have always been
age-eligible for the PHTC, the carbs were the problem. However, Roger has
located homologation papers for the induction system although championship
co-ordinator David Howard was none to impressed that they were in German.
Fears that the cars would be over-competitive where proved unfounded when
they qualified 6th and 10th on the grid, behind both Steve Primett's
Escort and Tony Crudgington's Dolomite.
The next day it was dry, if a bit cloudy for the
race. There were a couple of non-starters. Jack Stanford didn't take the
grid and David Howard withdrew after his V12 ran it's big ends in
qualifying. James Christie had one of his half shaft bearings disintegrate
during qualifying and the Escort ones in the spares box didn't fit! A
phone call had brother Jason speeding up the A1 and they were changed with
the help of former owner Dave Nixon.
Steve Primett got a fantastic start and out-dragged a sluggish Pete
Halford to the first corner. However, Pete soon got the big Camaro wound
up and went by on the straight opposite the pits where they were followed
by Tony Crudgington, Dave
Thomas, Roger Stanford
and Mark Lucock. Then came Steven Young
in his Mini, with Neil right behind before he
went by the Mini on Tower Bend only for the Mini to
re-pass before the Jim Clark Esses although the Mini had to retire soon
after with mechanical problems. Pete Halford went off round the
back of the circuit, nearly collecting Roger Stanford as he re-gained the
tarmac, the BMW continuing minus a front quarter bumper. So Steve Primett
led across the line followed by Crudgington - Thomas - Stanford - Halford
- Lucock - Bray.
David Thomas overtook Tony Crudgington for second
place opposite the pits. Then Roger spun the BMW on the exit from
the complex and Mark Lucock and Pete Halford got by. Crossing the line
at the end of lap two it was Primett - Thomas -
Crudgington - Halford - Lucock - Stanford - Bray.
Just after the line Pete Halford stormed by Tony Crudgington's
Dolomite on the approach to Clervaux and set off after Dave Thomas
and a lap later he passed the Capri and was up to second.
Mark Lucock retired with a broken clutch cable on
lap five then Neil went wide at the back of the circuit letting Simon
Kinsey past with Len Allgood catching both of them. Pete Halford
finally past Steve on lap eight. He managed to
stayed tucked in behind for a while but the Camaro
slowly pulled away to win with a four second margin. Then a long
gap to Dave Thomas who had Tony Crudgington
continually trying to out-brake him.
They were followed by Stanford - Kinsy - Bray
who were nose to tail.
James Christie won the important class D battle with
Tony Crates, who had been battling with
Martin Doherty's Cortina before it went off song and
dropped right back to be lapped.
Click here for results
Post Historic Race 2
Applause for Pete Halford as he
takes the chequred flag as David Thomas exits the hairpin while Jemes
Christie's Avenger is abandoned on the grass.
The hard charging Roger Stanford
locks a wheel as he brakes for the complex. (Picture by Alistair
Thomas, Pete Halford, Tony Crudgington and Roger Stanford battle in
the early stages of the race. (Picture by Alistair
Neil's battle with Tony Crudgington
at the end of the race ended with a spin. That's Mark Osborne behind,
who regained places after his tangle with Mark Lucock (Picture by
Only 13 took the grid as both David Howard and Jack Stanford had to
call it a day after qualifying and neither Martin Doherty nor Steven Young
could resume after their first race retirements. Black clouds had appeared
overhead while the cars were in the assembly area and there was a little
light rain during the latter stages of the race.
Pete Halford made his usual slow start from pole and Stephen Primett,
Tony Crudgington and David Thomas all powered past him. Pete recovered
quickly and as they went into Tower for the first time the order was David
Thomas (Capri) - Pete Halford (Camaro) - Tony Crudgington (Dolomite) -
Roger Stanford (BMW 2002) - Stephen Primett (Escort) - Mark Osborne
(Dolomite) - Neil Bray (Capri) - Len Allgood (Escort) - Simon Kinsey
David Thomas (Capri) headed Pete Halford (Camaro)
into the Complex on the first lap, followed by Tony Crudgington
(Dolomite), Roger Stanford (BMW 2002), Steve Primett (Escort), Mark
Osborne (Dolomite) and just coming into the picture Neil Bray (Capri)
Mark Lucock was making ground after starting at the back of the grid,
passing Neil out of the chicane opposite the pits on the second lap to get
up to seventh. Mark (Lucock) then came up on the inside of Mark (Osborne)
on the approach to Tower. They touched, door handle to door handle and
both went spinning onto the grass, rejoining at the back of the field.
James Christie was going well, the Avenger comfortably in front of
class rival Tony Crates (Lotus Cortina Mk1) when something broke in the
drive train going round the hairpin, it locked up and sent James out onto
the grass into retirement. Around the same time Simon Kinsey's Escort
appeared to loose a cylinder and he dropped rapidly back and had to retire
before the end of the race.
It started to rain during the fourth lap, Pete Halford had a moment,
dropping him back to third place and Roger Stanford got past both Pete and
Tony Crudgington to move up to second. Pete recovered, got the power down
and passed both Roger and David Thomas on lap six, taking over lead which
he increased to nearly five seconds at the finish. David and Roger
circulated nose to tail for the rest of the race. Roger just could not get
by but afterwards David was full of praise for Rogers clean racing.
Then Steve Primett got by Tony. Neil was just behind and the three of
them ran very close together for several laps before Steve pulled out a
gap. On the last lap Neil made one final effort to get by Tony coming into
the complex. He pulled alongside and just edged the lead round the hairpin
only to spin, allowing Tony to regain his place. Mark Osborne had been
coming back through the field after his early mishap, he passed Neil as
well while he was on the grass and Neil scraped home seventh overall just
in front of Keith Calver.
Click here for results
Neil passes Jim McLoughlin on the
entry to the Complex and will pass Mark Fowler on the hairpin.
(Picture by Alistair Bray)
Later in the race Neil is on the Pit
Straight while Brian Stevens is still in the Complex (Picture by
Mark Fowler had a major off after he
and Jim McLoughlin touched on lap three. He recovered and his seen
here in a tussle with David Margalies (Picture by Alistair Bray).
Steve Barber had a good race, coming
through from the back of the grid to finish second. (Picture by
Proceedings were running ahead of schedule as the Group 1 cars
assembled in the collecting area for the penultimate race of the day. It
had started to rain about an hour before, but it had stopped by the time
they left for the grid, and there was a dry line left by the preceding
Clubmans cars on their wet weather tyres. There were only ten cars, many
of the softy southerners not willing to make the trek north up the A1.
David Howard had to withdraw after his engine problems in qualifying and
the Stanford's had opted to run in Post Historic.
The rain started again just as the cars arrived at the grid. When the
lights went out David Thomas shot away to take the lead, ahead of Mark
Fowler, who has a decent engine again, Jim McLoughlin in the Ric Wood
engined Capri and Neil who made up his normal four places off the start,
all down to the fact he spends his winters driving trials cars in the mud!
By the time they had gone through Clervaux, Hawthorn and The Chicane these
four had already opened up a gap on Brian Stevens (XJS), Steve Barber
(driving Neil's son Chris' Escort Mk3) and Pete Halford.
Neil was close behind Jim McLoughlin on the entrance to Sunny In and
when Jim got the Capri a little sideways coming out of Sunny Out Neil got
his nose ahead. Once Jim got things sorted out his Ric Wood power bought
him almost alongside Neil round the left hander coming into the Complex.
Neil held his line, they touched briefly, but Neil was in front, pulling
ahead as they entered the hairpin where he passed Mark Fowler to cross the
line just behind Dave Thomas.
All thoughts of a class win went out of the window now. Team 76 were
thinking of the big one but what a man to have in front of you, someone
who has won more races than most of us have had hot dinners. The
conditions were strange. Yes it was raining a little bit but there was no
standing water and no spray. However, the track definitely wasn't friendly
to powerful rear wheel drive cars and Neil has a lot of FWD experience in
slippery conditions from when he used to autocross Mini's in the
seventies, albeit he had two arms then!
Neil closed on Dave coming through the Jim Clark Esses and was right
behind him through Sunny. Coming up to the technical section though the
Complex and the Hairpin even Dave had no answer and Neil was through. Once
ahead he steadily increased his lead, just hoping the Kent engine would
hang together! It did and Neil took his first overall win.
Behind Neil Steve Barber was also going well and by lap five was
second, about eight seconds behind Neil. He kept his position, but
steadily lost ground to the Flying Fiesta to be thirteen seconds behind at
Mark Fowler dropped back after he and Jim McLoughlin touched coming out
of the hairpin at the end of lap three. Mark had a tremendous spin and for
a moment it looked as if it would end up in tears with the Capri in the
Armco. Fortunately he just got it back under control and continued at the
back of the field.
As usual Pete Halford started to increase his pace after three or four
laps, passing Dave Thomas about half way through as did Jim McLoughlin.
Dave then got involved in a battle for position with Brian Stevens which
was won by the XJS after Dave spun the Capri on the last lap.
Click Here for Results
Page added 18 July 2007
(1) More Croft Pictures added 26 July 2007
(2) Link to Dave Kirbys pictures added on 21 August 2007