Report Aintree Spring Sprint 26th April 2008
Despite some heavy clouds and some occasional spits & spots of rain the day ran smoothly with only minor incidents. On track there was just one new class record to acknowledge however some of the class battles were frenetic. Practice again proved troublesome for several competitors. Barry & Eve Whitehead retired with a blown Suzuki K7 engine which was only on its second event! Nick Algar had a rear suspension failure with his DJ Firehawk but was able to transfer to one of the Westfields. Meanwhile Chris McCann hit problems with his Skyline & withdrew. The first timed run preceded a short lunch break after which there were two further timed runs. So what were the stories behind the bland results?In the Roadgoing Production Car classes there were some close battles. In the Up to 1400 class Craig Lawton led throughout despite having to cure a misfire after the lunch break. John Marsden wasn’t that far behind in second whilst Fraser Halliwell just pipped George Povey for third. In the two litre division Russell Thorpe with a rejuvenated Doris (that’s his trusty Renault R5GT Turbo) was never headed whilst the Windmill Brothers with their virtually identical Renault Clio 172 Cup cars were second and third (Andrew just ahead of Richard). Marshall Rowland in his Elise took fourth ahead of Gordon Holmes in the swift turbo diesel Golf.
In the Over 2 litre class Rob Wakelin took the win in his immaculate Impreza WRX and also broke Fred Currell’s 2003 record in the process. David Robertson was second in his Porsche 911 GT3 whilst Peter Booth was a creditable third on his Aintree debut with his wife’s shopping car ““ a Nissan Skyline!
In the two Roadgoing Kit Car classes the Westfield Speed contenders were in the majority. In the up to 1700 division John Loudon in the Puma engined Westfield led throughout finishing just over a second shy of the class record. In second & third places were the Spencer Brothers in their RAW Toyota engined Striker ““ Jim finishing ahead of David; whilst “Lofty” Leybourne was fourth after a last run charge. In the Over 1700 division Bolton’s Mark Wallwork in only his third event with his “new” Dax Rush Quadra crushed the opposition and finished less than half a second away from the class record. Nick Algar was second as he “˜guested’ in Paul Edden’s Westie whilst Edden himself was third.
There was just two classes of “˜production’ Mod Prods and the 2 litres the Ian Butcher/Martyn Craske Elise took the 1-2 (Butcher winning by less than a second). Third slot went to the very green Seat Ibiza of Robert Tonge whilst John Moxham was fourth in his trusty 205. In the over 2 litres John Graham’s very pretty Lotus 2 Eleven was well clear of Stuart Tranter who had switched to his Ford probe tow-car. All the Mod Prod kit cars were lumped together in the one class and Terry Everall emerged victorious in his 280bhp Duratec powered Westie and for a short time held the Fastest Time of the Day. The Yorkshireman, who is reputedly as tight as a duck’s bottom, finished over two seconds clear of Garry Bunn in the 2.3 Cosworth Westie and well clear of the rest.
With just four Sports Libres the club still ran two classes and in the Up to 1700s it was Peter Nelson, who despite a bit of brake trouble took the family Haggispeed to victory over Peter Ibbotson in the classic CTG Clubmans. In the Over 1700s were had two very heavily modified Westfields. Peter Hayter, on his first visit to Aintree, emerged in first less than a second clear of Derek Hodder (aka Dick Spanner). Hayter’s pace was such that he also set FTD in his efforts to keep ahead of the Dastardly Dick!
We then progressed into the Racing Car classes and the normally packed 1100 class looked very thin on the ground. Paul Masters, fresh from FTD at 3 Sisters last Sunday, took the class win and finished with the third fastest time overall. Paul was urged on by his two young daughters ““ potential future champions?
The Jedi driver just held off a challenge by Chester Motor Club’s Andrew Dobson in the OMS whilst Dobson’s co-driver Jeanette Hunton won the Ladies trophy taking 4th in class in the process. The Formula Fords saw a ding-dong battle between Derek Martlew & Graham Curwen. Martlew led after the first runs but former class record holder Curwen fought back & held onto his lead. Paul Webb & George Cole have made the transition to the flying Fordies with an ex-Mallory Park School Car ““ a Royale RP31 ““ and finished third & fourth respectively. With Algar’s move to the Westfield this left Lee Griffiths on his own in the 1600 class and he had a battle against the clock en route to his solo victory. In the final class for the two litres Ken Roberts took the win in his Formula 2000 Van Diemen finishing a couple of seconds clear of championship sponsor Peter Brogden in his Vauxhall powered Ralt RT3.
The Classic Car class, which is decided on handicap, saw Malcolm Evans way faster than anyone else with his immaculate Anglia. When the handicap formula was applied Malcolm also took the class win as he beat the handicap. Phil Prince took second in his smart Elan Sprint whilst Allan Saterthwaite was third despite only taking one run after which his Escort developed a nasty oil leak.
We then had the two Groups of the Daily Telegraph Caterham Academy cars. In Group 1 Londoner Trevor Fowell led from the first run but was pushed all the way by 39 year old Paul Brannan whilst Lewis Cook another 39 year old recovered from a wayward first run to gather up third ahead of Gordon Sawyer a panel beater from Crawley. In Group 2 51 year old Anthony Freeling, who led initially, had delivery driver Kai Lo slip into the lead with a stunning second run charge and then stay there. Mark Fulford a company director from Windsor made excellent progress and climbed from an initial sixth up to third place ahead of airline pilot Donald Lamb.
The final class for the Reliant Scimitars had Chris Eades in the SS1 lead from run 1 but he still reduced his time on successive attempts. Second place went to Steven Louch in the V6 GTE.
After the fourth timed run (which didn’t count towards the day’s results) there was a short breather before the prize-giving where the deserving victors collected their spoils. Peter Hayter was extremely complimentary about the club’s organisation, the excellent marshals and the convivial competitors ““ he was also delighted to have picked up the FTD trophy.
So with our first event under our belt and with a very happy bunch of competitors I suspect entries for the June sprint will be at a premium, better get your application off now!
Click here to see the results.