Aintree Spring Sprint 2007 Report

By • April 30th, 2007

The following report is courtesy of Steve Wilkinson.

In the nick of time!

Under clear blue skies and with 140 entries for first of the Liverpool Motor Club Aintree sprints on the club circuit, the day looked set fair. It was an “˜either-or’ sort of day; it was either Kit Car heaven or Kit Car hell as both groups of Caterham Academy, Lotus 7 Club and the Westfield Speed Championship all featured.

Despite Clerk of the Course Peter Lawton’s pleas at the Driver’s Briefing several drivers spun out during practice with the unlucky Stephen Shrimpton falling foul of the tricky Country Corner on his second practice run and ending up hitting the Armco barrier on the inside. As well as five none starters we “˜lost’ Phil Short in the Mini when it dropped a valve on its first practice run. The meeting got underway straight after practice with the Road Going classes. In the 1400s Craig Lawton in the 205 went into an unassailable lead over Dave Barrow (106 Rallye) and the rest. Whilst in the two litre division we had an Elise clean-sweep as Bobby Fryers managed to keep ahead of co-driver Mark Teale and Westfield member Marshall Rowland. Meanwhile Keith Minshull was the first saloon car home in fourth with his black 306 Rallye. In the over 2000cc class Mark Wallwork stormed into the lead and then immediately retired with a blown turbo! Despite every effort John Biddulph and Keith Calder in their Porsches couldn’t catch the Ford driver.

In the Road Going up to 1700 Kit Car class John Loudon went into an initial lead in his Puma engined Westfield as Jim & David Spencer in their RAW Striker gave chase. However Kevin Bamber, who was having a one-off guest drive in the Loudon Westie, did the unthinkable and went on to beat his host! In the Over 1700 class the current class record holder, Ash Mason, was on great form as each of his three timed runs was inside his 2005 record. In the face of such pace Simon Green, who had been the quickest in practice, wilted but held onto second place ahead of Darren Berris in the rumbling SEight.

Into Mod Prods and the 1400 class was down to just one runner with Phil Short’s retirement. Paul Webb though put in three stirring runs to take the class in the Metro. Class 3B for 2 litre Mod Prods was easy pickings for Martyn Stott in the Elise. Robert Tonge held second spot through-out in the Seat Ibiza whilst Lee Griffiths was a steady third. Star of the Mod Prod Kit Car class was Richard Carroll in the ex-Mark Smith Vauxhall powered Westie. Carroll ended up with a 2 second gap back to Roger Fish in the Carcraft Cyclone whilst Guy and David Hussey took third & fourth in their RAW Striker.

In the Up to 1700 Sports Libre class father and son team Peter & Stuart Nelson suffered a set-back in practice when the diff failed. Stuart “˜nipped home’ and picked up a spare and the Haggispeed was back together in time for the first of the class runs. Simon Kettle in the Radical initially led then the Nelson’s took over as first Peter then Stuart moved into the lead. The family 1-2 was confirmed on the third runs when they both set their best times to leave the Radical just two tenths in arrears! Peter Ibbotson was having only his second ever sprint in the Formula Ford engined CTG he acquired over the winter and struggled home in fourth with a misfire. In the Over 1700 Sports Libre class Paul Norris in the Cosworth Turbo powered Sunbeam Talbot led until the third runs when Paul Bond slipped past into the lead with his pretty Crossle 9S.

Into the Racing Car classes and the 1100s led the way. Glyn Sketchley with the FZR Yamaha engined Megapin was the class act leading from the first run. Paul Masters gave chase in the Jedi but had to settle for second with Phil Burton (OMS) in third. Andrew Dobson & Jeanette Hunton had electrical problems with their shared OMS. After a long repair they emerged for the second runs in which Jeanette still seemed to have problems. Andrew got the Kawasaki engine running well moving up to fourth whilst Jeanette’s third run saw her move into sixth place which was good enough to take the Ladies Award and Liverpool Motor Club Members Award on handicap.

There were just two Formula Ford cars present; which meant just one trophy would be awarded. It was most unfair as neither Graham Curwen nor Derek Martlew deserved to go home empty handed after the close battle they put on. Initially Graham Curwen held the lead and then Derek Martlew rallied on the second run slipping into the lead. On the third runs Curwen set his fastest time before Martlew confirmed his victory with the only sub 50 second run the pair could muster. Into the 1600 racing car class and it featured Barry & Eve Whitehead. The Reverend had cleverly fitted a supercharger to the bike engine however they were having problems getting it to run cleanly. Meanwhile Nick Algar was also in trouble when the Firehawk coasted to a halt on his first practice run. Team Algar soon had the fault traced and fixed. The Nick duly took the 1600 class and FTD at a gallop. On his first two runs he stopped the clocks on identical times before the Northumbrian clipped nearly a second off on his final run to seal victory.

The Classic Car Handicap was next and with just two cars the turn-out was a disappointment. Alan Wilson had his drop-dead-gorgeous yellow & white Healey 3000 which looked and sounded wonderful, he put in some spirited runs but when the formula was applied he was second. First went to Malcolm Evans in the Ford Anglia which boasted its first set of completely new tyres for over six years! Evans was in fine form pedalling the old Janglebox round to a series of PBs ““ amazing what a new set of boots will do.

Next we had the Lotus 7 Club Speed Championship runners who were lumped together in one class. Andrew Griffiths in the Hayabusa powered Caterham set the fastest time followed closely by Mark Durrant in the R500 and Robert Grigsby in a Duratec powered Caterham. We then moved into the Circuit Driver Caterham Academy zone with Group One first up. Top dog throughout was 17 year old Tommy Keet who set the fastest time on each successive run. Jonathan Walker and Chris Walne ran in second and third throughout. These three were the class acts in the first batch. Group Two saw Magd Mohaffel take the lead on the first run from JJ O’Malley and Ross Culver. Culver remained in third throughout but on the second run O’Malley slipped into the lead and held on for an excellent victory. When it came to the fourth runs, which didn’t count for the awards, all the Academy drivers had another bash as they were enjoying their first taste of competition. The final class was for the Reliant Sabre & Scimitar Owners Club. Bryan Crouch in the SST led throughout but was chased hard by Paul Turnbull in the GTE and Chris Eades in another SST.

The day was another “˜tour de force’ for Liverpool Motor Club. They had managed 688 starts at an average of 110 per hour. The five incidents were all dealt with professionally and even after a fourth run the prize presentation was over just after 5 o’clock. It is no wonder that the Caterham Academy choose this venue for their opening rounds as it sets the tone for not only their championship but all those who visit Aintree.


FTD: Nick Algar (1.3 DJ Firehawk-Suzuki) 42.79secs

Class Winners: Craig Lawton (1.4 Peugeot 205) 57.29secs; Bobby Fryers (1.8 Lotus Elise) 52.91secs; Mark Wallwork (2.0t Ford Sierra Sapphire Cosworth) 49.11secs; Kev Bamber (1.6 Westfield-Puma SE) 50.10secs; Ash Mason (2.0 Westfield-Vauxhall SEi) 47.25secs ““ Record; Paul Webb (1.4 Rover Metro) 55.62secs; Martyn Stott (1.8 Lotus Elise) 50.76secs; Richard Carroll (2.0 Westfield-Vauxhall/SBD SEiW) 46.30secs; Stuart Nelson (1.6 Haggispeed-Rover) 46.08secs; Paul Bond (2.0 Crossle-Duratec 9S) 48.08secs; Glyn Sketchley (1.1 Megapin-Yamaha CFM9) 43.75secs; Derek Martlew (1.6 Van Diemen RF87) 49.94secs; Algar ““ 42.79secs; Malcolm Evans (1.3 Ford Anglia) 57.35secs ““ Handicap; Andrew Griffiths (1.5 Caterham-Hayabusa 7) 46.06secs; Tommy Keet (1.6 Caterham 7 Academy) 53.79secs; JJ O’Malley (1.6 Caterham 7 Academy) 53.8-74secs; Bryan Crouch (1.8t Reliant Scimitar SST) 53.63secs.

The full results from the Loton Park Hillclimb run on the 28th and 29th of July 2007.

Full Results from Aintree Spring Sprint 2007

Awards from Aintree Spring Sprint 2007

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