An early Easter this year rather lead to cold, albeit at least dry, weather conditions when it mattered. This unfortunately produced low track temperatures and consequentially that rather impacted negatively on times.
Practice was wet and had a couple of highlights. John Graham’s team creating their own set of intermediates, lightly cutting a set of slicks before running. Mike Manning was producing some wonderful launches, just as he did in his rally cross days, but unfortunately “did” a turbo bringing his day to an early conclusion.
During the timed runs Graham Blackwell amply demonstrated what a steep learning pattern he is on, moving from the Fiesta he had before to a 2013 Mygale, of which this appears to be the third example I have seen in the last year. Mark Anson too was experiencing a change of car category, moving from a Westfield to an OMS 2000M. Unfortunately it managed to shed a rear wing endplate creating more work for John Hansell before his next outing.
On his first outing of the season John Graham managed to start his year the right way with a win. He was pressed hard by Castle Combe victor Terry Holmes, both drivers really turning it on during their second Top 12 Runs, this perhaps to be expected of two prime championship candidates. These two were pursued by a phalanx of 2 litre cars with Steve Miles grabbing the final podium spot, with past champion Nick Algar in hot pursuit, mere hundredths dividing the pair. Behind them came the Steve Broughton/Matt Hillam pairing a little way back.
Then came a battling Sports Libre pair, Simon Bainbridge just undertaking one run, battling with an out of balance propshaft, in his quite unique SBR Crono to overcome Radical mounted Aussie Matt Carter.
Martin Webb, together with non qualifying partner Tony Jarvis, were battling with traction control issues but nonetheless managed to collect a few points. New to the Championship in his Imagination PH1 Mark Dempster was delighted to qualify and secure his first points.
Graham Porrett from the outside appeared to be on the pace, but the time clock seemed not to concur with that judgement. Jim Belt most unfortunately broke a driveshaft approaching the start line for his Top 12 opener, so didn’t get to run.
1.John Graham (2.8 Gould-NME GR55B)70.07 2.Terry Holmes (3.5 Lola Tegra Judd) 70.65 3. Steve Miles (2.0 Van Diemen RF96) 72.24 4. Nick Algar (1.3s DJ Firehawk) 72.31 5. Steve Broughton (2.0 SBD Dallara F3) 73.39 6. Matt Hillam (2.0 SBD Dallara F3) 74.76 7. Simon Bainbridge (4.2 SBR Crono V8) 74.81 8.Matt Carter (1.3 Radical PR6) 75.93 9. Martin Webb (2.0 Dallara- Cougar Power F399/00) 78.61 10. Mark Dempster (2.0 Imagination PH1) 79.77 11. Graham Porrett (3.5 Lola Tegra Judd) 81.41 DNS Jim Belt (3.0 Juno TR400)