There is something slightly unusual about this weekend. It is one of the few full weekend events in the season in the area however for some reason both day’s events are not included within the various regional championships prevalent in the area. I know, however, from speaking to a number of competitors that two days Sprinting, back to back, is not popular in the area for work reasons. Is it perhaps not sad however that clubs’ efforts to provide events, at a quality venue, do not receive greater support from both competitors and Regional Associations?
Sprinting’s annual visit to East Anglia’s premier venue at Snetterton was accompanied by pleasurable weather conditions all weekend. Nonetheless the course initially resembled a drift track, grip being so limited early on. This year’s event was the Calder family’s inaugural outing in 2016. Nick Algar’s engine’s supercharger decided it needed a change after Saturday practice. This involved Nick taking my car for a ride to Silverstone seeking a replacement in the hope it could be installed for Sunday. However it was not possible as the pulley proved incompatible. Mark Anson’s engine came to the end of its days after the first timed run on Saturday, returning to the paddock smokily. Graham Blackwell had company for the weekend in the form of another 2013 Mygale, this one owned by Peter Goulding, which had had some modest tlc in the engine compartment.
All appeared not totally well in the unlimited capacity group. The Calder family were encountering gear change issues. Heather overcame the issue by means of early upchanges, this sufficient to give her the win on Saturday by a full second from father Colin. They were not alone as Terry Holmes camp; Graham Porrett seemed to be suffering from all eight cylinders not being at home, particularly on the start line. This however appeared to be overcome by sheer aggression to bring Terry to a well deserved third spot on Saturday not too far distant from the pairing from the complete opposite end of the country. John Graham appeared to be the only one within the unlimited fraternity not suffering with mechanical/electrical issues, but nonetheless made life more difficult with a spin during the Saturday timed runs.
The three members of the SBD family were battling among themselves. Steve Miles and Matt Hillam only a tenth apart during the timed runs, with Steve Broughton making his progression more gently. Suffering with undiagnosed electrical issues were Tony Jarvis & Martin Webb. Unfortunately these issues rather ruined their weekend.
Having a rare old battle among themselves, and playing games with the Category record in the process were three Sports Libre players. Jim Belt finished on top during the timed runs by a tad over half a second, with Simon Bainbridge and Matt Carter separated by hundredths. Also split by hundredths at the end of the day were the two top 1100 single seater players, Richard Arrowsmith and Grahame Harden battling as though they meant it!
Come Run Off time, although just managing to outqualify his co-driver, Tony Jarvis sadly finished on the bottom of Saturday’s pile. Also, of course, battling against the odds all day was Graham Porrett, but did enough for a couple of points on Saturday. Just one hundredth of a second was enough to put Matt Carter ahead into 9th spot with three points, together with two more for beating the Category Record on both runs. Just over half a second quicker was Steve Broughton and just under half a second away was Jim Belt, together with another bonus point for beating the Category Record. The final and fastest Sports Libre runner (running slowest to fastest) was Simon Bainbridge who really is coming on top of the strange experience of just two wheel drive (and with the delivery of a new Quaife gearbox imminent) and finished about a couple of seconds clear of his compatriots and getting very close to the top two litre runners. Steve Miles just heading Matt Hillam by mere hundredths (and only three quarters of a second clear of Bainbridge). That three quarters of a second was enough to enable Terry Holmes to head John Graham and Colin Calder was just over half a second of Graham and Heather Calder the victor by a clear second.
On Sunday eventually Tony Jarvis and Martin Webb had to display the white flag with only Martin managing one run all day, a frustrating experience for the pair. Graham Blackwell continued his learning experience, and demonstrated the value of a double-header weekend in the process, and gained something close to 15 seconds over the course of the weekend, a valuable exercise! Among the two top 1100s eventually Grahame Harden managed to squeak ahead of Richard Arrowsmith (the pair split by Blackwell) by three quarters of a second (just enough to squeeze him into the Run Off). Graham Porrett did enough with the recalcitrant Tegra Lola to get well clear of Harden, but sadly behind the Sports Libre gang, all of whom were inside the Category Record on all their completed timed runs. Steve Broughton was again bottom of the two litre SBD triple header. Steve Miles in the middle of the three a third of a second adrift of Matt Hillam. All of the unlimited capacity runners were close together in qualifying (although times meaning relatively little to them, mere qualification being all that matters, and they were all aware they could achieve that).
Finally Sunday Run Off approached and although the day’s sunshine was diminishing, a full dry weekend became assured. Grahame Harden managed his best time of the weekend to send him home with a smile and a point. Graham Porrett and Jim Belt battled away within the 85 second bracket for all four of their runs, with the single seater pilot coming out ahead of the Yorkshireman. Matt Carter & Steve Broughton tussled similarly for three of their four Run Off runs in the 84s with Broughton coming out on top by a couple of tenths. Simon Bainbridge was about three quarters of a second further clear on his singular run (the car freeing itself of its alternator belt on its other run). A couple of seconds further clear, albeit also a couple of seconds shy of where he finished the day before, was Terry Holmes concluding in a disappointing sixth. Steve Miles and Matt Hillam became separated by a full second, Miles’ Run Off efforts similarly disappointing. The Calders annoying gearchange efforts meant that this time Colin finished on top and John Graham managed to better Heather by more than half a second.
1. Heather Calder (3.5 Gould-NME GR55) 78.46secs 2.Colin Calder (3.5 Gould-NME GR55)79.45secs 3.Terry Holmes (3.5 Lola Tegra Judd) 80.00secs 4.John Graham (2.8 Gould-NME GR55B)80.44secs 5.Steve Miles (2.0 Van Diemen RF96)82.47secs 6.Matt Hillam (2.0 SBD Dallara F3)82.55secs 7.Simon Bainbridge (4.2 SBR Crono V8) 83.29secs 8.Jim Belt (3.0 Juno TR400)85.18secs 9.Steve Broughton (2.0 SBD Dallara F3) 85.66secs 10.Matt Carter (1.4 Radical PR6)86.22secs 11.Graham Porrett (3.5 Lola Tegra Judd) 86.23secs 12.Tony Jarvis (2.0 Dallara- Cougar Power F399/00) 89.69secs
1.Colin Calder – 77.45secs 2. John Graham – 78.83secs 3. Heather Calder – 79.46secs 4. Matt Hillam 80.50secs 5. Steve Miles – 81.48secs 6. Terry Holmes 81.97secs 7. Simon Bainbridge – 83.91secs 8. Steve Broughton – 84.60secs 9. Matt Carter – 84.80secs 10. Graham Porrett – 85.07secs 11. Jim Belt – 85.56secs 12. Grahame Harden (1.1 Jedi Mk4) 90.76secs