Qualifying was the battle of the brave as the Rockingham circuit proved to close the gap between the classes right off the bat! The front row was shared between Darren Goes in the Class S Pole Sitting Leon Cup car and Class A’s McDougal and Simonds in the Caterham Supersport. Further down the field Class B pole was captured by the Wright pair in the Porsche 944, just ahead of Gary Burstow in the BMW. Class C pole was taken by Howes and Stirling Fiesta, with a Fiesta also taking Class D pole in the hands of the team of Cooper and Kellett.
As the lights went out for the start of the race, the Seat of Goes bogged down on the line and was quickly swamped by the second row, just able to hold off the fast starting Class B Porsche of George and Jack Wright. The long run down to turn two, the Deene Hairpin, proved a little too much for the Caterham Supersport who was caught through the flat turn one, by both the Clark Racing Porsche Boxster and the AutoRevive London BMW, the recovering Goes managed to find the open inside line into Deene, getting it stopped on the apex to claw back to second in turn two from what was fourth off the line. Now leading, the Clark Racing Porsche left the door open into Yentwood and Goes didn’t need an invite to capitalise and took the lead, Frugal racing in the Caterham was hot on the heels of Goes but couldn’t find a way past Clarke so slotted back in for third and second in class down the School Straight. Just at this point a slow Seat between Deene and Yentwood triggered a Safety Car period.
The Class B Porsche of Jack and George Wright found their way to the front of the pack, but the outside line through Deene meant they were pushed out of the top 5 on the exit of the corner, getting to the safety car flags and sign in seventh overall just behind the Fiesta of Cook; but crucially with a car between them and the second in Class B BMW of Burstow.
The top two in Class C stayed the same, with the Fiesta of Howes / Stirling and the Clio of Wood getting good starts off the line. Further back in the class it was the Mini of Reed and again the Fiesta of Tylah Motorsport’s Alf Hyde who capitalised at the start both managing to pass the Norfolk n Chance Clio of Harding and Slater.
Simply cars were out in front in Class D, with the battling Supatune Puma and Wings Ret ltd Fiesta just behind.
The Safety car joined the track at speed to collect the leaders before danger, just as the Seat moved off from its stationary position! In an attempt to return to racing quickly we saw a lap that was well and truly won by the BMW Safety Car as it negotiated the circuit at speed allowing Goes to control the pace for the re-start. Goes went at Tarzan Hairpin taking the top four cars with him.
After fighting off a challenge into the Deene Hairpin, the Frugal Racing Caterham now had to chase down the leaders; catching them by the end of the lap but losing out down the straight. It was three for the lead and a technical battle ensued, with the Caterham faster than the Porsche and Seat on the infield but slower on the long banking.
With the Class B leaders a little further down the road at the re-start the fight for third in class was left to the Tylah Motorsport pair of Lyne in the Golf, Hyde in the BMW followed by the Kingston University Caterham of Cooper, the Clio of Jackson-Moore/Broad and the Apple Car Centre Fiesta of Honeybone.
Following the safety car the PSR Clio managed to get the jump on the team Norfolk Fiesta, a lead that despite the best efforts of the Norfolk pair the PSR Clio managed to maintain until the pit window. Further down in the Class the Norfolk n Chance Clio had recovered to fourth in class managing to battle past the not rear bumper-less Fiesta of Tylah Motorsport following a trip over the kerbs.
With Simply cars out in front, the battle for Class D second position was heating up as the Supatune Puma and the Fiesta of Wings Ret matched each other’s lap times, separated by let than half a second.
The frugal racing Caterham managed to find a way past Clark in Gracelands, gapping the Porsche just enough to hold off the attack into Deene Clark then had a moment in Tarzan allowing the leading pair to escape down the circuit. For the time being at least it was two for the lead.
As the lead pair started trading places they allowed the Porsche of Clark to catch them again. Through the back markers and on the third time of asking the Frugal Caterham managed to find a way past Goes’ Seat and thanks to an off at Brook for the Class S car, made it stick this time into the Deene Hairpin. This was a lead they maintained until the pit stop.
Clark Racing were first to blink at the front in an attempt to jump their rivals, Goes reacting just one lap later to pit from second. The Frugal Racing Caterham now having has a full lap on their own came into the pit lane. When the two minutes were up it was business as usual with the Caterham , Porsche and Seat line a stern as the Caterham rejoined from the pit lane! This proved short lived however as a drive through penalty for Goes and a moment in the back markers for Clark spread the field back out.
With the pit window open it was Jack and George Wright in the lead of Class B, with a big lead over GNB’s Burstow in the BMW. Best of the Class B rest was Dean Hyde in the Tylah Motorsport BMW who pitted first to fend off the chasing pack.
The pit window once again brought the top 5 in Class C together again as in a reaction to the team Norfolk pit stop on lap 12, the then top four all dived into the pit lane just one lap later!
Just as the Puma of Francis started to gap the Everett/Broad Fiesta, the Class D battle started being caught by the front running cars. As the pit window opened it was the Puma who came unstuck at Deene, in an incident with the lapping cars caused the Puma to retire, effectively handing second in class to the chasing Fiesta.
Re-appearing from the pits having taken his drive though penalty Goes now found himself in fifth, and crucially behind Class S rivals AutoRevive London and Big Skidz Racing Team. Goes managed to find a way past the BMW on the next lap, but the Fiesta of Cook, 2016’s race winner, would be harder to pass. Goes tried and failed for two laps to pass the Fiesta until a big moment under braking for Pif-Paf past the Fiesta onto the grass allowing Goes, the AutoRevive BMW and Lakeland Motorsports Saxo past.
The Class B battle was heating up as Burstow in the GNB Racing BMW appeared from the pit lane second in class, with just two cars between himself and the Class B leading Porsche, who seemed to be managing the gap. The top two were out on their own as the two Tylah stalemates fought for third in Class B.
The pit stops, and subsequent penalty set the tone for the top 5 and the Class S and A battles, as it was Frugal Racing in the Class A Caterham that took the win just ahead of the Class A Porsche of Clark Racing. Goes took the Class S win and third overall with Class S second going to Kester Cook in the Big Skidz Racing Fiesta after the AutoRevive BMW got turned around in back markers at Brook.
In Class B it was charging GNB Racing’s Gary Burstow who had to settle for second in class and 11th on the track by less than a second to Team Airsupply in the Porsche. Dean Hyde in the BMW came home in third just ahead of Tylahs John Lyne and Ray Honeybone..
Following the stops Class C spread out with just the top two in contention for the win. Team Norfolk and PRS battled it out until the end but it was the PSR Clio who held out for the Class victory, team Norfolk coming home a very close second. Norfolk n Chance found their way to a convincing third in class.
Class D was headed by the Cooper and Kellett Fiesta followed home by the Wings Ret ltd Fiesta of Everett and Broad.