The CSCC Special Saloons
+ Modsports series
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Club racing at its best : Once again the CSCC brought full grids of cars ,good organisation ,friendly atmosphere and thankfully glorious weather to another UK track ! This time our first visit to the Silverstone International circuit in the shadow of the multi-million pound 'wing' Grand Prix pit complex. The Special saloons and Modsports admittedly dont quite have the numbers of cars the other CSCC races have but it makes up for that with bags of character !
After the good showing at Thruxton the special saloons moved onto Silverstone for the club's debut on the International circuit , new to every driver other than a handful who got a bit of track time on friday afternoon. There were notable absentees not having recovered from that opening round including the Crabtree Escort,Ellis RX7 ,Nicholls' Supra and Carey CRX . Added to this was the popular Green E Anglia of Steven Moss who had spun into the Cadwell barriers 2 weeks earlier at a BARC race and regretably had to admit defeat in the race to get the car repaired in time.
The good news were the return of 2 potential race winners ,the Thundersaloon Peugeot 309 cosworth of the Morris brothers and modsport Midget hotshot Chris Southcott. The latter having replaced the engine in his Midget with Steven Moss' old Vauxhall redtop 2.4 thus moving Chris into class B. Bob Claxton was also making his series return after missing last season in the venerable John Leek-built Skoda .
Keeping the entry healthy too were 4 debutants to the series who added much to the variety. The immaculate BMW E30 V8 twin-turbo of Clive Anderson ,Richard Wheeler`s lovely Nissan Skyline R32 with BTCC driver Jake Hill down as co-driver. Both drivers part of the Brisky Racing team who had 5 Fiestas entered in the Tin Top series. Representing true old school racing cars was the intriguing home-built special from John Plant entered as an Allard J2. It`s Chevy V8 sounded wonderful and grandson James Plant would handle the beast with great aplom. Lastly was an iconic Group B car from Richard Siffleet in the form of his road going Lancia 037 creation built up from a Montecarlo with all the features of the originals including Martini Livery.
19 cars took to the track for qualifying but sadly 3 had to be withdrawn afterwards due to various issues. The Wheeler Skyline had set 9th fastest but an ECU was showing low oil pressure and the team decided not to risk racing. Graham Woskett's TR7 V8 and Paul Connell's BTCC-replica Sierra were the other 2 to drop out leaving 16 for race 1.
Setting pole was the Peugeot 309 ,back after a torrid year of bad luck stretching back to losing a wheel at last years race. Just a tenth slower was Southcott in the midget followed by the fastest men from the Thruxton race ,Ian Hall ( Darrian ) ,Paul Sibley ( Elan ) and Ian Stapleton ( Alfa ). Of the other debutants Plant was 7th ,Anderson 13th and Siffleet 17th of the 19 times.
By lunchtime the temperature had risen significantly and the field were released by Tony Sugden in the pace car for a 13-lap thrash.
Ricky Parker-Morris was starting the Peugeot in pole but by the end of lap 1 both Southcott and Hall had got passed . The red Darrian set the fastest race lap of 1minute 10.6 on lap 2 closing right up to Southcott before a pulley bolt broke causing a belt to come off and Hall pulled off leaving the Green Midget out on his own. The Peugeot ,Sibley and Stapleton gave chase but finished in that order . Southcott easing out an 11-second lead by the flag.
Behind the leaders the field fragmented into mini battles. The grunty Allard of Plant getting past Beatty's turbo Prelude on lap 5 to snatch 5th. Cairns in the other Midget won class D and just held of the rumbling Morris Minor V8 of Craig Percy for 7th. Behind them the Anderson's BMW held 8th from Paxman 9 Escort ) and Duke ( Anglia ) until an ECU linked to the throttle started playing up and the smart yellow car retired with a lap to go. Paxman held off Duke to take the place by just 3/10ths. Samuels ( MGB GT ) equally held off Bourgoyne for 11th whilst Claxton struggled on with no middle gears and the road going Lancia of Sifleett completed the finishers though both 3 laps down on the winner.
The sunshine had eased a little for the afternoon's race 2 ,with the Darrian , Skoda and BMW not making it out leaving 13 cars. It doesnt happen often but all would finish this time in what was a similar story to race one. With Southcott taking 'the winner's penalty' of starting in 10th the Peugeot was back on pole after its 2nd place in race 1 and brother Danny Morris took the wheel for round 2.
Southcott didnt hang about with his charge from 10th and was already up to second by the end of the first lap. Morris hung on to his lead until the Midget squeezed past on lap 3 and extended a lead of up to 6 seconds ,the car very quick out of the corners. Morris gave chase and as the Peugeot's tires got warmer he closed to 3.7 seconds at the end but again had to settle for 2nd ,though he and brother Ricky at least had a class win each and a trouble free weekend. Behind it was Stapleton ahead of Sibley this time though more spread out . The Elan again taking class C. Stapleton now with Southcott and Hall as his class B rivals.
Plant held off Beatty again for 5th by 3 seconds . Percy this time ahead of Cairns in their own battle of the British Leyland racers for 7th. Cairns taking class D again. Paxman again held of Duke for 9th by 7/10ths. At the rear Siffleet was a relieved and delighted finisher on his Lancia's racing debut.
So Chris Southcott took all the laurels , setting fastest race lap in race 2 at 1 minute 11.25 ,not quite as fast as Hall`s time in race 1 but sets a marker down for the remainder of the season as the man to beat. Debutant James Plant said afterwards "A big thanks to CSCC from myself and my grandad for a well organised event, great people and fantastic racing. Enjoyed racing the Allard and having it sliding about" . His contribution added much to the spectacle these cars provide.
Next on the calender is the club's first ever visit up north at Croft near Darlington on July 22/23 .