The CSCC Special Saloons + Modsports series
PHOTO BY RYAN CLARK
The first ever CSCC Special Saloon + Modsport visit to Thruxton was a great success all round and one that will be long remembered. Thruxton is the home of the BARC club and restricted to just 12 days racing a year so the CSCC were keen to make a good impression , especially with the races being recorded by Motors TV for a highlights programe on september 7th , 14th and 21st. Few of the drivers had raced here before and with Thruxton also being the fastest circuit in the UK there was alot of drivers taking their cars into the unknown. The feeling in the paddock was to put on a good show of clean racing and get every car out there for the cameras.
Two of the pre-race favourites were testing on the friday afternoon and unfortunatly both were in for a torrid ,long weekend. Steven Moss in the Green E Anglia lost his clutch and the friendly team from East Anglia were in for an all nighter as a replacement non-race diff arrived at 3am. This another late one after a team member was in A + E the night before .8th best time was all that could be set in the circumstances and a further electrical gremlin would further hamper lap times. By race 3 the philosophical Moss was in `Matt Monroe-mode` meaning his car was not able to compete with the fastest this time so he was happy to tootle round ,enjoy the sunshine and just make the finish and think about the next round.
The Morris Brother`s Peugeot had a good friday test but in qualifying having set 4th lost a diff flange and then discovered a cracked manifold so the team had to miss race 1 on the saturday afternoon whilst affecting repairs. Starting at the back for race 2 Danny Morris set the fastest lap of the weekend whilst moving up to 4th place only to tangle with a back-marker causing damage to the front left corner and wheel forcing them to miss race 3. That fastest lap some comfort for a frustrating weekend.His time of 1minute 20.399 was one hundrth of a second quicker than the old supersaloon record set by Gerry Marshall in Baby Bertha set in the 70`s.
Meanwhile the Modsport boys were really enjoying qualifying with Paul Sibley`s Elan taking pole , Ian Hall`s Darrian 2nd and Chris Southcott`s Midget 3rd.For race 1 Hall took the lead straight away and was never headed , Southcott was close behind until Sibley took 2nd on lap 8th and that`s how the top 3 finished. Then came the saloons of Ian Stapleton ( Alfa ) , Dan Brown then class A winner Piers Grange in the ex-Moore Escort turbo, Moss and then class D winner Steve Minton. The latter one of the few with any previous Thruxton experience and fastest of the 4 steel-bodied Escorts in class D.
Race 2 was on sunday lunchtime and Thruxton was now bathing in hot sunshine . Paul Sibley was on pole again due to Ian Hall taking the winner`s penalty of 11th place grid start following a win. This time Sibley and Southcott had a clear dice for outright and the class win ,the Elan just ahead all the way though Southcott lost 2nd to Ian Stapleton on lap 7 who despite a brake issue again was the fastest saloon. Hall made a comfortable 4th after being closed down by Danny Morris until that incident that halted the Peugeot`s charge having set fastest lap on route. Grange again took class A in 6th and Tim Cairns took class D in his Midget.
By race 3 late on sunday afternoon and despite the heat , fast laps speeds and unfamiliar track the grid had only lost 2 cars out of 21 which was a great testiment to the overall reliability and good driving standards in the series , plus the undeniable family spirit that exists in the paddock to help your fellow compeititor fix their car to get them out for the next race.
Race 3 had Stapelton and Southcott on the front row and this was to be the best race race of the three. Ian Hall was positivly basking in the attention of both the occassion of his 50th anniversary of his first motor race and also having won the opening race. He had been delighted to recieve an award from the CSCC in recognition and was up for finishing the weekend back on the top of the podium.
After Stapelton and Southcott had traded the lead for the first lap it was Hall who powered ahead. The suprise though was the challenge from the blue Honda CRX of Thomas Carey which was all over the Darrian and got ahead on lap 3. This car had pulled off in qualifying as a precaution when an oil warning light had come. The team had fixed the problem and Carey brought the car in 9th in race 1 ,then finished 5th in race 2 and as he often does finishes the weekend very strongly. Hall responded and got back ahead. Carey retook the lead on lap 7 and looked like he might win his first CSCC race until a mistake at the Cobb-complex let Hall back ahead ,a lead he kept until the flag. It had been a great race to finish a memorable weekend on. Carey settled for the class C win ahead of his rivals Sibley ( 4th ) and Southcott 7th. Ian Stapleton took 3rd after another solid display on his series return Dan Brown took 5th, Grange for the 3rd race running took 6th and class A whilst the lovely-sounding Escort of Dan Minton took class D.
Two cars that added much to the sights and sounds of the weekend were the Morris Minor V8 of Craig Percy and the Toyota Supra of veteran Terry Nicholls. Percy had lost his bonnet on his outlap in qualifying but recovered it and just got back out to set a time. Thereafter he had a trouble-free weekend and made it 7 finishes from 7 starts in 2016 in a car that got alot of admiring looks in the paddock and as it rumbled around the track. For race 1 Percy and Nicholls` Supra circulated as one battling for 13th. The Supra belching flames as it accelerated onto the start straight. Nicholls has had a long struggle to get his machine running right since its debut last season but the problem had been fixed and Terry was able to put a fine show finishing all 3 races.
All the competitors can be proud of being part of a superb exhibition of racing that entertained a healthy crowd and it`s very hopeful that the CSCC can return to Thruxton again in the future.
View the results on TSL Timing ...