Silverstone GP – 15th / 16th August 2020 Race Report, Images and ResultsPosted on: August 22nd 2020 • Posted in: Race Results
Wet, Dry, Wet, Dry, Wet – Take your pick……
Round 3 – Silverstone GP
The series moved on to a very damp and miserable Silverstone, but spirits were still high as once again it was a pleasure to have cars out on track – in larger numbers too – despite the lack of spectators under the circumstances. It was once again Tom Stoten vs Michael Gibbins in Qualifying as they locked out the front row – the reigning Champion lining up 2nd. They would have their work cut out to stay ahead from a strong second row consisting of Neil Burroughs and Dominic Lesniewski.
Stoten had a poor first lap, losing the lead to Gibbins and then falling back to 4th behind Lesniewski and Burroughs, but despite this the Top 4 had opened a gap up back to Peter Williams who was making his first outing this season. Andreas Georgiou – another driver having his first race of the season here – gained 3 places on Lap 1 while Peter Needham in the Pintos gained 5!
Josh Law had dropped down slightly at the start but managed to make his way back up into 5th position ahead of Williams and was fighting with Giles Billingsley and Paul Trayhurn. Ahead of them though, Michael Gibbins was stretching his legs out front – lapping almost a second quicker than cars behind. David Williams was a clear leader in the Pinto class ahead of Needham.
Josh Law was very much on the move and before long, overtook pole-sitter Stoten for 4th, while further down the order, Grant Gibson, Mike Turner, Sebastien Bamsey, John Owen and Ash Law were all involved in a big battle from 12th down to 15th. Slightly further back from them, Gwyn Pollard was making his way through the Pintos in his Crossle.
Trayhurn and Billingsley had also gotten ahead of Peter Williams’ MCR – Trayhurn opening up a big gap back to the others. All of a sudden, Mike Turner was dropping down the order and into the pits – this would be the end of his race meeting. Pete Needham and Nicholas Hyett had begun fighting for 2nd in the Pintos as Williams still led.
Gibbins continued to extend his lead to 4.7 seconds after Lap 4! Behind him, Lesniewski was coming under pressure from Burroughs as Josh Law did the fastest lap of the race by over a second from anyone else’s best! Their group was looking safe to start battling as they had a 17.5 second gap back to Trayhurn from Stoten.
Georgiou and Bates had become close together in the mid-pack ahead of Gibson, Owen and Law – Bamsey losing 2 places to the latter. Before long Josh Law was up to 3rd, but not without contact as Burroughs loses over 10 seconds to 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Law’s car would carry some definite signs of having a part to play in the development.
Roger Donnan had had a somewhat quiet race up to now, but was right on the back of Williams coming on to Lap 6 – Williams struggling with overheating tyres. Bates was also right with Georgiou – the pair of them squabbling inside the Top 10.
In the Pintos it had come alive – Williams was now only 1.5 seconds ahead of Needham and Hyett, who were still battling for their spots. At the other end of proceedings, Fry and Hyett were having lonely races in 20th and 21st but still running 4th and 5th in class.
Neil Burroughs was soon losing yet more time on Lap 6 – he ended up 12 seconds off the car ahead with Trayhurn catching him rapidly – could this be down to the damage received in the contact earlier?
Donnan had now moved ahead of Williams for 8th and started pulling away very quickly, while Bates was past Georgiou who fell into the clutches of the great Gibson, Owen and Law battle – Bamsey 8 second off the back off them at this stage. Gwnn Pollard pulled over on Lap 6 – ? another issue with the Crossle.
At the front, Stoten and Gibbins traded purple sectors as the former gets past Josh Law for 3rd – Law 7 seconds slower that lap. Paul Trayhurn also had a bad lap, losing 10 seconds to Neil Burroughs – were the conditions getting the better of the drivers as the race wore on?
Out of the blue, a new Fastest lap of the race was set by Josh Law on Lap 8, but even if he kept this pace up it didn’t look like he’d catch Gibbins who now had a lead of over 12 seconds to Lesniewski, still ahead of the battling cars behind. In the Pintos, Peter Needham took the lead and was sitting ahead of Williams and Hyett – the three of them right together for a couple of laps.
Tom Stoten continued his strong comeback, moving up to 2nd place on Lap 10 ahead of Lesniewski, with Law getting ahead of Lesniewski as well, soon after. Dominic had put up a great fight until this point. Williams and Hyett continued to swap places in Pintos, giving Needham what he wanted to pull away, Ross Hyett and Mike Fry started battling too.
Ash Law began dropping down the order on Lap 10, eventually leading to a retirement – a real shame after he’d worked on his pace since Snetterton to be running with the midfield. At the sharp end though, Tom Stoten continues to put in personal best sectors as the track seems to improve. Guaranteeing that it was, a new Fastest lap of the race was posted by Josh Law on Lap 13, over 0.7 seconds quicker than anyone else’s.
Right at the death, Bamsey and Owen both get past Williams on Lap 13 – unlucky for some it seems.
Someone who definitely wasn’t unlucky though was Michael Gibbins, who took the win by 13 seconds from Stoten who was only 0.142 ahead of Josh Law after a great comeback from both of them and an exciting battle all race long.
Dominic Lesniewski came home in 4th for some good championship points with Trayhurn 5th. Burroughs will have wanted more, finishing in 6th after the contact part way through the race as Billingsley finished 7th with Donnan in 8th.
Peter Needham wins in the Pintos again after having to work a bit harder for this one than he did at Snetterton, ahead of Georgiou’s MCR overall with Hyett 2nd and Williams in 3rd.
It was another fantastic race meeting despite the conditions that showcased the great racing that Sports 2000 can offer. Now our attentions turn to Brands Hatch in September and whether anyone can stop Michael Gibbins this season!
Many thanks to Chaz Draycott for his report.
Race images credit to Mark Lees Photography