Cadwell Park – 10-11 July 2021 Race Report, Images and ResultsPosted on: July 14th 2021 • Posted in: Race Results
The “Mini-Nurburgring” lived up to it’s name with plenty of ups and downs.
Rounds 6 & 7 – Cadwell Park
The championship moved on to one of the real gems on the calendar – the tight, twisty, narrow Cadwell Park. A circuit that offered a bit of everything to drivers and their machinery – fast sections, slow sections, huge, sudden undulation, and plenty of technical challenges. Perfect hunting ground for Sports 2000 cars then! Tom Stoten carried his championship lead into the fourth race meeting this year, hoping to see his Gunn TS11 come out on top once again.
Qualifying saw a sturdy performance by Neil Burroughs, going fastest by half a second, but he would start from 6th after applying a 5-place grid penalty from the previous meeting. There was a very close finish to the session between Tom Stoten and Michael Gibbins though – the latter taking pole position by only one hundredth of a second, with Josh Law in 3rd ahead of Richard Johnson and Paul Trayhurn. After Qualifying 10th overall, Roger Donnan wouldn’t start either race after an engine failure in Qualifying. Peter Needham took pole position in the grid of 8 Pintos ahead of Paul Streat, Mike Fry and Ross Hyett – the four of them separated by less than a second.
Off the line, reigning champion Michael Gibbins had the initial launch from the front row, but Stoten would be on the inside for Turn 2 and take the lead. Everybody slotted in behind, playing it safe as they climbed the hill to the high speed, open middle sector. All cars completed the first lap and kept it nice and tidy on most accounts. Stoten lead Gibbins, followed by Neil Burroughs who’d made a strong start from 6th. Needham kept his lead in the Pintos with Paul Streat just behind, while Hyett held off Snowdon and Fry.
Paul Trayhurn would be the first retirement from the race on the second lap, continuing a run of bad luck on what’s been a very challenging campaign. Championship leader Stoten would carry on building his lead a few tenths per lap from Gibbins, while Josh Law would eventually get back past Johnson on Lap 4 after losing a place at the start. The Pintos had stayed in the same order near the front, but only just, after the efforts of Paul Streat to get the lead. Unfortunately, though, the battle was cut short after 5 Laps, as race leader Pete Needham would retire, handing the responsibility over to Paul in his Lola, being chased by Ross Hyett.
We now had similar situations in both Duratecs and Pintos – the battle for the lead fluctuating lap after lap with traffic making it unpredictable from an outside perspective. At one-point Gibbins had even crossed the line within two tenths of Stoten, but the gap would grow again over the following laps. By Lap 12 we had unfortunately lost two more cars from the race – the #77 of James Barwell and #103 of David Gorst.
John Owen came into the pits at this point, mistaking what’s known as a meatball flag (black and orange flag) being directed his way. This would unfortunately drop him down 2 laps and out of contention after some good battling with Bamsey and Gibson – the latter of which he was fighting for the class lead with, in Duratec B. There were further bits of dicing being played out in the field by the likes of Mike Turner, Nick Bates and Tim Tudor as well – the three of them keeping each other honest!
Two laps from the end, John Iley’s number 44 MCR decided it was finished early, while Stoten kept his head down up front, carving his way through traffic hoping that Gibbins didn’t get the better of him. He would eventually go on to take another great victory with Michael only 1.3 seconds back – another wonderful display from two of the real stars of the championship.
Neil Burroughs finished another 11 seconds back in third, hoping for more balance from the car in the second race. Josh Law completed a quiet race in 4th ahead of Richard Johnson, Giles Billingsley – who took the Derek Bell Trophy honours – and Dominic Lesniewski, whose 7th place hadn’t helped his title hopes. Tim Tudor, Nick Bates and Mike Turner rounded out the Top 10.
The Pinto victory went to Paul Streat, who remained unchallenged once he’d taken to the front, despite a throttle issue and having Ross Hyett set the fastest lap on his way to 2nd. The podium would be an all-Lola affair with Trevor Welsh in 3rd ahead of the Tigas of Mike Fry, Clive Steeper and Chris Snowdon. Nick Bailey’s Royale S2000M would round out the Pintos.
After being beaten to the lead in Race 1, Michael Gibbins would use the positioning of the 2nd grid slot to his advantage, getting ahead of Tom Stoten into Turn 2. Neil Burroughs would slot in behind with Johnson and Billingsley having strong first laps to get ahead of Josh Law. Lesniewski would hold on to 7th ahead of Tim Tudor, who had the better of Bates and Turner this time.
Paul Streat managed to hold his lead, despite later reporting that the throttle issue hadn’t been fixed, with Ross Hyett bearing down on him and piling the pressure on immediately. Trevor Welsh held station in 3rd while Pete Needham had made it through from the back of the class with a brilliant effort to be 4th at the end of Lap 1.
Gibbins stretched his legs at the front in a performance similar to what we’d seen from him in his incredible 2020 campaign, eventually getting the lead gap up to over 3 seconds on Lap 5. Stoten still followed with Burroughs holding 3rd, Johnson was 4th and Law was having another lonely encounter in 5th. Behind him, Giles Billingsley lead the Derek Bell Trophy, ahead of Lesniewski, Tudor and Bates.
Mike Turner enjoyed some more great battling with Tudor and Bates, that would unfortunately get curtailed by traffic, separating the three Duratecs over the course of a few laps. It was at this point that we lost Paul Trayhurn’s Gunn from the race for the second time in one day. Whatever the problem may be, everyone hopes to see fixed and for Paul to make a strong comeback next time out.
The traffic was now coming thick and fast for our leaders in the Duratecs, and it also meant that the Pinto lead battle could be rattled somewhat as well. Up to now, Streat had withstood massive pressure from Ross Hyett lap after lap, as the number 69 Lola was clearly quicker. Paul was working very hard to keep him at bay though, without giving up too much time to Pete Needham and Trevor Welsh, who was only a couple of seconds further back.
Eventually though, they wouldn’t have to worry about the former as Pete suffered his second failure of the weekend and was forced into another early retirement – a massive shame for the 2020 Pinto Overall Champion.
Into the closing stages, it was looking like a textbook performance by Michael Gibbins, but things were just about to get real lively and wonderfully complicated – as we all know too well in motorsport – very quickly.
With a couple of laps to go, Michael reported having felt something on the left rear of the car start to loosen. With an 8 second lead back to Tom Stoten, he felt that he could take it a little bit easier on the last couple of tours. Where things really took a turn though, was when he crossed the line for the 17th time to start Lap 18. The race timer ticked to 24 minutes and 58 seconds as he broke the timing beam, meaning he had to complete one more lap, while managing whatever failure had occurred on the rear.
During said lap though, he wasn’t able to make it round, ending up with a rear wheel in two pieces and having to park it to save doing further damage to car. This meant that Tom Stoten and Neil Burroughs both got through, but the drama wasn’t over yet. After a small mistake part way round the lap, Neil had closed right up and Stoten had to defend, but overcooked it and gave away the lead!
Then, as Burroughs came around to take the chequered flag, it was never waved, as the timekeepers and officials were all waiting to see Gibbins come through to win, not picking out the eventual winner through the traffic. The race would be counted back a lap however, meaning Neil Burroughs took his first win since leaving the series 10 years ago, in very exciting circumstances. Tom Stoten would finish second with Richard Johnson taking a podium in 3rd.
Josh Law was 4th, Lesniewski recovered to 5th place and Giles Billingsley took his second win of the day in the Derek Bell Trophy, with 6th overall. James Barwell, Nick Bates, Tim Tudor and Mike Turner would complete the Top 10 after another enthralling race throughout.
Combining his ongoing throttle issue with a need for some great defending, Paul Streat was delighted to take the overall Pinto win for the second time over the weekend, after working up a real sweat keeping Ross Hyett at bay – definitely the man to beat on pace all day! There was slight contact towards the end of the race but nothing untoward – just close and competitive racing as we’d all expect!
Trevor Welsh was next up, taking first place in the Pinto Historic class, with Chris Snowdon, Mike Fry, Clive Steeper and Nick Bailey rounding out the 25 car field. Only three retirements from the second race would be a great advert for the durability of these cars once again, around a circuit that can quite often be a car killer.
With drop scores included, Stoten would go away from Cadwell with a strong championship advantage of 7 points over Neil Burroughs, who had jumped up to 2nd, with Josh Law 3rd ahead of Dominic Lesniewski. Giles Billingsley had a comfortable lead in the Derek Bell Trophy over Mike Turner, while John Owen was top in the Duratec B Standings. Trevor Welsh has a 3 point lead in the Pinto Overall Trophy and Historic Championship with Ross Hyett top of the table for the non-historic entries.
Now we have a break over the summer until we visit Brands Hatch in mid-September for a triple header!
Many thanks to Chaz Draycott for this report.
Below are some images credit to KJG Photograpy. To view the full set or purchase copies visit https://www.kjgphotography.co.uk
Round 6 Images
Round 7 Images