Snetterton – 18/19th June 2022 Race Report, Images and ResultsPosted on: July 15th 2022 • Posted in: Race Results
Rounds 7, 8 and 9 – Snetterton 300
While the season had started out with one of the coldest race weekends we’d ever seen and moved on to mixed conditions at Silverstone, the heat was definitely turned up for Snetterton. Arriving in the days before the event, some drivers, their cars and their teams had already melted into the Norfolk scenery, with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius most of the way through Friday.
Josh Law came to Snetterton with a championship lead that he was hoping to build, with the Pintos being anybody’s guess. Three races over the Snetterton weekend would bring plenty of potential for there to be big changes to the standings.
Race 1 Video
The Qualifying format for the weekend was slightly different compared to what we’d seen before, with the Grid for Race 1 being determined by a driver’s best time – as per usual – but their second fastest time responsible for their Race 2 starting position. It was a little bit harder to keep your eye on, for the teams, but would still provide an interesting new element to the session.
Josh Law continued his form by taking pole position, an impressive 1.2 seconds clear of everyone else! James Barwell was using the new MCR bodywork on his car and would line up on the front row, with Tom Stoten and Richard Johnson filling the second row. Michael Gibbins and David Houghton were 5th and 6th, with Tim Tudor, Paul Trayhurn, Colin Peach and Mike Turner rounding out the Top 10.
The fastest Pinto in Qualifying was Nick Johnson, who made a welcome return in his Lola 592S. Charlie Hyett was impressively 2nd fastest ahead of Paul Streat and Peter Needham. March Noaro would be driving the number 27 Tiga this weekend, alternating with Jon Harmer, and managed to put it P5 on the grid for the first race.
Off the mark, James Barwell made a great getaway and took the lead from Josh Law, who would fight back instantly into Agostini to regain the position. It stayed static in terms of the order behind, with a bit more shuffling towards the rear of the field, then it wasn’t long until the Pintos got away – Johnson making a great start and leaving Streat, Hyett and Needham to battle behind.
The safety car was soon called though, after an incident involving Colin Peach, Roger Donnan and Andrew Butler at Hamilton corner. The former was left stranded at the side of the road, and Roger limped back round into the pits, and into retirement from the race.
We weren’t under safety car conditions for long, going green flag racing after only one lap, and it was a tidy getaway for Josh Law, who began to gap Barwell very quickly. Richard Johnson was really filling his mirrors from the off as the rest of the field began to settle into a rhythm. Peter Brouwer was making places quickly, overtaking Mike Turner and Nick Bates before long. Not far off the back of that resulting scrap was Ash Law, Peter Williams, Josh Needham and Grant Gibson having a good shuffle too.
Johnson continued to lead the Pintos with Needham in 2nd and Paul Streat in 3rd. They had both made it past Charlie Hyett early on, but the latter was still having a great weekend, showing tremendous promise, considering how little racing he’d done in the car up to that point. Marc Noaro was having to hold off Mike Fry for 7th place – the pair of them close across the line time and time again.
On Lap 5, Nick Bates had a moment and lost a bunch of positions, eventually falling down to 17th after running just outside the Top 10 since the start. On top of that, he now had quite the gap to close if he was to overtake Ash Law and the cars ahead. He wasn’t the only one having issues though, as Joshua Needham retired from the race after a fuel pump failure on his Van Diemen.
By Lap 7, Josh Law had opened up his lead gap to over 10 seconds, setting the fastest lap of a 1:53.3 along the way. He would continue in this fashion into the final moments, showing true dominance despite an initial loss of the lead at the very start. Behind him though, Richard Johnson was getting closer and closer to James Barwell, and – with a little help from some lapped traffic – would take an opportunity to get 2nd and run with it.
Paul Trayhurn overtook David Houghton with a couple of laps to go while also making their way through Pinto traffic – their field still lead by Nicholas Johnson, but far from comfortably, as Paul Streat was piling the pressure on into the closing stages. Nick Hyett had also been working hard keeping Chris Snowdon behind after overtaking him earlier, and the pair would swap over once twice more before the race finished.
At the very front, Josh Law took an incredible win – his 5th of the season, eventually winning by over 14 seconds. Richard Johnson took 2nd place, just ahead of James Barwell and Tom Stoten – the three of them magnetising towards each other before the end. Michael Gibbins completed the Top 5 ahead of Tim Tudor, Paul Trayhurn, David Houghton, Steve Ough and Peter Brouwer, who had a great drive through the pack.
Nicholas Johnson held on ahead of Paul Streat to take the win in the Pinto class after a nail biting final few circulations. Peter Needham grabbed another podium ahead of Nick Hyett and Chris Snowdon. Marc Noaro was next up, just about getting lapped by Josh Law by the end, with Clive Steeper completing the pack.
Josh Law would be on pole position again for Race 2 with James Barwell joining him on the front row – Tom Stoten was 3rd this time with Richard Johnson 4th, David Houghton and Michael Gibbins would once again share Row 3, but the other way round compared to Race 1. Nicholas Johnson was on Pinto pole alongside Charlie Hyett, ahead of Paul Streat and Nick Hyett.
Josh Law made a better start this time and kept the lead from James Barwell who was right with him for the opening corners. Eventually though, the race 1 winner would be 1.3 seconds clear after the first lap. Grant Gibson had an awesome first tour, gaining 6 positions from 19th on the grid! Nicholas Johnson and Paul Streat continued exactly where they left off in Race 1, battling as soon as they left the grid!
The whole Pinto field was covered by five seconds when they first crossed the line, and a bunch of the drivers in the middle of the field would remain incredibly close all the way through the race – pure Pinto racing at its finest thanks to the slipstreaming and hard braking that Snetterton forces drivers to make the most of!
Unfortunately after a couple of laps we lost championship contender Tom Stoten. A failure on the car’s suspension sending him off at the Bomb Hole and into the barriers. Gary Gunn and the team would spend hours fixing the car into the afternoon, hoping to make it back out for the next race. David Gorst also retired on the same lap, with the same hopes of being in the final race of the weekend.
At the halfway point, Josh Law had opened up his lead to nearly 10 seconds and broke the lap record on the way, setting a blistering time of 1:52.148 on only the 2nd lap! James Barwell was 2nd with a decent gap back to Johnson and Gibbins – the latter back up to the pace he’d always had, thanks to sorting out some car gremlins they’d been chasing all year. “Battle of the Johns” was developing in the midfield, with Iley ahead of Owen. The number 28 machine moving through the order after starting further down the pack than anticipated.
The Pinto battles were once again some great entertainment. Charlie Hyett was in 2nd place with Nicholas Johnson, Peter Needham and Marc Noaro in close proximity. They shared the track with Andrew Butler’s Duratec into the closing stages as well, which added even more spice into the mixing pot. Eventually Charlie would get clear but the battle would stay very much alive, behind.
Josh Needham would end up on the sidelines again after completing 8 laps – a frustrating weekend so far after what was a promising display of pace. He was joined in the paddock by John Owen who retired a lap later.
Out in front though, Josh Law was once again unstoppable. He took his second dominant win of the weekend by over 14.5 seconds – a great Father’s Day present for Ian! He took the flag ahead of James Barwell. who managed to hold off Michael Gibbins to the end, once the 76 car had overtaken Richard Johnson, who was classified 4th. Paul Trayhurn scored a Top 5, ahead of David Houghton, Tim Tudor (who had another lonely race), Colin Peach, Mike Turner and Peter Brouwer.
Colin Peach was particularly impressive after starting right at the back of the grid – he’d really gotten the Van Diemen where he wanted, and the pace was certainly something for his fellow competitors to keep an eye out for.
Paul Streat was back to winning ways in the Pintos, finishing 2.8 seconds clear of the remarkable Charlie Hyett, who’d been having a great weekend up to that point. Nicholas Johnson completed the podium with Peter Needham and Marc Noaro right together across the line to round up the Top 5. Nick Hyett, Chris Snowdon, Clive Steeper and Mike Fry all made it to the finish.
The final race of the weekend would start with the grid being determined by driver’s finishing positions from Race 2, as the championship usually has it on double-header weekends. This meant that everyone would be back to continue where they left off earlier in the day!
Unfortunately we wouldn’t be seeing John Owen on the grid for the final race – his earlier retirement calling time on his weekend at Snetterton, so now the focus would turn to getting the car repaired for Thruxton in a few weeks. Josh Needham also had an issue and wouldn’t get his final race under way either, having to be pushed away from the grid by the marshals. An understandably frustrating weekend for him.
Once again James Barwell was quick off the line and took the lead from Josh Law, who made a less-than-ideal getaway as he had done in Race 1. Michael Gibbins got away quickly too and stuck with them around the first lap, with a little bit of breathing room back to Richard Johnson. Tom Stoten had made a lightning start from the back of the grid, and by the end of Lap 1, had made up 9 positions into 11th!
This all unravelled on the following lap though, where he was out of the race once more, putting the nail into the theoretical coffin that was the reigning champion’s weekend. We hope to see Tom’s luck change as we head deeper into the season.
Paul Streat had made another good initial charge in the Pinto field, leading from Nicholas Johnson after a couple of laps, albeit by only half a second. They had some breathing room to the cars behind, which once again were the main event of the race for most – Peter Needham, Charlie Hyett, Nick Hyett and Marc Noaro were all separated by just over a second by the half way stage of the race!
There was a slightly hairy moment when new leader Josh Law (who had overtaken James Barwell a lap or so prior) came to lap them, as they all focused on their battle down the main straight. Josh had to take to the grass to avoid contact, but all was okay and each driver made it work.
John Iley had issues with his MCR and unfortunately dropped out of the race after 5 laps, ending the weekend on a low note. His teammate Tim Tudor had been enjoying a decent weekend of pace but unfortunately lonely races, running 10 seconds behind the car ahead for most of this encounter, with a near 30-second gap behind!
James Barwell had lost 2nd place to Michael Gibbins, who again was on fire, showing us the true pace of his car now that it was running much closer to 100%. For a number of laps in the closing stages, he was quicker than Josh, even making the most of traffic to take 1.3 seconds out of the lead at one point. Barwell would drop another position with two laps to go – this time Richard Johnson getting by on his way to another podium finish.
The pinto field continued on in amazing fashion, proving that they didn’t always need their own races to display the great entertainment the cars could provide. The aforementioned quartet of the two Hyetts, Noaro and Needham were tremendous fun to watch all the way to the end. For a while there wasn’t a single lap where they entered turn 1 single file!
Unfortunately though, the race would see a big incident on the final lap at that exact corner. While being lapped by Barwell and Trayhurn, David Gorst lost the back end of his MCR around Riches and collected the latter. Both cars suffered big damage and would be looking at an extensive repair job, but luckily both drivers were perfectly okay due to the high safety standards of both machines.
Josh Law put a big cherry on what was a massive cake of a weekend with his third win in as many races at Snetterton, extending his championship lead and really stamping his authority on the field. Michael Gibbins capped off a great weekend with 2nd place, leaving us excited to see what he can do in the remaining rounds, while Richard Johnson was as competitive as ever, making it two of the “older” MCRs on the podium.
James Barwell held on to 4th place after just missing the incident at the end, while David Houghton completed the Top 5. Tim Tudor, Colin Peach, Mike Turner, Peter Brouwer and Nick Bates were your Top 10.
Paul Streat made it 2 from 2 in the Pintos at Snetterton, winning by 2.3 seconds over Nicholas Johnson, who had continued to show why he’s a great driver to have in the championship, with solid pace and fierce consistency in his Lola. Peter Needham made sure it wasn’t an all-Lola podium, ahead of his sparring partners, Nick Hyett, Marc Noaro and Charlie Hyett – the four of them absolutely beaming after one of, if not the most entertaining race of the year.
As everyone heads to Thruxton, Josh Law now has a commanding lead in the championship over Michael Gibbins and Richard Johnson (with drop scores considered) but it’s bound to be a meeting that plays to certain strengths and weaknesses of some drivers and their cars. The championship could really get affected there. In the Pintos it’s no different – Paul Streat has a strong gap over Jon Harmer and Marc Noaro with Peter Needham in 3rd. Slipstreaming in Pintos is always a key element so the battles are sure to be fierce next time out.
Mant thanks to Chaz Draycott for these reports.
Results are available via the Results Page. Here
Below are some images credit to KJG Photograpy. To view the full set or purchase copies visit https://www.kjgphotography.co.uk