Dijon-Prenois – 6/7/8th October 2023 Race Report, Images and Results

Posted on: October 11th 2023    •    Posted in: Race Results


SRCC 2023 European Round  – Dijon-Prenois

Race Images

A collection of images from the weekend can be found here: Dijon Motors Cup – Images by Carlo Senten

SRCC Dijon Motors Cup 6th – 8th October 2023 Report: Alan Jones.

With the Championship season closed at Donington. A number of the Sports 2000 accepted the invitation from Randall of the YTCC to form a grid at the Dijon Motors Cup organised by HVM under the helm of Laurent Vallery-Masson.
The Dijon En Prenois circuit is set on a hilltop close to the city of Dijon, known for its mustard but equally famous for the fine wines grown in the area. The famous Pommard and Gevrey Chambertin being produced from the local terroir.
A field of 26 cars were assembled for the event. It gave the club the opportunity to welcome back Peter Brouwer following his Brands Hatch accident. Whilst Peter himself is well on his way to full restoration his Duratec car is still under repair. For this meeting he was running a Lola T88/90 in the Historic Classes. The club also welcomed two additional guests to its rank. Loic Esteves in the Peugoet 905 spider and Erwan Huez. Erwan a novice was having his first run in the Chevron Sports 2000 of his sister Victoria. Victoria having been loaned her father’s March 722 Formula Atlantic car to contest the Historic Formula 2 races. Paul Stevenson in his Lola T492 returned to the SRCC in the Invited Class running on Avon Tyres.
The weather was more reminiscent of summer than October with a cool start each morning rising quickly to the Mid 20s. Shorts and tee shirts outside of the cockpit were very much the order of the day.
In the testing on Friday morning it was Michael Gibbins who topped the time sheets from Josh Law, with Richard Johnson 3rd. It was the Hyett brothers Charlie and Nick who headed the Historic classes with Donnington double winner Nik Johnson in 3rd place.


On the Friday afternoon it was time for the serious business of qualifying. The temperature was rising towards its peak for everyone to enjoy the challenges of the fast former Grand Prix circuit, whose character had not changed since the 1970s.
Michael Gibbins set the early pace, from David Houghton and
Richard Johnson. Ross Hyett was an early retirement. He managed to coast his car to a safe place when the stub axle failed on the front left hand side. Luckily Ross did not incur any extra damage and at the end of the session was confident it could be repaired in time for the first of the three races the drivers would compete in over the weekend.
It was lap 4 & 5 when Josh Law dialled in his car to set Pole Position. Michael Gibbins responding to be within 4 tenths of a second of Josh’s best time to take 2nd on the grid. 3rd in the time rankings would be David Houghton. David being one of many who had times deleted for track limit infringements. Whilst the French regulations are more generous than the current MSUK, the fast sweeping nature of the track with its steep cambers did induce drivers to find the limit.
Richard Johnson was 4th on the timing sheeting both he and brother Nik adjusting their cars post qualifying to account for the stresses through the high speed corners. Nik, who mirrored his brothers grid slot in the Historic classes of 4th , also adjusted the brake bias that had placed all the load to the rear. Work on the adjuster being required to correct the imbalance. Ash Law continuing with his improved form was 5th overall with Peter Williams 6th heading the DB class with Colin Peach 7th with class and Van Diemen rival Josh Needham following in 8th place.
Colin had been complaining that he felt the circuit was rather slippery in parts. When he looked at his tyres he realised why he had experienced problems. His front tyre on the right had worn down to the canvas. Colin does believe in getting full value from his tyres.
Clive Hayes would line up 9th on the grid with Charlie Hyett completing the top 10 heading the Historic class. Charlie’s brother Nick was second of the Historics, with the pairing of Jon Harmer and Marc Noaro 3rd in class.
David Williams was having a difficult time with his Lola T492. After qualifying the team were fitting their 3rd starter motor. The boys were getting very fit push starting the car from the assembly area.

Race 1

Saturday morning the cars assembled for their formation lap. The track basking under clear blue skies with no wind. At the line it was Michael Gibbins and Josh Law side by side in the run up to turn 1 with Michael leading Josh at the end of Lap 1. The following pack coming through in qualifying order with David Houghton 3rd overall from Richard Johnson Ash Law and Peter Williams then Colin Peach Josh Needham, Clive Hayes and Charlie Hyett completing the top 10.
David Williams was delighted they had fixed his Starter Motor problem and to celebrate had moved up the race order. Lying 6th in the Historic race in Front Nick Hyett was second with Jon Harmer 3rd, Nic Johnson 4th, and Ross Hyett 5th following his dramas in qualifying.
On lap 2 the order at the front became established. Josh came by in the lead with Michael 2nd David Houghton 3rd Richard Johnson 4th and Ash Law in 5th. On lap 3 Colin Peach overtook Peter Williams for 6th place. With one Van Diemen past him David now had to fend off the second car of Josh Needham.
Charlie Hyett whilst still retaining his lead in the Historic Class, was shuffled down the order by Andy Chittenden and Roger Donnan and a lap later John Owen was through in pursuit of the Duratecs ahead.
On lap 8 Peter Williams had to succumb to the challenge mounted by Josh Needham. Nic Johnson enjoyed a good dice with David Gorst which may have slowed his progress to the front of the Historic race. Afterwards he was happy to have resolved his braking problems but he was still looking to improve the car set up for race 2 on Sunday morning.
Pat Egan had been enjoying a fairly good race but a drive through penalty for track limit infringement plus an additional 20 second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane did spoil what had been a progressive run. Ross Hyett did complete the race but again the front stub axle had broken the wheel only being held in place by the retaining circlip. More work for the mechanics to try to remedy the weakness in the car. At the back Erwan Huez and Paul Stevenson enjoyed a race long dice. Peter Brouwer was the only retirement completing 15 laps.
Post Race David Williams had to retrieve his exhaust from the circuit, and Richard Johnson decided to change the gear ratios in search of the elusive 10ths to keep the leaders in sight. Colin Peach had a major concern. He had taken another front tyre down to the canvas. The car has a characteristic understeer which they were hoping to overcome with some overnight changes. But Race 2 would be critical with regard to his taking part in the third race of the day.
At the chequered flag it was a win for Josh Law, from Michael Gibbins, with David Houghton 3rd. Colin Peach was the Class B winner 6th overall. Peter Williams finished 8th winning the Derek Bell Class. Charlie Hyett was the winner of the Historic race also 1st in the A class. Nick Hyett was second with Jon Harmer 3rd and winner of the Historic Class C.

Race 2

Following their success with a Lotus Elan in the 300km race on Saturday, the Hyett family were hoping for further visits to the podium on Sunday. It would be Marc Noaro’s turn to race in the morning session. A decision after lunch would decide who would compete in the final stint.
The first of the two races started early in the morning at 9.05. The YTCC Colmore cars having raced for 30 minutes previously to clear off any morning dew. Despite the cooler running tyre wear particularly on the front would become an issue with many having warning for track limits and two drivers receiving penalties.
Off the line Josh Law led into the first corner but at the end of lap 1 it would be Michael Gibbins in the lead. Josh Law would be second with Richard Johnson 3rd David Houghton 4th and Ash Law 5th. Colin Peach was sixth but he had Josh Needham in his wheel tracks followed by Peter Williams and Clive Hayes Roger Donnan completing the top 10.
Nik Johnson had made a good start and was leading the Historic class from Charlie Hyett, followed by his brother Nick Hyett, with David Williams 4th in the class. Charlie gaining the lead on the following lap.
The top 4 positions in the Duratec class remained static for many laps. Although the screens were being peppered with warnings of track limits as competitors struggled to prevent the cars sliding too wide.
Colin Peach soon found himself embroiled in a 3 way battle for 6th that included Josh Needham and Peter Williams. Josh claiming the place on lap 3 to lose it again on lap 6. Down in 8th place Andy Chittenden was having an equally close dice with John Owen. Whilst being able to close to the tail of John he just did not have sufficient speed on the straights to complete a manouevre. As Andy started to remove all the waste rubber from his car that had come from John, he admitted, he had never been that close to the rear of a car for a race duration without being able to overtake.
Peter Brouwer who had started from the back of the grid, had moved up 5 places in the opening lap moving up to 22nd place on lap 3. His next target being Mike Fry who he passed on lap 9 his next target being Ross Hyett.
On lap 10 the Colin Peach battle caught up with Ash Law, briefly relegating him to 6th as Colin took the place. On the following lap Colin was shuffled back to 7th place with Ash regaining 5th from Josh Needham in 6th place.
On lap 11 there was a change in the Duratec lead order when Josh Law came in for a drive through penalty for track limits infringement. Josh resuming in 4th place. Mchael Gibbins retaining the lead now had Richard Johnson and David Houghton following with Losh Law in 4th place. It was looking like a double podium for the Johnson family, with Nic still holding 2nd place in the Historic class.
Josh Needham continued to pursue Ash Law and Colin Peach again suffering with tyre problems had David Williams looking to overtake him for 7th place. Roger Donnan was gradually slipping back with overheating problems. Dropping behind Charlie Hyett in the closing stages of the race.

Pat Egan after his run in with track limits in race 1 put in his fastest lap of the weekend on the Sunday morning but disappeared from the lap chart before the end.
Paul Stevenson would be the final retirement pulling into the pits on the penultimate lap with brake problems. Post race Richard Johnson would be penalised for a track limit infringement, with a 30 second time penalty. It was a sad end to his race which had been otherwise faultless.
The final result would be a win for Michael Gibbins with David Houghton 2nd, Josh Law 3rd his brother Ash 4th with Richard Johnson 5th. Josh Needham would be 6th winning the DB class Peter Williams was 7th winning the Derek Bell Class, Clive Hayes 8th Colin Peach 9th and John Owen 10th.
Charlie Hyett headed the Historic Race giving him his third podium of the weekend, Nic Johnson was 2nd and winner of Historic Class C with Nick Hyett 3rd.David Williams who admitted to having components from across half the paddock on his Lola was 4th in the Historic Class and relieved that following the race the team were not looking at any major work until the final race in the afternoon.

Race 3

The race would bring an end to an era when the group would race on Yokohama Tyres. The rubber had proved to be a reliable and trustworthy tyre over the years, but the Dijon circuit was proving to be the ultimate test. Many of the competitors looking at their front tyres and hoping they would last to the end. For Colin Peach race 2 had looked like the completion his weekend. John Owen still had a used set of fronts left and was able to ensure Colin could take part in the final run.
At the start of the race Michael Gibbins took the advantage into turn 1 to lead. Contact at Turn 4 between the guest Peugeot of Loic Esteves and Mike Fry brought out the safety car as they had to recover the stranded Mike. Loic did get back to the pits but the damage to his bodywork prevented him from going further.
Roger Donnan was the second pit caller on lap 1 coming into retire. The work he had done to remedy the problems from race 2 had not worked and he was left to become an interested spectator.
The safety car controlling the race for three laps, probably prevented any further retirements from tyre degradation. When the lights went to green it was again Michael Gibbins in the lead, who this time was able to create a gap back to Josh Law in 2nd place over the race distance. As the race progressed Josh found his rear view mirror being filled by David Houghton who in his efforts to pass set fastest lap of the race.
Richard Johnson was left in a lonely 4th place having passed Ash Law on the first lap. Josh Needham gave chase extending a gap back David Williams, Colin Peach Clive Hayes, John Owen and Andy Chittenden.
David Gorst was enjoying his race amid the Historic class podium battle. Charlie Hyett and Nik Johnson had pulled clear in 1st and 2nd place whilst Nick Hyett had the MCR of David Gorst to overtake.
When the safety car had released the pack John Owen seized the opportunity to slip by Clive Hayes for a lap. On the following tour Clive resumed his position of 9th place leaving John to again contend with the close attentions of Andy Chittenden.
Colin Peach with renewed confidence in his tyres passed Peter Williams on lap 8 with the contest to be the top Van Diemen now renewed. On lap 9 Andy Chittenden finally got past John Owen, being able to send some of his spent rubber to pepper John’s paintwork.
Nick Hyett managed to overtake David Gorst and set on the mission to chase after his brother and Nik Johnson ahead. Dave having had a really good race soon found himself under attack from both David Williams and Ross Hyett who finally had confidence in the Tiga’s reliability. David Gorst slipping back to 17th place. He held on to the tail of Ross Hyett and overtook on the last lap to finish 16th.
With the race drawing to a close there were three tantalising battles on track. Colin Peach focusing on Josh Needham, Nick Hyett, closing down Nik Johnson and David Houghton really keeping Josh Law busy.
The only one to crack was Josh Needham who finally lost 6th place and the class lead to Colin Peach on lap 14. Josh did hold off David Houghton and despite closing Nick Hyett could not complete the move to get past Nik Johnson. However Nick Hyett did set the fastest lap of the race for the Historics in his pursuit of the leading cars.
Peter Brouwer progressed through the field to finish 18th having passed Marc Noaro on lap 10. Pat Egan had a good race dicing throughout with Richard Cooke and keeping a close eye on Marc Noaro in front.
The final result was a win for Michael Gibbins, from Josh Law, David Houghton Richard Johnson, Ash Law, Colin Peach was the Class B winner from Josh Needham, whilst Peter Williams came home next in 8th place winning the Derek Bell Class. 9th would be Clive Hayes and rounding out the top 10 was Andy Chittenden.
In the Historics it would be a hat trick of wins for Charlie Hyett, making it his 4th podium of the weekend 2nd would be Nik Johnson, with Nick Hyett 3rd David Williams 4th Ross Hyett 5th and Peter Brouwer 6th.

At the presentation I think the podium winners were a little disappointed they were being kissed by Randall from the YTCC rather than the very attractive grid girls. But he had done a very good job of looking after the group.

It was a happy group who hastily loaded trucks and trailers to commence the long journey home, saying goodbye to Dijon, France and the long association with Yokohama.

Results are available via the Results Page. Here