Donington Park 9/10th September

Toyo Tires/Watchdogapp.com Jaguar Saloon & GT Championship

The penultimate races 13 & 14 of our 16-round championship were held at the Donington Grand Prix calibre circuit. The very challenging & popular venue attracting a respectable 24 entrants, all competing for class & championship honours, which at this late stage in the season are still to be decided.  

A number of returnee drivers featured, including Gail Hill,  who has repurchased one of her old cars from Dave Ball, Tom Barclay, who borrowed what seems to have become the ‘guest drive’ Class A XJS from Guy Connew, plus long time JEC racers Tim Morrant & Howard Kirkham. Rumour had it that Sunday would see the appearance of veteran racer Ray Ingman in ‘otherwise engaged’ Daniel Stewart’s Class A XJS, subject to a slow lane being marked on the circuit.

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Qualifying

Whilst records show Bright/Dry, conditions were actually wet & slippery!

As the Jaguars moved into the assembly area, it started raining. A liberal coating of bodily fluids from the three preceding qualifying sessions & AVGAS residue emitted the planes taking off from the neighbouring East Midlands Airport made the track extremely hazardous. James Ramm went for his fastest time early on & set pole position on lap 2, whereas Rodney Frost built up to his best time on lap 8, some 2.4 seconds behind. Power could have been a disadvantage but not to the next 4 quickest, Colin Philpott (XJS), Adam Powderham (XJR Supercharged), Guy Connew (XJ6) & Tom Robinson (XJR SC). These were covered by a single second. Alasdair McGregor was again quickest Class B car in his well sorted X300 saloon. Showing no rustiness & plenty of skill. Barclay similarly took Class A honours, despite unfamiliarity with the car, from Michael Holt who was suffering from back spasms. Kevin Dickens managed a 180 degree spin but still qualified class 3rd. Simon Blunt was hampered by a lack of wipers & Barclay brought the session to an end by the expedient of going off!

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Race 1 – Rain/Wet

Again, the records were slightly wrong as the race started on a dry track until lap 8 of 14, when heavy rain crept in. The first serious drenching occurring as cars approached the tricky downhill Craner Curves. Returnee Morrant was unlucky to snap a throttle cable, bringing his day to a premature end. From the dry start, Ramm took the lead harassed by Frost. Connew took to the gravel at the chicane, dropping to 5th & then Philpott who took up the challenge, followed by Powderham &McGregor. Philpott was to keep up the pressure on the leader until rain intervened, allowing Ramm to win by 15 seconds, a large margin by the standards of the season. Lenthall found his 6 cylinders reduced by 50%, severely reducing his competitive edge. A fascinating 3-way battle between Holt (XJ40), Sewell(XJ6) & Blunt (XJS), saw positions change many times throughout the race. As the rain moved from Craner Curves to other initially dry parts on the circuit, extra challenges emerged for the drivers. Frost spun, dropping to finish 8th after a good drive. Coppock & Powderham in the Class D cars seemed unfazed by the conditions, resulting in 4th & 5th behind McGregor who drove to an untroubled 3rd.Barclay, in the XJS showed his skill in bringing the standard car home 9th and winning his class. In the very slippery conditions Dickins had a lock-up at the hairpin but recovered well. Gail Hill, & Simon Lewis had a fine battle, especially towards the end of the race. Hill glad to be reacquainted with her reliable old XJS after the frustrations of defecting to a less than kind Mustang.

Having survived a non-damaging 720 degree spin down the Craners, Pearce was unlucky to lose his exhaust, damaging the rear bumper of the XK8 leaving the weighbridge on post-race scrutineering!

Howard (XJ12)  earned Drive of the Day, with a fine campaign, moving from 10th to class 3rd.

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Race 2 – Bright/Dry

The start of race 2 for the weekend was fraught as the Coppock V12 XJS lost a hub and wheel running down at high speed to the Old Hairpin. The frightening airborne assembly hit Connew’s Barclay piloted XJS, both cars finishing up in the gravel trap. Following cars scattered everywhere taking avoiding action, but unfortunately, Connew’s XJ6 clipped the rear of Coppock’s car before it departed the scene. This spelt the end of the race for all three, but ‘luckily’ neither of Guy’s cars (and no drivers!) were badly damaged. The resultant safety car was deployed for 5 laps, bunching the pack line astern. The unfortunate Morrant was to pull off yet again with a minor water leak spraying onto his distributor after 7 laps. Philpott passed Howard on lap 7 to try to close on Ramm but failed by 2.1 seconds. In the battle of the Supercharged XJRs, Robinson challenged Powderham, until a misjudgement at the chicane dropped him back. Holt & Blunt continued their race 1 battle, entertaining the spectators, whilst Doyle climbed from 10th to 4th in the flame-spitting V12 XJS. Pearce is getting to grips with the development of the XK8 & climbed to a strong 6th, winning Drive of the Day award in the process.

Race Results

Results for Class A

DriverQualifyingRace 1Race 2Total PointsCurrent Standing
Michael Holt0pts2nd (11pts)1st (13pts)24pts140pts
Simon Blunt0pts3rd (10pts)2nd (11pts)21pts151pts
Kevin Dickins0pts4th (9pts)3rd (10pts)19pts29pts
Thomas Barclay0pts1st (14pts)DNF (2pts)16pts18pts
Simon Dunford0pts6th (7pts)5th (8pts)15pts84pts
Ray Ingman0ptsDNF (pts)4th (9pts)9pts9pts
Daniel Stewart0pts5th (8pts)DNF (0pts)8pts105pts

Results for Class B

DriverQualifyingRace 1Race 2Total PointsCurrent Standing
Alasdair Mcgregor0pts1st (13pts)1st (14pts)27pts53pts
Rodney Frost0pts2nd (11pts)2nd (11pts)22pts164pts
Gail Hill0pts3rd (10pts)3rd (10pts)20pts21pts
Chris Boon0pts4th (9pts)4th (9pts)18pts119pts
Dean Sewell0pts5th (8pts)5th (8pts)16pts75pts
Howard Kirkham0pts6th (7pts)DNF (0pts)7pts7pts
Tim Morrant0ptsDNF (2pts)DNF (1pts)3pts2pts

Results for Class C

DriverQualifyingRace 1Race 2Total PointsCurrent Standing
James Ramm0pts1st (13pts)1st (13pts)26pts141pts
Colin Philpott0pts2nd (11pts)2nd (11pts)22pts176pts
Tom Lenthall0pts5th (8pts)3rd (10pts)18pts60pts
Simon Lewis0pts4th (10pts)DNF (2pts)12pts21pts
Guy Connew0pts3rd (10pts)DNF (1pts)11pts72pts

Results for Class D

DriverQualifyingRace 1Race 2Total PointsCurrent Standing
David Howard0pts3rd (11pts)1st (13pts)24pts20pts
Adam Powderham0pts2nd (11pts)3rd (10pts)21pts131pts
Patrick Doyle0pts6th (7pts)2nd (11pts)18pts106pts
Tom Robinson0pts4th (9pts)5th (8pts)17pts107pts
Derek Pearce0pts5th (8pts)4th (9pts)17pts66pts
Lawrence Coppock0pts1st (13pts)DNF (2pts)15pts39pts

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