Battle-scarred Boxsters at Challenging Castle Combe

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Battle-scarred Boxsters at Challenging Castle Combe

The drivers' briefing showed that many of our drivers hadn't raced at Castle Combe before. Alex Stocker was present but not racing, still awaiting an engine refit for his 986; Garry Goodwin was also a no-show.

Qualifying went smoothly with all cars finishing the session. Rick Styrin grabbed pole with James Coleman just 0.35 seconds behind and Garry Lawrence third. Linda Warren made her session look effortless, finishing the 20 minute session a mere seven hundredths ahead of Pip Hammond and Niz El-Chamaa closer still in third - the 924 race already shaping up to be eventful.

Rick Styrin "qual certainly got the new tyres scrubbed in! Its such a fast circuit - we're braking from 130mph for Avon Rise, taking Camp Corner in 4th and then up to 5th".

Niz El-Chamaa, with an eye on the championship title, has this thoughts dominated by the points - and drop scores - situation. Having already had one DNF this season, he could have afforded to miss this weekened providing he attended the triple header at Anglesea. Linda Warren meanwhile just needs to continue her good form with 2nd places quite sufficient to retain her current position.

So six Boxsters and eight 924s take to the grid for Race 1, with the sun trying to break through.

Karl Rossin makes a fabulous start in the 924s, Lawrence and Molyneux also getting off the line particularly smartish. Lawrence is second behind Styrin but as the cars come round for the second lap, Coleman goes wide onto the grass exiting Camp and unable to fully control the car, hits the barrier very hard sending the tyres into the air. Niz follows him and hit the Armco in exactly the same spot and race is red flagged to allow time for the BRSCC marshals to recover both cars and make repairs to the wall. Coleman's 986 is soon on a flatbed showing severe panel damage down the left-hand side but suspension and steering are looking OK as the car is removed from the circuit. El Chamaa's 924 is now pulled from under the elevated tyres with front left damage. Both drivers report to medics for checking but are OK.

The cars are re-gridded for the restart with 15 minutes on the clock. As the lights go out again, the lead cars are three abreast into turn 1; Styrin grabs back the lead after another slightly slow start.

Lawrence gets the jump on Styrin for the Boxsters lead but is wide at Camp and backs off letting Styrin through again. Over the PA we hear that Lawrence has received a 10-second penalty for a jumped start - we'll see if that comes to affect the results later. Bernie Printy has now joined late from the pit lane but its not clear if he will receive points having missed the original start.

Warren leads Hammond by a narrow margin, Lawrence similarly close to Styrin's tail. Avery is past Lawrence for third. Kevin Molyneaux has spun at Tower and is back with the front 924s. John Broadley is third with Callendar 4th in the 924s.

Lap 4 and Styrin is pulling into a lead with Avery and Lawrence equally spaced behind. Pip Hammond is neck and neck with Linda Warrend aross the line while John Broadly is squeezing past Callendar for third.

Hammond now leads the 924s but Warren is holding on with Callendar back up to third; all cars looking very twitchy through Camp Corner onto the start/finish straight.

Callender is on a charge to catch the leaders but Pip Hammond is developing a confident rhythm at the front of Class Cs.

Avery is now less than half a second behind Styin as the clock ticks down. Styrin's 986 is right on the edge as he tries to pull away from Avery but Avery is involved in a minor collision with a coupe of 924s at Bobbies allowing Styrin to pull away again. Callendar goes wide at Camp and Broadley is through to re-take third.

So Styrin takes the Boxster win ahead of Avery and Lawrence - whose earlier penalty doesn't affect his position; Pip Hammond is on the top spot in the 924s ahead of Warren and Bradley.

Afterwards, Hammoned says how he enjoyed the battle with Warren "Linda is getting more agressive - this was a great race".

A slightly chilly Sunday morning greeted our drivers and thanks to their teams tireless efforts, we manage to avoid the half-points rule with neither class starting with less than six cars.

Both Niz and Coleman say they are taking it steady today - both need the points to keep their championship hopes alive.

The lights go out on Race 2 and the pack make a clean start. Callendar is off after 2 laps, the car quite severely damaged down the left side but driver is OK. Styrin is making a bit of a lead for himself by the third lap but the rest of the Boxster pack are grouped together.

By lap 4 Coleman has made his way through to 2nd while Warren still holds the 924 lead ahead of Hammond.

Kevin Mollneaux is showing great pace in the yellow Boxster and is keeping Hull's 987 at bay. Hammond tries to take Warren round the outside at Camp while Mollneaux takes Avery round the outside at the same spot to take 4th.

Niz is now 4th behind Broadley but has nearly lost his left door window!

Mollneaux goes wide at Quarry, hits the front which spins him round to hit harder at the right rear and this has put him quite a way back on lap 6, Hull further back still. Meanwhile in the 924s, Niz is now up to third.

Warren continues to defend Pip's advances and is now a couple of car lengths ahead of the dark blue #88. Darren House's 924 is really slowing - misfiring later diagnosed as a fuel pump issue.

There's frantically waved yellows at the start line: contact between Linda and Hammond has resulted in Warren spinning into the barrier and she is out of the race. Niz's heavily gaffer-taped car is now 2nd having started last.

Coleman's white and green 986 is looking comfortable, if less than pretty, in 2nd with Lawrence a way back in third. Mollneaux seems to have recovered his composure and is going well.

Darren House has retired, joining Callender and Warren as DNFs. Bernie Printy is right up Karl Rossin's tail on the last lap.
 
So Stryin takes the flag from Coleman and Lawrence in the Boxsters while Pip Hammond is the 924 winner with Niz still closing on him in 2nd and John Broadly happy with another third.

Post-race and Hammond reveals how close the racing was up front "Linda and I have talked it through and there's no hard feelings. The margins are so fine at those speeds, it doesn't take a lot of contact but it was great to see her digging deep to fight for the win like that and it was as good a battle as I've ever been in." Warren paid tribute to Rick Styrin for his continued support.

The mechanics of the Victoria Garage team took the Aaldering Wines/Fine Drinks Cooperative team award for their work in getting Niz El-Chamaa's 924 back on the grid for Race 2, with Niz collecting the Class C award for his great drive from the back. James Coleman is similarly rewarded for his achieving the same.

With half of the 2016 season completed, Rick Styrin looks a good bet for another championship win in the Class A Boxsters but both James Coleman and Garry Lawrence are closing on Richard Avery for the second place spot. Linda Warren can't help but see Niz El-Chamaa reeling her in for the Class C title but Hugh Peart and John Broadley are currently tied for third.

The Toyo Porsches return to the track for three races at Anglesey on 6th and 7th August and its already look like a number of familiar faces from previous seasons will be making guest appearances in both classes.

Photo courtesy James Roberts.

 

Results - Rockingham

September 16th 2017

Race Spec Boxster

  Driver Grid Position
1 Ed Hayes 2
2 James Coleman 10
3 Richard Avery 3

Production Boxster

  Driver Grid Position
1 Andy Baker 1
2 Matthew Harris 2

Porsche 924

  Driver Grid Position
1 Karl Rossin 4
2 Ryan Lowry 3
3 Peter Smith 5

September 16th 2017

Race Spec Boxster

  Driver Grid Position
1 James Coleman 2
2 Richard Avery 3
3 Ed Hayes 1

Production Boxster

  Driver Grid Position
1 Andy Baker 1
2 Matthew Harris 2

Porsche 924

  Driver Grid Position
1 Ryan Lowry 2
2 Gavin Johnson 9
3 Pip Hammond 11

September 16th 2017

Race Spec Boxster

  Driver Grid Position
1 James Coleman 8
2 Ed Hayes 6
3 Adam Southgate 10

Production Boxster

  Driver Grid Position
1 Andy Baker 2
2 Matthew Harris 1

Porsche 924

  Driver Grid Position
1 Gavin Johnson 9
2 Ryan Lowry 10
3 Philip Waters 11

Championship Standings

  Driver Points
1 Ed Hayes 402.0
2 Adam Southgate 368.0
3 Richard Avery 306.0
  Driver Points
1 Andy Baker 213.0
2 Matthew Harris 166.0
  Driver Points
1 Pip Hammond 409.0
2 Gavin Johnson 357.0
3 Ryan Lowry 336.0

Next race

Brands Hatch (Indy) - 21st / 22nd October 2017

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