Southgate Storms to Victories after Boxster Carnage


Southgate Storms to Victories after Boxster Carnage

Grid numbers were boosted for our opening weekend of the season with the arrival three new Boxster drivers and a pair in the 924s. Toby Smales arrived along with team PIE Performance and their new-build 986 but the failure of a big end in testing put paid to Toby's racing but the team stayed to help out - more later. Also new to 986s were Christian Young and Kevin Ludford. Back into the Boxsters was ex-924 front runner Jayson Flegg.

Bolstering 924 numbers were Ian Gribben - driving one of the very familiar PDC team cars from last year - together with David Sheakey, both carrying novice crosses. Welcomed back were David Jones and Hugh Peart, the latter having retired from this very race last season due to ill health; and triple Boxster champion Rick Styrin who, like Flegg, had massively enjoyed being part of the Great 924 Race at Donington late last season.

Adam Southgate quickly showed that he was going to be the man to beat in Class A setting pole ahead of James Coleman and Nick Hull; fairly predictably its was Rick Styrin at the sharp end of the 924s alongside Gavin Johnson and David Jones third. With the track still damp in places, times were slightly down on last season.

A massive crash, just after turn 1, saw the safety car deployed in Race 1. James Coleman and Garry Lawrence's cars were left stranded off to the left while Kevin Molyneaux retired at the bottom of Dentons, leaving coolant and debris to be avoided by the following pack.

After the restart, in the Boxsters Alex Stocker stormed up to P3 from 9th on the grid but later had a coming together with Christian Young at Druids, leaving Christian's car immobilised at the side of the track. Debutant Kevin Ludford finished his first ever race 6th, driving neatly and avoiding incidents. Southgate claimed the victory with Jayson Flegg chuffed with 2nd and Alex Stocker only a second behind and posting a career best third; Hull posted fastest Class A lap on his charge to catch up and finish fifth.

Chris Valentine had stuck to Hugh Peart form the restart, providing mid-pack entertainment for the Oulton crowds, especially when Valentine nearly lost it with a massive sideways at Cascades. David Jones did his level best but couldn't match Styrin's pace and his 924 win was his 60th with us, which was duly celebrated, with David Jones 2nd and Hugh Peart third. Gavin Johnson still classified 7th despite the separation of his inlet pipe.

It was the PIE Performance guys, already showing willingness to get their hands dirty to help others, who saw Molyneaux able to return to the grid for the second race, with the other damaged cars equally patched up. Styrin's 924 had been playing up in Race 1 and Team Molotu had swapped ignition electrics to solve that issue.

The track was now completely dry with only Garry Lawrence not joining the field. Stocker/Coleman/Hull/Molyneaux drove as a Boxster pack with Molyneaux finally able to get the better of Hull to remain there to the flag.

Southgate took his 2nd Class A win of the weekend, Stocker improving his podium finish with his first ever 2nd, James Coleman in third.

Styrin, Jones and Peart repeated their Race 1 finishes, although Jones actually led from the line; Chris Valentine landed 4ths in both races - his best ever PDA performances. 924 newbie Ian Gribben later said "I popped my racing cherry and managed to get the car back unharmed - I'm still buzzing". A fuelling mistake led to a DNF for the unlucky Johnson who had been running third for most of the race.

Despite their mechanical woes, PIE Performance presented the Speed Of Sight Charity with a cheque for £900 raised from their launch night which will go twoards helping more blind and disabled drivers enjoy race driving experiences.

Text: Chris Valentine and John Broadley; photo kindly provided by Michael Goodacre.

Race Results

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Championship Standings

Standings will appear here after the first Meeting

Next race

Brands Hatch (Indy) - 23rd / 24th March 2019


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