Champions Declared at Donington Decider

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Champions Declared at Donington Decider

Donington Park's national circuit witnessed the final, crucial races of our 2019 season.

Our final round of the season saw a return visit from James Coleman, previous Boxster champion Ed Hayes in Boxsters, plus Andy Pritchard, Gary Campbell, Ryan Lowry and Clive Morison in 924s. Qualifying - again shared with the Alfa Romeo championship - established the grid for race 1, and also gave shared-car 2nd drivers their opportunity to post three timed laps for Sunday's 40-minute mini-enduro.

In cold and slightly damp conditions, Coleman was initially on track for pole position. However a red flag caused by the recovery of an Alfa that had lost a wheel gave Garry Lawrence the chance to adjust his car to a dry set up, and he took pole after qualifying resumed, from Coleman and Andy Porter, followed by Nick Hull and Hayes, who was re-familiarising himself with both the car and circuit. Further back Leigh Bowden made 6th on the grid, despite ending the session in the gravel after only 3 laps.

Pete Smith took his now customary 924 class pole from Andy Pritchard, Chris Valentine and John Jones. Another returnee, Karl Rossin, was running in the Invitation class with a non standard set up, and was right in the 924 mix too.

Race 1
Dry and sunny conditions for the first race and all cars were present - although John Jones's 924 developed a misfire on the way to the Assembly area.

After a clean start, Coleman took the lead he was never to lose. Initially, pole-sitter Lawrence took the fight to him, but after a few laps Coleman opened up a gap over P2, and eventually took the flag a comfortable 6 seconds to the good.

Lawrence initially held P2 from fellow championship contender Porter, but by lap 2 Hayes had taken second and commenced a chase of Lawrence, getting past on lap 7. By this time, Coleman had opened a gap and despite setting the fastest race lap, Hayes couldn't catch him, but finished a strong second. Lawrence was third from Porter, both drivers mindful of the need to finish the race to maintain their championship challenges.

Two other drivers with one eye on the following 40-minute enduro were 5th and 6th place finishers Hull and Bowden, who finished well clear of Andy Baker. The unfortunate Anthony Hutchins retired to the pits after 7 laps with severe overheating, later traced to a sticking thermostat that was fixed in time for the next race.

Invitation class runner Rossin was the early leader in a stream of 924s, chased closely by championship leader Smith, who needed 7 laps to find a way past the white #41 car. Next up 924s Pritchard and Valentine were tied together throughout, led initially by Pritchard, with Chris passing on lap 8, only to lose the position 5 laps later as Andy wrapped up his best ever 924 finish in second place. The misfiring John Jones pitted after a few laps, but thereafter circulated at pace, the pit stop apparently having sorted an elusive electrical problem. Valentine suffered a rear suspension arm failure on the way back to the garages, kindly bailed out by Pritchard who fetched a spare replacement early on Sunday, giving Moluto mechanic and co-driver Clive Morison time to replace it.

Race 2 – 40 minutes mini-enduro
The final race of the championship season couldn't have been closer, with the top two Boxster drivers separated by just half a point after 20 races. It was almost as close in the 924 class with many permutations possible to decide the order of the class top 4, depending on whether cars were to be shared or driver solo. A 40-minute race with mandatory pit stop and optional driver change had never been undertaken by this championship before, leading to much pre-race planning and speculation as everyone looked for the optimum strategy.

All cars were present with the exception of winner James Coleman, who had to return home due to business pressures. Again we were fortunate to have dry track, although it was cold and windy as the field again made a clean start and through Redgate.

Initial leader Hayes was almost 2 seconds to the good after an excellent first lap, extending to 8 seconds by lap 5 from championship contenders Lawrence and Porter in P2 & 3 and resuming their season-long rivalry. Hull joined in and we had a 3 car train in 2/3/4, with positions changing in a hard-fought but incident-free battle. By lap 12 the order was Hull, Porter, Lawrence, with the latter first to make his mandatory stop. This turned out to be the second-fastest stop of the day, and by the time the rest of the field had stopped, he found himself just 7 seconds behind the #77 car, now piloted by Richard Avery. After a hard chase, Lawrence got past Avery 4 laps from the finish and clung on to take the win and a well-deserved championship, with Hayes/Avery in P2 with the consolation of fastest lap.

Another good drive from Hull saw him take third, helped by a combination of fastest pit stop of the day and some very quick laps, while Porter was 4th and confirmed as runner up in the championship. Finishing both the race and the championship in 5th place was a fine result for Hutchins' first season of Porsche racing.

Bowden drove to the finish in 6th place, this being enough to secure third step of the championship podium, an outstanding result as he gained experience with his beautifully-prepared Boxster. The final Boxster finisher was Andy Baker, lapping 4 seconds a lap quicker than the first race as he reacclimatised himself to the BRSCC championship.

The 924 class initially followed a familiar pattern with Champion-elect Smith taking the lead, and winning the class through a combination of pace and a pit stop some 15 seconds quicker than the next 924. He took the flag as well-deserved champion.

Further back 2nd, 3rd and 4th places in the championship were being fought out on the track, with Pritchard initially in P2 from Jones, going well after his customary blinding start and with a car cured of its previous misfire. Hunting both down was Valentine, who passed Jones on lap 2.

Jones was first to pit of this group, swapping with previous owner of his car and Donington specialist Lowry taking over. He set a terrific pace and overhauled both Valentine, who had been replaced by the experienced and rapid Clive Morison, and the evenly matched Pritchard/Campbell combination, who had no answer to the rapid Lowry who finished just 11 seconds behind Smith, setting fastest lap almost 2 seconds quicker than the next car along the way.

Pritchard/Campbell finished third from Valentine/Morison 4th. Karl Rossin in the Invitation class finished in the middle of this 924 battle, but didn't affect the final points position that couldn't have been closer with a tie for 2nd between Valentine and Jones, with the absent-through-illness Hugh Peart dropping to 4th, having led for most of the season.

The tie for second was resolved in favour of Valentine after reviewing season-long performance by both drivers as per the MSUK "Blue Book".

After an entertaining season, some drivers are graduating to other series and championships, most notably Nick Hull who has carried out sterling work as club Chairman and championed the Boxster since its introduction to the championship in 2009, and we wish him well for the rest of his racing career.

It'll be all change in 2020, and the championship will be back with simplified regulations, bigger grids including more Porsche models, and a new race format as well as lower costs for drivers. What won't change, from one of the UK's friendliest championships, is the exciting racing by high performance sports cars across some of Britain's finest circuits.

Text from our retiring coordinator John Broadley with photo supplied by Jon Elsey

Results - Donington Park

October 19th 2019

Class A Supersport Boxster 3.2

  Driver Grid Position
1 James Coleman 2
2 Ed Hayes 5
3 Garry Lawrence 1

Class B Sport Boxster 2.7

  Driver Grid Position

Class C Production Boxster 3.2

  Driver Grid Position

Class D Classic 924

  Driver Grid Position
1 Peter Smith 1
2 Andrew Pritchard 3
3 Chris Valentine 4

October 19th 2019

Class A Supersport Boxster 3.2

  Driver Grid Position
1 Garry Lawrence 2
2 Richard Avery 1
3 Ed Hayes 1

Class B Sport Boxster 2.7

  Driver Grid Position

Class C Production Boxster 3.2

  Driver Grid Position

Class D Classic 924

  Driver Grid Position
1 Peter Smith 1
2 John Jones 5
3 Ryan Lowry 5

October 19th 2019

Class A Supersport Boxster 3.2

  Driver Grid Position

Class B Sport Boxster 2.7

  Driver Grid Position

Class C Production Boxster 3.2

  Driver Grid Position

Class D Classic 924

  Driver Grid Position

Championship Standings

  Driver Points
1 Garry Lawrence 304.5
2 Andrew Porter 293.0
3 Leigh Bowden 220.5
  Driver Points
  Driver Points
  Driver Points
1 Peter Smith 211.0
2 Chris Valentine 174.0
3 John Jones 174.0

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