Big Grids for Fourth Round

Big Grids for Fourth Round

The PDA grid was again blessed with a big entry: Nine Class A Boxsters, 2 Class B Boxsters and 10 in the Class C 924s and our forth round of 2017 marked the return of Bernie Printy (924), Dave Jones (924) and Garry Goodwin (Boxster).

Friday's test sessions were uneventful with the exception of an unfortunate off for Jamie Callender in his freshly rebuilt and immaculate 924. After extensive damage to the front, he was originally going to take it home; however in typical PDA fashion the paddock rallied round, led by a group of Boxster drivers, and Jamie's team worked into the night to get it ready to race next day.

Saturday and the paddock woke to a sunny and dry morning and there were no real surprises in qualifying. Ed Hayes was ahead of Adam Southgate and Richard Avery. In Class B Andrew Baker was significantly quicker than newbie racer Matthew Harris, experiencing the circuit for the first time in his splendid car bought from Silverstone instructor Steve Warburton. In Class C Pip Hammond was 4 whole seconds quicker than last year's pace and over 2 seconds clear of the rest of the field. But by the flag, no less than 11 cars had laps disallowed for track limits!

As part of the PDA's strict policing of regulations, there was a surprise dyno session for the top 5 cars in classes A and C to test power outputs, which threw up no surprises and all cars tested were deemed to comply with the series' regulations.

Race 1
There's minor drama in the assembly area as Dave Jones' and Chris Valentines' 924s refused to start; Jones has to start from the pit lane after the rest of the field.

Adam Southgate takes the lead from 2nd as the lights go out, pole-sitter Ed Hayes down to 3rd behind Richard Avery. Andy Porter has an off and comes round in the middle of the Class B and C cars.

The 924s stay in grid order - Hammond/Johnson/Smith - with Dave Jones making good progress and Andy Baker in the lead Class B Boxster carving through lower order 924s.

Lap 2 and its Hayes ahead of Avery, putting pressure on Southgate's lead. Nick Hull is in P4 ahead of Stocker, Archer and Molyneaux (carrying front-end damage), then returnee Gary Goodwin.

Callender, Rossin and Lowry are having close dice in the 924 midfield while Dave Jones' 924 and Baker's production Boxster are running together, reeling them in. In the Race Boxsters, Southgate and Hayes are dropping behind Avery with Hull keeping a grip on P4 - Stocker and Archer are having a good dice in trying to catch up with him.

There's lots of action in the final laps as leaders mix with midfield 924s, but everyone emerges unscathed. Until, that is, Alex Stocker has a big off causing extensive damage spinning out of Williams onto the start of the Bentley Straight and connecting heavily with the Armco to the detriment of his suspension and its race over for him.

As the flag drops, for Class A its Adam Southgate from Ed Hayes and Richard Avery; in Class B, Andrew Baker is again ahead of Matthew Harris, but with Harris a massive 5.5 sec faster in the race than qualifying. Meanwhile in the 924s, Pip Hammond crosses the line 2.5 seconds ahead of team mate Gavin Johnson, with Pete Smith taking third. Dave Jones posts a very respectable P4, 5 seconds behind third despite having started from the pit lane.

Race 2
Sunday is another sunny day, but with a strong wind blowing. Alex Stocker's red Boxster is back running again after a very late night repairing the damage sustained during Race 1.

The first lap follows the grid order with Southgate leading Hayes and Avery. For the next few laps these three swap places, all taking turns in the lead until finally Hayes takes the lead on lap 8 and he finishes just ahead of Southgate, with Avery falling away over the last few laps.

The close midfield scrap between Molyneaux, Goodwin, Porter and Archer finally goes Molyneaux's way, with Porter and Archer in P5 and P6 separated by half a second. Goodwin makes a mid race pit stop to have Tony 'Tyres' Mekwinski remove a wayward rear bumper and drops back.

There's a spin for Nick Hull who drops to the back of the field, but then carves his way through the pack with some quick laps and makes it as high as P7 by the end. Meanwhile Alex Stocker brings his repaired car home safely.

At the flag, in Class B there's another win for Andy Baker, although Matthew Harris finishes much closer to him and sets a fastest lap just 0.3 sec shy of Baker's.

Class C was another PDC Racing 1/2 with Pip Hammond finishing well clear of Gavin Johnson and setting yet another lap record. Pip was awarded the 'Barn Ruche' trophy for the second year in succession, this being presented annually by the BRSCC East Anglia centre to the top 924 driver at the Snetterton meeting. Ryan Lowry fought his way to third ahead of Dave Jones and Pete Smith who finish less than a second apart.

The only non-finish was the unfortunate Jamie Callender whose car cut out with a fuel problem.

Race 3
The reverse grid race was the most exciting of the day, as the front runners make their way carefully through the rest of the field. The top 3 were soon established as the familiar trio of Richard Avery, Ed Hayes and Adam Southgate. Behind them, the rest of the Class A Boxsters were covered by less than 3 seconds in the early laps.

For the first half of the race Richard Avery made a break and led comfortably from Ed Hayes, but Ed closed him down and was never headed after taking the lead into Riches corner on lap 7.

On lap 4 there was a major coming together in the mid field pack at the Brundle/Nelson corners, and when the dust had settled Alex Stocker's and Andy Porter's cars were both sidelined with damage.

Angus Archer finishes 4th ahead of the spectacular Kevin Molyneaux and Garry Goodwin, just 2 seconds covering these three at the flag. In Class B Matthew Harris was closer than ever to eventual winner Andy Baker, virtually matching his lap times until a spin at Coram on lap 4 separated the pair.

In the 924s it was another win for Pip Hammond who took the lead by the second lap and was never challenged, winning comfortably from PDC teammate Gavin Johnson who was closely pursued by David Jones to complete the podium after some close racing that also included Ryan Lowry and Karl Rossin.

Jamie Callender was again out of luck as his fuel problem returned, and he was again the only 924 retirement.

Standings (after dropped scores)
Class A Race Boxsters
1st Ed Hayes - 182.0
2nd Adam Southgate - 164.0
3rd Richard Avery - 47.0

Class B Production Boxsters
1st Andy Baker - 94.5
2nd Matthew Harris - 59.5

Class C 924s
1st Pip Hammond - 182.0
2nd Gavin Johnson - 157.0
3rd Ryan Lowry - 142.0

Words: John Broadley; Photo: Jon Elsey


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