Reverse Knockhill a Thrilling First

Reverse Knockhill a Thrilling First

Thirteen drivers made the long trek North for rounds 3,4 and 5 of the 2018 Toyo Tires BRSCC Porsche Championship. Supporting the UK TCR Championship, this was to be the first ever championship visit to Knockhill, with the racing being run in reverse direction from normal. We fielded 9 Class A Boxsters and 4 Class C 924.

Toby Smales hadn’t been able to rebuild his engine following his problems at Oulton Park, so didn’t travel, but will make his championship debut at Cadwell park in June. Meanwhile novice driver Darren Constant making his racing debut in a Class C 924.

Majority of cars took part in the Porsche-only test sessions. The drivers were unanimous in enjoying the high speed circuit, with its ferocious combination of fast straights and undulating corners, many of them blind on the way in. There were no incidents of note and everyone made it through to race day. A short lap of under a minute for Class A cars and they look highly spectacular around the twists and turns.

After overnight rain, Saturday dawned bright and sunny, an ideal day for racing. All 13 cars took part in qualifying. Jayson Flegg couldn’t attend because of business reasons, so his car and entry was instead driven by series newcomer Nik Bartz, having his first race outing for 6 years.

The grid was close, with the majority of the Boxsters separated by just 3 seconds. It was very close at the front with Adam Southgate taking pole with a very rapid 56.779, just pipping James Coleman - who according to reports had spent considerable time testing with a race coach - by 0.021 sec. Completing the top 3 was Garry Lawrence in the 987 just a tenth ahead of Nick Hull. Andy Porter/Nik Bartz/Kevin Molyneaux/Christian young next up separated by less than a second, with Kevin Ludford in P9. The top 924 was the spectacular Gavin Johnson - 3 tenths ahead of Phil Waters and eager to make up for his poor performance at the Oulton Park opening round - followed by Karl Rossin and newbie Darren Constant who got quicker as the session progressed.

Race 1
All cars were present and correct for Race 1 in spectacularly sunny and warm conditions. The pack made a clean start with Adam Southgate leading; James Coleman gave chase and was never more than a second behind for the duration. Southgate’s brakes had just about gone by the end - they were so hot that the paint on the front wheels melted - but he held on to win by just 0.2 sec.

Behind these two, Nick Hull made a great start in P3 leading a nose-to-tail stream of Boxsters down to P8. Garry Lawrence got past Nick after a couple of laps into a strong P3. Christian Young retired in spectacular fashion with the rear of his car on fire after the exhaust broke. Kevin Molyneaux made great progress through the Boxster ranks, passing both Nick Hull and Garry Lawrence in the last couple of laps for a P3 podium.

Hull spans out and was a DNF on last lap after tagging a kerb trying to come back past Garry Lawrence who finished P4 ahead of Nick Bartz, Andy Porter and Kevin Ludford the final Boxster.

924s initially ran in grid order with Johnson leading Waters and Rossin, with Darren Constant some way back. A neat overtake into the turn 1 hairpin saw Waters past Johnson, and taking fastest lap as well, his LHD 924 well suited to Knockhill’s reverse layout. Johnson kept him honest, finishing with a flourish just 0.6 seconds behind in P2, with Karl Rossin 3rd and Darren Constant finishing his first ever race in P4.

Race 2
Any issues arising from Race 1 had been repaired for the first race on Sunday. Garry Lawrence started at rear of Boxster field in his spare 987 after engine problems with the car he had raced on Saturday day. Overnight rain had dried and circuit was bright and breezy. Another first for the PDA was live streaming of today’s two races on YouTube and Facebook as part of TCR UK package.

The drivers made a clean start from complete field. Adam Southgate went into a lead he was never to lose from James Coleman, although James kept very close for first part of the race. Kevin Molyneaux grabbed P3 with a stream of Boxsters (Porter/Hull/Bartz) following.

After 8 mins, a spin by a 924 caused a safety car and field closed up. With the safety car period over, the lead Boxsters resumed their scrap, with positions 3 to 7 squabbled over by a very close pack of Molyneaux/Porter/Bartz/Hull/Young.

On the penultimate lap, while pushing hard Porter span in the middle of the group to land himself a DNF. On the last lap Bartz spans, but was able to recover and continue to finish P6. The top 3 were therefore Southgate from Coleman and Molyneaux. Christain Young was P4 less than half a sec behind Molyneaux who was struggling with a clutch failure. Nick Hull was P5, Bartz P6 and Kevin Ludford P7 ahead of Garry Lawrence.

In the 924s, Phil Waters led for first few yards, but mis-shiffed from 1st to 4th and dropped to P3 behind Gavin Johnson and Karl Rossin. Waters soon got back past Rossin and chased Johnson, gaining quickly. But eventually he fell away and eventually finished in P2 under 2 seconds behind and with fastest lap.

Rossin was not quite on the pace and a finished a lonely 3rd, not helped by a quick excursion off the track towards the end. Darren Constant finished again after a spin that caused a brief safety car deployment, and improved his lap time by 2 secs compared to Race 1.

Race 3
Darren Constant was the only driver missing from the grid for the final race having discovered a broken engine mount after R2, unable to be fixed in time for R3.

By tradition this race featured a reverse grid, but the pack made a clean getaway and first lap. Nick Hull lead initially from Garry Lawrence in his spare 987, this time showing much greater pace than previous race; Kevin Molyneaux was up to P3.

Meanwhile James Coleman scythed through the field to take the lead after 4 laps. Adam Southgate followed Coleman through the field to establish himself in P2 and didn’t let up in his close chase of Coleman for the whole race, finishing a quarter of a second behind James who gets his first win of the season.

Behind these two, Nick Hull came under pressure from Kevin Molyneaux, but managed to keep ahead, helped by Molyneaux having a quick spin on the final lap. Behind them, Christian Young retired from midfield with gear selection problems, and Kevin Ludford spent some time in the pits with a loose front splitter, eventually retiring.Garry Lawrence, Andy Porter and Nik Bartz enjoyed a close midfield battle finishing in P5,6,7.

In the 924s, polesitter Karl Rossin dropped to P3 at the start, with Philip Waters leading from an attentive Gavin Johnson who received a 5 second time penalty for track limit infringements, but still manages to finish ahead of Karl Rossin who’s car has been off the pace with handling issues all weekend.

Cadwell Park, our third round of the season, is a mere three weeks away – another narrow and challengine circuit for the Toyo Tyres Porsche races.

Word: John Broadley; photo: Jon Elsey



Toyo Tires
BHA Marketing
Tyres South Shore Limited
Rock Oil Carbon
Hartech Independent Porsche Specialist