Scherer Race & Rally News
FUN CUP ENDURANCE - CROFT 4HRS
OLYMPIAN RETURN TO WINNING WAYS
To say that the season hadn’t started well for defending Fun Cup Endurance Champions Team Olympian, would be an understatement. But after visiting the podium at Oulton Park, things got even better at Croft.
From lights out it was Paul Rivett that led into Clervaux for Tachosys with Raw Motorsports, followed by Stand2’s Martyn Compton, Track Focused’s Mike McCollum and MakeHappen’s Chris Hart.
Hart was on a charge on is one and only Fun Cup appearance this season, taking third at the Hairpin and second a lap later into Tower.
Rivett tried to stretch the field and had just been joined by Hart, Compton, McCollum, MJ Tec’s Martin Gibson and Viking’s Nick Nunn, when the safety car was called out after PLR’s Ben Pitch and Greenheath’s Gary Bate had collided.
UVio Hofmans Lotus had already climbed to seventh and from the green flag Fabio Randaccio was quickly on the move.
It was green from lap 11 with Randaccio up to fourth, but a lap later he was the casualty, with a mechanical issue at Sunny.
So three more laps before it was racing again, and it was three abreast, with Nigel Greensall up to fourth for CCS Media.
The first stops came a few laps before the first hour, with most of the top six pitting together.
“That was so frustrating and only my second ever Fun Cup start. I had to try and break the tow three times and couldn’t believe it when the safety car came out a second time,” said Rivett, who pitted only 0.7 secs ahead of Hart, with Compton right behind them.
Scott Jeffs had taken over from Gibson for MJ Tec and led to the first hour. “I made a couple of mistakes when I was leading and was briefly stuck in second gear too,” said Jeffs.
GCI were in second with Butterworth in for Wood, followed by Olympian’s Kristian Rose, Viking’s Mark Holme and MakeHappen’s Neil Burroughs, with Marcus Clutton closing on them all for Enduro.
Both Butterworth and Rose made it past Jeffs on consecutive laps at Tower, with Clutton third and closing.
On lap 41 Clutton got the lead from Butterworth, but couldn’t shake-off the GCI car.
“I had to drive a bit and worked hard, but I like the longer laps.
After I got by GCI just sat behind though,” Clutton explained.
“It suited me in Marcus’ tow as I had slight fuel starvation so was quite happy,” Butterworth replied. Rose stopped early to hand to Riley Phillips, with fellow top three Clutton and Butterworth staying out. But as they reached half distance Olympian’s strategy had worked and they were 8.906 secs ahead of GCI, with Enduro third, from DespatchBay, MJ Tec and MakeHappen 106.
With Harry Mailer in for DespatchBay, he was taking on a triple stint due to Andy Bicknell being injured, but Olympian had the pace.
Into the final hour and there were still nine cars on the lead lap, but it was Mailer/Bicknell in front, with a nine second cushion over Enduro’s Morgan Tillbrook/Clutton, with Olympian in third, closely followed by Stand2, despite Warren McKinlay completing a full 360 at the Complex. “I think my gloves might have caused it,” he reckoned.
GCI, Team Viking, MakeHappen 106, Track Focused and MJ Tec
were all in contention too. On lap 108 there was another safety which wiped out Mailer’s lead from 22 .366s over Olympian’s Rose, to only 0.284 secs, with Compton close enough to challenge again in third.
They only managed a couple more laps before the final pitstop window opened, and almost everyone headed for the pitlane together.
Compton led until he was last to pit, which left Phillips with an 8.2 secs lead over Clutton.
Holme was in third, but both Mailer and Butterworth were closing. Out of the battle though was MakeHappen’s 106, “Neil got hit earlier and then the driveshaft has come out,” Hart explained.
Onto lap 124 Mailer was into third, as Holme then had Butterworth threatening. But at the front Phillips still had a good lead, but Mailer had caught Clutton and they started to work together to try and close the gap.
Into the final minutes and any hopes of catching Phillips had all but gone. “My downshift stopped working though and I was briefly stuck in fourth gear at the Complex. I just had to work around it, but couldn’t quite see the battle behind,” Phillips explained, after taking Olympian’s first win of the year by just under seven seconds.
“I was pushing Marcus into Tower as we tried working together, but we were unlucky in traffic. So on the last lap we scrapped our companionship and I went for it,” said Mailer.
He past Clutton into Clervaux, but after arriving at Tower inches apart, Clutton shot by again through the Jim Clark Esses and retained his place to the flag.
“My seat had broken, it was Ok on right handers, but I had to brace myself for lefts. I think Harry went a bit too soon and gave me too much chance to come back,” Clutton replied after they took the flag 0.213 secs apart.
Butterworth snatched a late fourth from Holme. “Mark gave me room at Sunny and came through side by side, before I eventually got him at the Complex,” he said.
Holme therefore brought Viking home fifth, with Stand2 completing the top six. “We lost too much time on our fuel stop possibly, so a bit disappointing as we should have had a podium,” said Compton.
Cooper and Jeffs brought their respective Track Focused and MJ Tec cars home on the lead lap too, while MakeHappen’s Steve Walton/Greg Evans and GT Radial’s Ellis Hadley/Freddie Hunt rounded off the top 10, after Chris Weatherill/Jon Currie’s Enduro car was a late retirement after a hit from PLR.
It’s back to Oulton Park for the penultimate round of the year on October 16th.
Fun Cup ChampionshipAfter four fantastic hours of racing, your winners are Team Olympian of Riley Phillips, Chris Dovell & Kristian Rose
The top five were separated by just 15 seconds when the chequered flag fell
Congratulations to our top three. Thanks to the orange army, our marshals, & Croft Circuit for another Fun Cup classic
Team Olympian (Riley Phillips, Chris Dovell, Kristian Rose)
Enduro Motorsport (Morgan Tilbrook, Marcus Clutton)
Desptach Bay Express (Andy Bicknell, Harry Mailer)
Scherer Race & Rally News
FUN CUP ENDURANCE – CROFT – PREVIEW
With four wins from five races, is anyone prepared to bet against UVio/Hofman’s Lotus duo Farquini and Fabio Randaccio making if five wins in the Croft 4hrs this weekend?
DespatchBay Expresses Andy Bicknell and Harry Mailer are the only other winners this season, but are currently 41 points behind after problems last time out at Oulton Park.
MakeHappen’s Stephen Walton/Greg Evans are third in the current points standings, but having now run nearer the sharp end on a regular basis, they are still their seeking first victory.
Team Viking’s Mark Holme/Nick Nunn can never be underestimated. They have had wins and been regular front runners, but had their share of problems too.
New this year but with experience behind the wheel, MJ Tec Gti are fifth in the points. Ex Euro NASCAR and Mini Challenger Scott Jeffs did a couple of Fun Cup races last year, but has been a strong contender sharing with Truck race winner Martin Gibson.
Probably the best improvers this season have been Greenheath, now another possible winner with Caterham racer Gary Bate, and his “assistant” Simon Smith. They were challenging at Oulton until they had an off, but are still sixth in the Championship.
2020 Champions Olympian have gone from expecting to reach the podium, to just wanting to see the flag, such has been their season. Chris Dovell/Kristian Rose and Riley Phillips had a better run last time out, but are still waiting for their slice of luck.
PLR’s Neil Plimmer and Ben Pitch went well at both Anglesey and Oulton, and if they can match that at Croft this weekend, they should be near the front again.
It’s just Sean Cooper and Mike McCollum down to share the Track Focused car this weekend, with Sean back in the seat after missing Oulton due to other team duties.
Nigel Greensall is running his Greensall Motorsport car for Paul/Ryan Lewis, another early casualty at Oulton, while sharing the CCS Media car himself with Bob Tomlinson and Alan Honarmand.
It’s just one car for Enduro Motorsport, but they will be hoping to get further than they did at Oulton to, as Chris Weatherill and Jon Currie were also early casualties.
The Black Widows return to their normal line-up as David “Scrappy” Clark returns to partner Dominic Jackson and Steve Harris, after the BRSSC Operations manager Paul McErlain drove at Oulton.
Stand2’s duo of Martyn Crompton/Warren McKinlay were a new crew this year, but both familiar Fun Cup racers. They have spent most of their time in the top 10, so a podium must be the target before the end of the year.
EDF’s Matt Dorkings and Vlad Vassiliev had their best run at Oulton, so a new target is on the horizon, while at RAW, BTCC racer and Radical man John Macleod are both back after missing Oulton, sharing with Alex Macleod.
GT Radial’s Ellis Hadley has had a number of different co-drivers, some experienced some not. This weekend he has Freddie Hunt, son of 1976 World Champion. A regular racer over the years himself in single seaters and GT’s, but this will be his first Fun Cup experience
Although there are a few absentee’s, we also have two returning crews. Former Champion Chris Hart is back for the first time this season, and has Sports 2000 front runner and experienced Fun Cupper Neil Burroughs sharing. GCI Racing are also back with Craig/Graeme Butterworth sharing with Ian Wood as usual.
Qualifying is at 10.10on Saturday morning for 45 minutes, with the race starting at 14.00. There will be no grid walk this weekend.