Scherer Race & Rally News
FUN CUP ENDURANCE - OULTON PARK
CAN ANYONE STOP UVIO HOFMANS??
Two more wins for the UVio Hofmans Lotus duo of Farquini Deott and Fabio Randaccio at Oulton Park, to make it a sensational six wins from eight this season.
Farquini was straight into the lead of the one hour sprint race, with Tachosys with RAW’s Paul Rivett second, from Black Widows Dominic Jackson and DespatchBay’s Andy Bicknell.
The lead pair quickly opened a gap, leaving Jackson to head a train of cars for third, until he was tapped by Bicknell as they came into Cascades and both spun out. Jackson was able to rejoin well down, but with Bicknell stuck in the gravel, out came the safety car for a couple of laps.
The green flag was waved as they started lap six with Farquini and Rivett quickly gapping the rest again, with EDF’s Vas Vassiliev heading five cars from third place, under extreme pressure from Stobart Sports Colin Kingsnorth.
Two laps later Vassiliev and Kingsnorth were the first to stop, handing to Matt Dorkings and Richard Webb respectively. “That was my best race, but then we lost time at the stop with a radio problem,” said Vassiliev.
Viking’s Mark Holme and PLR’s Neil Plimmer both had spells in third before the stops, but the top three of Farquini, Rivett and Plimmer all pitted together.
Rob Croydon was the new leader for Agua Caliente, from Greensall’s Sam Smeeth and Olympian’s Kristian Rose, before their stops put UVio and PLR to the fore again, with Randaccio and Ben Pitch.
The majority of the second stint was behind the safety car however after Chris Weatherill’s Enduro car had a rear corner breakage at Knickerbrook on lap 13.
The final stop was made under the safety car, with just 10 minutes on the clock at the green flag.
Farquini led initially from Pitch and Olympian’s Riley Phillips, with Kingsnorth, MakeHappen’s Greg Evans and Holme the rest of the top six.
“I got Neil around the outside at Shell,” said Phillips, after he was into second on lap 21 and straight onto the back of Farquini to challenge.
For the final five laps it was inches between them. “I tried everywhere, I got a nose ahead but he kept getting me back,” said Phillips.
“That could have gone either way,” Farquini admitted after taking victory by 0.238 secs.
Plimmer had remained close in third, “I just sat and waited to see if they’d take each other off,” he admitted. Similarly fourth placed Kingsnorth too, “We were pretty much there and like Neil, I was just waiting to see,” he said.
Evans and Holme completed the top six, with Sean Cooper snatching a late seventh from GCI’s Craig Butterworth.
Croydon and GTi Radial’s Ellis Hadley rounded off the top 10.
All 24 cars made it back on to the grid for the Four Hour Enduro, with Sam Smeeth and Cooper sharing the front row.
As the lead duo opened an early gap, Agua Caliente’s Paul Turner did his best to hold on in third, from Viking’s Nick Nunn, CCS Media’s Steve Johansen and GCI’s Ian Wood.
From the back of the grid Randaccio already had the UVio car into the top 10 by the end of lap three and continued his climb through the order.
Turner dropped to seventh after a penalty stop on lap 13 and as Cooper made occasional challenges on Smeeth for the lead, Randaccio’s charge took him past Nunn for third, which then became a four way battle, with Johansen and Wood joining in.
On lap 24 the safety car made its first appearance after a heavy crash at Knickerbook, between Black Widows David Clark and Olympian’s Rose, both on their out lap after changing.
“I had just taken the GCI car into Knickerbrook, Scrappy had spun and I tried to avoid him, but he came back across and I hit him hard,” Rose explained.
The safety car coincided with the pitstop window and the completion of the first hour.
Track Focused led with Neil Smith, from Greensall’s Simon Smeeth, UVio’s Farquini, Viking’s Holme, GCI’s Butterworth and Agua Caliente’s Croydon.
But only one lap under green and the safety car was back out after the CCS car had spun at Shell, causing a collision between fourth placed duellists Holme and Butterworth.
“It was frustrating for me, as I had wanted to give Farquini a nice lead,” said Randaccio, after he had seen his 35 secs lead disappear.
It was finally green from lap 33 with Farquini quickly taking charge, as Smith slipped down the order and Harry Mailer came into second for DespatchBay.
When Mailer pitted to hand to Bicknell, Plimmer was into second for PLR, from Bicknell and Turner.
So as they reached half distance UVio were 1.853 secs up on PLR, from Agua Caliente, DespatchBay, Enduro and MakeHappen, with 13 cars still on the lead lap.
While the top three held station after three hours, MakeHappen were up to fourth, from DespatchBay, who had Bicknell double stinting, before Mailer took over for the final two stints.
MJ Tec GITI’s Scott Jeffs/Martin Gibson had also had a better second half and were up to sixth, with Enduro’s Weatherill/Jon Currie, Greensall’s Paul/Ryan Lewis, Track Focused and EDF the rest of the top 10.
Farquini took the final stint for UVio and took the flag 13.881 secs ahead of DespatchBay’s Mailer.
“There were a few bits and bobs with the car, but overall it was sweet,” said Farquini.
“It’s hard when the gap is so big, but I just kept going for it in case there was another safety car,” Mailer added.
Plimmer and Pitch were third again for PLR, “brilliant, two podiums, just great,” Plimmer enthused.
In fourth MakeHappen consolidated their third place in the Championship, “a good result for us, I wasn’t hearing things at the end, but it was hard seeing things when it started to get dark,” said Evans.
“Apart from a spin at Island after a touch with Bicknell early on, it was great,” Walton added.
Jeffs took Agua Caliente’s Croydon in the closing laps to claim fifth for MJ Tec GITI, while Track Focused were seventh and a lap down, as Enduro, and the Greensall families of Lewis and Smeeth rounded off the top 10.
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.
Scherer Race & Rally New
FUN CUP ENDURANCE - OULTON PARK
UVio HOFMANS MAKE IT FOUR!!
Oulton Park always brings the best out of Fun Cup racing and last weekends race was no exception.
It’s unusual to win four races in a Fun Cup season, but UVio Hofmans Lotus’ Farquini and Fabio Randaccio have now made it four out of the first five!!
As the lights went out Ben Pitch led for PLR into Old Hall, but further back Ryan Lewis’ Greensall Motorsport had cut out down the Avenue, Olympian’s Chris Dovell spun and We Have No Idea’s Paul Calladine bounced off the barriers down the Avenue.
Teddy Wilson had the lead for Track Focused before the end of the opening lap, making an early get away with Pitch.
Mark Owens was third for MakeHappen and having start well in fourth, Paul Turner’s Agua Caliente car has manifold problems as early as lap three.
With Turner losing four places on his next lap, Scott Jeffs (MY Tec GITi, Andy Bicknell’s DespatchBay Express, Stand2’s Martyn Compton and Farquini in the UVio car all moved up. “Once it had gone it just continued to lose power,” Turner explained.
Nigel Greensall had started in the CCS Media car and had a very uncharacteristic spin at Knickerbook. “I had new gloves on and selected the wrong gear, it locked the back wheel, spun and stalled,” he explained.
Farquini’s progress was rapid and by the end of lap five he was third and closing in on the lead pair, while Owens and Bicknell had lost ground to fifth and seventh respectively.
After a one lap safety car intervention, Farquini made his move on Pitch for second from the green flag and was soon poised to challenge Wilson for the lead.
The first exchange between the lead duellists came on lap 11, continuing to exchange and run side by side for the until the first pitstop window.
“I had quite a run in the first few laps, then I got Teddy, eh got me back, we drafted and then I just sat behind and saved the car,” Farquini explained.
“I had worked with Ben early on to try and get away, but he even when I had the lead he kept coming back,” Wilson replied.
“I really enjoyed that, but lost out to that safety car, “Pitch added.
The first stops came just before the end of the first hour, so Randaccio had the lead for UVio, from PLR’s Neil Plimmer, while Team Viking made six places when Mark Holme handed to Nick Nunn into third.
“All good, just steady and consistant,” said Randaccio. “Yes happy for now,” Plimmer added.
Neil Smith was still fourth for Track Focused, from Stobarts Richard Webb and MJ Tec’s GITI’s Martin Gibson. “It was going Ok until I accidentally hit the kill switch when I flashed he lights, “ Smith admitted. “Our handling was good, but we were down on power with oversteer,” Gibson added.
Randaccio continued to lead until the next pitstop window opened, from where Viking stayed out one lap longer, but it allowed Mark Holme to rejoin ahead of Farquini.
As half distance arrived at 54 laps 11 cars were still on the lead lap. Farquini had gone back in front, but only 0.733 secs covered the lead trio, with Pitch and Holme challenging.
Riley Phillips had taken over from Kristian Rose and had brought Olympian back to fourth, with Gary Bate having taken over the Greenheath car from Simon Smith, in fifth.
“I had to brake on the straight as that lorry driver Gibson nearly put me in the wall, “Rose reckoned.
“The support act did it’s job, and is trying to keep Gary out of trouble,” Smith reckoned.
MJ Tec’s Jeffs was seventh, from MakeHappen’s Owens, Stand2’s Compton, Track Focused’s Mike McCollum and Greensall’s Simon Smeeth.
The top four had established at the head of the field, but there was a reshuffle behind race leader Farquini, with Phillips taking both Pitch and Holme.
Into Knickerbook for the 59th time Phillips led for the first time, but it was shortlived as he was into the pits a lap later to hand to Chris Dovell, with Farquini, Holme and Pitch al following.
Viking had don a longer stop earlier under the safety car, which enabled Nunn to rejoin again in the lead, with Randaccio and Plimmer still completing the top three for UVio and PLR.
Three hours in and it was UVio at the front, from PLR and MJ Tec GITI, while Viking were down to fourth, from Olympian and MakeHappen.
Stand2 and Track Focused were both still on the lead lap, while DespatchBay and Greensall’s completed the top 10.
It was still anyone’s to play for and with a number of pitlane speeding penalties already accrued, a certain amount of caution had to be considered.
There had been a another safety car break just into the final hour, but as it went green Holme was back in the pits for Viking, which meant it was Farquini from Pitch, Jeffs, Owens, Compton and Neil Smith with Holme rejoining eighth.
Both UVio and Olympian made their final stops on lap 91, along with Track Focused, so Pitch was ahead again for PLR, staying out for another five laps.
As Philiips chased down Randaccio, they had Holme closing again for Viking. Once Pitch and Jeffs had pitted, their duel became the lead duel again, with Phillips nosing ahead through Knickerbrook, before it changed again at Cascades.
They were continually swapping and changing with Phillips ahead for the mostpart. “He kept trying around the outside and then was looking at Shell. I thought it was a bit cheeky, so I held the line and he went off onto the grass,” Randaccio explained, after sealing their fourth win of the season. “A real heroes drive and always harder watching from the pitwall,” added Farquini.
“The finish was the most important, but disappointed not to win of course. He had me in the last two corners each lap, and I just couldn’t get away. A great podium though,” Olympians Phillips.
Plimmer completed the podium a further 10 secs back. WE should have pitted Ben when the others came in, as it left him isolated and gave me no one to race with,” he said.
Wilson brought Track Focused home fourth, after demoting MJ Tec’s Gibson in the closing laps. “Just a bit too far for us,” Wilson concluded.
Evans completed the top six for MakeHappen, “we didn’t have the right set up today, it made the corners les driveable,” he said.
Completing the unlapped runners in the duel for seventh were Viking and Stand2. “We were slowing each other up, after initially closing on Greg. Who cares though we were racing, “ said Stand2’s
Warren McKinlay after losing out to Nunn by 0.422 secs. “I had to make the car very wide,” Nunn admitted.
DespatchBay’s Bicknell/Harry Mailer and the Smeeth family Greensall car completed the top 10.
Two blown engines = disaster for Olympian
FUN CUP ENDURANCE AT ANGLESEY
UVIO/HOFMANN’S CONSOLIDATE CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD
After a year’s absence Fun Cup returned to the Anglesey circuit, for its traditional double-header, featuring the day into night race.
Once again former champions UVio/Hofmann’s Lotus were the team to beat, ending the weekend with their third win of the season, after taking second in race one.
As the first race got underway it was Sam Smeeth soon pulling clear for Greensall Motorsport, from Stobart Sport’s Colin Kingsnorth, but as early as lap seven Sean Cooper was pitting for Track Focused, with engine problems.
Once Dominic Jackson’s had got the Black Widows car ahead of Enduro’s Jon Currie, he had just started to consolidate too, before heading pitwards with an engine malady too.
Kingsnorth gradually started to lose pace as the completion of the first half hour approached. His engine had expired, “short and sweet but it was leaking coolant onto the back wheels and was cooked,” he explained.
So 30 minutes in and Smeeth was 25 secs clear of second Neil Plimmer in the PLR car. Farquini was third, with Greenheath’s Gary Bate, Viking’s Mark Holme and MJ Tec’s Martin Gibson completing the early top six.
Both Agua Caliente cars were out of contention and Ellis Hadley was towed back too, “I bounced over the grass at Church after going off on the Stobart fluids, and did my radiator,” he explained after briefly holding third place.
“We were doing OK too until the car in front slowed, I hit him up the back and it did our radiator,” Agua’s Paul Turner explained.
With the safety car out to recover Hadley’s car, the pitlane was suddenly very active for the first changes.
It has been the usual efficient stop for UVio/Hofmann and at the first hour Fabio Randaccio had a 0.677 secs lead over DespatchBay’s Harry Mailer, with Ben Pitch still keeping PLR in the frame.
Kristian Rose had hauled defending Champions Team Olympian up to fourth, from Enduro’s Chris Weatherill and Viking’s Nick Nunn.
As the race wore on DespatchBay, UVio Hofmann and PLR set the pace, with early leaders Greensall Motorsport and Team Olympian in the hunt too.
Two hours down and the Mailer/Andy Bicknell combination had kept DespatchBay out in front, but Plimmer/Pitch continued to show good pace in second.
The top 10 were all still on the lead lap, with Greensall’s, Olympian and Viking the top six, followed by MakeHappen, Greenheath, Stand2 and the second Greensall car of Ryan/Paul Lewis.
With 45 mins left the penultimate stops were made, with Plimmer pitting from the lead to hand to Pitch, Bicknell to Mailer, Farquini to Randaccio, Rose to Riley Phillips and Bate to Smith, as the top five continued to fight for overall honours.
But from sixth Holme was stranded in the Viking car with a hub failure. So the safety car was out again which made it a 20 minute sprint to the flag with plenty more dramas.
Phillips had charged through for Olympian and was ahead of Pitch from the 101st lap. But with 15 mins on the clock their engine let go and it was all over.
From there it was duel between Mailer for DespatchBay and Greensall in the Greensall Motorsport car.
Only four laps from the flag Mailer ran wide at Turn One and Greensall was through to take victory on the road.
However post race scrutineering found a error in the wing height, Greensall was excluded and the victory went to DespatchBay and Mailer/Bicknell.
UVio moved to second, delighted after early tyre problems.
Completing the podium were Plimmer/Pitch for PLR, while in fourth Greenheath’s Bate/Smith both drove an outstanding race. “Our best ever finish, yes I did feel the pressure and just looked who was ahead of us,” Smith admitted.
MakeHappen’s Greg Evans/Stephen Walton finished strongly to take fifth, with Masters class winners Stand2 completing the top six, with Martyn Crompton/Warren McKinlay/Duncan Rogers.
For five crews it had proved to be a premature end to their weekend, including notables as Olympian, Enduro and Stobart Sport.
So it was 17 cars out to battle into the setting Anglesey sun.
Walton held onto the early lead before losing out to MJ Tec’s Scott Jeffs, but Randaccio and Sam Smeeth were ploughing through the field and were ahead by the end of lap eight.
The UVio/Hofmann and Greensall drivers kept alternating for the next 12 laps before Smeeth started to open a gap.
After their race one success PLR’s hopes were high, but a broken, driveshaft left them stranded when he was chasing Jeffs for fourth, after he had lost out to Greenheath’s flying Bate.
At the completion of the first hour UVio/Hofmann’s were over 27 secs clear of MJ Tec GTi, who had both Greenheath and MakeHappen challenging for second.
Viking and Track Focused were the rest of the top six, with GTi Radial just behind, after Steve Peat had done his first ever start stint.
DespatchBay had been up to fourth until the throttle pedal broke, “I nearly hit Harry when he slowed, as I was expecting to follow him through,” said Smith.
“We got our car back and it’s great,” said Randaccio as UVio/Hofmann’s continued to go from strength to strength,
Bate was chasing Randaccio hard at the front though, “that was just fabulous,” he said.
One hour left on the clock and there were still seven cars on the vital lead lap.
Farquini was back in as they completed the second hour, 6.888 secs up on MJ Tec’s Gibson.
Evans was close in third too for MakeHappen, with Viking’s Holme having got ahead of Greenheath’s Smith at the stops for fourth.
Neil Smith for Track Focused and Hadley for GTi Radial were the chasers, a lap up on Greensall’s.
UVio couldn’t afford to relax as MJ Tec edged closer, with both Viking and Greenheath edging back ahead of MakeHappen.
30 minutes left and the lead gap was 5.583 secs, but Jeffs had both Holme and Smith poised to challenge.
Most of the final stops were completed with 20 mins left, but UVio/Hofmann’s waited until last when Randaccio pitted to hand to Farquini.
Second was now between Holme and Smith, with Gibson under pressure in the MJ Tec for his fifth, from Track Focused’s Cooper.
With only five minutes to go it was suddenly all over for MJ Tec GI, when Gibson stopped on the circuit, with no drive.
So Farquini made it win number three, with 27.881 secs to spare over Team Viking. “That was just great,” said Randaccio. “We changed tyres and hubs before the race and we had our own car back,” Farquini added.
“That made up for the first race, the car so good,” said Home, “Yes we’ll take that thanks,” Nunn added.
Greenheath secured their first podium, but Smith had MakeHappen’s Evans piling on the pressure in the final laps. “Everything just aligned today, we got it somewhere,” said Bate. “I think I was catching Viking too until I ran wide and damaged the splitter,” Smith added.
Evans/Walton were therefore only 0.301 secs off the podium for MakeHappen, while Cooper/Smith/Mike McCollum were the last unlapped runners in fifth. “The engine wasn’t as good as our original and the handling was a bit off, but we got there,” Cooper concluded.
GT Radials Hadley/Peat rounded off the top six. “I learned so much today, mainly on how to manage my own pace,” said Peat.
The Masters quartet of Greensall’s, Stand2, Black Widows and Team Caudwell rounded off the top 10.
Scherer Race & Rally News
FUN CUP - ROUND ONE - DONINGTON PARK
UVIO/HOFMANN’S DOMINATE SEASONS OPENER.
25 cars were on the grid at Donington Park, with a healthy mix of regular’s and newcomers.
The weather hadn’t been kind during the morning’s qualifying, but at least the rain stopped for the afternoon’s four hour race.
Stephen Walton had drawn pole for Make Happen Racing, sharing the front row, with Agua Caliente’s Rob Perry.
The rain may have stopped but it was very slippery, as Walton found out as he braked from the chicane and slid off sideways, handing the lead to GCI’s Craig Butterworth. “It didn’t brake like a GT car,” said Walton.
There was further chaos behind with cars spinning and Tacho Sys RAW’s Alex Macleod was stranded in the gravel with a broken front upright.
Team Viking’s Mark Holme joined Butterworth in a very early break, with Sam Smeeth’s Greensall car third.
Both Smeeth and Track Focused’s Teddy Wilson started to close in though, and after five laps Smeeth led out of Coppice, before Wilson’s surge took him passed both Smeeth and Butterworth a lap later.
Wilson’s lead soon started to grow, with Smeeth consolidating second, as Butterworth and Holme continued to contest third.
Steve Johansen was running a solo sixth for CCS, before a train of cars followed, led by Stobart Sports Colin Kingsnorth.
Smeeth’s attempt to close on Wilson, actually lost him time, overshooting the chicane on lap 10.
“It had been the first time I had led a Fun Cup race, but when I tried braking later at the chicane it didn’t work,” Smeeth admitted.
Wilson, Smeeth and Butterworth all held station to complete the first half hour in the podium places, with the lead now over 15 seconds, but Holme had lost ground with an early misfire.
Despatch Bay’s Andy Bicknell was on a charge too and on lap 13 he ousted Johansen from fifth, but both had UVio/Hofmann’s Farquini closing too.
Wilson was one of the last to pit, as he handed to Mike McCollum, but they retained the lead to complete the first hour, 6.356secs clear of Team Viking, with Nigel Greensall at the wheel.
“I didn’t expect to get away like that, it was my first time at Donington, first time in a Fun Cup car and first time in the wet,” said ex US F4 star Wilson.
Fabio Randaccio retained third for UVio/Hofmann’s, while in fourth the GCI car of Ian Wood was a lap down in fourth, followed by Ted Smeeth for Greensall’s and Harry Mailer for DespatchBay.
DespatchBay could have been higher but Bicknell had a spin approaching the chicane before the change. “I was making good progress, the it just snapped left, felt like a wishbone had broken, but then I saw purple,” he explained.
Greensall had reeled in McCollum and led from lap 40, with Randaccio in second, from McCollum, while Mailer ousted Wood for fourth.
The top four remained unchanged until the second stop, but Greensall came in early. “The misfire had got worse, coughing and spluttering, so we decided to change the coil,” he said.
So Randaccio handed the lead to Farquini and from there started the total dominance by the former champions.
“We had a bit of a touch at the chicane on the first lap, but the car is handling fine,” said Farquini.
They were a lap up on their rivals at half distance, but a great effort by DespatchBay’s Bicknell and Mailer had them in second, ahead of GCI’s Butterworth/Wood.
MJ Tec GITI had also moved into the reckoning with Scott Jeffs/Martin Gibson in fourth, similarly the defending Champions Team Olympian, after a sterling stint by Kristian Rose, made way for Riley Phillips.
Completing the top six at two hours were Agua Caliente’s Rob Croydon/Paul Turner, while Track Focused were seventh, and Team Greenheath, MakeHappen and EDF 104 completed the top 10.
Barring problems no one looked likely to catch UVio/Hofmann’s, “but you can’t relax for one moment in Fun Cup, “Farquini added.
DespatchBay were also looking fairly comfortable in second, which left the final step of the podium to be settled during the second half of the race.
With the third hour completed there was still a lap between UVio/Hofmann’s and DespatchBay, but MJ Tec GITI , GCI and Olympian were all in contention for third, with Viking and MakeHappen almost back in the hunt too.
“The car was mega fast, but I had a little off, “admitted Olympian’s Phillips. “I had a slight off too at Redgate,” added DespatchBay’s Mailer.
“I was finding it difficult, in both of my stints it was drying and then it rained, so I had to be cautious not to overcook it,” said GCI’s Wood.
30 minutes left on the clock and we were in to the last stops. “There was a dry line now, but you can’t deviate from it,” Farquini explained, after he was one of the last to stop, for Randaccio to bring it home.
The final winning margin remained at one lap, with DespatchBay a clear second. “Great, the car, the crew faultless,” Randaccio confirmed, after they had led the last 94 laps!!
“I lost a bit of power at the end, but no real problem, said Mailer.
But with third looking safe, it wouldn’t be Fun Cup without a last minute drama and with four minutes on the clock, Phillips had to pit the Olympian car for fuel.
MJ Tec GITI had almost accepted fourth place, and were delighted with a debut podium for the new team. “Fantastic, we had a good balance in the car, but I didn’t like that early pressure,” said Jeffs.
Earlier leaders Team Viking’s Greensall had edged out GCI’s Wood for fifth, but with Olympian’s demise suddenly picked up a late fourth. “We were quick after that coil change, perfect race otherwise,” said Holme.
Olympian still held onto fifth from GCI, while MakeHappen came home seventh and the top 10 was completed by PLR Racing, Agua Caliente and Team Greenheath.
Making their Fun Cup debuts and finishing just outside the top 10 in a solid 12th, were former World Championship downhill mountain biker Steve Peat and Isle of Man TT racing legend John McGuinness, who shared the GT Radial car with Ellis Hadley.