Words - JOHN NEWTON
Photographs - JOHN MUSHET & DEREK DONSWORTH
As usual, Cadwell Park served up a fascinating weekend’s racing. Good weather, two more-than-interesting races, especially Saturday’s and two new race winners. Neither championship was clinched leaving all to play for at Croft in three weeks time.
Yet again, passengers featured in the news with new pairings as a result of previous incidents with a couple more to add to the list this weekend. Pete Founds paired up with Jevon Walmsley, Jevon gelling immediately and they gained second place after qualifying. Sean Reeves/Mark Wilkes took pole, John Holden/James Neave were third, Alan Founds/Tom Peters fourth and Lee Crawford was fifth, Lee having secured the services of one Patrick Farrance in the chair. A new viewpoint for me at Cadwell, up at the commentary point on the exit from Charlie’s, a good spot with views of Barn through the S/F line, from Charlie’s down Park Straight to Park Corner, also from the Gooseneck down to Mansfield and lastly from the chicane exit to the corner before the foot of the mountain.
First lap and the first five were as in qualifying but on lap two Crawford was up to third –where were Holden and Alan Founds? Unfortunately a coming-together at the corner before the mountain ruled out Holden and relegated Founds to fifth. Gary Bryan was upto fourth, Charlie Richardson deputising for Jamie Winn in the chair. Dean Lindley/Rob Bell retired at Charlie’s, an engine blow-up finishing their weekend. Lewis Blackstock/Patrick Rosney were upto sixth with Conrad Harrison/Lee Patterson, John and Jake Lowther, Wayne Lockey/Mark Sayers and Dave Wallis/Harry Payne completing the top ten.
Lap four saw Pete Founds take the lead but it was short-lived as a lap later Pete lost Jevon after Coppice and pulled off the track after Charlie’s. Jevon was up and about but it later transpired that he’d suffered a broken wrist. Crawford had now got past Reeves to take the lead with Bryan third but on lap seven Gary lost Charlie, but fortunately he wasn’t seriously injured. Reeves had regained the lead and he and Crawford had a 10 second gap back to Founds Minor. Harrison had got past Blackstock for fourth but the youngster didn’t let him get away. The Lowthers were sixth ahead of Dave Atkinson/Mike Aylott (up from 14th on the grid), Wallis, Lockey and Ian and Carl Bell – the Bells having been involved in some ‘shunting’ along the way.
And so, the race to the flag. Crawford had re-passed Reeves and hung on to take the win by just over a fifth of a second. Lee was delighted with father Mike speechless with joy – but only momentarily! After the first ten, the points scorers were completed by Thomas/Tom Quaye, Gordon Shand/Phil Hyde – Phil glad to back on track but feeling every bump! – Dwight Beare/Shelley Smithies and Dave Lillie/Ben Chandler. Wildcards Charlie Morphet/Paul Halliburton, Ralph Remnant/Guy Pawsey and Wes Pettman/Paul Jeffrey all finished but of course don’t score points.
In the points tables, Alan Founds had extended his lead from 7.5 to 23.5 points, while in the F2 Cup. Reeves’ advantage was 31.5 points – could he clinch the Cup on Sunday? In the Cup Crawford had taken the win from Reeves with Lewis/Paddy gaining their second podium in third. Three of the top five finishers being Cup contestants!
The sun came out on Sunday morning and fortunately stayed around for the day. A 12-lapper to come and with the race scheduled for around 11 a.m. teams were discussing what the evening meal at home was going to be. (Cue the Quayes and 2-3 others sending me an email!).No Dean Lindley, no Pete Founds but Steve and Mattie Ramsden had, they hoped, solved their cutting-out/ Motec problem and lined up on the grid with the other 21. But unfortunately for the Bells they had to pull off the track after the warm-up lap.
Reeves again led after the opening lap with Bryan and Crawford right behind. Holden, Founds and Lowther completed the top six with Blackstock and Harrison just behind again keeping each other company. However on lap four Bryan began to slow and retired a lap later. Harrison and Blackstock, went into Hall Bends side by side, Blackstock went onto the grass on the right, went into a violently fast spin but somehow held it together and came to a halt. What a save! – but they did retire.Wildcards Dean Nicholls/Ben Avison retired as did Dave Lillie on lap five. At half-distance, Reeves led Crawford – the gap around 100 yards going up the Mountain, Holden third ahead of Founds, then Harrison a lonely fifth, with Lowther, Atkinson, Wallis, Lockey and Quaye completing the top ten. Then came Shand, Ramsden up to 12th from the back of the grid, Beare and Dukes then wildcards Morphet, Remnant and Pettman. On lap eight Founds retired from fourth, a rear tyre puncture the cause.
The second half of the race saw no major changes, save that of Ramsden continuing his charge up to 8th. At the front, a delighted Reeves and Wilkes took the win, some five seconds up on Crawford and Farrance and so with a win and second place apiece, that five second gap confirmed Reeves and Wilkes as winners of the Steve Norbury Trophy, and they duly received the Trophy from FSRA President Jim Norbury.
Points with one round, 2 races, to come. In the F2 Cup, Reeves’ race two win took him to a 49 point advantage – I’ll say nothing more till after Croft. Ramsden’s third place here moves him to second on 128.5 with Pete Founds on 121, the Quayes on 112.5, Beare on 109.5 and Crawford on 94. In the main Championship, the 7.5 gap remains, Founds on 174, Holden on 166.5, Reeves third on 113.5, Bell on 104.5 then Harrison 93, Pete Founds 83.5, Crawford 66, Ramsden 64.5, Lockey 63.5 and Lowther 62.
* Final round SEPTEMBER 26-27 at Croft. Good weather has been ordered but bring three jumpers and waterproofs on the off chance we get a North-Eastern autumnal weekend!
**This weekend highlighted the successful initiative of allowing wildcards a couple of races to ‘test the water’ before taking the decision to register for a whole season. Charlie Morphet and Paul Halliburton again impressed – hopefully they’ll join us in 2016. Anyone else wanting details contact Pat Hamblin.
*** Terry Scott has asked if the Saturday podium, Lee/Patrick, Sean/Mark and Alan/Tom was the youngest in British F2 history. Please discuss!
What is definite is we have an increasingly young and talented group full stop. Besides the three on the podium there are John and Jake, Lewis and Paddy while Dwight/Shelley and Nick/William are not middle-aged just yet! In addition, consider the passengers. Along with those mentioned there are Mike Aylott and Carl Bell, TT winner and British Champion respectively, while Dave Wallis was enthusing over the performance of young Harry Payne and best TT Newcomer passenger, Matty Ramsden, is doing his best to keep the ol’ fella young! The future looks very promising!