Britsports / Gold Arts 100 – Silverstone – October
With increasing grids for the combined Britsports / Gold Arts 100
series, the challenge was made tougher at Silverstone, for there
were to be three 45-minute races, instead of the customary two.
Aggregated results meant that consistency was even more of the essence
On their return
to the series, Peter Hobday and Alex Buncombe made an immediate
impression, Buncombe placing the Chiron (#18, above) on pole, just
ahead of Andreas Halkiopoulos and Adrian Holley in the Juno SSV6,
and the ever quick Jades of Mike Roberts / Marcus Pye and Tony Sinclair
/ Sam Alpass, although the latter of the two suffered a sheared
stub axle at the end of the qualifying session, putting the pair
out of race one, and out of contention for overall victory. Fastest
in the Britsports 2 class was the Radical SR4 of Brendon Deschamps
and Nick Dudfield, although they were under pressure from a cluster
of similar machines, notably Chris Dredge and Stuart Brodman, just
two-tenths behind, and Radical ace Juan Barazi (he of Porsche 917
fame), sharing driving duties with his brother Sinan. Bruce White’s
Caterham R400 lined up 14th overall, heading up the Gold Arts 100
Race one began shortly
after qualifying, and Andreas Halkiopoulos regained the advantage
with a stunning start, to lead Alex Buncombe into Copse. Another
fine starter was Juan Barazi, taking the Britsports 2 class lead,
and succeeding in getting past Mike Roberts in the Jade. Brendon
Deschamps gave chase, and was soon attempting to fend off Alex Buncombe,
who, after a first lap “moment”, was strongly fighting
back into the race for the top positions.
An early casualty was
the supercharged Radical SR3 of Simon Heaps, which limped past the
pitlane on only the fifth lap, an early indicator of what was to
be a trying day for Heaps and his team.
The faster Britsports
1 cars soon overpowered the Radicals, and Buncombe found himself
back in second place, while Mike Roberts got around Barazi and followed
Halkiopoulos and Buncombe, but in an increasingly distant third
Early stoppers included
Brendon Deschamps, handing over to Nick Dudfield, and series debutant
Jonathan Hawkins, handing over his Westfield to Richard Kershaw.
Oddly, many of the leaders followed suit, and with fifteen minutes
elapsed, Marcus Pye had taken over from Mike Roberts in the Jade,
and Bruce White, comfortably leading Gold Arts, had also stopped.
One reason for this early wave of stops could have been desperation;
Halkiopoulos and Buncombe were setting a ferocious pace, and had
soon lapped the entire field up to third place. Joining them in
staying out late was Richard Gomes, who had slowly but surely moved
his SR3 into fourth overall, and Juan Barazi, running third before
pitting to allow his brother a chance at the wheel.
Things began to go wrong
for the Buncombe / Hobday Chiron when Alex, having chipped away
at Halkiopoulos’s lead, brought the red and blue machine in
for its stop. Peter Hobday could not successfully fire up the car’s
Vauxhall engine, and when it eventually did rasp back into life,
the initiative was lost.
Marcus Pye was clearly
beginning to enjoy himself, and set about reeling in Nick Dudfield.
With ten minutes remaining, he passed the Radical for second place.
“I know we’re in a different class, but the car is handling
so well,” Pye enthused, “it was a pleasure to be able
to be so comfortably quick.” Deschamps and Dudfield were safe
with their class lead, however, although Chris Dredge, in the #4
Radical, was able to liberate Sinan Barazi of second in class and
It was Andreas Halkiopoulos
and Adrian Holley, however, who cruised home in the Juno to win
race one. The pit stop problems suffered by the Chiron meant that
the Juno team could handle their own stop in a relaxed manner, as
Holley took over for the final six minutes. As if to confirm this,
Hobday neatly spun the Chiron at Luffield, but recovered quickly
to finish fourth. Bruce White improved on his initial grid slot
to finish 11th overall, although only just ahead of Graham Booth
in his similar, but less powerful machine.
Wisely, no one was resting
on their laurels, and the outlooks of the class leaders were remarkably
similar: “More of the same!” - Bruce White appeared
to be the most confident, noting that he was disappointed by the
lack of competition, citing the Brands Hatch Caterham Festival as
the reason. Marcus Pye was eager to point out the great job his
Jade team had done, having only just managed to arrive on time following
a (highly successful) previous day at Hockenheim.
a lengthy gap, which allowed the newly repaired Jade Trackstar of
Sam Alpass to take to the track, race two kicked off in the same
blustery-but-dry conditions as the first. Andreas Halkiopoulos again
took the lead, from Roberts and Buncombe. Juan Barazi, back in the
Radical, pushed past Brendon Deschamps to take back the class lead,
and fourth overall. Observant eyes, however, were on Sam Alpass.
Having missed race one, Alpass had nothing to lose and stormed through
the field from the back of the grid. By the end of lap one he was
up to seventh, and soon found a way past first Chris Dredge and
then Brendon Deschamps, before dealing with Barazi and Buncombe
on the following lap.
Following Alpass up the
grid was Chris Setters, who’d also had problems with his Jade
at the start of race one. Unfortunately for Chris, and his co-driver
and father Doug, the car developed further problems during its pitstop,
and failed to impact on the rest of the day’s racing. Bad
luck was also to strike Alpass – during his charge up the
field the tyres on his car became overheated and he was forced to
watch the battle for the lead without the grip to participate. The
battle in question, however, was heating up. Halkiopoulos, slowed
by traffic, began to fall inexorably into the clutches of Buncombe,
but the ex-FRenault man couldn’t get past, try as he might.
For ten minutes the cars ran within a second of each other, neither
man giving an inch, until Halkiopoulos came in for his pitstop,
rejoining in sixth place.
In Gold Arts,
Bruce White had been running comfortably in the lead, and was up
to ninth overall, when disaster struck during his stop. Unable to
restart the Caterham, White could only watch as his crew worked
on the car and the laps rolled on by. Unfortunately, the problem
was deemed terminal, and White pushed his car into the garage. Promoted
to the class lead was another series newcomer, Rachid Bazouba, also
in a Caterham. Bazouba had to deal with the attentions of rivals
Graham Booth and Mike Jones, and after an entertaining three-way
scrap it was Jones that led the three cars past the chequered flag,
just a second ahead of Bazouba.
Barazi had established a reasonable lead over Deschamps, but when
the cars pitted, it was Nick Dudfield, in the #70 car (above) who
proved faster than Juan’s brother Sinan, and Dudfield was
able to get by with just three laps remaining, and hold station
in fifth overall. Having had a quick pitstop, Alex Buncombe, electing
to stay in the car, emerged in the lead, and kept his nose clean,
leading Adrian Holley home with 13 seconds to spare.
Race three, then, and
the battle for overall victory was finely balanced. Unfortunately
for the race, the scales were tipped substantially in the favour
of the Juno team when Peter Hobday spun the Chiron after an audacious
move on Halkiopoulos, who had managed once again to get the jump
at the start. Also swift in their getaways were Marcus Pye, and
Richard Gomes, who’d been enjoying a consistent day sharing
with Simon Hopkins, briefly running in fourth overall, behind current
class leader Juan Barazi, when the Safety Car joined the track,
whilst a car was removed from the gravel at Luffield.
Quick to dash into the
pits were leaders Halkiopoulos and Pye, leaving Barazi to follow
the Safety Car around, leading the race for the first time. Surprisingly,
few cars followed suit, as many teams were not prepared for early
stops. The Deschamps / Dudfield crew, and Graham Booth’s Caterham
were caught out when they stopped, only to find themselves following
the Safety Car into the pit lane!
In the dash
to Copse that followed, chaos reigned; “I spun trying to avoid
a couple of SR3s that had hit each other,” recalled Marcus
Pye, “and they both hit me anyway – it knocked the tracking
out a bit but didn’t affect the performance too much.”
As if to prove this, both Pye and Halkiopoulos set fastest laps
on their charge through the field. Unfortunately, things didn’t
pan out so well for the Barazi brothers, as Juan returned the nose-free
Radical to the pit lane, his afternoon’s racing done.
the absence of Bruce White, and the retired Rachid Bazouba, the
Gold Arts 100 battle was now between Mike Jones (in #5) and Graham
Booth. They battled hard, and it was Jones who took the chequered
flag in seventh overall, just ahead of Booth. It was Booth however,
who’d completed more laps when the scores were added up, and
he took his first Gold Arts 100 class win of the season.
Another battle on track
and for aggregate position was that for second place overall. Nick
Dudfield tried manfully to keep the flying Marcus Pye behind him,
but Pye soon found a way past, and began to chase Andreas Halkiopoulos
in the Juno. Despite spending the final five minutes of the shortened
(due to the Silverstone curfew) race under the rear wing of the
SSV6, Pye could not find a way past, and was happy with second,
both in class, and overall, thanks to the demise of the Hobday /
Buncombe Chiron. After an animated “discussion” with
a few drivers on the subject of driving standards, Halkiopoulos
seemed happy with another victory – his and Holley’s
third of the season. “It’s another good result –
well done to the team,” he smiled. “See you at the next
the Croft event two weeks later has since been cancelled, so the
next race will be at Donington Park on November 6, where Andreas
Halkiopoulos will be partnered by fellow Greek Stamatis Katsimis,
in the victorious Juno.
1. Halkiopoulos / Holley – Juno SSV6 – 115 laps
2. Roberts / Pye – Jade Sports Prototype – 113 laps
3. Hobday / Buncombe – Chiron LMP3-04 – 81 laps
1. Deschamps / Dudfield – Radical SR4 – 113 laps
2. Gomes / Hopkins – Radical Prosport – 107 laps
3. Keith McKenzie – Radical Prosport – 107 laps
1. Graham Booth – Caterham 7 – 103 laps
2. Mike Jones – Caterham 7 – 102 laps
3. Hawkins / Kershaw – Westfield SE1 – 99 laps
B1: Halkiopoulos / Holley – 55.296
B2: Deschamps / Dudfield – 57.439
GA100: Bruce White – 1:03.237