Dunlop Great and British Report, Snetterton April 2
The first Dunlop
“Great and British Festival” was held at Snetterton
on Sunday April 2, and saw big grids and action packed racing for
Dunlop’s brand new race package – writes Mike Hoyer.
The day started
off with bright sunshine for the first Radical Biduro race (although
the first race had actually taken place late on Saturday afternoon
- a win for Dominic Lesniewski, in the Matador Radical event, above),
although this soon gave way to generally overcast and cloudy skies.
Nevertheless, the rain that had been forecast managed to hold off
for most of the day, before a sudden shower halted the second Radical
Enduro race. The subsequent soaking track gave the young Ginetta
junior drivers a hard time of it in the final race of the day.
As well as the Radicals and Ginetta Juniors, there
were races for three different Mini series (MINI Challenge for the
new shape cars, and Miglia and Se7ens for traditional Minis), and
two different historic touring car championships, the York Fitness
Post Historic Touring Car Championship, and the Ibis Packaging Solutions
Classic Group 1 Touring Car Championship.
the event also had the chance to get up close and personal to the
cars in the lunch break; the Radical Enduros were out on display
in the pit lane, and the Biduros were lined up on the grid, with
the drivers available to chat to.
This was part
of a move by Dunlop in order to bring the spectators closer to the
racing, and to bring potential newcomers into the sport.
The days racing
started at 9.10am with the first of two 20 minute races for the
Radical Biduro championship, contested solely by the 1200cc Kawasaki-engined
Radical SR4s. The race was dominated by Slipsteam / Radical Road.com
driver Guy Hodgkin, in #99, who led every lap after starting from
second on the grid.
James Saggers finished fifth, after dropping back at the start.
16 year old Toby Newton was seventh – having only gone solo
for the first time on Friday, and having raced on slicks, when most
were on wets.
#5, above) made amends in the second race, with Hodgkin in second,
although he pushed the RPM Motorsport man the whole way, with several
attempts to pass into Riches corner. Newton took his first podium,
having already listed Mick Hyde as one of his scalps. He's about
to make his move (in fourth, below).
15 minute encounter for the Mini Challenge competitors...
... the Radical
Enduro cars set off on the first of two 40 minute races. For 2006,
the championship is being contested by SR3s, with 1500cc Powertec
Suzuki engines, and SR8s, fitted with 2600cc V8 engines. It will
feature two 100km races at each of the nine “Great and British
Festival” weekends, featuring pit stops, and driver changes
for those cars with more than one driver.
in race 1 was occupied by Ince / Kinsella, with Austin Reynolds
and Nick Padmore, in their SR8 (above) alongside, with Chris Milner
and Eugene O’Brien third quickest. Reynolds and Padmore led
the majority of the race, but it was Lee Atkins and Phil Quaife
in the #4 SR8 who came through to take the win on the last lap.
The second race
saw a similar grid, with the front three the same (but in a different
order). Third spot was occupied by Richard Ince and Austin Kinsella
(#3), who barely featured in the first race (losing two laps with
a collapsed rear wing), but came through to take the win in the
rain shortened encounter (down to 35 minutes).
Phil Abbott, with Nick Dove, was second, and Milner / O’Brian
Next up, the Playstation2 Ginetta Juniors took to
the track, for a 20 minute encounter. These small cars are powered
by 1400cc Ford Fiesta Zetec engines, and are open to drivers aged
14-16, looking to then progress to the senior version, and onwards
A famous name
occupied the pole position spot, in the shape of Henry Surtees,
son of former world champion, John. Also taking part in the race,
albeit further down the order was Fergus Walkinshaw, son of TWR
man Tom Walkinshaw. Surtees lost out at the start, and was down
to third at the end of lap one, but led every lap after that to
take the win (below) by nearly six seconds. Walkinshaw finished
11th, and one lap down.
The second race
took place at the end of the day, and track conditions had changed
for the worse.
but heavy, showers meant that the track was soaking by the time
the cars were released, and as a result of this they were given
two green flag laps. Pole man Surtees led them round at a snail’s
pace, and almost stopped on the grid after the first lap, only to
be waved around again by the marshals! When the race got underway
it was a fairly disjointed affair, with wildly varying lap times,
as the young drivers struggled round the soaked track. Most seemed
to suffer some sort of off-track excursion, or bodywork “modification”,
but in the end it was Robert Gaffney who took the win, completing
11 laps in the 20 minute race. Surtees was second, with Tom Sharp
York Fitness Post Historic Touring Car Championship in association
with Dunlop saw a variety of interesting machinery competing, including
Chevys, Jaguars, Fords, and Mazdas. David Howard dominated the race
in his Jaguar XJ12.
Howard was out
again in the IBIS Packaging Solutions Classic Group 1 Touring Car
Championship, and had a long battle with the XJS V12 of Brian Stevens,
who then spun off, allowing Howard to take a second win.
should also go to the action packed, kerb hopping, and panel bashing
Mini Se7en race. Max Hunter took the win after shoving his way past
Andrew Deviny on the last lap (below).
early days for the Dunlop “Great and British Motorsport Festivals”,
it looks like it could be a big success in national racing. The
large grids, varied machinery, action packed races, and accessibility
for members of the public all combine to make a successful package.
Dunlop also plans to increase the off-track attractions as the season
goes on. The next event is at Brands Hatch on April 29 / 30.
to Mike Hoyer, for keeping up with all the action.
success," says Radical's Mick Hyde - of the first event of
the new Dunlop package. "Good grids, great racing, fantastic
buzz in paddock, flags everywhere (blowing horizontal) and even
a small crowd of spectators. TV coverage on Sky and Motors TV -
and we even arranged for the camera car in the second Radical Biduro
race to catch fire! Not funny for the driver though."