BARRY WEBB TOOK ‘B’ CLASS HONOURS AT FINAL RACE OF THE SEASON WHILST MARK CHARTERIS TOTALLY DOMINATED ‘A’ CLASS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.
The 2016 season has proved to be a challenging one for Classic Clubmans. The year started on a sad note with the loss of Classic Clubmans founder, David Childs, after his long battle with illness.
Our grid numbers have been a little down on the previous year. We had our invitation class in the Derek Bell Championship unexpectedly withdrawn during the latter stages of the season, prior to the Gold Cup at Oulton Park, bringing to an end our excellent association with the DB formula. We also had to contend with an ‘interim’ season on tyres after the demise of the much cherished Dunlop Clubmans contol tyre. For 2017 Avon A24 is the control tyre but this year we had a mix of old and new being used. So yes challenging…..but excellent, exciting racing throughout the season!
The ‘B’ Sport Class was a closely contested championship with Barry Webb securing it at the last race at Silverstone, his smooth, consistant style often disguising how quick a driver he really is. His Championship is richly deserved with 5 wins and 3 second places from 9 races. His Mallock MK16 in eyecatching period ‘Delapena’ livery is always a credit to Barry and his brother Paul. Second was last year’s champion Clive Wood (Mallock Mk20B). His season was blighted with reliability issues and a bout of illness, however, he kept Barry honest with 4 wins and 3 second places – including 2 wins at the penultimate round at Brands Hatch to set up the final round decider. Third this season was the ever improving Adam Wheeler in his Dave Facer run MK16. He scored his first win at Croft and won again at Silverstone with another 2 second places completing a very successful year. John Muirhead (Mallock Mk18) came fourth just ahead of Trish Hunter’s MK16 in fifth. Phil Hart completed the top six in another Mk16 claiming a fine third at The Finals race – surely a promising 2017 beckons for him.
Mark Charteris totally dominated ‘A’ Class, winning all rounds and being on pole and setting fastest lap at every race in his immaculate MK20/21. A brilliant seasons racing. The battle for second & third in ‘A’ Class went to the last race at Silverstone with Spencer McCarthy (Mallock Mk20B) narrowly beating Alan Cook in another Mallock Mk20 after an intense race long dice. An excellent reward for Spencer and his entrant Peter Garton considering they missed 3 races with mechanical issues. Alan Cook’s third place overall again emphasized his continual improvement and consistancy. John Harrison was fourth in ‘A’ Class entering just 5 races and concentrating on using the slower control Avon A24 tyres. This included 3 second place finishes. Newcomer David Wale brought the ex Rob Manson car to fifth overall in his first season of Classic Clubmans racing. He will certainly feature strongly next year when he competes in all the rounds. Steve Chaplin was the first non Mallock in ‘A’ Class. Steve only competed in 6 races and had reliability issues but still managed to bring his Phantom home in sixth place.
Two meetings stand out in another enjoyable season, the 50th ‘Birthday’ event at Castle Combe and the Snetterton Autosport meeting.
It was great to be back at Combe again, everyone always enjoys the fast Wiltshire track which has benefited from a significant amount of resurfacing since we were last there. The ‘50th’ parade of period competitors coupled with the large varied race programme made for a splendid start to the season.
The June Snetterton Autosport weekend was blessed with wonderful weather, two exciting races both won by Mark Charteris, with two class wins for Barry in B class, plus the first running of the Pre 1972 Trophy event which was one by Richard Mallock in a Mallock Mk 5. Our Saturday evening BBQ for all in warm Norfolk sunshine was greatly enjoyed, even the washing up in the glorious sunset seemed perfect !! Motorsport doesn’t get much better.
New arrivals to the Classic Clubmans family this season were Peter Belsey driving the rare and interesting A classHaggispeed Mk10. Peter previously competed for many years in Formula Vee. The previously mentioned David Wale in a Mallock Mk20/21. David is also a very experinced racer who at one time raced in Clubmans Oceanair in the 1980’s.
Anthony Denham debuted his beautifully prepared orange A class Phantom P80 at the HSCC Birthhday parade at the Silverstone Classic. This combo is sure to feature next season. Rachel Green brought out the only surviving Harrison/Penfold B class car and scored two second places at Snetterton, reliability and an accident robbed her of a full championship.
We were pleased to embrace a new Invitation Class Initiative for Historic Sports 2000 proposed by the HSCC and this joint venture started from Croft onwards. At Silverstone there were five S2000 cars entered with Peter Needham (Tiga SC82) the leading car at the flag. We will be continuing with this invitation class next season when there will be a new trophy awarded to the most successful entrant of this class for the year.
Huge thanks must go to Sheila and Kerry and their helpers who again provided the wonderful hospitality for us all. Brilliant job everybody. Our marquee has really become an important part of Classic Clubmans racing creating a welcome focal point for meeting and socialising with friends old and new.
Thanks also must go to Graham White, Alan Jones and the team notably Carrie, Donna and Myra whose hard work make the race weekends so enjoyable.
Photos: Jeff Bloxham & John Luke Muirhead