Cadwell Park – 28th. June 2015
Historically, Classic Clubmans has never produced great girds at Cadwell Park and this was no exception. However, if this is to be the smallest grid of the season, then fourteen cars is reasonably acceptable, bearing in mind this was larger than several of the other formulae represented at this meeting.
A Sport had six cars, missing was Ray Mallock, away on professional duties and Mike Lane has still not recovered from his horrific Thruxton accident. In B Sport, included in the eight car entry, was a warm welcome to Ian Mitchell, having his first race with us this season. Notable by their absence was Barry Webb, having blown his engine at Snetterton, Clive Wood was on holiday and Dave Facer, not yet fully fit after his knee op.
What probably didn’t help, was that the HSCC had crammed us to in one day for all the action. Travelling that distance, squeezing in a qualifying and two races, the last finishing at 6:00 pm and then having to travel home again, may well have put some people off.
Conditions were very changeable and there was much debate about choice of tyres. Had it stayed dry, slicks would have been the right choice, but a shower just as the cars went out certainly favoured those would had opted for wets as the safe option.
Once again it was Mark Charteris on pole, comfortably from John Harrison. Rob Manson drove superbly to nearly snatch second from John. He was joined on row 2 by Peter Carter, albeit nearly seven seconds slower.
Alan Cook was on row 3, joined by the B Sport Pole man, John Muirhead. Next up was the real surprise, Adam Wheeler, on only his third race meeting and his first visit to the circuit, secured second from Rachel Green, who had ventured out on slicks.
Row 5 saw an improving Steve Littler, alongside Adam Paterson, who had also opted for slicks. Row 6 had Ian Mitchell (who hates the wet!) and Mike Sales, forced on to slicks by a wet tyre problem and on row 7 we had Trish Hunter and Martin Halliday.
By lunchtime the rain had gone completely, so the whole grid were on slicks. Sadly, Rob Manson had to pull into the pits after the green flag lap with a misfire, so thirteen cars took the start. Mark took advantage of his pole position to grab the lead he was never to lose. John Harrison settled into second and Alan Cook third, these three well ahead of the B Sport battle.
Rachel grabbed the advantage at the start and it was she who led the B Sport train at the end of the first lap. John Muirhead was next up, being harried by a fast starting Mike Sales. Adam Paterson, struggling to get through the pack, was fourth, closely followed by Steve Littler and a slow starting Adam Wheeler. Then came Ian Mitchell and Trish Hunter.
In A Sport, Martin Halliday was making impressive progress from the back of the grid, while Peter Carter had a problem and was slowing.
Whilst the A Sport fight looked all but settled, the B Sport battle was far from it and really livened up. Rachel had broken away and looked comfortable up front, but the train fighting for second was the dice of the race. Adam Paterson forced his way through to second, closely followed by Adam Wheeler. John Muirhead and Mike Sales were keeping them very honest and under pressure, Adam Paterson took to the grass at the hairpin, forcing Adam Wheeler to a complete stop and allowing John and Mike through.
At half distance, Mark was comfortably clear of John in the A Sport race, with Alan Cook half a lap behind in third. Martin Halliday had climbed to fourth and Peter Carter fifth. Rob Manson having started the race from the pit lane two laps down, was sixth.
In B Sport Rachel was still leading, but Adam Paterson was now lapping over three seconds faster and catching her. John Muirhead was third, under pressure from Adam Wheeler, Mike Sales was fifth, Steve Littler sixth, Ian Mitchell seventh and Trish eighth.
On laps 11 and 12 it changed at the front. Firstly and completely inexplicably, John Harrison having a very lonely race, ran onto the grass at Chris’s Curve and hit the tyre wall a mighty thump, wiping out the nearside front corner. This promoted Alan Cook to second and Martin Halliday to third.
Adam Paterson had taken the lead from Rachel, who then had to retire to the pits with a broken front wishbone. This promoted John Muirhead to second and would have promoted Adam Wheeler into his first podium, had he not gone off at Park and retired with a damaged floor. Therefore it was Mike Sales who moved into the bronze medal slot.
The chequered flag came out for Mark, who had lapped the entire field, with the exception of Alan Cook, who crossed the line to start his final lap just yards ahead of Mark. Martin Halliday secured his first Classic Clubmans podium, Peter Carter and Rob Manson were fourth and fifth in A Sport respectively.
In B Sport, Adam Paterson was a comfortable victor, well clear of John Muirhead and Mike Sales. Steve Littler was fourth, Ian Mitchell fifth and Trish Hunter sixth.
The second race ended up as a very anti climatic affair after Rob Manson had tried to go through Hall Bends two abreast with Peter Carter, hit the barrier very hard and blocked the track bringing out the red flag.
After a lengthy delay, only ten cars made the restart. Adam Wheeler had broken the noseframe trying to go through Coppice three abreast and was unable to take his position on the grid. Martin Halliday had developed a problem and Rob Manson had joined John Harrison with a large repair bill!
The race was shortened to just three laps due to time constraints and the positions into the first bend were pretty much the final places. Mark took A Sport well clear of Peter Carer and Alan Cook and Adam Paterson took B Sport honours, clear of a superb drive from Mike Sales, keeping Rachel Green at bay, despite her robust attempts to force her way through. John Muirhead keeping a watching brief on this pairing. Ian was fourth, just keeping Trish at bay with Steve Littler in sixth.
Not the best of days, with an unsatisfactory ending. However, a dominant performance from Mark increased his championship lead and a not so dominant performance from Adam Paterson, but it still saw him take the championship lead in the absence of both Clive and Barry.
Two great drives from Mike Sales deservedly won him the driver of the day award and mechanic of the day went to Tom Dunstan for his repair work on the Doris.
Most of you will also have seen the very apologetic note from Rob Manson, for ruining the race with his rather optimistic move on Peter Carter. Brain fade aside, it was great to see Rob’s apology and to publicly admit he was at fault. All credit to him. This may be an example to others.
A six week break now, before we all descend on Croft for the extravaganza on August 7th./8th. We must all make the effort to be there (Including our northern cousins who don’t like venturing South of Sheffield!). This is a big meeting and we need to raise the average grid size for this year.
Hope to see you there.

Race report from Sue Facer

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