BMW denies Honda after Putt retires Mazda monster - On pole by six seconds, it was no surprise that Steve Putt and his trick seven-litre 600bhp Chevrolet V8-engined Mazda RX-7 dominated our eighth annual Dave Allan Trophy event – run in memory of race sponsor Honda of the UK Manufacturing’s much-missed test driver – until the hybrid peeled into the pits in a smokescreen shortly after three-quarters’ distance. At that point the complexion of the 45-minute enduro changed, Alyn James’ Honda Civic Type R FK8 leading strongly until Charles Hyde-Andrews-Bird growled Jeremy Cooke’s understated BMW M3 E92 past for a comfortable victory.
Putt posted his Q-time on his first flying lap, before the heavens opened, his 1m10.271s (94.77mph) best in the iridescent blue monster leaving rivals stunned. James took five laps to record 1:16.290, swift enough to join Steve on the front row, with the four-litre V8-engined Cooke/CHAB BMW and Dan Ludlow’s beautifully presented Rutpen Honda Civic Type R behind on the second row of the 22-car grid.
Stuart Emmett’s MG ZR contrasted with Toronto-born Del Brett’s Porsche Boxster on the third rank. The top 10 was rounded out by Keith Issatt/Kevin Fulbrook (Sussex Road & Race/Airtec BMW Mini Cooper S), Daniel Wheeler in the ex-Dave Allan Honda Jazz, Paul Dickinson (Mini R53) and the Cooper S of Dave and Pete Spiller.
Brickie Ray Ferguson (MG ZR) punched above his weight for 11th, with the Josh Fulbrook/Andrew Bailey Cooper S alongside and the closely-matched Mazda MX-5s of Dan Blake and Adrian Johnson alongside each other in their mirrors. Queen of Combe Ilsa Cox shared son-in-law Dave Russell’s RAF-liveried BMW 325i which started 15th, with the Civic of Stephen Davey and speed eventer Caroline Ryder to its left.
Thomas Taylor (Hyundai Coupe), Mark and Nathan Sutton’s Vauxhall Astra, the Mini Cooper R50 of Gary Franks/Steve Waight, plus the Citroen C1s of Ryan Edgecombe and David Knight, split by the MX-5 of Kelly and Dan Williams completed the runners and riders for the five o’clock flat race.
The race was all about Putt’s fire-breathing Mazda V8 – aka “The Marshmallow Toaster” – in the early stages. Following a short safety car intervention, the Plymouth motor engineer made his mandatory pit stop after 12 laps then roared back out, setting a best lap of 1m09.912s (95.26mph). James led in the interim and only when he pitted at the end of lap 24 (right at the end of the window) did Putt go back ahead. But even then he had to work hard to shake off CHAB, flying in Cooke’s BMW having taken it over eight laps in, during the full-course yellow.
Then there was drama for with less than eight minutes remaining the Mazda slowed and headed forlornly pitward, its engine having thrown a lot of oil out due to a breather issue, according to dad Chris. With the pressure off, CHAB duly took up the running and reeled off the final seven laps to the chequer. Only James and Ludlow were on the same lap in their different model Civic Type Rs. An honourable 2-3 for Hondas behind a factory-built race car of twice the engine capacity delighted the Swindon company, a long-time supporter of Castle Combe.
Emmett finished an outstanding fourth, a lap clear of Brett, with the Cooper Ss of Fulbrook/Bailey and the Spillers fewer than five seconds apart in sixth and seventh. Blake and Johnson were next up, having diced in their MX-5s, with the Suttons’ Astra and Wheeler’s little Jazz in the chase. Eleventh placed Wheeler, in fact, lapped quicker than the three cars ahead of him.Posted on Monday 17 August 2020