Bennett leads but Tigra turbo wins Bull fight
Try as reigning Castle Combe GT champion Tony Bennett did, almost towing Alan Hamilton’s blue Westfield-Duratec past pole sitter Ollie Bull’s Ford Ecoboost-powered Vauxhall Tigra Silhouette on the initial dash up Avon Rise to Quarry, the Welshman’s high-achieving Caterham R300 didn’t have the ammunition to keep Bull behind for long.
Further tweaks to uncle Jeremy Irwin’s Fleurtations Tigra saw Bull cut a superb 1m05.825s (101.17mph) lap in qualifying, 1.422s inside the combo’s Easter Monday pole time, on a bitterly cold morning. Bennett ran Bull closest, his 1:08.631 seven-tenths quicker than young Dominic Shepherd’s 1:09.349 effort in his spectacular Nissan V6-motivated Mitjet Audi Supertourer clone, with Hamilton a solid fourth on 1:09.933.
Chris Everill’s bass baritone Ginetta-Chevrolet G55 (1:10.359) and Bradley John’s mighty Mitsubishi Evo 9 shared row three, but the latter was in trouble. His turbocharged engine, capable of 900bhp on full boost, continued to pressurise its oil catch tank, indicating that the cause of Easter’s smoky Easter retirement, which the team has been chasing since last season, and has replumbed the lubrication system - still eludes it.
Former Radical and Spire racer Brent Hill had got the turbo Honda-powered Road Runner SR2 going this time though, recording a 1:14.961. Jasver Sapra (BMW E36 M3), Team HEL’s David Tyson - graduating from a Renault Clio Hot Hatch to an ex-Team Hard VW Golf TCR - were next. The Clio 172s of Adam Perrett and Cory Woolfrey, split by Alexander Baldwin’s Honda Civic completed the dozen runners and riders.
Once ahead of the fast-starting Caterham, Bull charged to his second victory in three rounds, albeit settling for a 1:07.008s best lap with savage winds delaying his avowed intent to break in to the 64 second bracket and challenge Craig Dolby’s record of 1:04.959s, set in 2018 in a 6.2-litre Chevrolet-engined tubeframe Volvo S60 clone.
Bennett left Hamilton to scrap with Shepherd, Alan getting back past Dominic to regain third, three seconds adrift of Tony. After a spin at Quarry, Everill almost matched Bennett’s pace en route to a lapped fourth, ahead of Hill. John’s Mitsubishi lasted two laps, thus he and his equally frustrated crew headed back to Bridgend to lick its wounds again.
Tyson pipped Tower spinner Sapra for seventh, and Class D honours. Meanwhile, the trio at the back had a whale of a time, Baldwin, Perrett and Woolfrey blanketed by 4.2 seconds after a fine afternoon’s sport. Bennett, unbeaten in his division to date, leads the championship after three of the nine rounds, with18points to Bull’s 17. Everill lies third on 11.
Posted on Tuesday 11 May 2021
at Castle Combe
18 April 2022