Summer Spectacular Race Meeting 10/11th June
CCRC HOT HATCH SERIES
Sean Goverd continued his fine form with a pair of Hot Hatch victories in his Citroen AX at the Summer Spectacular.
Goverd scorched to a double pole position, even outpacing Chris Southcott’s Honda Civic EK9 by more than half a second. The lead pair held a significant advantage over the rest of the field, with Shaun Deacon (Peugeot 106 GTi) and John McMillan (Ford Fiesta) sharing third and fourth positions on the grid for Sunday’s two races, based on drivers’ two best qualifying laps.
The Chippenham driver’s two wins came in contrasting fashions. While Southcott got the jump at the start of the wet opener, Goverd was quickly back in front and sprinted away to the tune of nearly 3s on the first lap alone.
The Peugeots of Deacon and Geoff Ryall were trying to cling on, and Deacon managed to pass Southcott on the second lap of an eventual 12 before the race came under caution. Robert Watson had put his Renault Clio X85 Cup into the barriers at Quarry.
The clear-up took four laps, after which Goverd made a good restart as Southcott appeared a little over-eager to pass Deacon before the leader made too much of a break. Behind them, Ryall ran wide and lost fourth position to Jonathan Fish’s Clio.
But nobody could live with Goverd’s relentless pace in the wet. He reeled off the laps to win by an enormous 20s margin. Behind him, Southcott lost out to Deacon once again before slowing and then being forced to pit with gearbox gremlins. Having performed an overnight change, Southcott hadn’t altered the clutch to suit the new ’box, which meant it wasn’t fully disengaging.
Ryall was recovering well from his mistake, demoting Fish and then setting the race’s fastest lap as the track began to dry and he closed in on Deacon. He took second on the penultimate lap, Deacon later explaining that, with multiple yellow flags, he wasn’t sure he’d passed a green and was being cautious.
CPR Performance driver Ryall held off his WAS Racing counterpart Deacon on the final lap to finish in second position by just 0.6s. Deacon still won Class C in third overall, while Fish was the Class A winner in fourth.
The track was dry by the time of the sequel. With clutch and gearbox now in harmony, Southcott was able to keep the pressure on Goverd as the front two streaked clear of the rest. The Southampton driver made his move at Quarry on lap four of 12 (with the meeting behind timetable the race was shortened from 20 minutes to 15).
But Goverd’s Citroen stuck with the Red Ace Motorsport Civic and made his attack as they dealt with backmarking traffic. He got ahead through Quarry just after half-distance, and though the pair ran side by side through Old Paddock, Goverd made the move stick.
Still the battle raged. Despite briefly losing touch in traffic, Southcott homed back in on the leader. On the final lap, he briefly edged ahead at Quarry but couldn’t make the move stick and Goverd was able to complete his second double of the year.
Behind them, there was an intense battle for third. It was initially held by McMillan but he lost out in a fourth-lap tangle and was forced to retire. That gave Ryall a little breathing space and he was able to ease clear to secure third position at the flag. Deacon’s fourth position was enough for Class C honours, while Jordan Hurman’s Honda Civic won Class A in fifth overall. Gary Franks (Mini Cooper S) twice prevailed in Class E.
CCRC SALOON CHAMPIONSHIP
Wet conditions made for a spectacular opening Saloon Championship race, with Harrison Chamberlain ecstatic to take a first victory, before Combe master Gary Prebble was triumphant later in the day.
Prebble was back out in his venerable SEAT Leon, complete with uprated turbo, and used it to good effect, outqualifying brother Adam’s turbocharged Vauxhall Astra by just 0.113s. Rob Ellick’s Audi TT was just a few tenths further back, with Dave Spiller’s similar car set to start alongside.
Qualifying fifth for the opening race was a very promising start for Chamberlain’s new Volkswagen Golf GTI, which had been built up in just six weeks, having previously been his road car!
It was very wet by the time of the first race, which unfortunately meant that the pre-race public gridwalk had to be cancelled. Adam Prebble surged off the line in his Astra to take an early, with brother Gary latching onto his tail. But the real eye-opener was the pace of Chamberlain, who jumped to third and stuck with the experienced brothers.
By the second lap, Chamberlain had taken a shock lead. The Prebble brothers had clashed through the Esses, with Adam having a quick spin and Gary also being delayed. That handed Chamberlain a lead of nearly 5s over the Astra, with Ellick up to third and the Leon fourth.
Chamberlain was never headed thereafter, but this was by no means a gimme handed to him on a plate. Chamberlain’s pace was genuine and he actually extended his lead. Meantime, Gary Prebble had dispatched Ellick and was homing back in on his brother. He outbraked him into Tower on lap 11 of 15 to take second.
But Prebble could make little impression on Chamberlain’s lead and, despite running low on fuel in the closing laps as well as suffering from overheating tyres, Harrison held on take a dream victory. Chamberlain punched the air as he crossed the line some 4.5s clear of the Prebbles, Gary ahead of Adam.
Any fears of awkward post-race scenes between the brothers were allayed as they chuckled away having both given it their all. Adam’s unbeaten start to 2023 was over but he didn’t mind. “I’d rather ‘race’ [than clear off into the distance],” was his verdict. “One of the best races I’ve had in years.”
Ellick was more than 30s back in fourth, while veteran Mark Wyatt (Vauxhall Astra) continued his unbeaten run in Class B, fifth overall. James Keepin (MG ZR) won Class C in sixth overall, while a close Class D battle went the way of Mike Good (Vauxhall Corsa).
The dry second race was going to be hard-pushed to live up to its prequel, but the Prebbles still put on a show out front. Once again, Adam was quicker off the line in his Astra, and Gary also initially dropped behind Ellick.
Ellick lost time on the grass on the second lap, and Gary Prebble passed him at Camp to take second. Gary then started chipping away at his brother’s lead. With a series of fastest laps, the Leon was all over the back of the Astra by the end of lap five of 12 (reduced by earlier delays).
Gary was able to get alongside his brother a couple of times but couldn’t make the move stick until Adam made a mistake on lap 10, putting two wheels on the dirt exiting the Esses. Once ahead, Gary Prebble pulled away to a 3s victory over his brother.
Ellick was closer to the leaders in dry conditions, taking the final step of the podium some 6s further back. Spiller was fourth, with Chamberlain fifth on this occasion. Nonetheless, it had been a very impressive performance from the Paulton youngster, who earned the CCRC Driver of the Day award for his efforts.
Wyatt again dominated Class B to extend his overall championship lead. In Class C, Keepin hit trouble early on, leaving the similar MG ZRs of James Blake and Lee Waterman to fight for the honours. It was resolved when Waterman slowed in the closing stages. Mike Good was again triumphant in Class D.