Snetterton, Norfolk hosted the second 750 Motor Club CARTEK Club Endurorace of the year and proved as unforgiving on the eclectic field of entries as Donington the previous month. The front-running BMW 1 Series and Aston Martin Vantage both succumbed to the demons of endurance racing; both retiring with technical issues.
It was exactly this attrition that had given TWP cause for concern after a similar fate at this race last year. Team Principle Jon Earp said: "We dropped two cylinders on the way back from scrutineering for no apparent reason, got the car back to the garage and thought we'd fixed the fault, only to then suffer a small electrical fire in the engine bay. The car never set a wheel on-track all weekend. It was a huge disappointment, not to mention a very expensive lesson in how cruel motorsport can be. It was a very long, sombre drive back to the University!"
Thankfully the fears were unnecessary and the car ran well; Relationship Manager Will Earp said: "we'd attracted two new drivers to the Team and whilst Nick Dougill is an old hand at MX-5 racing, David Smith only had the experience of one race in a similar car to fall back on. Sadly a brake issue - binding front calipers - and session red flags meant we lost a lot of Friday testing which meant David would start the race with less than 40 minutes seat-time in the car but he drove consistently and smoothly bringing the car back in one piece for the pit-stop."
The rolling start proved painful, with David being on the outside of the grid he was mugged of two places by the first corner and lost a third on Bentley Straight to a much more powerful car but he held his composure and continued to reduce his times lap after lap.
A 3 minute 19 second pit-stop meant the Team knocked a full minute off the Donington box-time - the result of 'practice, practice, practice' pre-race - and Nick immediately showed his experience throwing a 2:21 on his first flying lap.
"Nick caught and overtook the first of the two Ginettas we were fighting." Earp Snr continued: "after going around them on the outside of Coram and taking a tighter line into Murrays he then took 20 seconds out of them in one lap, it was incredible to watch and we had to double then triple-check the timing screens! With a quarter-hour to go we had clawed back from P8 to P4 in Class. The maths said we needed 17 laps to catch the second Ginetta, sadly there were only 11 laps remaining and we ended exactly 19 seconds behind them. Had our pit-stop hit the minimum box-time of three minutes Nick would have been on them in that last lap and we may have been looking at a second podium finish in two races."
As always, a huge thank you to the 750 Motor Club who provided us with another action-packed weekend, to the Marshals without whom there would be no racing and of course to our Sponsors who keep us out there fighting on the track.
So, two races down and now a two-month break where we have a huge amount to do back in the Performance Car laboratory with the Mk3 still to see tarmac this year we are aiming for both cars on the grid in July. Whilst we're not racing in May there is something quite special happening, but more of that next month...
Next, the CARTEK Club Enduro series hits Anglesey, our local Circuit and one far-more suited to our cars. It's also a three hour, Saturday 'into the evening' rather than two hour Sunday race. We cannot wait!
All photographs (c) Sarah Clarke, Kinky-Pink Photography.
2017 Race Calendar:
750 Motor Club CARTEK Club Enduro
19 Mar Donington 2hr 23 Apr Snetterton 2hr 08 Jul Anglesey 3hr 20 Aug Silverstone (Int) 2hr 01 Oct Spa Francorchamps 2hr
750 Motor Club Birkett Relay
28 Oct Silverstone GP 6hr
BARC / Mission Motorsport Race of Remembrance
11/12 Nov Anglesey 12hr
That's 29 hours of racing!!!
TWP: Together, We Progress. In partnership with Wrexham Glyndwr University.