Snetterton 6th July 2019 – race report

This report seems not to have got on the web site in the summer… apologies. Here it is now.

Yankee cars on top until the rain comes down
Bernie’s Sports Racing & V8s at Snetterton
with the 750 Motor Club, Saturday 6th July 2019

Qualifying

Saturday was cooler than it had been for two weeks… welcome except for the threat of rain later. We had a lazy morning start with quallies at 10h39 for 15 minutes. Mathew Smith in the Technicolor TVR Chimaera had gone home after testing on Friday; oil surge made a risk of blowing up the engine so he had to stand down. He had also lost his new roof which was so successful at Brands Hatch.
The Ascars of Marcus Bicknell and Andrew Knight and Simeon Chodosh’s Chevrolet Corvette were the fastest cars out there, all three in the 2 minute 12s. The absence of the Crosslés gave this unusual feel to the top of the pack, as did the absence of Cheng Lim’s own Cobra in favour of sharing Andy Lambert’s. Two Spires and a BMW were out with us, but from a different series, qualifying out of category.
Best qually times set the grid for Race 1 (Bicknell, Chodosh, Knight) and 2nd best time the grid for Race 2 (Bicknell, Knight,l Chodosh). Geoff Taylor (TVR Griffith 200), Peter Samuels (MGB GT V8), Paul Kennerley (Marcos GT), Mark Callahan (Taydec Mk3), Mark Bowd (Ford GT40), Andy Lambert (RAM Cobra) smf Shaun Holmes (MGC GT) made up the top ten.

Race 1

Shaun Holmes did not make it to the start so only ten cars lined up at 14h for our first race. Marcus Bicknell in the No.22 yellow and red Joey Logano livery Ford Fusion Ascar Mk3 led away and had a comfortable lead half way round the first lap. Conditions were a bit damp, so tricky, and all drivers were making the effort to get used to the track. There was even a period of light drizzle on about lap 2.

Andy Lambert in his No66 RAM Cobra got back past Mark Bowd and the No1 Ford GT40 on lap 1. At the same time, eyes were turned to Andrew Knight in his black No97 Andronicas-liveried Pontiac Ascar as he got past Simeon Chodosh (black No8 1958 Corvette) for second and went after Marcus. Showing huge confidence in his car, his tyres and himself, Andrew attacked Marcus out of the Bomb Hole and drove past him on the outside of Coram on the first lap! Cries of amazement floated up from the … well… dozens of spectators at Murrays as Andrew took the lead.

You can see this overtake from Marcus’s in-car video cameras and the rest of the race at https://youtu.be/EDyrm_kmw5c

Up at the front, Marcus got to grips with the conditions and tailed Andrew until lap 6 when he got through on the brakes to the Agostini hairpin in the infield. Both drivers were finding grip and picking up speed; Marcus was the first under 2’11 on lap 5 (as against a 2’12.52 in qualifying) but it was Andrew who set the fastest race lap at 2’10.15 on lap 8. He came rushing up behind Marcus at the end of the back straight, through the Bomb Hole jinking left and right, round backmarker Graham Turner in his light blue Ford GT40 (which he had driven from home for the meeting) and attempting another mega-pass at Coram. Andrew was so stoked up, whether or not he knew it was the last lap, that he slipped inside Marcus on the brakes for Riches at the end of the pit straight. In the lead, on the last lap. But not for long. Andrew went long on the brakes into the Montreal hairpin and understeered off to the left and onto the grass. By the time he got the 97 black Ascar straight and on the track, the 22 yellow Ascar was through. Marcus kept the pressure on for the whole of the last lap and set his fastest time of 2’10.56, to prevent Andrew getting back at him at Coram. Marcus took the chequered flag and his first win in a big bore car, his previous wins having been pre-2013 in 1600 or 2 litre Mallocks in Clubmans. The Ascar 1-2 was a happy success for Duane Kidd’s Revolution Fabrications of Stanton, just 15 miles from the circuit, who prep 5 Ascars for circuit and oval racing, with the support of Chris Richardson and Lee Maddox.

Mid field action was busy even if there was not a huge field. No.84 Peter Samuels in his MGB GT V8 got past Simeon on lap 4 but Simeon got back at him 2 laps later and it ended with Simeon 4th and Peter 5th. No.61 Geoff Taylor in his TVR Griffith 200 had dropped to 7th on lap 2 but he recovered to get past both Peter and Simeon by the end. Paul Kennerley, Mark Callahan, Andy Lambert and the two GT40s, Mark Bowd and Graham Turner were the remaining finishers. The full results are below.

1 22 VA Marcus BICKNELL Ford Fusion ASCAR
2 97 VA Andrew KNIGHT Pontiac ASCAR
3 61 VA Geoff TAYLOR TVR Griffith 200
4 8 VB Simeon CHODOSH Chevrolet Corvette
5 84 VC Peter SAMUELS MGB GT V8
6 96 VB Peter KENNERLEY Marcos GT
7 60 VC Mark CALLAHAN Taydec Mk 3
8 66 VA Andrew LAMBERT RAM Cobra
9 1 VB Mark BOWD Ford GT40
10 25 VB Graham TURNER Ford GT40


Race 2

The grid for Race 2 was established on the 2nd fastest qualifying times but with cars with a different driver from Race 1 at the back. The weather had been awful since lunchtime with rain pooling on the circuit and round the paddock. No-one knew how seriously to take Marcus’s pre-race intelligence that the persistent rain was about to stop, but they knew he was wrong when he, the poll sitter again, spun off the track from behind the pace car after only two corners! He neatly backed the yellow Ascar into the Armco, mussed up the fibre glass of the rear left corner and knocked the externally-mounted Go Pro camera off. He had indeed kept his dry tyres on! He took the rolling start, gingerly, from the back of the crocodile of cars.

Simeon was the first on the pace after the rolling start and Peter Kennerley spun his No.96 Marcos GT on the first lap. Sam Callahan (in his dad’s dark blue No.60 Taydec Mk3) briefly took the lead on lap 1 before the power and grip of the No.84 MGB GT V8 driven by Peter Samuels passed him a few corners later. Indeed Peter then made first place his and dominated the wet race; yes, it had started raining again. Mark Callahan was showing well and up to 2nd on lap 1, Mark Bowd (dark blue No.1 Ford GT40) up to 3rd, positions they would also maintain to the end of the race.

Cheng Lim was the driver for this race of Andy Lambert’s No.66 white and red RAM Cobra and was up to 5th, Simeon Chodosh 4th but dropping back. Indeed Cheng was past Simeon at the end of lap 2. The two Ascars were showing their American heritage (I love it when the scrutineers ask where the windscreen wipers are) and slipped to the back, Andrew retiring at the end of his 3rd lap. The rear window was loose on Peter Samuel’s car but he kept knocking in laps at about 2½ minutes to maintain the lead to the end. Marcus, having set fastest Class A lap time, was foolish enough to touch the throttle coming out of Palmer on lap 6, chasing Simeon’s Corvette and Peter’s Marcos; the resultant spin and sideways slide took him 200 yards across the wet grass infield towards the cars exiting the Agostini hairpin but luckily stopped before getting back onto the circuit. As if in sympathy, Peter Kennerley came off at Coram on the last lap and his Marcos GT got a bit of a bullying from the Armco. William Bryan (No.61 TVR Griffith) was keeping it all together and finished 6th.

Trackside plaudits went to Mark Bowd for a fantastic drive by in the beautiful GT40 to take the 3rd place on track and a 1st in Class.

Despite the bad weather and the various bits of damage we had a very cheerful awards ceremony and chose to remember the good bits of the day’s racing.

Pos No Class Name
1 84 VC Peter SAMUELS MGB GT V8
2 60 VC Sam CALLAHAN Taydec Mk 3
3 1 VB Mark BOWD Ford GT40
4 66 VA Cheng LIM RAM Cobra
5 8 VB Simeon CHODOSH Chevrolet Corvette
6 61 VA William BRYAN TVR Griffith 200
7 22 VA Marcus BICKNELL Ford Fusion ASCAR
8 96 VB Peter KENNERLEY Marcos GT DNF
9 97 VA Andrew KNIGHT Pontiac ASCAR DNF

This report is by Cass Lambert, who we thank, worked up by Marcus Bicknell after the event with the help of the lap charts by HS Sports Timing and Results System.