Bernie’s Sports Racing & V8s at Donington Park with the 750 Motor Club – Easter Monday 5th April 2021
Qualifying report by Cass Lambert, with thanks, the rest by Marcus Bicknell to whom corrections should be address firstname.lastname@example.org
It was a very chilly Easter Monday morning when 21 drivers from Bernie’s Sports Racing & V8s were honoured to be at the first 750 Motor Club meeting of the year at Donington Park. The changeable weather forecast had predicted rain and snow but in the end it turned out to be a very small snow shower during the qualifying which didn’t affect proceedings. Some drivers had put tape over part of the radiator grille to reduce colling but took them off for the race; we were fortunate that the weather did warm up by a few degrees later in the day. It stayed dry for a fantastic race.
Qualifying got underway at 10:20 with the 20 cars from Bernie’s Sports Racing & V8s along with an equal number from the CALM All Porsche Trophy who we were very pleased to be sharing a grid with again.
It was Christian Douglas in his beautifully prepared TVR Tuscan who was leading the way during qualifying closely followed by Matt Holben in another beautiful TVR Tuscan. Marcus Bicknell in the Ford ASCAR V8 Mustang was third quickest. Rounding out the top six was Christopher Ridge in his TVR Tuscan followed by Martin Reynolds in his Sebring and then series stalwart and Cheng Lim in his Cobra who he was sharing with Phil James this weekend. 5 Porsches were mixed into this grid line-up, two of them on the front row, which shows that the speeds of the two classes are quite compatible. Qualifying started very steady as a lot of these drivers and cars hadn’t been out for many months due to the Covid restrictions along with the very very chilly conditions meant that drivers had to warm these big engines up slowly and the tires took a lot of work to get any heat into them, but it was great to see so many fantastic cars out on the track and such an eclectic mix of cars as well!
It was great to see a newcomer to the series out with us, Daniel Birch, in a TVR Chimaera. Dan is currently building a TVR Tuscan and is new to the series but not new to racing and he did himself very proud during the race day.
At the end of qualifying there was unfortunately one casualty with Christian Douglas suffering a rare mechanical failure with his engine meaning that he was unable to take the start for the race which was a great shame as we had been looking for to a revisit of the battle he had previously with Matt Holben!! A rerun of this titanic battle will now have to wait for another day!
All of the drivers from Bernie’s Sports Racing & V8s lined up with the drivers from the CALM All Porsche Trophy in a mixed grid for the start of the race at 2pm. The two series run shared grids from time to time on the long circuits but continue to run their own races so there always great battles throughout the grid between the two series.
40-minute pit-stop race
From the rolling start the pack stayed basically in order with Matt Holben challenging the two Porsche Caymans in front, Marcus sliding past Porsche 33 Andrew Porter and No.27 Martin Reynolds (in his superb black Sebring) coming alongside Marcus into Redgate. Marcus shook his tail under acceleration towards the Craner Curves and stayed ahead of Porter and Reynolds. All the way down the long grid the were cars two abreast and battling, Porsches against V8s. The No.33 Porsche of Andrew Porter felt held up by Marcus on the first lap and challenged coming up under braking for the inside at the Melbourne hairpin; although Marcus was pushed wide he made a better run up a short hill to the Goddards hairpin and returned the compliment on the inside. So as they came past for the first lap, the two Porsche Caymans, Matt Holben’s TVR Tuscan, a Porsche Boxter and Marcus Bicknell in the No.22 ASCAR. You can see the first lap from Marcus’s in-car cameras at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBYaf6aOjaY
At the end of the first lap, not counting the Porsches in 1st, 2nd, 4th and 6th, the Bernie’s Sports Racing & V8s order was 56 Matt Holben, 22 Marcus Bicknell, 39 Phil James taking the first stint in Cheng’s RAM Cobra up from 10th on the grid, 27 Martin Reynolds, 54 Christopher Ridge TVR Tuscan who had lost places, 774 Martin Glennie TVR Chimaera and 58 Clive Letherby TVR Tuscan who had also lost ground. 571 Aaron Moyce TVR Tuscan came through then a gap to No.8 Adam Chodosh in the black Corvette, 66 Andrew Lambert in his RAM Cobra, 87 Peter Samuels MGB V8, 74 the Carters’ MGB V8, 25 Bill Thompson TVR Tuscan who had made up 6 places off the back of the grid, 154 Robert Frost Dax Tojiero, 50 Daniel Birch TVR Chimaera and 46 Stuart Entwhistle in his Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
Now the drivers started settling in for this 40 minute race which in the end would run for 22 laps of the long Grand Prix circuit. Phil James was on it, up to 2nd on lap 2 and passing Porsches left and right. 571 Aaron Moyce lost a few places on lap 3 while Bill Thompson continued his surge from the back, taking four cars on lap 3. On lap 5 No.8 Adam Chodosh was in the pits after an on-track incident but he kept running to finish last, 4 laps behind the leaders. No.27 Martin Reynolds’ Sebring had broken a half-shaft and was out after 6 laps and No25 Bill Thompson’s TVR Tuscan had succumbed after 7 laps.
The pits opened for the obligatory 90 second pit stop after 10 minutes, so the first cars were stopping on lap 9 including 571 Aaron Moyce who according to the lap charts seems to have missed an extra lap; lap times of less than 110 seconds for the leaders meant that a car stopping for 90 seconds plus a long pit lane at 60 kph would come out a full lap behind. Such was also the case for No154 Robert Frost.
On lap 10 No56 Matt Holben was briefly in the lead on the road as the Porsches started coming in too, with Marcus Bicknell and Martin Glennie pitting at the first opportunity at the end of lap 10. No39 Phil James pitted late so he was in the lead for lap 12. The TSL Timing sheets which you can see at https://www.tsl-timing.com/file/?f=SPECIAL/2021/211491v8c.pdf have a list of the time each car took in the pits. The Bernie’s Sports Racing & V8s, experts, timing their stationary time on a stop watch to 90 seconds and keeping to 60 kph (Marcus has a digital speedometer projecting onto the windscreen for a heads-up display costing £25 on eBay), logged elapsed times of 1’55 to 1’57. A couple of cars, including a Porsche or two, managed it in 1’50 to 1’51, so the TLS/Clerk of the Course calculation may not be spot on. To be continued. This all compares favourably with the 3’20 logged by Marcus Bicknell and his laid-back-Californian co-driver Rob Manson in such a race at Donington in 2017, but then Rob had omitted to put his helmet on before Marcus came in.
Another glitchington from TLS is that on Lap 14 most of the cars came through twice. Some of the cars changed numbers as they went roung. This transmogrification of the racers was clearly caused by long Covid reaching chip sets in the timing main frame, proving that computer viruses are indeed transmitted in the same way, and with the same effects, as human viruses.
So it was not till lap 16 that we could see who was where. No56 Matt Holben had got past the Porsche Cayman No.36 of Jonathan Evans and was leading on the road and the Bernie’s Sports Racing & V8s runners. Our 39 22 27 and 58 followed while 156 25 154 87 571 and 50 were a lap behind. Trailing were 46 and 8.
Matt was flying and edged away 12 seconds from the fastest Porsche. Marcus distanced his playmate Andrew Porter and his Porsche by over a minute. Cheng brought the RAM SC Cobra in third. And so it stayed to the end despite Marcus managing to spin on the last corner trying to nip past some back markers. We finished…
1. Matt HOLBEN TVR Tuscan
2. Marcus BICKNELL Ford Ascar V8 Mustang
3. LIM / JAMES RAM SC
4. Christopher RIDGE TVR Tuscan
5. Clive LETHERBY TVR Tuscan
6. Martin GLENNIE TVR Chimaera
7. Robert FROST Dax Tojiero
8. Peter SAMUELS MGB V8 Roadster
9. Andrew LAMBERT RAM Cobra9202
10. Aaron MOYCE TVR Tuscan14202
11. Daniel BIRCH TVR Chimaera18202
12. Stuart ENTWISTLE Chevrolet Monte Carlo
13. Adam CHODOSH Chevrolet Corvette
Martin REYNOLDS Sebring
Bill THOMPSON TVR Tuscan
P.CARTER/B.CARTER MGB GT
Matt HOLBEN TVR Tuscan 1:45.008 85.27mph 137.23kph
Including the Porsches it was…
POS NO CLNAMEENTRYBEST ONLAPSGAP DIFFTIMEMPHPIC
1 56 B Matt HOLBEN TVR Tuscan
2 36 SP1 Jonathan EVANS Porsche Cayman
3 45 SPDA Adam SOUTHGATE Porsche Boxster 986
4 22 A Marcus BICKNELL Ford Ascar V8 Mustang
5 33 SPDA Andrew PORTER Porsche Boxster
6 39 A LIM / JAMES RAM SC
7 147 SP1 James COLEMAN Porsche Cayman
8 16 SPDA Leigh BOWDEN Porsche Boxster
9 54 A Christopher RIDGE TVR Tuscan
10 59 SP3 EGAR / BIRKETT Porsche
11 139 SP2 Rob HARDY Porsche Boxster Lap
12 58 A Clive LETHERBY TVR Tuscan
13 47 SP3 Ryan MONE Porsche 944
14 774 D Martin GLENNIE TVR Chimaera
15 23 SP3 Stuart INGS Porsche 944
16 15 SP2 J.WALKER/C.WALKER Porsche Boxster
17 125 SP2 Matthew KYLE-HENNEYPorsche Boxster
18 156 SP3 T.MCHUGH/J.MCHUGH Porsche 944
19 28 SPDA Andy BAKER Porsche Boxster
20 154 A Robert FROST Dax Tojiero
21 30 SP2 SAMPSON/HAMPSON Porsche 968 Sport
22 87 D Peter SAMUELS MGB V8 Roadster
23 142 SP2 Alan DRAIN Porsche Boxster
24 66 A Andrew LAMBERT RAM Cobra9202
25 571 A Aaron MOYCE TVR Tuscan14202
26 50 D Daniel BIRCH TVR Chimaera18202
27 166 SP2 Vikram SUDERA Porsche 986 Boxster
28 35 SP3 Daniel CREGO Porsche 968 Club Sport
29 11 SP4 Andrew PRITCHARD Porsche 924
30 46 D Stuart ENTWISTLE Chevrolet Monte Carlo
31 8 B Adam CHODOSH Chevrolet Corvette
DNF 27 C Martin REYNOLDS Sebring
DNF 41 SP4 Karl ROSSIN Porsche
DNF 25 Bill THOMPSON TVR Tuscan
DNF 74 P.CARTER/B.CARTER MGB GT
You should be able to see the complete race video from trackside cameras, with commentary, at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpCo32QsQDBsIhZagJS0Alw but as of 7 May 2021 it was not up there yet. Keep trying.
Full results and details at https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/211491
Cass Lambert wrote the report on qualifying and Marcus Bicknell wrote the rest from the timesheets and his own experiences.