As dawn broke over Santa Pod Raceway a field of eager drivers set themselves up for a day of head to head battles. The new random barrel orders was drawn and this weekends see drivers take the course as 2 1 2 3 before the sprint to the finish.
With half of this weekends RWD field made up of MX5’s it seems to be becoming the popular choice of many to navigate the barrels. Its proving to also be very competitive against its higher powered rivals. It benefits from being small and nibble, to work its way along the confines of 14m wide track.
When the Barrel Sprint started back in 2010 the Mazda was not a considered a competitive machine for the competition but as the years have gone on a new generation of drivers have brought the cheaper route into motorsport to the top of the table.
The mornings practice session gave plenty of seat time and see times dropping in all classes with drivers regular checking the Icaris timing screen to check they were ahead of their rivals and we got to see some excellent driving by the field.
The AWD class were pushing each other all day but unfortunately after clutch issues, Michael Irwin who had been storming through practice setting one of the fastest times of the day, qualified 4th. He only continued into the finals hoping one of his competitors would make a mistake and a possible DNF.
Unfortunately for Irwin no mistakes were made and the other 3 drivers pushed each other to the limits to secure the top 3 podium places.
Jonathan ‘Bucky’ Buck seems to really be getting to grips with his Subarus new Nankang tyres and lead on both runs by 1 second over Andrew Stevens and secured his second top step podium win of the season.
In the U1 class the Biddles GBS Zero suffered some mechanical issues and Andy was unable to complete all his 4 qualifying runs. However this didn’t stop him taking the top qualifying position which sent him straight into the finals.
Nick Biddle and Mark Elder fought it out to go against Andy and with both making mistakes it wasn’t the cleanest fight but Mark was victorious. Andy and Mark lined up for the final and with setting his own PB of the day Mark took the win by 0.8 seconds. After missing round 1 that brings him that little bit closer to the brothers in the fight for the championship.
Our RWD competition see Top 16 battles bring Team Japs husband and wife fight it out on the asphalt, Terri is still getting to grips with her new S14 and had some troubles earlier in the day but did not give Mark an easy ride into the top 8.
A close battle was drawn between 14 year old Owen Dodwell and Robert Peat. Both new to the series for 2018, they are taking both the pressure and the course demands in their stride. A close battle see Dodwell take the win by 1.5 seconds over the 2 runs.
The closest battle of the top 8 see Neal Beagley in his MX5 push Mark Youngs S14 to the limit in both runs and only 0.6 seconds split the 2 drivers over both runs of the course. Young took the win to be the only non MX5 in the top 4 battles. Neals determination and performance over the day was noted by staff who awarded him with the Hardcharger award.
The top 4 of current Championship leader Ryan Milton and second place Mark Young were joined by Spencer Peacock and Richard Tickner for whom this was his first time in the top 4 battles.
Milton and Young lined up against each other in the top 4 battle and a barrel order mistake from Mark almost see him DNF. Although he realised before it was too late it was not enough to catch up with Ryan and see him face off with Tickner in the battle for 3rd. Tickner took the win making it a top 3 all driving MX5s.
Milton was joined by Spencer in the final after he took the win against Tickner. Ryans winning streak was not about to be broken however and he took a convincing win and another Samcosport trophy home for the cabinet!
Catch the next round in front of the Santa Pod crowds at Ultimate Street Car on August 4th.
- Jonathan Buck 27.661
- Dmitrij Sribnyj 28.519
- Andy Stevens 29.229
- Jonathan Buck
- Andrew Stevens
- Dmitrij Sribnyj
- Andy Biddle 29.452
- Nick Biddle 29.934
- Mark Elder 30.05
- Mark Elder
- Andy Biddle
- Nick Biddle
- Ryan Milton 29.902
- Richard Tickner 30.425
- Spencer Peacock 30.618
- Ryan Milton
- Spencer Peacock
- Richard Tickner
Thanks to series sponsors for your continued support:
Samcosport, Icaris Race Solutions, JELF Motorsport, CTRL, HPI racing, Syclone signs and graphics, Aireshelta, Hel Performance and Ruislip Tyre Service
Photos : Craig Toull