Sunday, 20 April, 2014

AJ Racing Time Attack Season Review

Posted by John Stewart On February - 3 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

AJ Racing Time Attack Season Review

AJ Racing was formed by Alison and Jonathon Morris towards the end of 2011 with thoughts of entering the UK Time Attack championship with their Ford Focus ST170. Their car was ideally suited to the Normally Aspirated Club Challenge class of the championship and plans were put in place to compete in a couple of rounds of the 2012 season as One Hit Wonders (OHWs).

Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire was the only circuit Jonathon had driven to date, although having lived in Scotland for over 10 years as part of the Black Watch Infantry with family still in the area, Jonathon was also keen to include Knockhill as it would double up with a local Ford Forcus Owner Club event in Perth.

As plans were being drawn up, several big name sponsors started to take an interest in the project, including Helix Autosport and Burton Power who generously sponsored the team by supplying one of their engines. This generous sponsorship enabled the AJ Racing team to not only be more competitive with a faster, well prepared car, but to attend more rounds in the championship.
With significant improvements being made to the Ford Focus of AJ Racing, it was clear that the first two rounds at Cadwell Park and Knockhill would have to be dropped, and all efforts were made to have the car ready for Round 3 at the iconic Brands Hatch circuit in Kent.

At the same time, Jonathon shared his dreams with Time Attack director Glen Horncastle to invite fellow injured comrades from the Band of Brothers and Band of Sisters to these events to work as part of their crew. With Jonathon’s background of youth working within a context of mentoring and guidance, he understood the importance of empowering people to help themselves by helping others, and the tremendously positive impact this project could make to their lives. The aim was to have BoB’s & BoS’s attend at each round, and with many circuits at different locations around the country this would provide fair attendance and more importantly allow individuals to engage.

Following on from the superb fundraising efforts of Ronnie Amis and other Time Attack drivers in 2011 by offering passenger laps around Snetterton in their cars in exchange for donations to Help For Heroes, the Time Attack team were completely supportive of this project, and warmly welcomed the Bands of Brothers and Sisters to each round. Glen, James and the rest of the Time Attack Team provided first class hospitality at each round for these injured servicemen and women, providing free entry tickets, lunch and VIP laps in the Subaru course cars and professional drift cars, as well as a massively warm welcome from everyone involved with the Time Attack series.

Brands Hatch provided a very steep learning curve for the team and Jonathon, who had never even driven the circuit in the dry, let alone under 3 inches of water. Undeterred by the conditions, Jonathon went onto record 3rd best time of the day in his class, and earn the team their first podium position of the year.

AJ Racing Focus at Brands Hatch

AJ Racing Focus at Brands Hatch

Rounds 4 and 5 of the championship were held over a long weekend at the spectacularly scenic Anglesey Circuit in Wales. Some lurid tail sliding action around the circuit prompted some head scratching into the set-up of the car, and it was discovered that the rear spring rates were some 300lbs/inch too light! Back on track, a ball joint failure caused a dramatic spin into Rocket corner at the top of the circuit. Undeterred, Jonathon returned to the pits to help his enthusiastic team work on the car, and get the car ready for the final session. Their hard work again paid off, with another 3rd place podium position and smile all round in the AJ Racing camp.

AJ Racing Focus at Anglesey

AJ Racing Focus at Anglesey

Round 5 was held on the different Coastal Circuit configuration at Anglesey, which introduced the daunting corkscrew corner. Unable to quite match the pace of his fellow competitors, Jonathon and the team were delighted with yet another excellent 3rd place.

The public track sessions held on both days allowed Jonathon to take some of the Help For Heroes team out for passenger laps, allowing them to experience first-hand the thrills of racing around the circuit in a competition car. Despite claiming it was more stressful than competing against the clock, Jonathon thoroughly enjoyed taking the injured servicemen and women around the track, and his car was only briefly stopped in the pits to swap thrilled passengers during the public sessions.

Jonathon Morris Podium

Jonathon Morris Podium

Rounds 6 and 7 were held at Snetterton in Norfolk, again with a different circuit configuration on each of the two days. With Jonathon getting more and more confident with the on-limit handling of his car, he scored his best qualifying position in the warm dry conditions with an excellent 2nd place. However, disaster struck at the end of the session in the form of a driveshaft failure.
With no spare readily available, it looked like the weekend had come to a premature and disappointing end. However, showing the true spirit of the Time Attack series, fellow competitor Steve Fitzpatrick kindly offered Jonathon a drive in his own car in the final session, after he had set a time of his own. This fantastic generosity by Steve allowed Jonathon to gain yet another 3rd place podium finish, with huge smiles and hand-shakes all round.

AJ Racing Ford Focus at Snetterton

AJ Racing Ford Focus at Snetterton

Unable to source a driveshaft locally, the AJ Racing team started Sunday morning with a still broken car. With the help of other teams and many dozens of phone calls, a replacement driveshaft was eventually sourced and brought to the circuit. The ever willing team wasted no time in getting the car ready, and out on track for the qualifying sessions, however another serious technical issue forced the team to sadly withdraw from the event. All was not lost though, as the team who were made up of injured servicemen, women and friends had achieved so many positives throughout the weekend, it could in no way be classed as a failure.

Jonathon Morris and Help For Heroes Mascot

Jonathon Morris and Help For Heroes Mascot

Jonathan kindly offered to help one of the Band of Brothers by taking him around the circuit in his Mitsubishi Evo X. Jonathan was in his element “hooning” around the track in this fabulous car, and both got much more than they expected from the experience and sent both individuals on their separate ways and quests. Jonathan was now adamant that this was what he wanted to do in life and achieve, by helping others.

Would Jonathan do it again, yes he would and he is, follow him on facebook at AJ Racing ( AJ Racing)

“One could have not asked for more, the Time Attack teams and our own team AJ Racing invited the Band of Brothers and Band of Sisters into the pits to help in any which way they could as crew members. This brilliant experience was exactly what was needed to help these guys get out, get involved, switch back on, achieve and have a sense of fulfilment. We would all like to thank everyone from our fabulous and supportive sponsors, fellow teams and of course the Time Attack organisers and our close friends and family that helped 2012 be the best start to not just an awesome racing career, but to what drives our hearts & passion to push not just our boundaries but our existence to be a part of the life machine.”

Band of Brothers and Sisters help AJ Racing

Band of Brothers and Sisters help AJ Racing

“We are humbly compelled to offer this as a positive intervention between having a bit of fun and enjoyment, whilst helping you to improve your own health and wellbeing undertaking something you enjoy with like-minded people. A special thanks goes out to Helix Automotive, Burton Power, Vortex exhausts, Superpro, LEDA Suspension, Rallynuts, Samco, Think Automotive, Anglo American Oil Company, Sam Jackson motor engineer, Steven Sharpley commercials, Nimbus Motorsport, Ready Rent A Car, Tyretraders, Screentech Hull, Jimboformance, Painzfiction, 3JDriveline, Compbrake, Allan, Stuart & Pauline and of course my partner Alison.”

To Follow AJ Racing on Facebook, please like their page at AJ Racing
For more information on Time Attack, please click to Time Attack

Words: Jonathon Morris
Images: Flat Out Photography

Robson Claims Double Podium at Anglesey

Posted by John Stewart On September - 14 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Robson Claims Double Podiums at Anglesey

With his confidence boosting 2nd place at Brands Hatch despite a turbo failure on his fastest lap, local Subaru driver Scott Robson was looking forward to the first double header round at Anglesey in North Wales. This scenic circuit on the Irish Sea coast can be run in a number of configurations, each with its own unique challenges. The Saturday round was held on the longer International Circuit, with the shorter, more technical Coastal configuration being used on the Sunday.

Scott_Robson_Scenic_Anglesey
With scorching summer temperatures and an abrasive track surface, it was obvious from the early morning warm-up sessions that tyre choice and management were going to be crucial for fast lap times on the Saturday. With this in mind, Scott ambled around the track in a leisurely time of 1:43.327, making sure that everything was 100% with the new turbo installation and trying hard not to over stress the car.

Late morning practice saw even higher track temperatures, with some competitors opting not to run their cars to save them for the point scoring afternoon sessions. Having learned the basic layout of the track in the first session, Scott now pushed harder to see which sections of the track suited his car, and to fine tune the handling set-up of the car. With a time of 1:38.250, Scott was comfortably in 2nd place in the time standings, but almost 4 seconds off the pace of class leader Jamie Willson’s Lotus Exige who was revelling in the first fully warm and dry session of the season.

With even hotter temperatures, afternoon qualification saw Scott immediately run into problems on his new soft compound Kuhmo tyres which were starting to overheat and lose grip near the end of his first warm-up lap. With no option to change his tyre choice for the day, Scott could only put in a single hot lap before parking up in the paddock. With his 1:37.824 lap time being only a marginal improvement over the morning session, a podium place for this round was starting to look like a distant dream.

Knowing there was only one good hot lap available from his tyres, Scott took a tactical decision to wait until mid-way through the final session before venturing onto the track. With his competitors returning to the pit lane from their early laps, Scott now knew the times he had to beat and hopefully had a near empty track to achieve them. Being careful not to put too much heat into the tyres on his out lap, Scott managed to find the clear track he was looking for, and immediately recorded a fantastic time of 1:36.649. Whilst still some way off the stunning pace of the 1:34.9 laps set by Willson’s Exige and Steve Peel in his EVO, it was fast enough for 3rd place at the time. Sadly for Steve Peel, his gearbox let go in spectacular style, showering Scott’s car with oily smoke and bits of metal.

Scott_Robson_Cornering_Hard

With his fellow competitors unable to improve on their earlier laps times in the blistering conditions, a delighted Scott held on to his 3rd successive podium finish earning him valuable championship points and the prospect of a top 3 position in the overall championship.

Round 5
The next morning saw a new circuit configuration in use, the shorter, more technical Coastal Circuit and much cooler conditions. With his preferred Yokohama tyres back on Scott spent the morning warm up session trying different lines for the critical corkscrew section, where seconds can be won and lost. A best of 1:16.524 was good enough for a promising 2nd in class, and less than 3 seconds slower than the top spec 1000 bhp Pro Class cars running slicks!

Scott_Robson_Anglesey_Corkscrew

By late morning, the dark clouds had rolled in off the Irish Sea and once again created Scott’s favourite wet conditions. Immediately at home on the damp track, Scott led his class by almost two seconds ahead of fellow Scot Russ Paton in his Mitsubishi EVO. With nothing more to prove in the increasingly heavy rain, Scott concentrated on exploring different lines in search of the ideal wet line.

Scott_Robson_Anglesey

By the time the afternoon qualifying session started, the rain had eased off to leave a cool and mostly dry track. Scott wasted no time, and quickly put in a time of 1:16.414 which was good enough for 3rd spot behind Willson’s Exige and the ever popular Airtec Escort Cosworth of Warren Kelly. With fellow competitors only fractions behind, it was clear that Scott would have a tough job holding onto that 3rd place in the final, particularly if the dry conditions prevailed.

Whilst Scott’s lucky rain dance had filled the skies with rain bearing clouds, the start of the all -important final session saw the cars taking to the track in near perfect dry conditions. With rain showers imminent, Scott realised that setting a fast time as early on in the session would give him his best chance of that coveted podium position. He ensured he was one of the first out on track, and with an empty track ahead of him he pushed his car to the limits to record an astonishing 1:15.390, over a second better than qualifying. This put provisionally in second place, just ahead of Kelly’s Cosworth on 1:15.753. The whole team were glued to the timing screens as the remaining seconds in this final session ticked away, but with the rain starting to fall once more, none of the competitors were able to improve on their times. With Jamie Willson even beating most of the Pro Class cars with his 1:12.693, it was a jubilant Scott who celebrated his well-earned 2nd place on the podium.

Scott_Robson_podium_2nd

‘With the long straights at Anglesey suiting the high powered cars, I am absolutely delighted coming away from this weekend with a 2nd and 3rd place in the bag. The guys at RA Motorsport have put in a lot of work since Brands Hatch to fit the new turbo and get the car running faultlessly, and these results are a testament to their efforts. With the remaining rounds at Snetterton in a few short weeks, this puts us within reach of a top 3 finish in the overall championship.”

For more information on Time Attack, please click to Time Attack
For more information on RA Motorsport, please click to RA Motorsport

Words: John Stewart
Images: Flat Out Photography

Robson Climbs Podium at Brands Hatch

Posted by John Stewart On September - 1 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Robson Climbs Podium at Brands Hatch

Following his fantastic 3rd place finish at Knockhill, local Subaru driver Scott Robson once again climbed the steps of the podium to earn a well-deserved 2nd place in the UK Time Attack Championship at Brands Hatch in Kent.

With the remaining rounds of the championship taking place Brands Hatch, Anglesey and Snetterton, all of which favour power over handling, Scott and his team at RA Motorsport opted to replace their turbo damaged in the first round with a larger unit in the search of more power. However, overnight heavy rain and many gallons of oil on the tarmac from the previous days racing resulted in a very slippery Brands Hatch circuit that proved difficult to walk on, let alone blast round with over 600 horse power!

It was with some trepidation that Scott started the morning warm-up session, wary of both the treacherous conditions and the lack track time with his more powerful engine. Despite this, he quickly learned where it was safe to push hard around the track, and where more caution was required. Around some corners, the rear of the car would oversteer out, whilst at others the front would understeer wide making it very difficult to optimise the car set-up for the best lap time. At the end of the session Scott’s best lap time of 1:00.171 was only good enough for 4th place in class, but promisingly less than 2/10ths slower than the fastest in class.

Scott Robson in Heavy Rain at Brands Hatch

Scott Robson in Heavy Rain at Brands Hatch

Track conditions were if anything slightly worse for the late morning practice session, with heavy rain leaving puddles of standing water to catch out the unwary driver. With barely fractions of a second separating the top 5 drivers in class, Scott knew he had to push hard to learn the absolute limits in case the wet conditions prevailed for the point scoring afternoon sessions. Despite pushing hard during a session which saw several cars spin off into the barriers, Scott’s time of 1:00.346 was slower than the morning warm-up. It wasn’t all bad news though, as he was now second quickest in class with almost half a second in hand over Steven Peel in his Mitsubish EVO, and over 3 seconds clear of title contender Jamie Wilson’s rear wheel drive Lotus Exige.

With no recent experience of the almost perfectly dry track for the early afternoon qualifying, it was always going to be a tall order for Scott to challenge his more experienced rivals. With the drivers of all the Pro classes keen to get as much dry track set-up time, it proved impossible to find enough clear space on the busy track to set a few fast laps. This combined with the session being red flagged twice meant that 4th place was the best that Scott could hope to achieve. His time of 52.758 showed just how slippery the morning sessions had been, but he was over 1.1 seconds adrift of first place rival Steven Peel which is a very long time in a motorsport event where the gap between the top 3 drivers is often measured in hundredths of seconds.

Scott Robson at Paddock Hill Bend

Scott Robson at Paddock Hill Bend


With weather forecast looking dry and warm for the final, the majority of teams were hard at work setting up their cars for these conditions. Scott and his team from RA Motorsport were no different, filling up with high performance race fuel to extract even more power and fitting their best set of sticky tyres. However a long delay due cleaning up a massive oil spill from a supporting race gave enough time for the dark black clouds to roll in once again, and by the time the Pro final session had started the heavens had opened and the track was awash once more.
Once more the track proved busy as the drivers tried to set their best lap time before the rain made conditions even more slippery, and it was a tense time as the leading times changed every few seconds. With all the cars running flat out, it was more difficult than normal to overtake and find that elusive gap on track, but with only 3 minutes left in the session, Scott realised some heroics were needed if he was to come away with a good result. Finally the track remained clear enough for Scott to record his best wet lap of 58.611. This was good enough for a provisional 3rd place, but crucially only 0.05 seconds ahead of fellow Scotsman Andrew Barbour and enough time remaining for another 2 or laps.

Realising that all could be won or lost in these last few minutes, Scott once again found some space on track and threw caution to the wind. Midway round the lap, Scott saw that he was 0.4 seconds up on his earlier best effort, and pushed hard towards the finish line. Disaster struck once again, and barely 300m from the line, the new larger turbo lost all boost and forced Scott to coast to the finish, only 0.05 seconds slower than his best lap. Motorsport can be cruel at times, and had his turbo not failed on that lap, Scott would have easily recorded his first victory.
Post-race scrutineering reveal that the leading driver had used a prohibited make of tyre for the final wet session, and Scott was promoted to 2nd place overall, finishing a mere 0.18 seconds behind Neil Robertson’s EVO.

Scott Robson on his fastest lap at Brands Hatch

Scott Robson on his fastest lap at Brands Hatch

‘This fantastic result from Brands Hatch is much better than we could have hoped for, and is just rewards for the many hours of hard work put in by the guys at RA Motorsport and the rest of my sponsors. With 4 rounds remaining over two double-header weekends, this result puts us in an excellent position to challenge for a top 3 position in the overall championship.’

The next 2 rounds of the UK Time Attack Championship take place at Anglesey race circuit in Wales, ahead of the September finale at Snetterton Race Circuit in Norfolk

For more information on Time Attack, please click to Time Attack
For more information on RA Motorsport, please click to RA Motorsport

Words: John Stewart
Images: Flat Out Photography

Robson Claims first Club Pro Podium at Knockhill

Posted by John Stewart On June - 30 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Robson Claims first Club Pro Podium at Knockhill

Subaru driver Scott Robson earned his first podium position in the recent round of the UK Time Attack Championship at Knockhill.

Scott competes in the Club Pro class of the UK Time Attack Championship in his Ferrari red Subaru Impreza, with the support of Perth based Subaru experts RA Motorsport. The Club Pro class is one of the most competitive categories in the Time Attack Championship, which features a strong field of very highly tuned cars from a variety of manufacturers. Even with an impressive 550 horse power available, Scott’s Subaru is still almost 300bhp shy of the most powerful cars in this class, so putting all his skill and local knowledge to good effect in the changeable weather conditions would be essential for a good result.

A recurring misfire during the first round at Cadwell Park in May, where Robson still managed an impressive 7th in class, was traced post event to a damaged wiring loom. The poorly running engine had badly damaged the blades on the turbocharger resulting in a very narrow powerband with virtually no power below 5000 rpm and over 500bhp at 5750rpm! Unfortunately there wasn’t time to repair the damage ahead of Knockhill, and Scott would have to adapt his driving to suit.

The typically cold and wet early morning conditions for the morning warm up session were a mixed blessing for Scott. One the one hand his local expertise of the slippery Knockhill tarmac saw him fastest in class and an incredible third fastest overall with a lap time of 62.247 seconds, but the narrow power band induced some heroic power slides as the car tried it’s best to throw him off the greasy track.

Scott Robson competing at a very wet Knockhill

Scott Robson competing at a very wet Knockhill

By the time the late morning practice sessions started, the rain had eased off and a dry line was starting to form around the 1.3 mile circuit. The improved conditions allowed Scott to make some adjustments to the suspensions set-up to maximise grip, and the narrow power band proved less of a hindrance. Worryingly during the session, the engine developed a loud ticking noise forcing Scott to abort his efforts, but not before posting a fastest in class time of 55.633 seconds. Thankfully the noise was traced to a leaking exhaust manifold gasket, and the RA Motorsport team set about repairing this for the afternoon sessions.

With an almost dry track for the afternoon qualification session, Scott was always going to be under pressure from his more powerful competitors and would have to push the car to its limits to earn the valuable points on offer to the top 5 drivers. Turning up the boost to its maximum setting and risking as much of the kerbs as the conditions allowed, Scott recorded a blistering time of 55.088 seconds, exactly a second behind class leader Steven Peel in his Mitsubishi EVO. This time was good enough for third in class and earned Robson 30 valuable championship points. Despite the diversity of front, rear and four wheel drive machinery in the Club Pro class, results as always proved extremely competitive with 3rd to 8th places being separated by less than a second!

Scott Robson riding kerbs at Knockhill

Scott Robson riding kerbs at Knockhill

Despite performing a rain dance in the paddock as the final approached, the conditions continued to improve much to the delight of Scott’s competitors. The now fully dry track allowed all the drivers to extract the very best from their cars, and fellow Scottish driver Andrew Barbour quickly set a benchmark time 54.609 on the third lap in his Mitsubishi EVO. However, mechanical issues blighted some of the drivers and they were forced to pull off track resulting in the session being red flagged twice. With barely a minute remaining of the 15 minute session, the remaining drivers lined up in the pit lane for a last do or die effort. With only a single lap available to fully warm the tyres, there was no sandbagging as the full grid thundered onto the track to try and cross the start line and get a flying lap in before the chequered flag marked the end of the session.

Scott Robson Flat Out around Knockhill

Scott Robson Flat Out around Knockhill

Scott started his flying lap well positioned behind the very fast EVO of Steven Peel, and this spurred him on to record his best ever lap time of 54.714. Without in-car live timing information available for the final, it wasn’t until he returned to the pit lane that Scott learned how his efforts had earned him his first ever Club Pro podium position.

‘I was absolutely delighted that all the hard work the guys at RA Motorsport had put into the car had produced a podium at our home event, despite all the issues we had to contend with before and during the event. We are very much looking forward to the next round and the rest of the championship.’

Scott Robson on podium at Knockhill

Scott Robson on podium at Knockhill

The next round of the UK Time Attack Championship will be at Brands Hatch on the 8th of July.

For more information on Time Attack, please click to Time Attack
For more information on RA Motorsport, please click to RA Motorsport

Words: John Stewart
Images: Flat Out Photography

Shimmin on Podium Again at Knockhill

Posted by John Stewart On June - 16 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Subaru UK Time Attack; Shimmin On Podium Again at Knockhill

Pro-R backed Subaru driver Ben Shimmin took another well-deserved podium in last weekend’s Time Attack Championship at Knockhill in Scotland. After a storming drive against daunting opposition, Shimmin took a hard-fought second place in the Club AWD class.

Ben Shimmin cornering hard at Knockhill in the Pro R Impreza

Shimmin was clearly on a mission from the outset, skilfully piloting the Cross Roads Garage/ TDRacing prepared car through some typically Scottish weather to see him posting the fastest time in the warm up session, despite not having the track knowledge of many opponents, or indeed the horsepower!

Power and skill was by much evidence from the lurid green Milltek GT-R of Richard Marshall and as the drivers rolled into qualifying and starting posting times in anger, it was clear that these two protagonists would be the battle to watch in the Club classes. Times were nail-bitingly close throughout the session, a fact made all the more impressive when you realise that the Pro-R Racing STi gives away several hundred horsepower to the Nissan. Ultimate grunt was to prove the victor however, with Marshall posting top spot and Shimmin coming second, but only by the slimmest of margins. 1.34 seconds, to be precise!

Buoyed by this excellent result, the Cross Roads team worked hard to get the car in perfect fettle for the final, with a ‘Win or bust!’ mentality being shown across the board and team orders being issued from Dealer Principal – and reigning Club AWD champion, Jon Mathers – to give it everything. The result was lap times tumbling yet again whilst Marshall and Shimmin enjoyed another epic battle and some spectacularly sideways driving from both, to result in an identical ‘One-Two’ finish as in qualifying and a commendable third from the Dave Coe in his Subaru STi. As well as being a fantastic result in its own right, and by a tighter margin of just 0.866 seconds, this second solid podium now sees Shimmin and Pro-R Racing at the top of the league table in the Club AWD Class – an exceptional start to a rookie season, and one that saw the synchros in the factory-standard gearbox literally groaning under the strain of the task! Proof, if any were needed, of just how hard the team was trying to stay in contention with Marshall’s quicker machine.

Subaru Pro R Impreza at Knockhill

Subaru Pro R Impreza at Knockhill

‘We’re all absolutely thrilled to be on top spot at the moment,’ said Shimmin. ‘But we’re not getting complacent. We know the car is quick at Brands, which is our next round, but it’s clear that the field has moved on a long way since last season, too. Richard’s car is quick and well driven, but we’re not very far behind. As a team, we’ll be working hard to get some solid testing done there before the July and see if we can’t trouble him again. It should be a great scrap!’

Ben Shimmin on podium at Knockhill

As one of this season’s Time Attack sponsors, Team Pro-R were also offering high speed taxi rides around the high speed undulating circuit, with Jon Mathers at the helm of the rapid Pro R 340 R STi Hatch demo car. Although built for fast road use, rather than competition work, it was still posting some pretty decent times on its own thanks to a remapped 340 PS 2.5 litre engine and Pro-R exhaust system.

The next round of the UK Time Attack Championship will be at Brands Hatch on the 8th of July

For more information on Pro-R, please click to Pro R

For more information on Cross Roads Garage, please click to Crossroads Garage

Images: Flat Out Photography

RCM Gobstopper returns to Time Attack

Posted by John Stewart On May - 4 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

One of the worlds best known and loved Imprezas makes a welcome return to the the Time Attack series at Cadwell Park this weekend.

RCM Gobstopper at Cadwell Park

RCM Gobstopper at Cadwell Park

The iconic Subaru Impreza built by Roger Clark Motorsport is fondly referred to as “The Gobstopper”, and it has excelled in all competitions it has entered. It has been sadly missed by fans for the past two years, as Matt and Olly Clark have been concentrating on building up their highly respected tuning business.

Whilst it may not be the the absolute fastest Subaru in a straight line or even around a circuit, as an overall package it has been hard to surpass, even without the plethora of aero modifications seen on many of it’s rivals. With over 800bhp on tap from it’s 2 litre flat four engine, incredible engineering, quality of finish and impeccible attention to detail it is no surprise that the car has carved out a near cult status amongst motoring enthusiasts around the world.

With it’s highly anticipated replacement Gobstopper II nearing completion, this could well be the last chance for fans to see the original in competitive action.

A youtube video of the car in action has attracted over 250,000 viewers over the past few years:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiQ6FcyiPag

The action at Cadwell Park starts at 9am on Saturday 5th May.

Words & Photos: John Stewart

di Resta to make Knockhill debut

Posted by John Stewart On April - 3 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Stefan di Resta, the 22 year old brother of Sahara Force India Grand Prix star Paul, is to make his race debut this Sunday at Knockhill.

Stefan di Resta testing GPA mini Cooper at Knockhill

Stefan, who comes from Bathgate and works in the family property development business, will be racing the Grand Prix Adventures #6 Mini Cooper in the Celtic Speed Scottish Mini Cooper Cup. With three races scheduled, Stefan will be competing against 25 other Minis, including 4 lady racers, all of whom will be tackling the twists and turns of the challenging Knockhill circuit. 17 year old Lewis Grant from Aberdeen will also make his racing debut in the same event driving his Apex Tubulars backed Mini Cooper.

Lewis Grant Apex Tubulars Mini at Knockhill

GPA owner Kenny McLeod said “I am delighted to be playing a small part in Scottish motorsport history with Stefan driving the #6 GPA Mini resplendent with the McLeod tartan roof!” Stuart Gray Knockhill Events Director added “It will be great to see how Stefan gets on at Knockhill as it’s the same track that his brother Paul, his cousin Dario Franchitti, David Coulthard and Alan McNish all drove their first race cars.

A busy 14 race programme kicks off at 10am and features the Scottish Mini Cooper Cup, Scottish Classics, Legends, Formula Fords and Sports and Saloons in an action packed race day.

Fiona Kindness starts her first season of door to door racing, having successfully campaigned her Nissan Skyline in the UK Time Attack series for the past 3 years.

Fiona Kindess Nissan Skyline

Photos: John Stewart, Flatoutphotography

Tim Harvey samples Time Attack thrills

Posted by John Stewart On September - 22 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Former BTCC and Porsche Carrera Cup champion Tim Harvey is the latest high profile driver to sample the thrills of the UK Time Attack series. In a recent testing session at Donington Park, Tim took the opportunity to drive a few laps of the damp circuit in Paul Doyle’s 750bhp K-Sport Impreza. Matt Neale drove the Ameon Racing Mitsubishi EVO at Brands Hatch earlier this year, whilst Phil Glew was part of the championship winning Zen Performance team in 2007.

You can watch Tim driving the K-Sport Impreza in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cgLb98K8Zs

Tim declined the opportunity to drive the Impreza on full boost in the demanding wet conditions!

Paul Doyle powersliding his K Sport Impreza to victory at Anglesey

Paul Doyle powersliding his K Sport Impreza to victory at Anglesey

Paul will be competing in the final round of the UK Time Attack series this coming weekend at Snetterton Park, as part of the Modified Live event, which includes the final round of the European Drifting Championship.

Brett Castle, Sumo Power S14 European Drift Championship

Brett Castle, Sumo Power S14 European Drift Championship

Words: John Stewart
Images: Flat Out Photography

Doyle Masters Anglesey to secure First Pro Class Victory

Posted by John Stewart On September - 10 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

For the first time since the series started over 5 years ago, the most scenic setting for a race circuit in the UK was used to host a round of the Time Attack. Bank Holiday weekends usually mean lots of rain and long queues everywhere, but Anglesey in Wales provided near perfect weather conditions and freedom from traffic chaos.

Idyllic Setting of Anglesey Race Circuit

Idyllic Setting of Anglesey Race Circuit

The Anglesey circuit can be used in a number of different configurations, and the technical 1.55 mile Coastal circuit was chosen to challenge the drivers and entertain the crowds. The Coast Circuit includes the famous corkscrew section which presents the drivers with a quick succession of tight left and right hand corners along with a fearsome 20m drop in height right at the end of the lap.

Warm up

With this being the first ever Time Attack event at Anglesey, the morning warm up sessions were a learning experience for all the drivers, with very few having any experience of the circuit. In the Club challenge, it was FWD title contender Bo Nielsen who topped the time sheets in his Forge Motorsport Astra VXR, setting a time of 1:19.083 on only his second lap out, ahead of Jimmy White in the RWD VX220 on 1:19.490. Marc Kemp was the fastest of the 4WD cars, just failing to break into the ’19s with a 1:20.064

Bo Nielsen, Forge Motorsport VXR at Anglesey

Bo Nielsen, Forge Motorsport VXR at Anglesey

In Club Pro, Mark Pollard in the ever popular Metro 6R4 was first to show his hand, setting a time of 1:18.733 on his 4th lap. Mark’s time was later bettered by Cadwell Park winner Walter “Silverback” Morris in his Skyline R32 GTR, who built the pace steadily to record a 1:18.653, the fastest time of the session. 3rd fastest in Club Pro was the amazing Buddy Club CRX of Romaine Levesque, who moved up to the Club Pro group after his dominant victory last time out at Cadwell Park. Warren Kelly could only complete 2 laps in his fabulous Escort Cosworth, before a broken driveshaft ended his session, but he wasn’t the only Ford with drivetrain problems. Fellow Escort Cosworth driver Dave Jackson was unable to start the session due to problems with his sequential gearbox.

Walter Morris, R32 Skyline GTR at Anglesey

Walter Morris, R32 Skyline GTR at Anglesey

In Pro class, it was situation normal for Gavin Renshaw in the NR Autosport prepared Mitsubishi EVO. Completing only 4 timed laps, Gavin set the early benchmark of 1:16.728 before retiring to the pits to monitor the pace of his competitors and enjoy his morning cup of tea. 2nd fastest during this warm up session was Paul Doyle in the K Sport Impreza, running his new 6 speed sequential gearbox for the first time. Despite struggling with both understeer and oversteer, Paul still recorded an impressive 1:16.981 – almost 2.5 seconds faster than Brands Hatch winner Marcus Webster’s R32 Skyline, which was starting to suffer from a slipping clutch. Russ Paton’s EVO also suffered transmission problems in the form of a warped clutch plate, making it impossible for him to change gear.

Gavin Renshaw, NR Autosport EVO at Anlgesey

Gavin Renshaw, NR Autosport EVO at Anlgesey

Practice

With the early morning warm up out of the way, it now was now time for the drivers to start getting serious. In Club Challenge, Jon Mathers took up his customary first position in the pit lane, giving him the advantage of a clear track ahead once the cars take to the track. With a new smaller 2.0 engine in his Pro-R Subaru Impreza, Jon was immediately on the pace and set the fastest Club time of the day so far with a 1:18.914 on his 3rd lap. Marc Kemp and Andrew Barbour in their Mitsubishi EVOs were hot on his heels though, recording times of 1:19.520 and 1:19.665 respectively.

Marc Kemp, Monster Energy EVO at Anglesey

Marc Kemp, Monster Energy EVO at Anglesey

As in previous rounds, it was the FWD category that was to provide the drama. Gerry Atkinson in the Seat Leon Supercopa had been steadily improving all day, and on his 6th lap put in a stunning time of 1:18.701. With only 300bhp, Gerry’s Leon has a significant power deficit in comparison to some of his rivals, but gains time with the Seat’s tidy handling and seamless DSG gear changes. Bo Nielsen improved on his warm up laps to record the third fastest time overall, just a few tenths slower than Gerry on 1:19.029

Gerry Atkinson, Seat Leon Supercopa at Anglesey

Gerry Atkinson, Seat Leon Supercopa at Anglesey

In their first outing since the seaon opener at Oulton Park, the Giovinazza brothers made a welcome return to the Time Attack series in their distinctive Alfa 155. Driven this time by Dominico, they struggled with a water leak that only appeared at race temperatures and speeds and could only complete 5 laps.

Dominico Giovinazzo, Alfa 155 at Anglesey

Dominico Giovinazzo, Alfa 155 at Anglesey

Running with a borrowed engine in his distinctive green VX220, RWD contender Jimmy White was pushing hard on his “home” circuit and his efforts were rewarded with a 1:19.912. This gave him a comfortable 1.6 second margin over Umar Masood’s RX7 and the Sierra Cosworth of Ronnie Amis who was another driver struggling with understeer problems on the tighter Anglesey corners.

Jimmy White, VX220 at Anglesey

Jimmy White, VX220 at Anglesey

Running his new fuel system for the first time at Angelsey, Walter Morris had finally cured the fuel surge problems experienced on previous rounds. Building up the pace steadily throughout the session, Walter set a benchmark time of 1:18.225 on his 6th lap. Fellow Club Pro contender Mark Pollard then completed a 2nd set of laps in his 6R4. Mark delivered 2 fast laps in quick succession, narrowly beating Walter’s time with a 1:18.225, and then dipping into the ’17s with an 1:17.839, a time that bettered all but one of the Pro class cars. Having blown his supercharger during the earlier practice session, Romaine Levesque did not throw in the towel. A nifty swap of drive belts and remap of the ECU by his team saw him back out on track running his Civic CRX in Normally Aspirated mode. Astoundlingly, Romaine recorded the 3rd fastest time in Club Pro with a 1:19.380, ahead of the much more powerful 4WD machinery of Warren Kelly, Fiona Kindness and Neil Roberston.

Mark Pollard, Metro 6R4 at Anglesey

Mark Pollard, Metro 6R4 at Anglesey

In Pro class, it was again business as usual for Gavin Renshaw in the NR Autosport EVO. Gavin set a set of 1:15.703 on his 2nd lap, to head the entire field by over 2 seconds. Paul Doyle was still struggling to find a good handling balance in the K Sport Impreza, whilst Duncan Graham was steadily building confidence and pace with his new 2.35 engine.

Duncan Graham, BC Racing Impreza at Anglesey

Duncan Graham, BC Racing Impreza at Anglesey

Qualifying

In keeping with the tranquil seaside setting, the Anglesey circuit does not operate whilst the congregation of the nearby church are leaving on a Sunday. This meant a welcome change to the usual timetable, with the qualifying sessions taking place before a later than normal lunch break. Not only did this give a longer gap between the qualification and final sessions for final adjustments, it also enabled an earlier finish which was very much appreciated by the drivers facing long journeys home.

Andrew Barbour, Mitsubishi EVO at Anglesey

Andrew Barbour, Mitsubishi EVO at Anglesey

In Club 4WD, both Andrew Barbour and Eric Holmes improved on their practice times in their Mitsubishi EVOs, but it was the trio of Jon Mathers, Marc Kemp and Gary Searl who topped the time sheets and earned maximum qualification points. As usual, Jon Mathers was first out on track in the Pro-R Subaru Impreza and wasted no time is setting the fastest time of the session with a 1:18.246 on only his second lap. Marc Kemp was less than one tenth slower though, recording a 1:18.315 late on in the session. Gary Searl was perhaps trying too hard to improve, locking up at several points around the track and couldn’t better his 2nd lap time of 1:18.535. The stage was now set for a thrilling final between these very closely matched rivals.

Gary Searl locking up at Anglesey

Gary Searl locking up at Anglesey

In FWD, Gerry Atkinson once again improved in his Seat Leon, improving on his morning times with an impressive 1:18.408, giving him the 3rd fastest time overall during the session. Despite being out on track for the entire session, Gerry’s smooth driving style ensured that he didn’t overwork his Pirelli tyres which were still working well on his 15th and final lap when he set his fastest time. Bo Nielsen tried hard to improve on his morning times, putting in a consistent series of 80 second laps during his two stints on track, but couldn’t better his times from the earlier sessions and recorded a 1:20.198.

Gerry Atkinson pushing hard at Anglesey

Gerry Atkinson pushing hard at Anglesey

In the RWD class, Jimmy White was another driver who stayed out for the whole session. Set on his 13th laps, Jimmy’s best time of 1:19.287 was enough to earn him maximum qualifying points ahead of Ronnie Amis’s Cosworth Sierra on 1:22.759. Ronnie was still struggling with front end grip problems, and adopted a sideways drifting style to maximise his exit speed from the slower corners.

Ronnie Amis drifting his Cosworth Sierra at Anglesey

Ronnie Amis drifting his Cosworth Sierra at Anglesey

With valuable qualifying points available, it was time for the Pro and Club Pro drivers to show their full potential. Pro driver Gavin Renshaw was again first out of the pits, and on his 2nd lap he quickly raised the bar by setting the fastest time of the day with a 1:15.354. Running higher boost for the first time on his new engine, Duncan Graham showed his potential by qualifying 2nd in Pro class in his BC Racing Impreza with 1:16.875. Paul Doyle struggled again with the handling balance in the K-Sport Impreza, with several hair-raising trips onto grass, before recording a set of 3 quick laps at the end of the session, culminating with a 3rd best of 1:17.095 ahead of Mike Mahoney in the Wallace Performance EVO.

Mike Mahoney, Wallace Performance EVO at Anglesey

Mike Mahoney, Wallace Performance EVO at Anglesey

In Club Pro, Walter Morris in the Midlands Performance Skyline qualified first with a 1:16.477, ahead of championship rival Mark Pollard who could only manage a 1:17.138 in his 6R4. Disaster struck Warren Kelly in his Airtech backed Escort Cosworth, when his sequential gearbox failed on his 4th lap leaving him stranded at the top of the Welsh circuit. Warren could only contemplate what could have been an excellent result as he qualified 3rd overall, but would sadly fail to have his car fixed for the all important final. Fiona Kindness continued to struggle with her ill-handling Track Scotland Skyline, but still managed a respectable time of 1:20.494 just behind Neil Robertson’s EVO 1:20.431. Romaine Levesque, still running without a supercharger in his Buddy Club CRX opted to remove his rear wing in search of extra straight line speed. The loss of downforce meant he struggled for grip in the higher speed corners and was over a second slower than his earlier warm-up times and failed to break the 1:20 barrier.

Warren Kelly and his stricken Escort Cosworth at Anglesey

Warren Kelly and his stricken Escort Cosworth at Anglesey

Club Challenge Finals

4WD

With dark clouds visible on the horizon, the Club competitors were keen to make an early impression in the final before any rain arrived. Jon Mathers in the Pro-R Impreza took immediate advantage of the clear track conditions to set his fastest time of the day with an excellent 1:17.692. Marc Kemp in his Monster Energy EVO could only manage a 1:18.573 on his first stint, which wasn’t quite close enough to concern Mathers. After a short pit stop, Kemp found both his form and clear space on track to set a fantastic time of 1:17.951, a mere 1/4 of a second off the pace and take a well deserved 2nd place. Championship contender Andrew Barbour who suffered a transfer box failure in the previous round was driving well, holding a 3rd place time of 1:18.961 before his gearbox failed. Andrew could only watch from the sidelines as Gary Searl in the GMS Devlopments EVO put together a superb flying laps towards the end (1:18.711) for a well deserved place on the podium. Jon Mathers secured his 6th consecutive SIDC trophy for fastest Impreza.

Jon Mathers powering to victory in the Pro-R Impreza at Anglesey

Jon Mathers powering to victory in the Pro-R Impreza at Anglesey

Dave Coe, Subaru Impreza at Anglesey

Dave Coe, Subaru Impreza at Anglesey

FWD
After an unusually slower pace during qualification, Bo Nielsen in his Forge Motorport Astra VXR wasted no time at the front of the field to record his best time of the day with an impressive 1:19.100 on his 3rd lap. In the Tickety Boo Films back Seat Leon Supercopa, a confident Gerry Atkinson adopted a tactically differernt approach, putting in a few gentle warm-up laps at the back of the grid whilst carefully monitoring his rivals lap times. Gerry’s strategy paid dividends as within 5 laps he had bettered Nielsen’s time, with a series of laps in the mid 1:18s. Seeing Bo return to the track, Gerry didn’t back off, and on his 10th lap set a time of 1:18.370 to record his maiden Time Attack victory, with Dave Thorpe taking 3rd place in the supercharged North TDI Honda Civic.

Dave Thorpe, TDI North Civic at Anglesey

Dave Thorpe, TDI North Civic at Anglesey

RWD
In the RWD class, there was no stopping Jimmy White in the lurid VX220. On top form all day, Jimmy quickly put in a consitent series of low 1:20 laps, before sealing victory with an impressive 1:19.204 on his 14th and final lap. Umar Masood had a massive scare during the final session, spinning his RX7 at high speed as he came onto the start/finish straight, and ending up inches from the concrete wall and hundreds of open mouthed spectators. Umar earned a huge round of applause as he rejoined the track with a massive burst of flame from his exhaust. Umar’s best time of 1:21.381 was enough to earn him 2nd place on the podium, ahead of drift contender Ronnie Amis in his Cosworth (1:22.226).

Umar Masood Spinning his RX7 at Anglesey

Umar Masood Spinning his RX7 at Anglesey

Pro and Club Pro Finals

With comfortable margins in every session over his fellow Pro competitors, few people would have bet against Gavin Renshaw taking the vicroty in the NR Autosport EVO. However anything can happen in the heat of the Time Attack finals, and Paul Doyle proved the point in the K Sport Impreza. In typical fashion, Gavin lead the field onto the track for the final session, and put in a comfortable 1:15.592 on his second lap. His lead was short lived though, as less than 30 seconds later with his handling problems seemingly cured, Paul Doyle stormed across the finishing line to record a 1:14.873! With the pressure now on, Gavin went out for a further two stints during the session, and got agonisngly close with a 1:14.918 on his 8th lap, less than 5 hundredths behind. Gavin gave 110% to try and re-capture the lead, but with a busy track and tyres beyond their optimal temperature, it wasn’t to be and he had to settle for 2nd best, leaving Paul to take the honours and become the 4th different winner of the Pro class this season.

Paul Doyle powersliding his K Sport Impreza to victory at Anglesey

Paul Doyle powersliding his K Sport Impreza to victory at Anglesey

Mike Mahoney stepped up to the mark in the Wallace Performance EVO to secure 3rd place with a 1:16.580, his second podium of the year. A problem with a NOS hose left Duncan Graham’s BC Racing Impreza down on power for the final session, but showed great potential with an eccellent time under the circumstances of 1:16.976. With a failed clutch, Russ Paton took the brave decision to compete in the final with just 3rd gear available. Driving at and beyond the limts around the slower corners to compensate for the lack of lower gears, Russ claimed 5th place with an astounding time 1:17.632. Despite a fantastic team efffort by the Midlands Performance team to change the clutch in his Skyline R32 GTR in record time, Paton’s heroic efforts demoted title contender Marcus Webster to 6th place, a result that may come home to haunt him in final round in a few weeks time.

Russ Paton, Performance HQ EVO at Anglesey

Russ Paton, Performance HQ EVO at Anglesey

You can watch Paul’s winning lap here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYRiHVdR1pY, and compare it to Gavin’s here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGHH5_3OBLg. You will note that Gavin is almost 15mph faster along the back straight, but somehow Paul’s overall lap time is just enough to take the honors.

In the Club Pro category, it was pretty much a two horse race between Mark Pollard in the 6R4, and Walter Morris’ Skyline. Walter had held the upper hand throughout the morning sessions. Setting a time of 1:16.665 on his 7th lap, Walter seemed to have victory sown up, as Mark could only record a 1:17.074. Mark pitted his 6R4, whilst Walter stayed out on track, tyring to improve his time. After a few warm up laps to find an empty spot on the track, Pollard stormed across the line with a 1:16.388 to head the Club Pro timesheets. After staying out on track for the whole session, Walter struggled with inconsistent grip from his “past their best” tyres, and despite his best efforts was unable to better his earlier lap time. With his rear wing re-fitted, but still running without his Supercharger, Romain Levesque pushed his CRX hard to earn 3rd place on the podium with a 1:19.434.

Romaine Levesque, Buddy Club CRX at Anglesey

Romaine Levesque, Buddy Club CRX at Anglesey

Fiona Kindess, Track Scotland Skyilne at Anglesey

Fiona Kindess, Track Scotland Skyilne at Anglesey

The full results from the Anglesey round can be found by clicking here

The Time Attack series now heads to Snetterton in Norfolk on the 25th September for the Final showdown. The points standings after six rounds are as follows:

Time Attack points after round 6

Time Attack points after round 6

With one round to be dropped by each competitor, working out the effective positions and likely outcome proves quite difficult. Walter Morris has kindly constructed an application that calculates the effective results, which make for very interesting reading Click Here

With everything to play for an each of the classes, it promises to be an event not to miss.

Words: John Stewart
Images: Flat Out Photography

Podium Photos:

Jimmy White, Umar Masood and Ronnie Amis on the podium at Anglesey

Jimmy White, Umar Masood and Ronnie Amis on the podium at Anglesey

Gerry Atkinson celebrating his first place at Anglesey

Gerry Atkinson celebrating his first place at Anglesey

Champagne celebrations for Jon Mathers, Marck Kemp and Gary Searl at Anglesey

Champagne celebrations for Jon Mathers, Marck Kemp and Gary Searl at Anglesey

Mark Pollard, Walter Morris and Romaine Levesque at Anglesey

Mark Pollard, Walter Morris and Romaine Levesque at Anglesey

Paul Doyle, Gavin Renshaw and Mike Mahoney, Pro Class winners at Anglesey

Paul Doyle, Gavin Renshaw and Mike Mahoney, Pro Class winners at Anglesey

Renshaw takes Pro Class Honours at Knockhill

Posted by John Stewart On May - 24 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

In front of a huge appreciative crowd, the second round of the Time Attack series took place at Knockhill racing circuit in Scotland on Sunday 16th May. Despite the bitterly cold conditions, the crowd were kept entertained all day by the field of some of the fastest modifed cars in the country.

Gavin Renshaw driving NR Autosport EVO to victory at Knockhill

Gavin Renshaw driving NR Autosport EVO to victory at Knockhill

Warm up

Despite the chilly conditions on track, the leading Club Challenge drivers were keen to find the limits of their cars and the Pirelli P Zero control tyres. The top 6 drivers were separated by just over a second with the Impreza of Chris Bennett setting the fastest time of 59.205 ahead of the exuberantly driven Impreza of Adam Kindness (husband of Time Attack regular Fiona), who was stood in for Gary Searl who was unable to make the journey north. It was interesting to note that almost all the drivers set their fastest times between the 4th and 6th laps, which indicated that the tyres were taking some time to reach their peak performance on the cold track.

Romain Levesque, Buddy Club CRX at Knockhill

Romain Levesque, Buddy Club CRX at Knockhill

In the FWD class, Bo Nielsen in the Forge Motorsport Astra VXR was again biting on the heels of the Japanese 4WD machinery, with his best time of 1:01.851 being almost a second clear of nearest challenger Romain Levesque in his Buddy Club CRX.

Warren Kelly, Airtec Cosworth at Knockhill

Warren Kelly, Airtec Cosworth at Knockhill

In Club Pro, Warren Kelly again set the early benchmark in the Airtec Escort Cosworth with a time of 58.737, beating local expert Fiona Kindness in her Track Scotland Nissan Skyline by almost a second. Fiona in turn was almost a second clear of Neil Robertson’s EVO and Walter Morris (Nissan Skyline). Rob Cowling was finally getting to grips with the Ameon Racing EVO which wasn’t ready for the first round at Oulton Park.

Fiona Kindness, Track Scotland Skyline at Knockhill

Fiona Kindness, Track Scotland Skyline at Knockhill

In Pro class, Marcus Webster stayed out for almost the full session, and was the only car to dip into the 56 second backet with a 56.674 set on his 11th lap. Despite undergoing spinal surgery only a few days after the first round, Mike Mahoney showed the potential of his Wallace Performance EVO, setting the 2nd fastest time of 57.106 ahead of fellow EVO drivers Gavin Renshaw, and Russ Paton.

Duncan Graham, BC Racing Impreza at Knockhill

Duncan Graham, BC Racing Impreza at Knockhill

Practice

With dry conditions on track, it was only a few laps before some seriously quick times were posted during the morning practice session. Leading the pack was Allan Freeland in his distinctive pink EVO setting the Club Challenge benchmark at 56.685 on lap 3. Under new rules for this season Allan was standing in for regular Eric Holmes, who despite many long hours in the nights leading up to the event, was unable to resolve his engine problems in time. Jon Mathers in the Pro-R Impreza was just over 1 second adrift with a 57.804, with EVO driver Andrew Barbour close behind on a 58.053.

Adam Kindness, Track Scotland Impreza at Knockhill

Adam Kindness, Track Scotland Impreza at Knockhill

Despite some talented and aggressive driving by Adam Kindness, who at times was using all the track and more, he was unable to improve on the time set in the earlier warm-up session and just failed to get under the minute with a 60.240. A special mention must go to Gerry Atkinson, in his 300bhp Seat Leon Supercopa backed by Billy Connolly’s Ticketyboo Films. Despite heavy rainfall midway through the session which saw all his rivals return to the safety of the pits, Gerry stayed out lap after lap, completing a total of 18 laps during the 20 minute session.

Gerry Atkinson, Seat Leon Supercopa at Knockhill

Gerry Atkinson, Seat Leon Supercopa at Knockhill

Fiona Kindess made full advantage of her many hundreds of laps experience of the Knockhill track in all conditions, to lead the Club Pro times and set 4th fastest time over with a 57.658, some 1.5 seconds better than rivals Warren Kelly and Neil Robertson. Walter Morris suffered a power steering failure in his Midlands Performance Skyline, and could only manage two laps during the session.

Still nursing head gasket issues after winning the previous round, Duncan Graham managed an impessive 57.947 in Pro Class, to keep close to leader Gavin Renshaw in the NR Autosport EVO who recorded a 56.748 in the challenging and variable conditions. Mike Mahoney was only 3/100ths slower than Gavin, with local expert Russ Paton only 3/10ths behind with a 57.198 in his Performance HQ EVO whilst demonstrating his drifting skills around some of the slower corners.

Russ Paton drifting his EVO at Knockhill

Russ Paton drifting his EVO at Knockhill

Qualifying

Whilst still cold, the track was at least dry for the afternoon qualifying sessions. Allan Freeland wasted no time in setting the fastest time of the session, with a 56.958 on only his second lap.

Allan Freeland EVO at Knockhill

Allan Freeland EVO at Knockhill

Andrew Barbour improved on his morning times with a 57.258 and earned him valuable qualification points. Jon Mathers qualified 3rd with the Pro-R Impreza on 58.298 ahead of first time competitor Matt Lawson in his Wallace Performance EVO. Adam Kindness again pushed hard to break the one minute barrier, but struggled against the higher powered cars now their drivers were more familiar with the track.

Andrew Barbour EVO at Knockhill

Andrew Barbour EVO at Knockhill

In the FWD class, Romain Levesque stayed out on track for most of the session, and his perseverance payed off as he qualified in first place with a 60.257, ahead of Gerry Atkinson’s Leon Supercopa (60.563) and Bo Nielsen’s VXR Astra on 60.727. The stage was now set for a thrilling final between these closely matched rivals.

Mark Pollard 6R4 at Knockhill

Mark Pollard 6R4 at Knockhill

It appeared as though distaster had struck RWD title contender Umar Masood, in his flame throwing Mazda RX7 as his car completely died midway through the session. Umar had endured a tortuous 16 hour journey to Knockhill from Wolverhampton as his tow car broke down 3 times en-route. Having set his fastest time of the day of 61.699, he was unsure if he could get the car fixed again in time for the final. First round winner Jimmy White in the lime green VX220 was not without his own problems, despite the extra confidence gained from a new front splitter. Jimmy struggled to match his earlier times, and could only record a 62.244 to qualify in second place behind Umar.

Umar Masood getting pushed back onto track at Knockhill

Umar Masood getting pushed back onto track at Knockhill

Slippery conditions once again confronted the Pro and Club Pro drivers as they took to the track for their qualifying session. Gavin Renshaw set the pace early on with a 60.289 on his 3rd lap, despite some lurid powerslides around the lower section of the circuit, before returning to the pits to preserve the car for the final.

Marcus Webster Skyline at Knockhill

Marcus Webster Skyline at Knockhill

However the light rain eased off, and with a strong wind blowing the track conditions quickly improved. At the midway point of the session, Walter Morris lead the field with his best time of 59.562 on his 10th lap, before his power steering gremlins returned. With the conditions improving by the second, the crowd were enthralled as the lead times changed several times per lap. In the end, it was the powerful Skyline of Marcus Webster that mastered the tricky conditions to qualify first overall with a 57.076. Marcus was recording terminal speeds in excess of 140mph on the main straight before braking for the blind Duffus Dip corner, a remarkable feat under the circumstances. Fiona Kindness also took advantage of the fast drying conditions to qualify 2nd fastest outright near the end of the session, with a 57.783, closely followed by Russ Paton’s EVO (57.844) and Duncan Graham’s Impreza on 57.871

Duncan Graham BC Racing Impreza at Knockhill

Duncan Graham BC Racing Impreza at Knockhill

Club Challenge Finals

FWD

Romain Levesque in his Buddy Club CRX inflicted a rare defeat over Bo Nielsen’s Astra VXR in the FWD cateogry. Bo had set the early pace, recording his best time of 60.415 on only his second lap. Ever wary of the threat from the hard charging Romain, Bo remained out on track for most of the session, recording a long consistent series of laps in the 60 second bracket, but none to better the earlier effort when his tyres were at their peak. Bo was right to be concerned, as toward the end of the session Romain bettered Bo’s time with a 60.263, and on his very last lap raised the bar even higher with a 60.222. Dave Thorpe in the Civic EP3 took the third podium spot, ahead of Gerry Atkinson in the Seat Leon Supercopa.

Bo Nielsen, Astra VXR at Knockhill

Bo Nielsen, Astra VXR at Knockhill

4WD

In the 4WD category, Allan Freeland again wasted little time and was right on the pace from the outset. Allan set his fastest time of the day with a stunning time 56.127. 2nd place was claimed by Andrew Barbour in his EVO 5 (56.704). Andrew had a very nervous end to the session, as his clutch release bearing failed after completing only 6 laps, rendering his car immobile. In his first ever competitive event, one hit wonder Matt Lawson claimed third fastest time with a 56.810. As Matt wasn’t entered for the championship, the third podium position went to a delighted Jon Mathers in the Pro-R Impreza, who was also awarded the SIDC fastest Subaru trophy for the second event running.

Jon Mathers Pro-R Impreza at Knockhill

Jon Mathers Pro-R Impreza at Knockhill

Matt Lawson - Wallace Performance EVO at Knockhill

Matt Lawson - Wallace Performance EVO at Knockhill

RWD

Umar Masood overcame his electrical gremlins suffered during qualification, to record his first ever Time Attack victory, with a lap time of 61.151. Umar’s winning time was comfortably ahead of rival Jimmy White who suffered engine problems on his out lap, and limped around to secure valuable championship points.

Jimmy White congratulates Umar Masood on his Knockhill Victory

Jimmy White congratulates Umar Masood on his Knockhill Victory

Pro and Club Pro Finals

With a point to prove after failing to qualify in first place, Gavin Renshaw pushed his NR Autosport EVO hard from the outset, recoridng a blistering time of 55.188 on his 3rd lap. Gavin could not rest easily though, as Russ Paton immediately responded with a 55.570 with the promise of more to come. First place qualifier Marcus Webster took a few laps to settle into a rythym, and on his 10th lap recorded a 55.904 which was enough to secure his first podium position of the year. The fight was still very much on for first place though, as Renshaw and Paton returned on track and set a series of ever faster lap times. It was Renshaw who took the honours in the end, with a 55.024 proving just enough to pip Paton’s best of 55.161.

You can watch Gavin’s winning lap here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pnSw77WZMc

Gavin Renshaw NR Autsport EVO at Knockhill

Gavin Renshaw NR Autsport EVO at Knockhill

Renshaw, Paton and Webster celebrate at Knockhill

Renshaw, Paton and Webster celebrate at Knockhill

Despite continued problems with the head gasket in his BC Racing Impreza, Duncan Graham did just enough to secure the valuable championship he needed to remain top of the points standing after two rounds. Duncan was also awarded the SIDC trophy for fastest Pro Class Impreza.

Mike Mahoney was looking good for an excellent result during the early part of the final session, before he put a wheel onto the grass exiting the hairpin and heavily impacted the tyre wall bringing an early end to his hopes. Thankfully it appears the damage is merely cosmetic, and assuming that replacment body parts can be sourced in time, “Daisy” will be back on track for the next two rounds at Brands Hatch at the end of June.

Mike Mahoney, Wallace Performance EVO at Knockhill

Mike Mahoney, Wallace Performance EVO at Knockhill

In the Club Pro category, the experience and determination of Fiona Kindness around her local track proved too much for her rivals. Fiona’s best time of 56.900 was enough to earn her 4th fastest time overall, as well as her first ever Club Pro victory. Despite recording his fastest time of the the day, Warren Kelly’s time of 57.584 wasn’t enough to threaten the dominant Kindness on home turf. Both fondly remembered last year’s Club Challenger rival Scott Robson who is taking a year out of competition, by wearing t-shirts emblazened with the words “Scott Who?” on them. Fiona now leads the Club Pro title race ahead of fellow Skyline driver Walter Morris, who amazingly completed all of his 7 laps in the final session and set a competitive time of 58.662 with no power steering, as once again it failed as he was leaving the pit lane.

Walter Morris piloting his Skyline with no power steering at Knockhill

Walter Morris piloting his Skyline with no power steering at Knockhill

Fiona Kindness enjoying her first Club Pro victory at Knockhill

Fiona Kindness enjoying her first Club Pro victory at Knockhill

The full results from the Knockhill round can be found by clicking here

The Time Attack series now moves south again to Brands hatch in Kent, for the first ever double header weekend on the 25th and 26th June.

Words: John Stewart
Images: Flat Out Photography

The points standings after two rounds are as follows:

Round 2 points table

Round 2 points table

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