Monday, 21 April, 2014

Rockingham: Honda VTEC Challenge

Posted by Andrew Cliffe On October - 7 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Rockingham: Oct 1st (Rounds 13 and 14 of BARC’s VTEC Challenge)

Well, the season has flown by and the last two rounds of the 2011 VTEC Challenge took place at the purpose built circuit of “Rockingham” in Northamptonshire.

2011 marks the 10 year anniversary of the circuit that lays claim to being “Europe’s Fastest Racing Circuit”, which is due to the yet unbeaten lap record for the 1.5 mile oval set on the 22nd September 2001. Tony Kanaan piloted his Ford/Lola Champ Car around the banked circuit in a time of 24.719 seconds at an average speed of 215.397mph.

I think it’s fair to say, I don’t think any of the VTC drivers would be getting near those figures!

VTEC Challenge:

On Saturday 1st October, rounds 13 and 14 were held on the circuits popular “International Super Sports Car Circuit” and as ever the action promised to be thick and fast.

The most commonly used configuration combines long straights, sweeping high-speed bends and a lower speed, highly technical infield section that would allow the less powerful machinery to close up the gap.

For the final round, the series boasted a varied grid of competitors, with the welcome addition of Peter Dixon in the “Tuner class”.

Using Rockingham as an introduction to the VTEC Challenge, Peter was expected to be on the pace of the front running “Tuner” Class entrant Kris Dunlop, and Richard Voaden in his group “A” Integra, who has been the one to beat all season long.

It was a welcome return to the fold for Andy Smith and his “vtecdirect.com” Accord Type R, and Gareth Broadbent in his B18 CRX, who has sat out recent rounds due to a recent “Baby Boom” in the Broadbent house hold. (Congratulations to Gareth & Family)

Entrants:

01 – Andy Smith – Accord Type R (A)
03 – Tim Blowers – DC5 Integra 2000cc (B)
10 – Gareth Broadbent – CRX B18 (B)
11 – Dave Roberts – CRX (D)
24 – Rich Voaden – DC2 Integra 2200 (A)
64 – Rich Chilton – DC2 1800cc (C)
67 – Peter Dixon – Civic VT B16A (Invitation)
70 – Kris Dunlop – EG K20 Civic (T)
98 – Mark Chese – Civic Type R (EP3) (B)

Qualifying:

For the majority of drivers, Rockingham would be a new challenge, and with the daunting prospect of racing alongside the high concrete barriers that run around the perimeter of the circuit into “Turn 1”, it promised to be a test of man and metal.

Qualifying began just before 10am, and the conditions were perfect. The glorious “Indian Summer” that the country had been experiencing in the run up to the weekend had stayed with us, and the sun was shining down on a busy paddock.

With the cars called forward from their respective garages, the stream of Honda’s were led onto track by “R-Motions” Kris Dunlop in the “Tuner” class DX Civic.

All to soon the heat began to take its toll on both cars and drivers, with the temperatures rising into the 30’s, meaning the tyres began to struggle for grip, resulting in some very tail happy Honda’s on the infields tight sections.

Despite his best efforts, Dunlop would have to settle for 2nd place on the grid, as Voaden pipped him to pole by 0.339 sec, and the dark horse “Dixon” rounded out the top 3.

Pole: Rich Voaden – 1.34.982
2nd: Kris Dunlop – 1.35.321
3rd: Peter Dixon – 1.36.272

Race 1:

After following the safety car for the green flag lap, the drivers were positioned in their grid slot and counting down the seconds to the off. With the 5 second board shown, the engine revs rose in anticipation, and with the red lights out, everyone was clean away.

On the outside of Voaden, Dunlop got the “R-Motion” Civic rolling to avoid wheel spin before slotting home 2nd gear and using the torque of the K20 to pull him ahead of Voaden and around the outside of “Turn 1”.

Mark Chese in his Civic Type R made a fantastic start, and came through the pack from 5th to pass Gareth and Peter to take 3rdplace before Peter came back up the inside into “Deene” and retook the position.

Turning into the infield part of the course, everyone got through cleanly, although Robert’s in the CRX did kick up a dust cloud as he took to the grass on the outside of the corner.

Dunlop was now starting to pull out a bit of a lead over Voaden, but the driver from “Performance Autoworks” wasn’t going to give up just yet, and fought back to keep the Civic within contention.

Coming into “Tarzan”, Kris ran wide and Voaden looked up the inside for a way through to “Brook”, but Dunlop saw the threat and accelerated away to hold position. Constantly Dunlop was on the defensive against Voaden, who was looking for the smallest of opportunities, but despite a valiant effort he was unable to find a way past Dunlop.

A later diagnosed split drive shaft gaiter had thrown oil all over the brakes, rendering them useless, which led Voaden to ease up and bring the car home instead of risking a DNF from a mistake in the heat of catching the leader.

Sat comfortably in 3rd place, Peter Dixon and his Civic were on a charge, but a low final drive meant he was bouncing off the rev limiter on the fast outer sector of the circuit, which allowed the battling duo of Dunlop and Voaden to continually put more distance between themselves and Civic driver from Bishop Aukland.

Broadbent in the red CRX, who had recovered from a less than perfect start, began to close on Chese, and within a couple of laps, has overhauled the Civic, but is unable to put any great distance between them. Coming into “Brook” on lap 9, both drivers held their position, and the result was two cars into “Brook” doesn’t go. Although the resulting incident was a light rub, Gareth decided to retire due to an unknown vibration coming from the car.

Rich Chilton in his Class “C” Integra and Andy Smith in his Class “A” Accord were having a close fought battle throughout the race, with the lighter and nimbler Integra worrying the series “heavyweight” on some of the tighter infield sections, but Smith was able to hold off the Integra and put some distance between them on the “oval” section.

Dave Roberts and Tim Blowers diced for position early on, until Roberts managed to find his grove, and pulled out a lead on Tim, who has moved to group B for the final rounds after installing the Yokohama control tyre of the series.

With Voaden dropping back, Dunlop crossed the line 13 seconds ahead for his 2nd race win of the series.

1st: Kris Dunlop – 1.34.645
2nd: Richard Voaden – 1.34.992
3rd: Peter Dixon – 1.35.375

Class wins were awarded to: Kris Dunlop, Rich Voaden, Mark Chese, Rich Chilton and Dave Roberts

With some remedial work required on Rich Voadens Integra, Marks Civic and Gareth’s CRX, the VTC drivers and organisers got stuck in to ensure everyone was back out for race 2.

Race 2:

With Dixon starting from the back row of the grid at his request, the rest of the drivers lined up in their 1st race finishing positions, set to do it all again.

Gareth’s CRX was fully repaired and had taken his position on the back row alongside Dixon.

Dunlop on pole was now on the inside of the grid, with Rich above him and looking to turn the tables on the silver Civic and its driver.

With the race underway, the sound of the VTEC’s echoed around the bowl at Rockingham, as they all screamed away from the line.

Dunlop put paid to Voaden’s plans as again he hooked up perfectly and took off into a lead.

Dixon had shot through from the back row to take Gareth, Tim and Mark before “Denne”.

Into the infield and Gareth and Peter began a race long battle, that saw position swap back and forth, but ended around lap 8 when the Civic driver passed the slower looking CRX around “Turn 1” to take 3rd place.

Mark Chese in the Civic was struggling with a blowing exhaust which was robbing him of some of the Type R’s power. However, he was able to climb up the field to close the gap on the duo of Dixon and Broadbent by the end of the race.

Rich Chilton and Andy Smith were having a repeat performance of race 1 with Chilton eventually crossing the line on the bumper of Andy’s Accord. A great testament to both driver’s skill and respect for one another, as on more than one occasion they wanted the same piece of track!

Dave Roberts pulled away from Tim in the DC5 Integra, and both drivers ran a trouble free race, even if a way back from the leading trio.

Not putting a wheel wrong, Dunlop pulled away from 2nd place Voaden, who on this occasion could find no answer to the pace of the Civic.

So making this his “hat-trick” Dunlop crossed the line to take the win and wrap up the season in the best possible way.

1st: Kris Dunlop – 1.34.304
2nd: Rich Voaden – 1.34.815
3rd: Peter Dixon – 1.35.846

Class wins were awarded to: Kris Dunlop, Rich Voaden, Mark Chese, Gareth Broadbent and Dave Roberts

Summary:

The inaugural season of the VTEC Challenge has come to a close, so if you’re thinking of racing a Honda, or want to know more, drop onto www.VTECChallenge.co.uk and get the low down on what the VTEC is all about.

With registrations for 2012 opening soon, there is already a buzz about what next year will bring.

Words: Jonathan Fletcher
Pictures: Lindsey Bridger

VTEC Challenge : Snetterton 200

Posted by Andrew Cliffe On September - 5 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Snetterton 200: August 27th (Rounds 11 and 12 of BARC’s VTEC Challenge)

The rural East Anglian circuit of Snetterton was the latest venue to welcome the VTEC Challenge to town.

On Saturday 27th August, rounds 11 and 12 were held on the circuits “200” layout, as part of an action packed weekend of racing.

2011 is a landmark year for Snetterton, as the Norfolk circuit celebrates its 60th anniversary and the start of a new era following the recent multi-million pound redevelopment project.

Re-generated to allow International races to take place, the circuit has been developed under the watchful eye of MSVR boss Jonathan Palmer, who has played a huge part in the design the new layout.

Created from a network of US Air Force runways in 1951, Snetterton’s sweeping corners and enormous straights have provided sensational full-throttle action for six decades, and the recent work has cemented the circuit’s future for generations to come.
The new “200” layout closely follows the old circuit, with the biggest change being the addition of the new hairpin “Montreal”.

The hairpin (as with other parts of the re-developed circuit) is a replica from a famous circuit, and in this case it’s the corner from the Canadian Grand Prix circuit of the same name.

VTEC

For Snetterton, the VTEC Challenge welcomed experienced racer Lee Bennett-Neil to the fold. Whilst Lee is a new face to this series, he has been racing since 2009 with his bright green B18 powered UKDM DC2 Integra. With his useful local knowledge, he would be one to keep an eye on.

Rick Rowles was also returning again to the VTEC Challenge with his immaculate, Mugen laden late model Civic Type R.

Entrants:

03 – Tim Blowers – DC5 Integra 2000cc (T)
11 – Dave Roberts – CRX (D)
24 – Rich Voaden – DC2 Integra 2200 (A)

42 – Rick Rowles – Civic Type R (B)

64 – Rich Chilton – DC2 1800cc (C)

83 – Lee Bennett Neal – B18 DC2 Integra (T)
98 – Mark Chese – Civic Type R (EP3) (B)

Qualifying:

Being the first cars of the day out on track, there was a lot of surface water lingering from the previous nights down pour.

With such tricky conditions, the drivers would need to exercise some caution in order to produce a quick lap, without disappearing off into the Norfolk countryside!

Everyone began qualifying with understandable caution, as grip was poor and minimal at best around the sodden circuit.

“Murrays” was the sight of many a locked wheel as cars came into the corner a little too quick and it also saw the spectacular slide and subsequent save of Mark Chese in his Civic Type R. Keeping his right foot planted on the accelerator kept the black and green machine from an untimely end at the entrance to the pits.

After crossing the line to begin his 6th lap, Tim Blowers, in only his second event of the season was caught out by the conditions, and on the exit from “Riches” span off the circuit. Upon returning to the paddock, the previously immaculate DC5 Integra was sporting a near perfect imprint of the armco along the length of the passenger side!

In addition to the bodywork damage, the front wheel was also at an unnatural angle, which looked like it could have ended Tim’s day there and then.

Thankfully that was the limit of the issues experienced and the remaining drivers went on to run the remainder of qualifying.

Following the session, the results showed that Richard Voaden had gotten to grips with the circuit and the wet handling set up of his Integra and had taken another pole to add to this seasons tally.

Pole: Rich Voaden – 1.34.670
2nd: Richard Chilton – 1.37.103

3rd: Mark Chese – 1.37.737

In the paddock, Simon Cribley of “Performance Autoworks” came to the aid of Tim and his battle scarred Integra. Within minutes, the cars front suspension was dismantled and checked over to see if racing would still be possible. With the adjustable top mounts re-set, and the camber “best guessed”, the car was back together for a quick shake down on the roads around the circuit. Thanks to the camaraderie that follows the series wherever it goes, Tim would be back on track, even if he was still a little shaken from his incident.

The remainder of the grid set about checking over their cars, adding fuel and setting the tyre pressures for what was to become a dry race.

Race 1:

With only a short distance from parc fermé to the grid, everyone was soon lined up for their formation lap.

Everyone was held on the grid until the red lights went out, and the VTEC engines screamed into life.

From pole, Voaden did what he does best, and stretched the legs of his Integra to take a commanding lead, which would only grow throughout the race.

Chese in his Civic Type R stuck closely with Voaden as he headed off through “Riches” and onto “Montreal”. Holding the inside line from his position on the grid, Chese stood his ground to keep Chilton on the outside, and gained 2nd position by the time he had exited the hairpin.

Charging from the back of the grid was Dave Roberts in his “Class D” CRX, who came through from 6th to join the battle for a top 5 place going into “Montreal”.

Tim Blowers hooked up a good start and went from 5th to 4th, passing Lee Bennett-Neal for position as he struggled to capitalise on his start. However upon entering the “Bentley Straight” a missed gear change quickly dropped Blowers to the back of the pack, undoing all his hard work.

As the race progressed, the drivers proceeded to have their own “race within a race” as they found themselves evenly matched with one, if not two other cars.

Chese was able to hold a decent margin back to Chilton, who in turn was watching his mirrors constantly for the “yellow peril” of Roberts.

Lee Bennett – Neal was able to reel in Rowles following his poor start, and by lap 4 was back up to 5th place and chasing the trio in front, but was unable to close the gap significantly enough to look for a shot at overtaking them.

As the race drew to a close, the action around the circuit hotted up. On the last lap Blowers executed the first overtaking manoeuvre of his race career, and passed Rowles to take 6th place from him.

Closer to the podium positions, Roberts closed the gap to Chilton, and on lap 10 of 11 took 3rd place from the Integra driver around the hairpin of “Montreal”, in a fantastically executed piece of driving.

Chese was able to hold off the advances of Roberts, despite the fuel light blinking at the Civic driver for the last couple of laps!

Voaden crossed the line untroubled, and nearly 30 seconds ahead of 2nd placed Chese.

1st: Richard Voaden

2nd: Mark Chese

3rd: Dave Roberts

Class wins were awarded to Lee Bennett-Neal, (DC2), Rich Voaden (DC2), Mark Chese (CTR), Richard Chilton (DC2) and Dave Roberts (CRX)

Fastest lap: Rich Voaden 1:26.119 sec on lap 10 of 11

Everyone returned safely to the paddock, with no issues to deal with in readiness for race 2.

Race 2:

At the request of the drivers and event organisers, the grid formation for the start of race 2 was now taken form the drivers finishing position from race 1, and not the 2nd fastest lap from qualifying.

This meant that Roberts, who had climbed from the back of the pack, would be directly behind Voaden in a commanding position.

As the lights were extinguished, it was Voaden who as expected led the charge to “Riches”, with Chese holding his 2nd place on the grid.

Roberts bogged down off the line, and struggled to get underway, as the surrounding drivers of Chilton and Bennett-Neal and Blowers closed in around him.

Making another good start, Blowers in his Integra passed Chilton for 5th place and proceeded to chase Bennett-Neal who had gone from 5th to 4th.

Already recovering from his less than perfect start, Roberts in his CRX was charging hard and making ground on Chese by lap 2. Coming across the line and towards “Riches” Roberts was close enough to make a dive up the inside of Chese, and took the position. However, this was short lived as Chese wasn’t going to give up 2nd place without a fight, and at “Montreal” had clawed his way back past Roberts, to re-take 2nd place.

With Bennett-Neal some way off in 4th, Blowers held off the DC2 of Rich Chilton for a further 2 laps, but with his handling still not a 100% the red Integra took 5th place as the pair rounded the “Bomb Hole”, and then proceeded to hunt down Bennett-Neal, passing him along the back straight “Bentleys” a couple of laps later on.

Chese and Roberts continued to have a monumental battle for 2nd place, swapping position over and over, and often on the same lap! The CRX managed to pull out a bit of a gap over Chese, but come lap 7 Chese was again letting Dave know his intentions on retaking 2nd place.

On the run into “Riches”, Chese had the legs to pull a repeat manoeuvre of Roberts from earlier on in the race, and put the black and green Civic ahead of Roberts and then proceeded to pull away.

Blowers, who had managed to fend off Rowles in his Civic Type R for the majority of the race, found he was unable to match his pace on the entry to “Bentley Straight” and Rowles took the position. The last 3 laps were side by side, and it ended with a reversal of positions for the two drivers.

Again Rich Voaden crossed the line well ahead of his fellow competitors, but he did not let up until the chequered flag dropped. He was pushing all the way to the finish line, with his lap times getting quicker as testament to his commitment.

The challenge laid out to Voaden by the race commentator and previous VTC racer “Charlie Butler-Henderson” to get into the 1min 25’s lap time, was obviously a big enough incentive to keep the driver from Wiltshire focused!

1st: Richard Voaden

2nd: Mark Chese

3rd: Dave Roberts

Class wins were awarded to Lee Bennett-Neal, (DC2), Rich Voaden (DC2), Mark Chese (CTR), Richard Chilton (DC2) and Dave Roberts (CRX)

Fastest lap: Rich Voaden 1:24.938 sec on lap 8 of 11

Summary:

Another brilliant event comes to a close, with some of the best racing to date. The on track action was a battle of skill and nerve, with excellent close fought racing.

Mark Chese and Dave Roberts provided some of the most exciting racing seen within the VTC this year, changing position time after time and keeping the commentary team on their toes and out of breath as they both kept passing one another!

In addition to taking 2 class wins and 2 3rd place overall, Dave Roberts was also awarded the “Driver of the Day” award for his driving.

Both races were dominated by Voaden, however the technical in-field section of the forthcoming Rockingham event could throw up some interesting results.
The VTEC Challenge heads to Rockingham for the final two rounds of the 2011 season on the 1st and 2nd October, and we’d like to see as many cars, spectators and race entrants as possible to wind up our first season.

Words: Jonathan Fletcher

Pictures: Adrian Arran

VTEC Challenge visits Croft

Posted by Andrew Cliffe On July - 31 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Croft: July 23rd/24th (Rounds 9 & 10 of BARC’s VTEC Challenge)

Croft Circuit provided a home for the popular VTEC Challenge over the weekend of the 23rd and 24th of July, for rounds 9 & 10 of the 2011 series.

Set in the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside, this superb 2.1 mile circuit has been developed over 50 years into a top-flight racing venue which now hosts prestigious events such as British Touring Car Championship, British GT Championship, and the British Formula 3 Championship.

The fast sweeping curves of the “Jim Clark Esses” and “Barcroft” offer a genuine white-knuckle experience for those brave enough to push their cars to the limits of adhesion. When these sections are combined with the circuit’s high speed straights, slow corners and the famous hairpin leading onto the start/finish straight, you have all the ingredients for a breathtaking experience.

VTEC

Both Andy Harvey and Tim Blowers were new drivers to the fold, each running their Honda Integra’s in Class C.

Andy’s DC2 has previously seen race action in the Japanese Touring Cars before being shipped to the UK. After passing through the hands of several friends, Harvey has became the cars current custodian and following a few safety updates it was declared fit to race. Usually seen behind the wheel of his 550bhp 4wd Subaru Impreza, Croft would be the first time racing the Integra for the recently qualified ARDS instructor.

Tim’s DC5 in the rare hue of “Vivid Blue Pearl” has been developed from his road/track car into a fully fledged race equipped tin-top specifically for the “VTEC Challenge” by Andy and the team at “vtecdirect.com”. With Croft being Tim’s first ever race, he would be alongside Mark Chese in his Civic Type R in class B.

Amazingly both Tim and Mark drive their car’s to the track, race and then drive home again! True grass roots spirit, which show’s anyone out there who thinks they can’t do this to think again.

“R-Motion” returned to the track with their lightweight EG Civic, which has been rebuilt to take part in the “Tuner” class thanks to a “K” series transplant. Originally running in class D (for cars with engines up to 1600cc) as an exercise to show what was capable on a budget, the tuners have gone all out to produce a car that will challenge for the top spot. Finished only in the days leading up to Croft, it was hoped that all would be well come race time.

Entrants:

03 – Tim Blowers – DC5 Integra 2000cc (B)
11 – Dave Roberts – CRX 1600cc (D)
24 – Rich Voaden – DC2 Integra 2200 (A)

31 – Andy Smith – Accord Type R (A)

64 – Rich Chilton – DC2 1800cc (C)
66 – Andy Harvey – DC2 1800cc (C)

70 – Kris Dunlop – Civic EG 2000cc (T)
85 – Stew Hutchinson – Integra 1800 (C)
98 – Mark Chese – Civic Type R (EP3) (B)

Qualifying Race 1:

Scrutineering saw all entrants return with the necessary stickers applied, which meant everyone was good to go, and qualifying could get underway when the allotted time came.

For the weekend, the VTEC Challenge had been asked to allow some of the classes from the Darlington and District Motor Club Northern Saloon Championship to join them on circuit. Classes B,C,D and H for cars of various specs, but all with treaded tyres would line up and do battle. With some serious metal to contend with, as well as two other Honda’s, qualifying would be a close run thing.

With everyone clean out of the holding area, there were 34 cars on track all looking to set their fastest time and secure a good grid slot.

With a few laps under their belts to get everything up to temperature, and to make a mental note of the circuit’s corners and undulations, everyone pressed on.

Andy Smith in the “vtecdirect.com” ATR managed a pirouette mid track, but kept it together without further incident to him or fellow racers.

On lap 6, it looked as though it could be an early bath for the “R-Motion” Civic as driver Kris Dunlop pulled into the pits.

Following qualifying, the result showed that Richard Voaden had again secured VTEC pole, and impressively taken 3rd place overall ahead of a Mitsubishi Evo 4 and a Metro 6R4 of Group B rallying fame.

Pole: Rich Voaden – 1.37.557 (3rd Overall)
2nd: Kris Dunlop – 1.39.026 (10th Overall)
3rd: Stewart Hutchinson – 1.39.195 (12th Overall)

In the paddock, it was all hands to the pump to help out where required. The Civic of Dunlop had developed a misfire, which was traced to a faulty throttle position sensor. A spare was borrowed from one of the “Honda’s On Track” members who had stayed on from Friday’s track day to watch the weekends racing.

Race 1:

Following the green flag lap, everyone was held on the grid until the red lights went on and then quickly out, signalling the start of the race.

With a the lights extinguished in a fraction of the time usually experienced, some of the racers were caught napping, meaning some accurate driving was needed to avoid any contact.

Running down the start/finish straight and into “Clervaux” Voaden was unable to hold off the Evo and 6R4, who had both used their 4wd to great effect and had powered past him.

Held up in traffic, a Sierra 4×4 turbo and a rapid Citroen Saxo also managed to pull ahead and cut of Rich’s racing line through “Hawthorn Bend”.

Dunlop was next through the first couple of corners, thankfully showing the fix to the car had worked, and he was hard on the gas looking to capitalise on any mistake.

Hutchinson and Harvey were 3 abreast through Hawthorn with the DC2 Integra of Simon Gibson from the DDMC, door handle to door handle, with Hutchinson exiting ahead to lead Gibson and Harvey into the chicane. A battle was brewing for sure between these three.

Chese in the Civic Type R had made a good getaway and was leading the rest of the VTEC pack around the circuit, with Smith, Chilton, Roberts and Blowers flying the flag for the Honda’s.

Through “Barcroft” and chasing Hutchinson hard, Harvey found that the rear tyres were not yet up to temperature as the rear of the car tried it’s best to overtake the front whilst flat out. A composed Harvey buried the throttle and in true touring car style, the Integra pulled itself out of a potential big “moment”.

Undeterred, the two Integra’s continued to dice throughout the rest of the race, with Harvey two wheeling his through the corners, with the help of the kerbs.

Chasing the lead cars, Voaden looked for his way through, and battled with the XR4x4 and Saxo which had passed him earlier. Lap 4 saw him dispatch the Sierra and a lap later it was the Citroen’s turn. With clear air ahead, Rich was soon posting his fastest lap times, and closing the gap to the Evo in 4th. However 5th place would be as high as the driver from Highworth would achieve, due to the distance between him and the Evo and the tyres starting to loose grip.
Dunlop’s Civic was closing the gap to Voaden, passing cars at a rate of 1 every couple of laps. Given a better starting position on the grid, this car has the ability to be on the top step at the end of the race.

All of the drivers were in their own battles, but everyone was climbing the overall leader board, showing their skills to the gathered crowd.

Hutchinson and Harvey fought over 3rd place all the way to the line, with Harvey looking for the slightest chink in the solid defense shown by Hutchinson, but it wasn’t to be.

Mark Chese took care of the MX5 of Daniel Irving on the last but one lap to place 15th overall.

Rich Chilton was battling with the XR2 of Daniel McKay and in the later stages was closing up on Andy Smith and his ATR who was battling with a Peugeot 307 for the majority of the race.

Dave Roberts and Tim Blowers closed out the VTEC entrants, ahead of some more potent and accomplished entrants.

1st: Richard Voaden

2nd: Kris Dunlop

3rd: Stewart Hutchinson

Class wins were awarded to Kris Dunlop (Civic), Rich Voaden (ATR), Mark Chese (CTR), Stewart Hutchinson (ITR) and Dave Roberts (CRX)

Fastest lap: Rich Voaden 1:37.889 sec on lap 6 of 11

Race 2:

Grid formation for the start of race 2 was taken form the drivers 2nd fastest lap from Saturday’s qualifying.

This meant all the VTEC drivers were spread throughout the pack, where each would be promised some close racing.

With lights out, it was another drag race down to the first corner, where all hell broke loose.

Bogging down off the line, Rich Voaden in the “Performance Autoworks” Integra took a while to get up to speed, but was soon charging down to “Clervaux”. Running alongside the Civic of Peter Dixon from the DDMC, Voaden had the inside line, when the Beetle RSi of Ian Humpish turned across the front of Dixon and then speared into the passenger side of Voaden. Whilst the Beetle’s race ended where it came to rest, Voaden took to the gravel trap in his heavily battle scarred Integra, and re-joined the race, albeit a bit further down the running order. Down, but not out Rich regained control and began to push on to claw back lost positions.

Coming through from 13th and 14th on the grid, it was Harvey and Dunlop who where on top of the carnage before they knew what had happened. Already up with Hutchinson who had started in 10th place, the trio again were battling for position, with Harvey the victor as he lead the VTEC contingency through the chicane.

Although out in front, the Integra of Harvey couldn’t hold off the advances of Dunlop in the “K” Series engined Civic, and following that, the charging Integra of a recovered Voaden. Whilst Voaden closed the gap to Dunlop considerably, he was unable to prise the lead off of Dunlop, who took his first race win of the season.

Coming into “Tower” on lap 6, and comfortably holding 3 place overall, the front left wheel of Harvey’s Integra locked up, causing a massive moment and an untimely retirement from the race. Investigation later found a missing calliper bolt to be the culprit, which had caused the calliper to move and lock on the brakes.

With Harvey out, Stewart in his DC2 JDM Integra took 3rd place, however following a massive lock up coming into “Tower”, issues with the Integra’s steering began to make themselves known. With a decision to retire or push on needed, it was a relief when the chequered flag was deployed.

Mark Chese and Richard Chilton were tooth and nail right down to the wire, with Chese taking the position, over Chilton’s fastest lap.

Dave Roberts was busy fending off the Peugeot 307 of Stephen Maude for his position on track, while Smith and Blowers both brought their cars home safely to round out the VTEC grid.

1st: Kris Dunlop

2nd: Rich Voaden

3rd: Stewart Hutchinson

Class wins were awarded to Kris Dunlop (Civic), Rich Voaden (ATR), Mark Chese (CTR), Stewart Hutchinson (ITR) and Dave Roberts (CRX)

Fastest lap: Kris Dunlop 1:37.596 sec on lap 8 of 11

Summary:

Another brilliant event, which has been hailed as the best racing ever encountered by several of the drivers, comes to a close. This is surely a testament to the series organiser efforts, the close but clean racing and the superb off track atmosphere.
The VTEC challenge heads east to the new layout of Snetterton in Norfolk for rounds 11 & 12, which will be run on Saturday the 27th of August.

Can it get any better than this? Join us to find out.

Words: Jonathan Fletcher

Pictures: Adrian Arran

VTECs visit Anglesey

Posted by Andrew Cliffe On July - 10 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Anglesey: July 2nd/3rd (Rounds 7 and 8 of BARC’s VTEC Challenge)

It was the coastal circuit of Anglesey that rang to the tune of Honda’s infamous VTEC engine as it played host to rounds 7 & 8 of the 2011 VTEC Challenge.

Perched high on the cliff tops of Anglesey and overlooking the Irish Sea, the circuit provided a breathtaking backdrop for the VTEC racers and fans alike.

A change to the normal proceedings meant that both the 1.55 mile “Coastal” and the 2.1 mile “International” track layouts were used on Saturday and Sunday respectively providing an interesting aspect to the weekend’s proceedings.

Qualifying Race 1:

With the weather being dry and the sun shining down, everyone rolled out onto the circuit to set their best time. With the circuit being a fresh challenge to most, they would have to learn the track as they went.

For the weekend’s festivities, the “VTEC Challenge” had joined up with the “CNC Heads Sports Saloon Championship” which would pit the guys against some of the quickest cars in the UK, some with double the horsepower of the Honda’s!

New to racing as recently as Mallory, Cambridgeshire based driver Richard Chilton and his UK spec ITR have come on leaps and bounds, and he was hustling his Class C car around Anglesey with gusto!

With the novice cross soon to be removed, Richard has proven that the lower spec’d cars can cut the mustard against the more powerful machinery.

Following qualifying, the result showed that Chilton had done enough to secure his 1st VTEC Challenge pole position of the season ahead of Andy Smith and Mark Chese.

Pole: Richard Chilton – 1.21.296

2nd: Andy Smith – 1.23.017

3rd: Mark Chese – 1.23.353

Race 1:

Sat amongst a grid of 28 slick shod cars, the guys from the VTEC challenge would have a tough day at the “office” faced with such stiff opposition. As part of the series regulations, all cars within the VTEC have to run the Yokohama control tyre, which despite being a quality list 1b tyre, would not be on par with the super sticky slicks used by the CNC Championship regulars.

With the red lights out, Chilton got a clean start, but Smith in the “vtecdirect.com” Accord Type R hooked up to get a flyer and came through from two row’s back to get up alongside Chilton and take an early lead by the end of lap 1.

The duo of Smith and Chilton battled for 5 laps until the Integra got the upper hand and re-took the lead of the VTEC race and held off Smith until the chequered flag dropped.

Mark in his black and green EP3 CTR battled with the rest of the pack and came home unscathed in 3rd.

1st: Richard Chilton

2nd: Andy Smith

3rd: Mark Chese

Class wins were awarded to Andy Smith (ATR), Mark Chese (CTR), and Richard Chilton (ITR).

Fastest lap: Richard Chilton 1:20.967 sec on lap 13

Qualifying Race 2:

With a switch to the “International” circuit, it was time to qualify again. As with Saturdays timed session, it was Chilton who put his red Integra ahead of Smith and Chese for the start of race 2, although everyone was getting the feel for the parts of the circuit they had used in Saturday’s race.

Pole: Richard Chilton – 1.45.595

2nd: Andy Smith – 1.48.187

3rd: Mark Chese – 1.48.782

Race 2:

Lining up on the grid, Chilton had two rows on the grid between himself and the other Honda’s. Smith and Chese lined up side by side ready to do battle when the lights went out.

With the red lights going out quicker than expected, Chilton got a good start and held position to lead the VTEC charge. Chese in the black and green EP3 Civic got the jump on Andy and found himself ahead of Smith and one of the CNC cars by corner 1.

Andy was soon in contention with Chese, and all over the rear of his Civic, forcing Mark to defend for position. Lap after lap Smith looked for a way through but was denied any chance. Only in the later stages did Mark manage to shake off the Accord and pulled out a 4 second gap by the time the flag dropped.

Chilton had pulled out a considerable lead during the race and finished race 2 at the head of the pack.

1st: Richard Chilton

2nd: Mark Chese

3rd: Andy Smith

Class wins were awarded to Andy Smith (ATR), Mark Chese (CTR), and Richard Chilton (ITR).

Fastest lap: Richard Chilton 1:46.068 sec on lap 11

Summary:

Yet another brilliant weekend’s racing has passed by, and still the Honda’s turn out lap after lap of close fought racing, whilst those around them fall by the wayside.

To be part of this great series, it’s now even easier to come and try your hand in a round of the VTEC challenge.

For all racers looking to sample the VTEC Challenge, listen up!

For your first entry only, the BARC and VTEC Racing Club will waive their joining/registration fee, leaving you to pay the regular race entry fee.

Any subsequent rounds will require full BARC membership although the VTEC Racing club will be offering one off “round by round” based fee structure.

New competitors will also be allowed to run ANY list 1B tyre (888’s, Federals, Silverstone’s etc, but no slicks) for two rounds of the VTEC Challenge.

If you wish to continue in the series after the second round then you must use the specified Yokohama A048 tyre.

All competitors taking up the above will be required to run in the “Tuner Class” of the VTEC Challenge which is the most open class of the series. Please check the technical regulations for full details.

You’ll never meet a friendlier bunch of like minded individuals who enjoy racing.
For rounds 9 & 10 in 3 week’s time, the VTEC Challenge heads to Croft in North Yorkshire over the weekend of the 23rd & 24th of July, and the excitement is already building in anticipation of a great event.

Words: Jonathan Fletcher

Pictures: Gary Attwood

BARC VTEC Challenge – Oulton Park

Posted by Andrew Cliffe On June - 5 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Oulton Park: May 28th 2011 (Rounds 5 and 6 of BARC’s VTEC Challenge)

Built into the natural contours of the Cheshire countryside, Oulton Park’s combination of stunning scenery and spectacular racing make it one of the most picturesque and cherished circuits available in the UK.

Running on the “Island” layout meant that the guys would be covering a lengthy 2.260 miles per lap. Missing out the “Shell Oils Corner”, would mean the drivers needed to pay particular attention to turning right at “Island Bend”, and not go sailing by!

On home soil were the Integra DC2 of Stewart Hutchinson and the Accord Type R of Andy Smith, both looking to capitalise with their circuit knowledge.

Making a welcome return was Rick Rowles with his FN2 “Mugen” powered Civic Type R, who had made the journey up from Swindon. Having not seen the car since Silverstone, it would be interesting to see how it has progressed.

With the season progressing along nicely, drivers were all now beginning to look for that extra turn of speed, or that quicker line through the corners.

Whilst some of the cars were sporting obvious modifications, others were more covert. Either way the circuit at Oulton was all set to put the grid through its paces.

Qualifying

With a dry circuit awaiting them, everyone rolled out onto the circuit to set their best time.

With Smith and Hutchinson having had many a lap pass under their wheels at this circuit, some of the fellow racers used their experience to help them learn the best lines.

Gareth was showing that his Class D CRX was capable of setting quick times, but didn’t quite have the legs over the likes of Voaden on the circuit’s fast sectors.

Roberts and Cribley were sharing the driving for the weekend in the second of the CRX’s, so both had to get out in qualifying to set their times. Roberts would be racing first, while the “Performance Autoworks” Director would be out in race 2.

Following qualifying, the result showed that Voaden had done enough to secure his 3rd pole position of the season ahead of Gareth Broadbent and Stewart Hutchinson in a group C JDM Integra.

Pole: Rich Voaden

2nd: Gareth Broadbent

3rd: Stewart Hutchinson

Race 1:

With Voaden on pole, everyone could be forgiven for thinking this would be a one horse race, but as we all know racing can be unpredictable to say the least!

Lining up on the grid alongside Gareth with Stewart and Andy on the 2nd row, Richy in the Integra needed a text book start so as not to give the guys any opportunity for a way past.

With the red lights out, Rich and Gareth got an even start, but just as he was about to shift into high gear and pull away, Voaden suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure and lost all drive, which not only put paid to his winning form, but also left him in the path of a charging Mark Chese in his EP3 Civic Type R.

With little time to act, Mark skilfully avoided any contact with Rich as he coasted around “Old Hall” corner to become one the spectators for the rest of the race.

With Voaden’s race over before it had started, the CRX driver from Farnham took charge of the race and lead Stewart Hutchinson in 2nd all the way to the flag.

Andy Smith in his group A Accord Type R was “on it” from the word go, and was hounding Hutchinson to give up his 2nd place, but it wouldn’t happen without a fight.

Starting from 6th place, Richard Chilton in the UK spec Integra got a great start and jumped up to 4th place, passing Mark Chese and holding off Rick’s Civic in the process.

On lap three Andy narrowly avoid contact with a slowing Hutchinson at “Island Bend” and ended up dropping to last place as he took to the escape road. This promoted Chilton to 3rd and despite a valiant attempt by Smith, (which saw him claw back up to 4th) the damage was done.

1st: Gareth Broadbent

2nd: Stewart Hutchinson

3rd: Richard Chilton

Class wins were awarded to Andy Smith (Accord Type R), Rick Rowles (Civic Type R), Stewart Hutchinson (JDM DC2) and Gareth Broadbent (CRX).

Fastest lap: Gareth Broadbent 1:40.027 sec on lap 8 of 9

Race 2:

With the grid for race two established with the competitors 2nd fastest lap from qualifying, meant that despite not finishing race 1, the now repaired Integra of Voaden found itself once again on pole but this time Stewart Hutchinson was alongside, with Gareth and Andy behind on row two.

Hoping for a successful start, Voaden judged the lights to a tee and got clean away and past the first corner, which was a bonus I’m sure he was pleased about.

Gareth nipped through from the second row to squeeze inside Hutchinson in the Integra and by the exit of “Old Hall” bend he was in 2nd place and setting his sights on Voaden and a second race win.

Hutchinson was now holding 3rd comfortably and pulled out enough of a lead over Smith to know that in order to retain the place all he had to do was drive well within his limits.

Smith had to settle for 4th place, which except for an unscheduled detour through the escape road at “Knickerbrook” was an untroubled event for him.

Mark Chese had a comfortable 5th ahead of the battling duo of “Rowles” and “Chilton”. Both drivers had a great race, with honest clean driving, showing that you don’t have to “Rub” to race!

With the flag dropped, Richard Voaden had returned to form to take the second race win of the day.

Despite staying in contention with Voaden, Broadbent wasn’t able to make a challenge on the leader, and crossed the line in 2nd place.

1st: Rich Voaden

2nd: Gareth Broadbent

3rd: Stewart Hutchinson

Class wins were awarded to Rich Voaden (DC2), Rick Rowles (Civic Type R), Stewart Hutchinson (JDM DC2) and Gareth Broadbent (CRX).

Fastest lap: Rich Voaden 1:39.808 sec on lap 8 of 9

With the VTEC Challenge moving to Wales, and the breathtaking Anglesey circuit for rounds 7 and 8 on the 2nd and 3rd of July, stay tuned for more exciting races.

Words: Jonathan Fletcher

Pictures: Adrian Arran

VTEC Challenge visits Mallory Park

Posted by Andrew Cliffe On May - 5 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Mallory Park: May 1st 2011 (Rounds 3 & 4 of VTEC Challenge)

With the freshly laid tarmac of the Leicestershire based circuit beckoning, the BARC’s latest race series rolled into town over the Bank Holiday weekend, and the VTEC kicked in!

Mallory Park would provide a different challenge to that of Silverstone, and would play into the hands of the less powerful class C and D class cars. With only a few of the drivers having raced here before, anything was possible.

With the long sweeping bend of “Gerrards”, and the tight hairpin of “Shaws” interlinked with two fast paced straights, meant the East Midlands circuit would provide all competitors with some great racing.

With glorious weather greeting the racers and fans, the day had all the ingredients needed for a great event.

Following on from his brace of wins last time out at Silverstone, Richard Voaden in his “Performance Autoworks” H22 Integra was going to be the one to beat out of the blocks.

With the trio of “RedBrick Racing” Civic’s and Rick Rowles late model Type R absent from the grid, the numbers were bolstered by the arrival of Andy Smith in his class A “VTEC Direct.Com” Accord Type R, Richard Chilton in his class C Honda Integra and “Tin Top” regular and seasoned racer Nigel Ainge in his DC5 Integra.

Following his issues at Silverstone, Mark Chese was back at Mallory in his EP3 Civic Type R with a freshly installed cage that now meets the latest regulations. With his first race in his own car ahead of him, Mark would be looking to get some race miles under his belt.

New comers Andy Smith and Richard Chilton had a battle on their hands to get on the grid, but the great camaraderie within the VTEC camp meant that help was at hand.

With a last minute engine swap for the ATR, the car was buttoned up a matter of hours before race day, and the Integra of Chilton was finished off in the paddock in the run up to qualifying!

The lightweight Class D Civic EG from R-Motion has been fitted with a set of Jenvey ITB’s in the search for some more grunt to enable driver Kris Dunlop to nip at the heels of the front running Class A runners.

Stewart Hutchinson and his Class C JDM DC2 Integra was also one of the entrants cutting it fine with race preparation. The B18 bottom end was fitted with a fully ported head, which lead to being mapped in the early hours of Friday morning.

Gareth Broadbent was out in his CRX with its freshly installed B18 engine, having dropped it off at R-Motion for the swap to be carried out less than a week prior to the race weekend!

Qualifying

As with any race meet, the day started with driver sign on and the cars were given the once over by the scrutineers. With no issues identified, the race day proper could get underway.

With the time to qualify upon them, everyone rolled out onto the circuit to set their best time.

With the reliability we are becoming to expect from these Honda’s it was mainly a trouble free session.

However for the “R-Motion” Civic of Kris Dunlop, it was less than a great start to the day, as the pairing were black flagged after 12 laps due to oil spraying from a failing sump gasket.

With the exception of the aforementioned Civic, the rest of the grid came home without any further problems.

With the times in, the DC5 Integra of Nigel Ainge had secured the pole slot, by over half a second from previous winner Voaden.

With a reduced qualifying session, the “R-Motion” Civic had still posted a quick enough time to place 3rd in the VTEC Challenge. With this incentive the team were quick to get to work on the Civic in an attempt to rectify their oil leak. With all hands to the pump, the sump was removed and a new gasket added to get the car ready to race.

Race Day:

Race 1:

With the DC5 of Ainge on pole, he was all lined up for the run into “Gerrards” and a quick getaway, however Voaden would be alongside looking to challenge from the off, and the lightweight EG Civic piloted by Dunlop would be snapping at both of them.

With lights out, it was Ainge who capitalised and took off like the proverbial scalded cat, leaving the rest of the grid to give chase. Rich Voaden in the “Performance Autoworks” Integra initially lost some ground to the race leader, but was up there should anything go awry with the leader.

From the off, the pre-race fix on the Civic of Dunlop looked not to have worked, and oil soon began leaking onto the front wheel, making the race entertaining to say the least! With sense prevailing, Kris decided his race was run and retired on lap 5.

Promoted to 3rd, the red CRX of Gareth Broadbent sat comfortably in position for the remainder of the race, as did 4th place Hutchinson in his DC2 ITR. Although unchallenged, it’s often when in this position complacency can slip in, so focussed driving was still called for.

Smith and Chese were found wanting the same piece of track, and eventually a momentary lapse of concentration on Smith’s part at the hairpin saw the black and green EP3 CTR of Chese slip through to take and hold onto 5th place overall.

Dave Roberts in his 1600cc CRX was battling with the new UK spec ITR of Richard Chilton throughout the race, with Dave holding 7th to Richard’s 8th place overall.

As the race unfolded it was apparent that Rich was eating away at the distance that separated him from the lead car of Nigel Ainge. As the laps rolled off, both of the white Integra’s grew closer and closer until Rich was close enough to contemplate a challenge for the lead.

Running into Gerrards, Ainge took an unexpected move to the outside of the circuit, which invited Rich to take the inside line. On the dirty part of the track, the race leader was unable to bring the car around and ended up leaving the circuit in a ball of dust.

With a clear track ahead, Rich continued to push and extend his lead over the recovered Integra (now back in 2nd place) and held on to take the win by 6.5 seconds

1st: Rich Voaden
2nd: Nigel Ainge
3rd: Gareth Broadbent

Class wins for Voaden, Chese, Hutchinson and Broadbent

Fastest lap: Rich Voaden 52.583 sec on lap 9 of 23

Race 2:

It was a last minute scramble for Andy Smith and his team, as the “VTECDirect.COM” ATR was still on axle stands as the last call was made for the drivers to make their way to the assembly point.

As a result of race 1, the tyres were low on tread, and considered by the scrutineers to be too much like a slick. With only a short period of time between races, it was a rush to get new tyres fitted and back on the car. Due to being late, Andy had to start from the back of the grid, instead of from 6th place.

The Civic of “R-Motion” was considered to be beyond reasonable repair, and so was absent from the grid. The team will be back at Oulton in a couple of week’s time with a fresh engine to challenge for the race win.

With the DC5 of Ainge notably absent from the grid, Voaden was left to lead the charge on lap one, and with the race underway he did just that.

Coming up from the back of the grid, Smith in his ATR shot through from last to make up 4 places by the JC Esses on lap 1.

Very quickly the winner of race 1 extended his lead from the CRX of Broadbent and the Integra of Hutchinson. The top three soon pulled away from the rest of the field and continued to the end of the race without any challenges to their positions.

Smith showed signs early on of closing in on 3rd place Hutchinson in his JDM DC2 Integra, but later dropped back and was passed by Chese, dropping him back to 5th. An issue with fuel supply was later identified as the cause of Andy’s slowing pace.

Richard Chilton went one better and now getting to grips with both car and circuit finished ahead of Dave Roberts in race 2.

With the flag dropped, Richard Voaden notched up 4 wins from 4 starts, and cemented his dominance in the VTEC Challenge.

1st: Rich Voaden
2nd: Gareth Broadbent
3rd: Stewart Hutchinson

Class wins for Voaden, Chese, Hutchinson and Broadbent

Fastest lap: Rich Voaden 52.825 sec on lap 22 of 23

Summary:

With fantastic racing accompanied by glorious weather and huge support from the fans, rounds 3 & 4 at Mallory Park were another resounding success. This fledgling race series is continuing to gather pace and with some great circuits still to come on the calendar, things can only get better.

With Oulton Park the next venue, and home track to the likes of Hutchinson and Smith, the racing is bound to be anything but predictable.

Credit again goes to Mike, Kris and their respective families, for creating yet another great weekends racing.

So, who’ll be victorious at rounds 5 & 6?

Will anyone stop the winning streak of Rich Voaden?

With the VTEC Challenge moving to Oulton Park in Cheshire for the next round(s) on the 28th of May, stay tuned for more exciting races.

Words: Jonathan Fletcher
Pictures: Adrian Arran

VTEC Challenge kicks off at Silverstone

Posted by Andrew Cliffe On April - 5 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

After all the planning, headaches and sleepless nights, it had all come down to this. The time to stop talking and get down to racing had finally arrived, and with every class represented, it was sure to be something special.

The atmosphere in the paddock was a heady mix of nerves, excitement but above all one of team spirit.

Drivers began to mentally prepare themselves to put all their hard work to the test and with a mixture of novice crosses and freshly built cars, anything could happen.

Qualifying:

The race day got underway with the obligatory scrutineering, which with the odd exception everyone passed first time. One driver who was less fortunate was Mark Chese in his Civic Type “R” who fell foul of the new legislation surrounding roll cages. With a potential early bath on the cards, “RedBrick Racing” came up trumps with a huge gesture of good will and offered Mark their spare BTCC spec Civic as his replacement steed! Talk about helping out your fellow competitor!

At the allotted time, all cars made their way onto the hallowed tarmac of Silverstone and began the task of setting their times for grid position.

With a remarkably trouble free qualifying session, all cars came home in one piece.

Rick Rowles in his impressive late model “Type R” Civic had a big moment at the “Luffield Complex” but ended up safely on the grass. The same corner also claimed the CRX of Dave Roberts, who also rejoined unscathed.

The A048 control tyre from Yokohama was performing well, with lap times dropping as they came up to temperature.

At the end of the session, Richard Voaden in his H22 powered Integra took his first ever pole, nearly 2 seconds ahead of 2nd placed Charlie Butler-Henderson.

Race Day:

Race 1:

With Rich on pole, he had on paper the best line into “Copse”, but alongside the seasoned drivers of “Butler-Henderson”, “Dunlop” and “Duxbury”, it would be a close fought thing to come out of the corner on top.

With the lights out “Dunlop” in his lightweight Class D 1600cc Civic EG made a storming start and took an early lead, but he was soon overhauled by the more powerful Class “A” Integra, and the Tuner Class Civic driven by CBH.

Over the next 3 or 4 laps, the front running duo of Voaden and Butler-Henderson battled cleanly for the lead, with the more powerful Integra gaining the upper hand.

Stewart Hutchinson in his now Class C Integra (due to a last minute engine swap) came through from the 3rd row, past the Civic of Duxbury and on to take 3rd from Dunlop after 3 laps when the lightweight Civic ran wide at “Maggots” giving the edge to the Integra on the straight. For the next 2 or 3 laps the pair tussled for the same piece of tarmac, which ended with Dunlop back up to 2nd place, with Hutchinson in 4th following the stricken Civic of CBH.

An issue with the gear linkage in the Civic of Butler-Henderson meant he was unable to capitalise on his race craft, and had to end race 1 with a 3rd place overall.

Rich ended his first race 12 seconds ahead of the 2nd place Dunlop.

1st: Rich Voaden

2nd: Kris Dunlop

3rd: Charlie Butler Henderson

Fastest lap: Rich Voaden 1:07.264 sec on lap 3 of 14

Race 2:

The grid for the second race was established using the times taken from the racers second fastest lap in qualifying instead of the usual race 1 results line up.

This meant that the majority of the grid was laid out in the same format as for race 1.

A better start for the number 24 car of Voaden saw the Integra driver lead from lights to flag, although with the car having been repaired in between race’s the number 9 Civic of Butler-Henderson provided a greater challenge for race 2.

The Integra of Hutchinson shot past the “RedBrick Racing” Civics of CBH and Duxbury, but running alongside the fast recovering Butler-Henderson, Stewart found himself being pinned between the pit wall and the day glow orange bodywork of the Civic. In the heat of the moment, the blue Integra missed the apex for Copse, and both Redbrick cars had their places back by Maggots.

Ahead the battle between Robin Duxbury and Kris Dunlop was now on, and it was Robin who eventually brought a second of the “RedBrick Racing” Civics onto the podium, and Stewart Hutchinson rounded out the top 5.

1st: Rich Voaden

2nd: Charlie Butler Henderson

3rd: Robin Duxbury

Fastest lap: Rich Voaden 1:07.341 sec on lap 3 of 14

Summary:

Whilst the results are fantastic, they are only part of the weekend’s story.

This series has been executed in both a short time frame, but with great attention to detail. The needs and wants of the racers have been considered, and the infancy of the series does not show, and already puts more established “one make” series to shame.

The atmosphere between all the drivers and crews was fantastic with everyone putting class rivalry aside to make the first race meeting something really special.

All credit goes to Mike and Kris, for making it such a great weekend.

Report: Jonathan Fletcher
Photography: Steve Shurey PistonPics.Com

Honda VTEC Challenge dates announced

Posted by Andrew Cliffe On January - 17 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

The new Honda VTEC Challenge has released its 2011 calendar.   Dates are below

1. 03 April —- SILVERSTONE x2
2. 01 May —- MALLORY PARK x2
3. 28 May —- OULTON PARK x2
4. 02-03 July —- ANGLESEY x2
5. 23-24 July —- CROFT x2
6. 26-28 August —- SNETTERTON x2
7. 01-02 October —- ROCKINGHAM x2

Honda VTEC Challenge announced

Posted by Andrew Cliffe On January - 5 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

The “Honda VTEC Challenge” has been created by Michael Clarke and Kris Dunlop in conjunction with the “BARC” to provide a fun, safe and friendly race series for drivers of performance Honda’s who are maybe looking to take their first steps into club racing and also for existing Honda racers who are keen to compete in a dedicated one make series.

Similar series in the United States and Japan have attracted a huge following, and with the market for tuning Hondas being prevalent in the UK, it’s felt that there is a unique opportunity for this exciting new prospect.

The series has already attracted some high profile cars in preparation for the 2011 season, with entries from the entire 2004 BTCC ex-Team Dynamics/Halfords Civics and Matt Hamilton’s BTCC 2010 car.

This series is ideally positioned to grow into a Championship by 2013 with the BARC’s backing, and it will be on the same billing as many other high profile race series the following UK’s circuits:

- Silverstone

- Mallory

- Oulton

- Anglesey

- Croft

- Snetterton

- Rockingham

With Yokohama providing the control tyre for the series, and additional sponsorship coming from Öhlins, HEL and Rota Wheels the “VTEC Challenge” is becoming an exciting prospect for racing in 2011.

A normal race weekend will involve 15 minutes of qualifying, plus two races of at least 15 minutes each. The plan is to keep things simple, by running just 5 classes based on engine capacity which will cater for all Honda models. No Forced induction will be allowed unless fitted from the factory, although engine swaps into different models and engine enhancing modifications are all free providing the engine is originally from a Honda production road car.

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