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Avon Intermarque race report, Rockingham, 16th May 2015

By Rod Birley

Intermarque The drama began in qualifying with both Malcolm Blackman and Tommy Field being hit with penalties for yellow flag infringements. This meant they both had to start the first race from the rear of the 16 car grid. Quickest in qualifying was last year’s champion Matt Simpson. Having missed the first meeting at Snetterton, Matt was keen to make his mark. Lining up alongside would be Chris Brockhurst, with Snetterton winner Lewis Smith third. Lewis only managed three laps before a punctured tyre relegated him to the side lines. Following the dismissal of Blackman and Field, Ross Loram lined up an impressive fourth, with Steve Burrows just edging Daniel Smith for fifth. Mike Thurley was the quickest senior driver in seventh, followed by Richard Smith and Chris Ayling. David Brooks rounded out the top ten, despite a persistent misfire. Simon Smith, Philip Young, newcomer Reuben Taylor and Malcolm Harding completed the grid. From the rolling start Matt Simpson grabbed the early lead, with Lewis Smith usurping Brockhust for second. As Simpson pulled out an early advantage, all eyes were on the progress of the two back row starters. Initially Blackman lead Field, but by lap three Tommy was fifth with Malcolm sixth. Further back an incident between Simon Smith and Ayling saw the No.28 Vauxhall loose three positions. At about the same time Richard Smith suddenly lost his passenger door after a close encounter from Brooks.

Intermarque Meanwhile on lap four Simpson suddenly pulled off at Pif Paf after a halfshaft broke at the retaining nut end and as a result also leaked diff oil onto the rear wheel. This now meant that Lewis and Chris were battling for the lead, so it grew in intensity. As Ross Loram came into the pits to retire with fuel starvation issues, so Tommy Field moved up to third. However, this was short lived after another head gasket failed on Tommy’s Tigra. At the same time Brockhurst forced Lewis into a small error at the hairpin, which damaged the no.24 car’s front splitter. As Chris snatched the lead, further back Richard Smith had a quick spin which lost him the senior cup lead. The final two laps saw the order fairly settled although Brooks dropped back with a repeat of his earlier misfire. As Brockhurst celebrated his first win of the year, Lewis still fought gamely to the chequered flag. Blackman was happy with third, whilst Burrows was delighted with a good fourth just holding off Daniel Smith. Harding came home sixth, winning the senior cup section from a fast closing Thurley. Richard Smith regained eighth from Ayling, with Young rounding out the top ten. Taylor and Brooks completed the finishers. On the rostrum No.10 was drawn out for the semi reversed grid.

Intermarque Race two also had plenty of drama, as the usual rush into the Deene hairpin saw cars going in all directions. The worst consequence was that Ayling was spun around and he collected Simpson head on. Chris rejoined, but Matt was out with significant damage. A later enquiry resulted in a strong reprimand for another driver. Through the melee Blackman emerged with a healthy lead from a charging Lewis Smith, then came Richard Smith, Harding and Daniel Smith. They were followed by Brooks, Thurley, Burrows and Simon Smith. Brockhurst had been heavily delayed in the incident and was back in tenth with plenty to do. Ross Loram soon pulled off with his recurring fuel issue, whilst Harding’s strong showing ended with a broken gear linkage and jammed gearbox. Brooks had a lurid moment going into Gracelands which dumped him into the gravel, and a couple of laps later Richard Smith pulled off at Brook corner. The next casualty was Lewis Smith with an undisclosed problem.

Intermarque By now Blackman had it all under control, even cruising on the final lap. Up into second spot came Brockhurst, grabbing another pile of points. Daniel Smith kept third place after seeing the clerk of the course, whilst Thurley drove well to take fourth overall and best senior driver. Simon Smith was a consistent fifth from “driver of the day” Burrows. Ayling brought his damaged car home seventh with Young eighth and Taylor ninth. Reuben also won the best prepared car award. The four Avon tyre winners were Ayling, Thurley, Simon Smith and Brooks.

Hopefully Field and Simpson will fix their cars for the big one at Brands Hatch on Sunday June 7th, where several more cars are expected to join in.

Next Race Meeting:

See you in 2019

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Scrapco / Avon Intermarque:

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