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Race report, Rockingham 17th May 2014

By Rod Birley

Intermarque Qualifying took it’s toll on the Quaife Intermarques as the most consistant finisher in the history of the championship, Philip Young, had engine problems which curtailed his wonderful record. Further drama befell Paul Adams who failed the noise test and qualified later out of session. Also Lewis Smith had a differential failure on his first lap, so he too was consigned to the back of the grid.

The first race saw returnee Chris Brockhurst set off from pole position with his usual sparring partner Matt Simpson slotting into second. David Brooks sneaked past Malcolm Blackman going intoBrook. On a charge was Lewis Smith who gained 8 places by the end of the first lap. He latched onto the leading quartet and soon picked off two of them to go third by lap four. Already missing was Ray Harris who sadly pulled off on the rolling lap with engine dramas, whereas Mick Robertson had joined late from the pit lane.

Intermarque The leading group then lost Brooks, who spun at Brook corner and damaged his panhard rod forcing him into retirement. The spin had affected the next group of Harding, Loram, Thurley and Hunn who had to take avoiding action. Luckily they all survived although in a slightly different order with Thurley heading this pack. Mark Fuller was the next to pull off as fuel feed issues caused his engine to run lean. Mark was quickly followed by Mick Robertson, who despite making up ground felt his suspension was not behaving itself. The casualties continued as Paul Adams ground to a halt with a broken diff. Right at the end Malcolm Harding limped into the pits, with a major conflagration under his bonnet, which was swiftly dealt with by the Rockingham fire crew.

Intermarque Meanwhile Brockhurst motored on to take the chequered flag with Simpson second , Smith third and Blackman fourth. Up into fifth spot popped Loram, whilst Thurley just held off a charging Hunn. John Steward was a rather lonely eighth, but he racked up more points. The draw for race two saw No.6 pulled out again, so Thurley had pole position for the second meeting running. Mike’s moment of glory was rather short lived as Blackman gained the initiative half way round the first lap. Usual fast mover Simpson again slotted into second, with Brockhurst and Brooks charging through. Making stunning progress was Lewis Smith, who had to start from the rear again as his clutch cable broke just as he tried to pull away in the collecting area. Unfortunately Lewis had passed a red light en route to the track and was about to receive a drive through penalty. However, he pulled off just as the board was hung out. Bizarrely Blackman thought it was for him, and he duly drove through the pit lane, much to every one’s surprise.

The next retirement was a real surprise as reigning champion Matt Simpson had his alternator fail which effectively shut his normally reliable motor down. So the order was now Brockhurst, Brooks, Loram, Thurley, Robertson and Hunn. The final three were very close and having a good clean battle. Next up was Adams, from the recovering Blackman and Steward. The drama was still not over as Robertson ran wide through Tarzan allowing Hunn to gain a place, but Ricky then suffered a stuck throttle cable which caused his DNF. Loram had noticed his water temperature start rising, as a stone had got jammed in the fan and worn it away. Rather than risk damaging his engine, he also pulled off.

Intermarque As Paul Adams slowed with a worsening misfire, so John Steward decided to indulge in a time consuming excursion. Luckily both survived to see the chequered flag. Another spinner was Blackman who gyrated at Brook just as he caught Thurley. So the seven finishers crossed the line in the order of Brockhurst, Brooks, Thurley, Blackman, Robertson, Adams and Steward. Thurley won both senior cup classes and also vaulted to third overall in the points behind Blackman. Malcolm’s team won the beers for best prepared car, whilst Brockhurst was awarded driver of the day. The four Avon tyre winners were Steward, Loram, Brooks and Adams. Hopefully everyone will now regroup for the big American Speedfest meeting on June 8th at Brands Hatch.

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See you in 2019

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