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Scrapco Avon Intermarque race report,
Rockingham, 17th-18th September 2016

By Rod Birley
Photos: Graham Holbon

Intermarque It was disappointing that only 11 cars made it to Rockingham, we had hoped to see 13, but last minute cancellations came from Mike Thurley (harvest time) and Reuben Taylor. Nevertheless a competitive line up took to the International sports car circuit on Saturday afternoon for qualifying. The time sheets told an interesting story as Lewis Smith blitzed everyone with a time of one minute 32.075 seconds, almost three seconds quicker than anyone else. A somewhat surprised second was Ian Hales, who is starting to get to grips with circuit racing. Third position went to Daniel Smith, going well in his father’s Mercedes SLK. Next to him would be Malcolm Blackman, who only completed four laps, was he saving his tyres? Fifth went to Ray Harris in Mark Fuller’s Mercedes SLK with Steve Burrows alongside. Chris Ayling headed the next row from Simon Smith, then came Ricky Hunn, John Steward and German visitor Volker Timm in his Audi TT.

Intermarque The races took place on Sunday, and a brighter day greeted the competitors. The rolling start saw Lewis Smith and Hales run side by side around the banking down to the Deene hairpin. Unfortunately a lock up by Smith sent Hales on a detour trying to avoid contact. Lewis recovered first, but was back in third spot, whilst Hales lost a lot of time and rejoined last. Meanwhile Blackman led from Daniel Smith, with Lewis Smith just in front of Ray Harris. Lap two and Lewis was up to second and looking for a way past Blackman. Unfortunately a small trip over the kerbs broke a suspension link so the white Vauxhall Tigra pulled off. This left Blackman having to fend off the attack from Daniel Smith, as Harris was being caught by Burrows. Ayling was going well in fifth, as Simon Smith slipped back in sixth. Hales was charging along and gradually caught up and passed Timm and Steward by lap five. Three laps later and he blasted past both Hunn and Simon Smith, which probably spurred Ricky on, as he overtook the Silverstone race two winner. Timm retired on lap 9 with an electrical problem, after a small spin coming out of Brook.

Blackman took the chequered with Dan Smith only just holding onto to second as he crawled over the finish line out of fuel. Both Burrows and Ayling got past Harris after he went wide coming out of Deene on lap 7. Into sixth came Hales, followed by Hunn, Simon Smith and Steward. Ayling was the top senior on this occasion. The draw for the race two grid put Hunn on pole position, as the first seven positions were reversed. Hales found himself back on the front row.

Intermarque As Hunn hesitated going around the banking it looked like Hales would grab the lead, but a late braking lock up into Deene sent Ian off for a second time. Through the dust and tyre smoke Lewis Smith, from last on the grid, emerged in the lead only to see the safety car waiting to slow everyone down. Harris had charged into Gracelands a little bit too hot and the Mercedes went skating across the gravel into retirement. After two laps the race resumed with Lewis immediately pulling away by nearly two seconds per lap from Blackman. Third spot was filled by Dan Smith who had Burrows for close company. Ayling continued his good run in fifth, whilst Hales caught up a bit easier this time thanks to the caution period. Hunn pulled off on lap 6 when the exhaust broke, just as Simon Smith rejoined after stopping on the inside of Rockingham curve in order to remove grass from his radiator.

The leading five remained static as Lewis Smith took the chequered flag by over 13 seconds. Blackman was happy with second spot as that confirmed him as 2016 champion (subject to official confirmation). Dan Smith was also pleased with his best weekend taking third place. With Burrows fourth and Ayling the best senior in fifth, it was a slightly subdued Hales in sixth. Timm was very happy to get 7th and second in the seniors, whilst Simon Smith’s persistence netted him some valuable senior cup points. Steward being a late retirement when his gear lever broke. The Avon tyre awards went to John Steward, Ray Harris, Steve Burrows and Simon Smith. The final round at Brands Hatch on November 5th is due to be filmed for Motors TV.

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See you in 2019

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