This late August Bank Holiday meeting is always a pleasure to go to for the Ferraris. The paddock is crowded and buzzing, the place is friendly and there are huge crowds along the spectator banks, and you can see just about the whole of the circuit. No wonder that, both for competitors and spectators, there’s always a good turnout. It was particularly nice to see good support from our Area Groups.
Twenty-one Ferrari classics lined up for early morning practice, with nearly all the leading lights there. Nicky Paul-Barron and Chris Butler gave this one a skip, what with the flagship Zandvoort meeting taking place the very next weekend, but Gary Culver (328) and other likely front-runners such as Dave Tomlin (328), the Cartwright brothers James and Ben (both in 328s) and Christopher Goodard (308 GTB) were all there. Nick Taylor, having got the serious business of winning the Club's hillclimb championship out of the way, was out to play in his Mondial t, as was his similarly equipped, fellow hillclimber Jon Goodwin.
A little bit of earlier fine mist made the track slippery in places, and there was a suspicion of oil on the road, but Culver set a fine pole position time of 1:19.7 secs which was more than two seconds ahead of Taylor’s Mondial and the very impressive James Cartwright. Jon Goodwin surprised everyone with a return to form and fourth on the grid, and then came our own Club Sec., Peter Everingham, who put the white ex-Chris Rea 328 into fifth spot.
By the time of the early afternoon race the sun had come out and it was warm and fine. William Jenkins, not sure about the healthiness of his 308, elected to start from the back of the grid rather than get in everyone’s way in case the car faltered at the start, but the others all lined up in their correct slots and waited for the lights to go out.
At the start Culver, as so often, hesitated and it was Nick Taylor who did a fine hillclimb-type start and shot into the lead. Evers also made a blinder to move into second, but Culver quickly recovered that spot and as they came past at the end of the first lap the order was Taylor, Culver, Evers, James Cartwright and Dave Tomlin who had shot up from ninth on the grid.
Taylor hung on to the lead for three laps before Culver, being himself pressed by J. Cartwright, squeezed past to give himself some breathing space. On the next lap Cartwright spun but rejoined in 12th place and started a great catch-up that would see him rejoin the leading group.
At the front Culver stroked it around just ahead of Taylor, who actually got ahead again for a lap, but there was little doubt who was in charge. Behind these two Everingham, Tomlin and Chris Goddard were nose to tail, although the 308 of the last was not sounding well, and then followed Ben Cartwright and Chris Rea who was having a great race in his recently reacquired ‘Alan Mann’ 308 GT4. John Day (328) was next up but then spun, hit the barriers quite hard on the left side although he was able to continue.
Probably the most entertaining dice was down in mid-field, for 12th place, where an incredibly tight bunch led by John Swift (308), with Richard Squire (328), Richard Allen (328), Paul Unsworth (328), Geoff Neal (328), a recovering John Day, and David Ward (308 GT4) all fighting to get to the front. Swifty had a half-spin on the tenth lap and dropped to the back of this group who were eventually led home by Day.
Culver continued his lead, moving a couple of seconds away from Taylor who in turn was quite safe from Everingham in third. But the last now had Tomlin very close as well as J. Cartwright; Tomlin clearly thought about a lunge up the inside of Evers at Camp Corner, especially as Cartwright was large in his mirrors, but thought better of it and stayed back.
After 20 minutes of racing the chequered flag came out and Gary Culver took yet another win to add to his already huge collection. One never knows with Gary how hard he actually tries, he seems to win each race with just the minimum of effort, and even when he losses one wonders whether he’s letting others have their moment in the sun..... Taylor’s second place was a tremendous effort, especially given that the Mondial is not considered the most competitive of tipos, and Evers was delighted (and worn out!) with his third place – just over one second covered him, Tomlin, Ben Cartwright and his brother James. Chris Rea was seventh, his best drive yet, but the highly modified 308 of Chris Goddard slipped down the order to finish eighth, the car not sounding well at all. Peter Fisk, in a Mondial QV, drove a cracking race to finish ninth just ahead of Papa Cartwright in his 328.
Click here for the results.
Click here for a slideshow.
Next up: Zandvoort, September 4-6.
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