The CSCC Special Saloons + Modsports series
Donington 2017 review
The CSCC's Special Saloons + Modsports 2017 series concluded with a 2-race saturday on september 9th at Donington Park. The weather forcast was for rain but yet again when the wacky racers rolled out they were blessed with sunshine ,though other races in between on the day wernt so lucky.
Their were sadly a few too many absentees than the club would have liked due to so many regulars with mechanical problems or damaged cars from previous races . The cars in the series are raced to realistic budgets and unforseen accidents or mechanical failures can impact hard on the driver/owners. So we were denied 3 cars from Croft that experienced engine issues meaning Paul Sibley had to miss a round for the very first time since the series started. Another potential race winner Ian Hall was missing ,also waiting on an engine part. The unique 'Allard' was also a Croft casualty. Two green cars were also not able to make it in time after accidents at non-CSCC races ,the Green E Anglia of Steven Moss who won his first series race here exactly 2 years ago and the Darrian of David Brewis that ran so well at Croft but was collected in a start line shunt at subsequent race.
On the plus side Clive Anderson returned after his Silverstone series debut in his wonderful-sounding BMW E30 V8 turbo and the Claxton father-and-son team were back ,Bob switching from his Skoda to the Renault 21 turbo. Also switching cars was Tony Paxman from his usual mark 1 Escort to the fabulous Zakspeed mark 2 replica version ,which is currently for sale. Peter Samuels kept V8 numbers up with a borrowed MGB replacing his usual GT version.
The exciting late entry was the series debut of 70's saloon-ace Dave Brodie in a Sierra RS ( see separate story ) which qualified 12th out the 14 that practiced but reluctantly pulled out before race 1. Pole was set in sunshine by Andy Southcott in the 2.0 litre Lenham-nosed Midget with a 1' 13.2 . Son Chris was third in his 2.4 version ,now also with Lenham aero nose sandwiching the Morris brothers turbo Peugeot . These 3 representing classes C,A and B repectively.
RACE 1 :
13 cars took the flag for the mid-afternoon race 1 ,lower numbers than usual but it proved to be one of the best races the series has seen at Donington to date. Andy Southcott blasted off into a comfortable lead of around 6 seconds until on lap 5 suffered terminal engine failure and pulled off at Coppice. His misfortune and we hope not too expensive ,opened up the race into a tremendous fight. Son Chris and Thomas Carey in the CRX clone were at times side by side coming into the chicane. Carey took the lead with a move at the old hairpin on lap 9 but Chris squeezed back passed when Carey ran a little wide at Redgate 2 laps later and took the win by 3/10ths . Danny Morris had run close behind all race to take 3rd and in the mix was Wayne Crabtree ( Escort ) ,initially in 2nd but lost a lap with lose plug lead and rejoined to run with the leaders before another niggle brought him back in.
In the midfield Clive Anderson found he had the legs to ease away from Paul Connell ( Sirerra ) and Craig Percy ( Morris Minor V8 ) to take 4th. The yellow BMW sounding glorious and making a very welcome adition to the runners. Neil Claxton's dimimutive Suzuki took 7th and class D with class rival Tim Cairns just behind. Tony Paxman took a steady 9th in the Zakspeed Escort replica and Bob Claxton recovered from his qualifying off with no brakes to take a distant 10th.
A gripping race that runner-up Carey described as 'Fantastic ,one of the best races I've ever had'.
RACE 2 :
Thomas Carey was on pole for race 2 ,the very last of the day as evening decended before the 8 o'clock curfew. The CRX was running the best it had for a while without its usual gearbox issues to compromise the driver. Despite leading the first 2 laps the win wasnt to be though as the car slipped back to 4th by the end. Wayne Crabtree's flame-spitting Escort took over at the front with Ricky Parker-Morris in the Peugeot close behind as ever. However Chris Southcott ,having started last from the bottom of the pitlane after problems starting ( shades of Croft again ) closed up and took the lead on lap 7. The Midget wasnt going to be denied its second win of the day and finished 3 seconds ahead of the Escort . The Peugeot pipped Carey for 3rd, though Carey again won class C.
Neil Claxton again took class D ,the little Suzuki finishing a strong 5th ahead of Percy, Cairns, Samuels ,Paxman and father Bob Claxton. Ian Connell had overcome some niggles during the day but pulled in after 2 laps and the BMW got stranded in the chicane's inside gravel trap on lap 5 which was a real shame having been only 4 seconds behind the leader at the time.
Congratulations to Chris Southcott for his double victory and setting fastest lap of the day with a 1minute 13.5 during race 2.
Andy Southcott ( left ) and son Chris Southcott at the end of a long day at Donington. Andy had set pole in his Midget but it was Chris in his version who won both races in the end.
at Donington :