September Racing Roundup - First Championships Won
It’s that time of year when all the race series are holding their final rounds and the Championship winner emerges, and this month there have been a lot of Owen Developments boosted winners emerging! (and a couple of records broken for good measure too!)
BTCC – Rockingham and Silverstone
September was Honda Yuasa Racing’s Gordon Shedden’s month in the Owen Developments boosted British Touring Car Championship taking a brace of top five finishes and a win to move back to the top of the standings after the rounds at Rockingham and Silverstone.
Mat Jackson triumphed in the opening race at Rockingham before Shedden’s success, whilst Jason Plato responded in style with his own fantastic victory in a memorable finale. After taking his first BTCC pole position in six years and Motorbase Performance’s first-ever qualifying top spot on Saturday, Jackson duly added a race win to his weekend’s impressive tally.
Shedden went on to take the best result of the main championship challengers, despite serving a four-place grid penalty due to a procedural infringement during qualifying, A blistering start in his Honda Civic Type R left him third by the end of lap two and the Scotsman went one better with a clean move by Aron Smith’s VW shortly after.
Shedden put his rivals further in the shade with a dominant lights-to-flag victory in race two. Having made a textbook getaway, the 2012 champion was more than three seconds up the road before any challengers even came close to matching his lap times. By that point the damage was already done and Shedden streaked away to his fourth victory of the season.
Pole-sitter Ingram made a stellar getaway in his Toyota Avensis and produced a faultless opening to the race, as Plato was busy hauling his VW CC into second. Team BMR RCIB Insurance driver Plato hounded Ingram throughout and crept alongside the Speedworks Motorsport car on lap four, but he couldn’t complete the move as they surged towards Yentwood. It was clear, however, that Plato’s stealth-like VW was showing more speed late on and when the double champion repeated his trick at Deene on lap 14 there would be no comeback. Plato edged ahead and then immediately bulked Ingram up behind on the exit of Yentwood, which was enough for the championship challenger to break the tow and move clear.
The title picture is tighter than ever after Rockingham with Shedden leading Plato by just six points. Neal and Turkington are also separated by six points while MG Triple Eight Racing’s Andrew Jordan remains in contention back in fifth. Meanwhile, Cook had moved into an unassailable lead in the Jack Sears Trophy.
It was Jackson making the headlines in the early part of proceedings at Silverstone as the Motorbase Performance driver scored his second successive pole position on Saturday, which he duly converted into a lights-to-flag win in race one.
Team IHG Rewards Club racer Priaulx claimed victory in the second contest after getting the better of Jack Goff’s MG and pole position man Jackson. The triple world champion blitzed past Goff’s MG6 off the line and he began reeling in the fast-starting Ford Focus of Jackson over the opening laps.
Inevitably Priaulx got a run on the exit of Copse on lap eight before storming around the outside of Jackson and eventually making the move stick into Maggotts. The West Surrey Racing-run BMW then pulled away convincingly and Priaulx went on to claim the 50th victory of his motor sport career.
The last race was the most entertaining of the day, which began with Motorbase Performance’s James Cole wheel-spinning off the line from pole position. This allowed Rob Collard’s BMW to storm into an early lead while Turkington was busy grabbing second as Cole ran wide through Becketts on the opening tour.
Team JCT600 with GardX driver Sam Tordoff was the next competitor to get past Cole but it was the battle for the lead that had the crowd on its feet – Turkington closed on Collard before slicing past the BMW man into Brooklands on lap two.
Tordoff’s slim championship hopes were fading despite being in an impressive third so he threw caution to the wind, trying everything he could to muscle his way by team-mate Collard. There was contact behind too as Plato nudged his VW past Cole’s Ford for fourth, with the latter getting shuffled further down the field as a result.
Collard allowed Tordoff through in an attempt to let his stablemate catch Turkington, but when that didn’t materialise the pair reversed places again before the chequered flag to complete the podium positions – a decision that ruled Tordoff mathematically out of title contention.
A trio of title contenders were next up in the finishing order with Plato, Shedden and Neal taking fourth, fifth and sixth respectively, ahead of race one winner Jackson who had stormed through the pack from the back of the grid. Jordan was another to produce a brilliant drive as he recovered from a race two puncture to claim 12th and keep his admittedly feint championship chances alive.
Honda has extended its lead in the Manufacturers’ order, whilst Team BMR RCIB Insurance edged closer to both the Teams’ and Independent Teams’ titles while Turkington tops the Independent Drivers’ table.
Indy Lights – Laguna Seca
The first season of Indy Lights with Owen Developments turbochargers came to a close at Laguna Seca finishing an extremely close title race. Going into the two races at the legendary Laguna Seca Raceway British driver Jack Harvey led from Spencer Pigot by just 6 points with Ed Jones a further 12 behind. With 66 points on offer the title could have been anyone’s.
Pole position for the first race went to former Formula 1 racer Max Chilton, but his lead wouldn’t last two laps as he clipped the tyres at the Corkscrew and needed to pit, handing the lead to Pigot. From there on Pigot lead his teammate Kyle Kaiser home denying his rivals additional points with Jones third and Harvey fifth. This results swapped the championship leaders around; with one race remaining Pigot now had a narrow eight point lead and a podium finish in the finale would give him the title.
The final race was slightly anticlimactic; though Pigot took the lead from Chilton in fine style into turn 1 and never let anyone back past for his sixth win of the season, it was not his driving which would decide the day but a mistake from Harvey. A penalty was given to Harvey after he was judged to have jumped the start, he re-joined at the back of the pack his title aspirations in tatters leaving Pigot to take the win and the title.
MINI Challenge UK – Donington Park
The Owen Developments boosted MINI Challenge UK held its penultimate round at Donington Park with a pair of very mixed races with drama for the title favourites.
Charlie Butler-Henderson continued his mission to claw back the gap to championship leader David Grady with a controlled victory in the opening race. Butler-Henderson made winning look easy by keeping his head as all around him lost theirs in a turbulent first lap caused by low track temperatures catching many drivers out.
All of the trouble left Butler-Henderson with an immediate four-second lead ahead of Grady and series newcomer Jack Mitchell. Keen to impress in the Power Maxed-run Gen 3, Mitchell attacked Grady and pulled off a great move for second into the Melbourne Hairpin. He then attempted to reel in Butler-Henderson, but the leader was well in control.
Hamish Brandon kept the fight for the R56 JCW Class alive with victory, after another difficult start for championship leader Neil Newstead. Newstead has struggled with his starts this year and, despite grabbing pole ahead of Brandon in qualifying, got another bad one.
That allowed Brandon into the lead ahead of Kevin O’Connor and Jason Jeffreys. Newstead dispatched Jeffreys and then caught the scrapping O’Connor and Brandon. Newstead dived past O’Connor and closed onto Brandon’s tail, before a missed gear and a brief off into McLeans cost him ground, and his front splitter.
Charlie Butler-Henderson became the season’s joint leading race winner by taking the win in the second race, scorching through from the second row of the grid to claim another victory. The win was Butler-Henderson’s fifth of the season, putting him level on winner’s trophies with his biggest rival in the last outing of the weekend, Lee Pattison.
Butler-Henderson’s charge was aided by a superb fight for second, which ignited in the latter stages of the race. Pattison held second throughout, but was repeatedly challenged by both David Grady and William Phillips, once the latter had recovered from a hairy early lockup into the Old Hairpin. Grady’s fourth means he keeps the points lead, with just three races to go at Snetterton next month.
Neil Newstead’s commanding lead in the R56 JCW Class points became almost insurmountable after he added another win to his tally. Newstead made it look simple, getting a good start and leading from lights-to-flag ahead of Hamish Brandon. Brandon finished just a few seconds behind to keep the title battle alive heading to Snetterton, but barely.
Toyo Time Attack Masters – Assen
At the final round of Toyo Time Attack Masters (Dutch Time Attack) at the legendary Assen TT circuit two Owen Developments drivers were poised to take championship glory. Matt Straker in his ODGT3076HTA-M boosted Vauxhall Astra VXR only had a ten point lead in the Super Pro Street class going into the round, meaning he needed a good result to take the title. Meanwhile in the Extreme class, the fastest class in Time Attack Masters, Richard Marshall had a slightly easier task thanks to his four class wins earlier in the season in his T0488HTA-M boosted Evo IX giving him some room for error at Assen.
In a tight final Straker was up against his championship rivals Ronald van Wooning in his Honda S2000 and Kevin Quist in his Subaru Impreza, with Van Wooning needing only a few extra points to overhaul Straker the title was definitely on the line. In the final reckoning, Straker finished 3rd behind his rivals, but thanks to out qualifying them the previous day he had enough points to take the title by just three points!
Richard Marshall’s day was less dramatic however, having already taken pole and the points available for it he could have turned a single lap to be classified and take the title. Luckily just cruising for an easy win is not Richard’s style and he ended the season with his third successive win to emphatically take the title.
FIM Super Street Bike Cup – Santa Pod - Euro Finals
After early season engine trouble reigning Champion Steve Venables had decided to sit out the European rounds at the Hockenheimring in favour of getting his new engine completely ready for the Euro Finals at Santa Pod. This decision did mean he would forfeit any chance of winning the FIM Super Street Bike Cup for the second year in succession, but he had another target in mind; break the European class record and become the first rider outside the United States to run into the 6’s.
In practice his ODGT3586HTA-M boosted Hayabusa ran a 7.08 at 201 mph, then with conditions perfect for final qualifying Steve and the other riders hoping to be the first in the 6’s went out to run. Steve was the first on track and in spite of not running the fastest 60ft of the day he ran a 6.950 at 212.84mph breaking the E/T and speed records (not to mention being the first to run over 210mph) achieving his goal!
Almost as an added bonus the next day were the eliminations which Steve promptly made his way through to the final to meet newly crowned Champion Gary Bowe. Steve took the win with a 7.04 at 209mph moving himself up to 3rd in the final Championship standings having only competed in half the Championship rounds.
Irish Drift Championship – Mondello Park
The Irish Drift Championship was at Mondello Park in front of a record crowd for the Final Fight, featuring invited drivers from as far as the United States and Japan. Leading the charge of the Owen Developments boosted drivers were newly crowned British Drift Champion Jack Shanahan (GTX4088R) and a few points behind was former IDC and reigning Drift Allstars Champion James Deane (ODGT3588HTZ-M). Both drivers could take the Championship, but they would have to overhall Tomás Kiely’s points haul first.
Jack’s weekend effectively ended early with his BMW powered Nissan, which has been suffering a fuelling problem all weekend, had an engine failure. He was able to borrow a rookie class car, but his unfamiliarity with the car saw him miss a gear and lose his Top 32 battle ending his hopes of being simultaneous Irish and British Champion.
From the seat of his S14 James Deane had no such issues and (as is customary for him at Mondello) progressed through to face none other than Tomás Kiely in the Final Four. In a match up where there was nothing to choose between the drivers saw them go One More Time no less than three times! Sadly for the crowd the battle, and subsequently the Championship, were decided by a mechanical failure on Kiely’s car.
There was still one more battle for Deane against fellow Owen Developments sponsored Team Japspeed driver Shane O’Sullivan (ODGTX3076R-M). James’s record at Mondello which stretches back undefeated for almost a decade would not be upset and he was able to celebrate being IDC Champion (again!) from the top step of the podium after a small mistake from O’Sullivan put him off track.
BTRA British Truck Racing Association – Snetterton
Owen Developments boosted Division Two Championship leader Steven Powell (ODGT4205HTA) had a solid weekend despite a serious of mechanical issues. After getting the engine working, with the help of his mechanics and a fellow racer, he went on to take another three victories and a runner-up trophy too from the five races at Snetterton.
In spite of his strong weekend, Powell’s championship lead was reduced by Luke Garrett taking two wins and three other podiums to 35 points, still a healthy lead but by no means uncatchable in the remaining rounds at Pembrey and Brands Hatch.
Fellow Owen Developments boosted driver Adam Bint (ODGT4205HTA) had an excellent debut at Snetterton. Despite never having driven on the Norfolk track before he took four podium finishes consolidating his third place in the Championship, with second plac