New HGTCC Winners at Snetterton

 
Debut series victories for Chris Scragg/John Bussell and Roy McCarthy/Spencer McCarthy made the headlines as the Heritage Grand Touring Car Challenge raced alongside the British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton over the weekend (12/13 August).
 
A packed 30-car HGTCC grid was the biggest field of the weekend and thousands of fans enjoyed the action as Sunday's race followed on from the BTCC action. Qualifying Light drizzle marked the start of qualifying, in stark contrast to the high temperatures of the previous meeting at the Norfolk venue. Those who set their cars up for the wet were in luck and proceeded to dominate the early times until a mid-session stoppage heralded the end of the rain. When the action resumed, now on a reasonably dry track, Boysie Thurtle quickly went to the top of the times to displace the McCarthy MGB GTV8 with Bussell, partnering Scragg for the first time, ending up completing the front row in the latter's Aston Martin V8.Peter Horsman did a fabulous job in the conditions on his first run in with Phil Hollins' Morgan Plus 8 to grab third with the McCarthys, and losing out a little on the drying surface. Rupert Douglas-Pennant, after only six laps in Ian McCallum's DB5, put in a polished performance to take fifth after the owner had suffered a puncture in the early wet laps, the pair just edging out the rapid Norman Ricketts in his BMW 1602. The George Miller/Les Goble Aston Martin V8 was seventh from the Peter Wheeler/Giles Cooper DB4, with former TVR Tuscan racer Cooper admitting to being a bit rusty as he was having his first race for two years. Ninth, and just a mite disappointed, was Charlie Kemp. "I was right on the pace in the wet part of qualifying but had the wrong tyres when the track dried," he explained. Completing the top ten was the Robin North Mustang benefiting from new suspension since the last meeting. At the back of the grid there were problems again for the unlucky John Shoesmith/Ray Barrow Camaro as they called into the pits by the officials for attention to a slight engine oil leak. However a bigger problem faced the Gerard Coakley/Darren Dowling V8-powered Ford Escort Mk1, which suffered clutch failure. Their crew set to in the wind and rain to successfully change the clutch before the start while starter motor repairs were the order of the day for the John Hindhaugh/Mike Youles Ford Capri, or 'Bodie and Doyle' as they became known. Sadly, out for the weekend was the Peter Lloyd/Stephen Hayward Jaguar E Type with engine problems. Race one Kemp got off to a flying start and followed Scragg across the line after the opening lap in fourth place, which soon became third and then second in successive laps. The canny Arthur used the traffic to his advantage to keep Kemp's charge in check with an early safety car period causing much action in the pits as cars pitted for driver changes. Ant Scragg, in his own MGB GT V8 this time instead of his father's V8 Aston Martin, stayed out and led for a couple of laps behind the safety car, but once racing resumed Bussell, having taken over Chris Scragg's Aston in a well judged switch, blasted by to lead. Boysie Thurtle, now in the Camaro, started to hunt down the leader and made inroads until he spun at Sear, which ended his victory hopes. Having been caught up behind slower cars during the safety car period Kemp sprung into action when released and started to carve his way past everything. On a clear track he was taking four seconds a lap out of the leading pair and when Boysie spun it was only the leader left ahead. The leaders were only a second apart as they started their 20th lap but just as Kemp was preparing to strike, the red flags came out to rob him of his chance of victory. "That was a real shame," said Kemp, who took the result in his normal unflustered fashion. Bussell admitted he had nothing left in reserve. "I was driving as quick as I could but Charlie was quicker," said Bussell. For Chris Scragg, it was a fine first victory and he planned to savour it. "I'm going to treat myself to a good bottle of wine tonight as a celebration," he said. North had spun earlier in the race at the Bomb Hole then spun again, this time at Sear, which was the cause of the race stoppage, and therefore missed out on fourth place. A happy Bob Searles (Aston Martin V8) gratefully took the position having had to start from 13th place, while the Hollins/Horsman Morgan made good progress in Horsman's hands to be placed sixth in the results. Mike Youles (Lotus Elan R26) revelled in the conditions and was a class winning eighth having driven solo as Pat Thomas
wasn't keen to race in the conditions. "I don't like the wet so told Mike to keep going at the pit stop," explained Pat. A late change from Ant Scragg to Ciaran Butler paid off as the pair finished a creditable ninth in the MGB, narrowly ahead of the Mini of Harvey and Clive Death. The Wheeler/Cooper Aston stopped with engine problems while McCallum, running third, spun at the Bomb Hole on his sixth lap and couldn't restart with a similar fate befalling Nigel Vaulkhard's Escort a lap earlier.
 
Race one - 18 laps:
1 Chris Scragg/John Bussell (Aston Martin V8) 30m13.687s (69.74mph);
2 Charlie Kemp (Aston Martin DB4) +4.371s;
3 Arthur Thurtle/Boysie Thurtle (Chevrolet Camaro);
4 Bob Searles (Aston Martin DBS V8);
5 Phil Hollins/Peter Horsman (Morgan Plus 8);
6 Roy McCarthy/Spencer McCarthy (MGB GT V8);
7 Mike Youles (Lotus Elan R26);
8 Norman Ricketts (BMW 1602);
9 Anthony Scragg/Ciaran Butler (MGB GT V8);
10 Harvey Death/Clive Death (Mini Cooper S).
 
Class winners: Chris Scragg/Bussell; Ant Scragg/Butler; Youles; Ricketts.
Fastest lap: Kemp 1m27.791s (80.04mph).
 

Race two

The sun was out for Sunday's race and huge numbers of BTCC fans stayed on to watch the Heritage action. Chris Scragg made light of any nerves he may have had about starting from pole and got a perfect getaway to lead for a couple of corners. Kemp was soon trying to find a way past the leading V8 Aston but it was Spencer McCarthy who blasted the yellow MGB ahead of every one on Revett Straight to head the charging pack into the Esses for the first time.
 
The track was beginning to dry when the cars set off for the first race on Saturday afternoon, with Arthur Thurtle powering his way to the front as a canny move from Ian McCallum saw him follow the leading Camaro through the opening corner.
 
Roger Bennington, now in the Thurtle Camaro, also demoted Scragg during the opening lap and soon had Kemp nibbling away at his tail but the young McCarthy was streaking away and building an impressive lead. Meanwhile, Scragg was fending off the Morgan of Phil Hollins for fourth place. Bennington and Arthur Thurtle changed early with Kemp following suit on the very next lap but the youngster dropped like a stone down the race order as the longer pit stop time for single drivers really hit. At half distance Spencer McCarthy handed over to his father Roy but they rejoined the track after the Thurtle Camaro had thundered by, such was Arthur's pace in the traffic. Meanwhile Searles was enjoying himself at the head of the field but when he made his mandatory stop it was Arthur who took over the lead, but only briefly as the V8 blew up in spectacular fashion approaching the Esses on the 16th lap. Live television pictures clearly showed Arthur's skill in keeping the Camaro away from the barriers. Roy McCarthy now led from Bussell, in Scragg's Aston, while Horsman had just relieved Kemp of third place with Searles and the Rikki Cann/Joe Cann Aston Martin completing the top six place. Over the remaining six laps Bussell steadily closed in on the leading MGB and on the final lap the pair appeared out of the Bomb Hole nose to tail with the Aston looking for the inside line out of Coram in readiness for a passing move at Russell. "I wasn't worried as I knew I could out brake him," explained Roy afterwards and the MGB powered out of the tight chicane to take victory while Bussell had to gather up the Aston after his failed attempt. "Not quite - but nearly," was Bussell's summary of his efforts. The Hollins/Horsman Morgan was a solid third, the pair determined to improve their driver change before the next round, with Kemp next in fourth and some way ahead of the Cann's Aston Martin DBS V8 in fifth. The Cann brothers had been quietly getting on with the job with Rikki making impressive progress in the opening laps before handing over to Joe, who carried on the good work. "That was fantastic" a really good run," said Rover SD1 driver Chris Williams. The Texaco-liveried car had been as high as second on the lap chart during the pit stop window, and he continued the good run in the second half to be placed a solid sixth at the finish. Everything was OK so I
8th at 15 minutes I pitted to serve my time penalty for being a single driver.   A good stop and chasing after more cars to pass.   Then a Tiger spun and came a halt in the middle of the track in an awkward spot and so the race was red flagged. Result: 7th Time: 25.14.069Speed: 76.80mphBest lap: 1.58.408Overall a good days enjoyable racing, lots of close dicing.   With better starts I might have made the podium! Ant in the MGBV8 entered the endurance race driving on his own and put in a very tidy consistent performance to finish 14th.