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Donington Grand Prix Circuit
19/20 September 2015 Rounds 11 and 12 2000 and Classic



Robbie Watts started from pole and was never headed. According to my notes, lap 1 was a bit torrid with James Rimmer spinning, Kevan McLurg on the gravel at Redgate, but keeping his foot in and escaping, and Tony Bishop spinning at Goddards. Daryl Jones ran in second for a couple of laps and was then passed by Ben Cater, taking to the loaned Richard Purcell car like a duck to orange sauce. Ben had, of course, had his own car rapidly dismantled by a GT Ginetta in practice. It might as well have been a Scammell for the damage done to the lovely black Dallara. After that, Daryl’s engine let go in what appeared from his social media (medium - Ed) to be a major way. Robbie was 9 seconds ahead of Ben Cater after 4 laps, which was a little reduced to 6 at the flag, but nonetheless a decisive victory.

Tony Bishop passed Mark Harrison for 3rd but tangled with James Williams on lap 9 which put them both out, fortunately some hard work resulted in both reappearing on Sunday. That left Mark Harrison who, though suffering a loss of places early on, drove a Prost-like race of smoothness to take third. Kevan McLurg started off well but dropped out after 4 laps with electrical problems. Shane Kelly kept just ahead of Simon Tate throughout the race for 4th and 5th respectively. Simon was one of 4 drivers penalised for track limit infringements so lost 5 seconds. The spirit of Tom Wheatcroft and his pride in his grass lives on.... Malcolm Scott was another penalised so that despite finishing ahead of James Rimmer on the road after a nose-to-tail race with swapping of places, the results show James nearly 5 seconds ahead. The class was completed by Neil Tomlinson in Peter Venn’s former 398, now going faster each time out after a torrid first year.


Classic was won by Bryn Tootell after Jim Blockley, having qualified first, dropped out with (it says in my notes) a dropped valve after 6 laps. Whilst Bryn was well ahead of second man Robin Dawe in the FVL, Robin had a slow starting Lee Cunningham getting closer throughout the race, ending only a second in arrears. A spectacular rise up from qualifying signified Kevin Otway’s race, up to 4th from Q7, demoting Mat Jordan who had qualified well but dropped to 5th. Mike Hatton, back in the FVL after some troublesome races in the Dallara, also rose up from a relatively lowly 9th in Q to 6th in class. Mark Drew worked up from a 12th in qualifying and a slowish first lap to have a good fight with Mat Jordan, who apparently lost drive on lap 3 but got things sorted to recover. Jared Wood was 8th, while Terry Clark looked to have a problem on the last lap which undid the good work of the previous 8 and left him in 9th. Kevin Couling separated the Reynard Twins (Will Mcateer and Peter Whitmore). Peter seemed to be going very well with an excellent finish on the cards until it went wrong and lap 5 took an extra 45 seconds – a spin perhaps?, the commentator didn’t say and I forgot to ask.



Our slogan is “Club Racing in the Grand Prix Style” and unfortunately this was enacted on Sunday. Q1 man Robbie Watts set off, and passed the flag first, followed by Q2 Mark Harrison and, pretty much like Vettel moving up a place, Ben Cater nipped by Tony Bishop to take 3rd. Fast, furious, skilful? Yes. Place swapping and nail biting? No, but infinitely still better than watching Suzuka.

There was a bit more going on in the fight for 4th. Simon Tate, Shane Kelly, Kevan McLurg and Malcolm Scott started out having a tussle. On on lap 2 Shane passed Kevan, and then Kevan had an off at McLeans, taking off the right front corner. As it’s Kevan I can twist the old advertising slogan “Have you McLeaned your Dallara today?” which I’m sure he will find hilariously amusing. The lads would have finished in the order above if it hadn’t been for a recovering Tony Bishop who finished lap 1 in overall 23rd and drove like the wind to just pass Malcolm on the last lap.

James Rimmer also had a first lap issue but came back to 8th, while Russ Giles having had an overnighter to fix an engine issue made sure he finished even with a scare on lap 5. Neil Tomlinson got faster as the race went on, and was the last 2000 finisher.


Spending much of the race running with the Dallaras, Robin Dawe’s FVL and Bryn Tootell’s RF99 led the field home, Wil Arif and Lee Cunningham fighting for 3rd and 4th, in probably the closest duel of the weekend. Kevin Otway and Mike Hatton were next with Terry Clark 7th and Peter Whitmore finishing 8th, which better reflects his speed than Saturday’s result. Alistair Bell played happily with Mat Jordan until Mat left the race on lap 3, then fought with Mike Hatton, but lost out on lap 5 and finished 9th. Mark Drew, Will McAteer, James Williams, and Kevin Couling completed the class.

Tony Cotton

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