Cadwell Park 22nd/23rd June 2013

Misfortune for some....

As well as the confirmation that the BRSCC MX-5 SuperCup will be running next season in 2014, there were contrasting fortunes for the drivers at the head of the championship table at Cadwell Park. Matt Davies, the points leader going into the weekend crashed out of one race while Paul Sheard continued his great form shown at the previous meeting at Anglesey and took two wins away from the weekend. Reigning 750MC Locost champion Mike Comber had his best result of the season so far at Cadwell and Andy Clarkson had another victory in a solid points scoring weekend. All this means that the battle  for championship honours is still wide open! Read the full report below.

Race Report

    

Saturday - Qualifying

With very changeable weather conditions throughout the morning in the lead up to qualifying, the drivers headed out on track for their 20 minute qualifying session in dry conditions and bright sunshine. With some drivers having not tested the day before, the pace over the first two laps was fairly steady while the drivers once again got a feel for their cars after the break since Anglesey. 

These two laps turned out to be the grid deciders, as only 5 minutes into the session rain began to fall on the circuit. Those who pushed hardest early on were rewarded with the quickest times, Davies taking pole with a time of 1.46.189 ahead of Clarkson and Comber, the pole position time at the end of the session being some way off the ultimate pace that the cars and drivers were capable of. 

Around 12 minutes into the session it was red flagged due to an unrelated off-track incident requiring the medical car, some drivers taking this opportunity to return to the paddock feeling they couldn’t improve their times in the damp conditions. During the halt the sun began to shine again and the track started to dry. However, the remaining cars staying on track were unable to better their times from early on in the session but did gain some potentially useful wet running.

Race 1 

Weather conditions were to play a huge part throughout the weekend with constant changes between sunshine, rain, wind and monsoon keeping everyone guessing on which way to go for set-up. For the start of race 1, the track conditions were patchy and the two front row sitters Davies & Clarkson got away evenly from the line running side by side all the way to the third corner at Charlies with Clarkson edging in front on the inside line. 

With close battling between the top five from the word go, rain drops began to fall around the end of lap two. This allowed excellent wet weather driver Paul Sheard to begin to pressure Davies for second and allowed Clarkson to stretch out a small lead while Davies defended from the attacking Sheard. Meanwhile behind Mike Comber had managed to slip passed Will Chappell for  fourth position while Ray Worley and Gouriet scrapped hard for seventh place. Shortly after the drivers began the third lap of the race the heavens opened and the rain really began to fall, presenting the drivers with large amounts of standing water and walls of spray making it a tough challenge for the drivers to even stay on the circuit. 

Paul Sheard began to struggle with visibility allowing Davies to once again reel in Clarkson and Comber to overhaul him for third . Visibility was the real issue for all the drivers, particularly when following in the spray of another car. On the last lap Davies made an attempt for the lead but he was forced to settle for second, meanwhile Paul Sheard locked up on the entrance to the Mountain and had a minor off but was able to continue. Despite the dreadful conditions all the cars returned in one piece with the drivers pleased to return their cars safely to parc ferme, a testament to the skill of all the drivers and the competence of this years Federal tyres in the wet.

Sunday - Race 2

Originally scheduled to start before the lunch break, race two was postponed due to oil on the circuit from the previous race. When the drivers eventually emerged onto the circuit after lunch they were met with a track wide mulch of oil and cement dust running from Barn corner down to the start finish line, this was going to make things tricky. 

Lining up in finishing order from race one, the front pair of Clarkson and Davies struggled for grip off the line bunching the pack into the first turn with Clarkson managing to sweep into the lead once again. Clarkson and Davies pulled a few cars lengths from the third place battle between Chappell, Comber and Sheard until eventually Sheard worked his way to the front of the chasing pack and broke away to catch the front pair. A late braking move on the outside line into the mountain saw Sheard up into second and half a lap later he took the lead from Clarkson. 

Meanwhile after a tough battle with Chappell, Comber caught and passed Davies for third and quickly moved on to hassling Clarkson in second. Each lap the drivers scrabbled to keep the cars on circuit while navigating various oil clean ups and damp patches from the earlier rain. On lap 8 Comber made a decisive move for second place on the run up to the hill to Charlies, forcing Clarkson off line and causing him to lose the car going over the crest of the hill. Both Davies and Chappell following close behind had to take  avoiding action and ran off onto the grass but all three managed to rejoin the circuit. However just half a lap later on the entry to the Gooseneck, Davies now running in third place, put a wheel on the damp grass and was unable to make the corner resulting in a head on collision with the tyres at around 70mph! 

Davies was able to step out of the heavily damaged car unhurt but the race was red-flagged due to major damage to the crash barrier and the final result was called for the previous lap. This placed Comber in third and Clarkson second, with Sheard taking the race 2 win.

Interim

With race 3 as the last race of the day, all of the Supercup drivers set about using the 3 hours available to attempt to repair Davies’ damagedcar which had been returned to the paddock minus a wheel and front end bodywork. All the Supercup drivers worked together at frantic rate to just complete the repair in time for Davies & car to be re-scrutineered and fuelled to make the grid for the start of the final race. A fantastic demonstration of the strength and safety of the MX-5 Mk3 cars and also the camaraderie and enthusiasm of the SuperCup paddock!

Race 3

Finally for the SuperCup the weather held and a fully dry race was underway. Sheard leaping into the lead from the line, followed by Clarkson, Chappell and Comber. The battle for second place allowed Sheard to get his head down so he could stretch away from the field and in doing so he recorded the fastest lap of the weekend and a new lap record of 1.44.049 . 

Eventually Comber got the better of Clarkson and went in pursuit of Sheard but was unable to close the gap before the flag dropped. Behind, Chappell was finally getting to grips with a new set of tyres and closed right onto Clarksons rear bumper as they entered the penultimate lap. Chappell tried everything he could to take the position during the last lap but it was Clarkson that held the final podium spot of the weekend at the finish line. The repaired car of Davies after a few tentative laps overhauled Worley and Gouriet but failed to catch Julien Taylor in fifth.

The next SuperCup round will take place at Donington Park on the 13th/14th of July where additonal new drivers will be joining the grid. We look forward to yet more great action and close racing from the SuperCup! 

 

 

 

 

 

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