A chilly Thruxton greeted the drivers for the final round of the Britcar Trophy Championship and it was Nigel Mustill who quickly stamped his mark on the morning qualifying session in his Wessex Riley TDC with a very impressive 1:17.230 followed by Steve Glynn – at this point leading the championship – overall second in his TVR Sagaris. It was a Gilbert shutout of the second row with Warren and Charlotte less than half a second apart in the two Marcos Mantises – now wearing identical colour schemes.
Mike Moss’ BMW was absent but an addition to the Trophy grid was the Audi R8 of Nigel Moore and the young Phil Hanson, just stepping up from karting and looking for signatures on his rookie license. Mark Allen and Martyn Compton were late entries in the TeamBRIT VW Golf, the car running much sweeter since their flaky hand throttle had been replaced by R53 Engineering and Shiftec. Trophy newcomer, ex British F3, GT & BTCC driver Martyn Byford piloted a third Chevrolet CR8, joining Rob Hedley and Gary Simms who had both made an appearance at the previous round on the Silverstone International circuit last month. The three cars qualified together but showing very impressive pace nearly a second ahead was Darelle Wilson in the VW Scirocco.
Nigel Mustill led Race 1 from the lights with Steve Glynn’s TVR in hot persuit and it looked very much like the pair would retain their podium positions for the entire race when Glynn’s front right tyre failed at high speed approaching Church and the Sagaris limped – very slowly and carefully – into the pits.
Peter Challis’ Porsche 997 Cup therefore took over 2nd but later in the race a massive battle developed between him and the #60 Marcos Mantis, the Topcats car finally making it past and hanging on to 2nd with around 10 minutes remaining. Glynn had made time up from his tyre stop and was chasing down Martin Byford’s fresh-from-the-garage #56 Chevrolet CR8 at the flag.
The other Marcos, together with Rod Hedley’s Chevrolet – which had experienced overheating issues during qualifying and this time shredded tyres – were both retirements. Gary Simms pulled his yellow #66 Chevrolet into the pits on the very last lap to avoid a penalty having missed their scheduled stop earlier in the race.
In Class 4, Darelle Wilson had to pit the Scirocco on lap 6 having set an early fastest lap when he suffered the double failure of both gear selection and fuel pump, letting the Team BRIT Golf through and Allen and Compton kept their lead to the end of the race – meaning they’ve taken home a class win from every race entered – not a bad start to their racing careers.
With all cars prepped and ready to race, including Rob Hedley’s tyre-shredding CR8 having had a geo tweak, Race 2 saw Warren Gilbert lead from the lights in the #60 Marcos just ahead of the Riley, with Peter Challis’ Porsche in third. Darelle Wilson’s engine let go on lap 4 and shortly afterwards, Mustill chose to retire the #11 Riley to avoid any chance of incident.
The lead continued to change hands throughout the race, aided and abetted by the compulsory pitstops. Martyn Byford stuck to the tail of fellow CR8 driver Gary Simms for the best part of 30 minutes, the two drivers repeatedly trying to out-brake each other at the chicanes, usually accompanied by a degree of tyre smoke as the non-ABS cars locked a wheel or two.
In the #54 Marcos, Charlotte Gilbert had started the second race from the back of the grid following the car’s DNF in Race 1, but a good start helped her claw her way up to 3rd overall in time to hand over to co-driver Jon Harrison, who maintained that position to the chequered flag.
So Steve Glynn rounded off a successful Trophy season with a win, with Peter Challis’ Porsche second and the Warren Gilbert/Rob Wilson Marcos in third, with the other Marcos a lap behind after a puncture.
The Team BRIT lads took yet more pots home with another Class 4 win as did Phil Hanson in the Audi in Class 1. Both Gary Simms and Martin Byford’s CR8s had completed sufficient laps to class as finishers, rounding off the results list.