A great performance from returning 2012 and 2013 champion Richard Styrin saw the Leeds born driver lead from start to finish in a race and class A victory at Croft Circuit.
It was not an easy start for Styrin and his #1 Porsche Boxster as he and #77 Ed Hayes struggled to get off the line while an advancing midfield pushed them close. The duo held on to their 1st and 2nd place positions respectively as they headed towards Clervaux corner. The duo not only held on, but by lap four, had begun to build a strong gap over the chasing pack which was to hold for the rest of the race.
There was plenty of excitement in the midfield though, as Class B saw Stephen Warburton’s #87 Boxster suffer a gearbox failure on the fifth lap forcing an unfortunate retirement having put the Production-spec car in overall third in qualifying and leaving a head to head battle between Jason Flegg and newcomer Phillip Grayson.
While Styrin and Hayes continued to build a gap, at the other end of the grid there was more drama as Class C’s #21 Porsche 924 driven by Nizar El-Chamas spun off leaving him down the pecking order. It continued a tough weekend for the Teddington driver who was unable to perform in the morning’s qualifying session. While El-Chamas never got going, there it could not be said of Garry Lawrence who boldly attempted a risky wide overtake on Richard Avery, but it backfired, leaving Lawrence adrift as the duo exited Tower Bend. Avery’s fortune was soon overcome as Jonathan Greensmith took his chance to take the #6 Porsche Boxster for third place with few laps remaining.
The final lap did see the comfortable Styrin pushed by Hayes, but the experienced Champion was able to hold on and complete his race taking the Class A victory.
In Class B, Warburton’s earlier departure left a comfortable victory for Flegg over his competitor Grayson for most of the race, and Flegg was able to hold his commanding lead.
In the more competitive class C, Philip Water’s early retirement after some strange noises emitting from his car left the competition smaller, but still tight, as Alistair Kirkham took a class C victory over David Jones and Andrew Hannington.
For the second race of the meeting, the grid comprised of race one results and saw very little change as Richard Styrin once again led from pole to finish. Where there was change however was in the increased amount of racing incidents. With the race nearing completion, the 8th lap saw the final two laps taken under a safety car as Steven Brown’s #60 Porsche Boxster had to be recovered from the track.
The safety car meant that Styrin’s well worked gap over Ed Hayes, after a tough battle between the two, was to be eradicated. Not only did it finalise the top two, but the competitive 3rd place sport fought over by Jonathan Greensmith, Garry Lawrence and Graham Heard came to a premature end, with Greensmith finishing second in Class A with Ed Hayes taking a second podium of the weekend in third.
In Class B, it was a minimal competition, with Stephen Warburton’s first race problem preventing his involvement for the second race. It left the same scenario as race one with Jason Flegg and Phillip Grayson left to fight for top spot. The honours once again fell to Flegg who finished only one place above Grayson in the full grid.
Class C saw plenty of incidents too. Antony Mekwinski’s brake failure coming towards the hairpin saw his #27 Porsche 924 veer off near the paddock. It topped off a frustrating race for Mekwinski, who was unfortunate enough to be involved in a spin with Simon Hawksley’s #2 924 at Clervaux on the very first lap. It was better fortune for Alastair Kirkham who took home the class C honours ahead of Phillip Waters and Andrew Hannington. It was quite the turnaround for Waters, who had to retire in the first race; while he put in a sterling effort, he was unable to catch Kirkham before the safety car brought the race to a premature end.
The Championship heads into Europe for its next round – a triple header at the Belgian circuit Zolder on 7th and 8th June.
Words: Tom Errington
Photo: John Mountney