Given the majority of our drivers had never been to the circuit, let alone driven it, the Championship’s first ever race at a track outside the UK was always going to be an exciting adventure!
Unfamiliarity with the circuit took its toll, especially among the Boxster drivers, where the tight early turns of the Dutch circuit resulted in trouble in both Friday’s free practice and the qualifying and first race on the Saturday.
On Friday, dropped fluid lead to Class B leader Bernie Printy losing control on a corner, followed quickly by a bad collision with the Armco and a visit to the nearby hospital for the Plymouth-based driver.
In Saturday’s race, Cliff Graham skipped across a gravel trap but on rejoining collected Will Sharpe and Steven Boyles. Marc Mackenzie made a 4th to 2nd gear change on a high-speed bend and hit Adam Croft but both cars managed to finish.
Julian Brown, in the excitement of seeing the last lap board whist ahead of rival Rebecca Jackson, managed to prang his car unaided. After a poor result in qualifying, Rebecca won the Class B battle – her second win in only three races this year – ahead of Brown and Bernie Printy, whose car had been repaired overnight by the Taylors Foundary crew – even though Bernie is not part of their team. This kind of friendly support is typical of the series.
In the 924s, the experienced drivers Simon Hawksley and Alastair Kirkham both benefited from the absence of Class B leader Hen Sharpe, with Simon taking 1 win and Alastair 2 over the weekend.
Race 2 on the Sunday morning saw four cars emerge from the Taylors Foundary garage carry varying amounts of Gaffer tape after a second very late night for the Cambridge team. Class A saw a repeat of Saturday’s result with another win from Styrin with JM Littman and Will Sharpe in 2nd and 3rd – just 1/100th second separated the pair at the end of the race. The Class B results also echoed those of Race 1 – Jackson, Brown and Printy all finishing without further incident. Tony Mekwinski took a welcome and well-deserved 3rd behind Kirkham and Hawksley in the 924s.
After the dramas that had already occurred, the drivers must have lined up for Race 3 with some trepidation given it was to be run as a reverse grid – although sensibly the three classes remained separate. This still meant that the quickest drivers would have to find their way through the pack but in the event, Race 3 went mostly without incident. Will Sharpe and JM Littman traded places in the 2nd and 3rd slots behind Rick Styrin for Class A honours and Julian Brown beat Rebecca Jackson to take the Class B win. Alastair Kirkham and Simon Hawksley again dominated in the 924 class with Clive Morison taking third.
The entire Championship expresses their gratitude to Stena Line for their sponsorship of this round and the help they kindly extended in getting many of the teams, drivers and families there and back.
The next round for the series sees a visit to the comparatively safe Norfolk circuit of Snetterton for another two races over 13th and 14th July.