Arriving at Blyton Park we were greeted by an updated circuit layout on offer due to some new tarmac which had been laid since last year. The friendly team are constantly developing the venue and improving facilities on circuit and in the paddock. For Round Two of the Championship, this importantly made for closer racing overall and a better first corner to get the pack safely into the race.
Before the Championship action commenced on Sunday, the drivers had a day of testing followed by some new format sprint racing on Saturday. The sprint format was enjoyed by all entrants and the end results were not only close but quite interesting with some drivers really pushing their form.
In the famously tight Superlite 600 class we had some strong laps from Jody Hicks No.24 of Doncaster to put himself in 4th just off the podium. The Most Improved Driver of 2015 Paul Smythe set a time just 0.3 seconds ahead of him to claim third spot. The battle for the top spot came between Tony Turner No.84 and George Knox in No.47, again only 0.3 seconds split these two after the first sprint, however the day finished with Turner in 1st and Knox Jnr earning a well deserved 2nd place.
The sweet scream of Superlite Fireblade engines denoted the start of the 900 class sprints and Simon Nutter started strong just behind Duncan Macbeth No.1 however as the day developed
Wayne Harris on his first run out of the season pushed ahead of Simon to earn 4th spot at the end of play. Mark Rushton in his Monster themed No.22 car posted a hot time in the last session to get onto the 3rd Podium place. Mark Richardson threw his all into his laps but couldnt stop the charge of Reigning Champ Macbeth who was on supreme form to set all his laps just ahead of Richardsons best attempt.
With the Sun out in contrast to Round One at Wigan and all the drivers fitting their slicks the conditions were ideal for some fantastic Superlite action. The British 600 Superlite drivers kept the commentator on his toes during qualifying as 2nd to 6th place was covered by a total gap of only 0.23 seconds on their fastest laps. With the end result being Swann No.110 with a solid pole position from Knox and Redfearn No.50 to make up the front row, Biswell No.113 and Turner fractions apart on 4th and 5th behind them.
The Superlite 900 competitors opened their play with some very fast times and Macbeth came under some serious pressure from the outset from within the top 6 drivers. Bren Simpson No.11 lapped in the mid 50s to get a row two spot just behind the bright yellow machine of Richardson. Outside on the front row was claimed by Jake Swann only a fraction behind Macbeth. Pole position man was No.19 Simon Nutter who seemed to have got to grips with his new Superlite.
The lights went out at Blyton Park for the first race of the Round, Swann took the holeshot from a 3 car tussle between Knox, Biswell and Phil Redfearn. Turner had some work to do after a poor first lap but looked to have the pace. New competitor Willie MacGillivray was straight into the mix in his first race and had a battle with Sadie Redfearn and Jody Hicks. Turner made quick work of catch-up and got himself into third ready to chase down Knox. While Swann was able to pull out a safe margin in front, No.84 and 47 did battle and crossed the line 0.4 secs apart, Knox taking 2nd place and Turner a close 3rd.
The British 900 Superlites left the line like lightening with their 375hp/ton ratio allowing them to accelerate faster than most production supercars. Macbeth used his experience to make a blinding holeshot and lead the pack into the first lap, hounded at every turn by a 3 car train of Nutter, Richardson and Swann. A slight misjudgment on the second corner of the race resulted in disaster for Mark Rushton whose gorgeous black Superlite looked slightly worse for wear after the incident. No.1 Superlite looked set to hold the lead until on lap 8 Nutter made the pass and then only one lap later Richardson got through as well to relegate Macbeth to third where he came under immediate pressure from Swann who had just posted the fastest lap of the race. Nutter No.19 was able to withstand pressure from Richardson to take the flag and race win. With Macbeth holding Third by 0.1s from Swann.
The popular lunch menu in the Blyton Clubhouse was on offer to tempt the drivers prior to the second Championship race of the day. Refueled and ready for action the 600 class drivers lined up on the grid. As the lights went out Swann just maintained the holeshot ahead of Knox who was on the form of his racing career and Turner tight on his heels. These three broke rank and pulled out a gap from the next close battle of Redfearn and Biswell who both went at it all race. Biswell held 4th until the very end where No.50 Redfearn made a pass stick to take it over the line 2 two tenths ahead of his rival. At the front the action was even closer than the first race and all 3 of these drivers best laps were within one tenth. Swann No.110 kept is smooth to secure victory and valuable points ahead of Know in second who managed to withstand heavy pressure from Turner all race. notably Hicks No. 24 showed his potential with a sub 52 second lap time in 7th place which put his pace just shy of the front 3 drivers.
After a rally round of support in the paddock No.22 Mark Rushton had a fully repaired Superlite ready for Race Two of the Superlite 900 class. Macbeth No.1 got the holeshot from Richardson, Nutter and Swann but all four drivers appeared to be as one around the flowing Blyton Park Circuit. Under pressure Macbeth made an unusual error which allowed the whole chasing front pack to pass and pushed him back to 4th spot, the racing was that close it only took a missed gear or over exuberant late braking to lose 3 positions at once. A battle just as close was going on not far behind for 5th place. Charlie Macbeth held the spot for most of the race with Simpson No.11 pushing him hard. Lap 8 saw Wayne Harris make an excellent overtake to get ahead of Simpson and only a lap later pulled a similar move to earn 5th from Macbeth. Back at the sharp end and the pressure did not relent for one moment. Richardson was kept under hard pressure from Nutter lap after lap and Swann offered the same to Nutter, achieving another fastest lap of the race in the process. Despite their best efforts No.17 could not be unsettled and held on for the win with Nutter and then Swann both crossing the line under half a second of the leader.
The Third and final race of the day started with another clean getaway from the Superlite 600 drivers. The amount of respect these competitors have for each other when running at around 100mph only inches apart is fantastic to watch. Swann made it a clean sweep of holeshots with No.47 Knox again hard on his heels. Biswell made a flying start to get his nose ahead of Turner and Sadie Redfearn No.55 was not about to let the boys have it easy as she pushed into 6th place on the first lap. The intense battle for 2nd place allowed Swann to build a 1 second margin at the front but the three drivers just behind kept pushing all race, Knox, Biswell and Turner only separated by two tenths on some laps. Gordon Knox in his orange No.47 Superlite managed to keep a cool head to hold out for a fantastic 2nd place overall for the day just ahead of Biswell in 3rd and Turner who also took the 3rd overall points for Round Two. Swann made it three wins out of three with a typical smooth display from the Medway born driver.
With every 900 class race the action seemed to be getting closer and the third race of the day continued this trend perfectly. The front row drivers could not believe that No.1 Macbeth had managed to get from his 4th grid spot into the lead by the end of the first lap and made hard chase. Nutter came under massive pressure from Swann for third place with Richardson a fraction ahead giving Macbeth a hard time. The front 3 drivers looked to have come out of the same mould, posting their fastest laps of the between 50.225 and 50.256 seconds for all three. Interestingly Swann just behind them posted the fastest lap of the race and showed that despite not making the podium he would be a contender another day. The order looked set to change almost every twist and turn as the drivers got up alongside each other but Macbeth managed to hold firm to cross the line in First, Richardson seemingly attached to his rear end in second and Nutter resisting pressure from Swann to take Third. This resulted in Richardson taking top points, Nutter second and Macbeth Third overall for Round Two.
A fantastic day of action has now set the scene for Round Three of the Championship which will be held at Shenington nr banbury, a circuit which is new to all the drivers and should make for some interesting battles. Spectator entry is free of charge for this event and there is excellent on site catering and viewing facilities. We look forward to see you there.