2016 BRITISH SUPERLITE ROUND 7/8 BLYTON PARK - RACE REPORT
Blyton Park hosted the only Double header event of the season for Round 7 and 8 of the Championship, bringing consistency and reliability into play to make the whole weekend count.
Starting off the weekend for Round 7 of Superlite action the Superlite 600 drivers were out for Qualifying on the full Rallycross layout at Blyton park which had been prepped by the Norasport team. The circuit was well slippery and it seemed that smooth throttle management was going to be a factor at this event. Tony Turner and Phil Redfearn were posting solid times right off the bat but Jake Swann was unstoppable to take Pole position in his favorite conditions.
Into the first race and Swann made a good bolt from the line, Redfearn in close pursuit. Hudson No. 4 starting to overcome his difficulties with his machine that had plagued him all season was there not far behind. Turner was on the pace but further back after a slow getaway, battling Gordon knox and Paul Smythe. Swann couldn’t be stopped to earn the first win of the weekend, followed by Redfearn and Hudson.
With the increasingly potent rain and the freshly laid Rallycross sections not mixing well the circuit was changed at lunch to a challenging all tarmac layout. Swann made a good start again to take the holeshot, Redfearn and Knox on the chase. Turner although starting slow was making ground and by the closing laps filled Knoxs mirrors in a battle for third which Turner came out on top. Redfearn held second and Swann took his second victory.
The third and last race of the day started in a similar manner other than Smythe made a cracking push into third place. Lady luck was not shining on Swann today with a broken belt on lap 5 taking him out of the race and points in one. The door was wide open for Phil Redfearn to take the victory and the overall win of the day, followed by Turner in second. The best battle of the day fought between Knox and Smythe ended with Smythe No 33 on Third for the race but Knox no.47 taking third overall for the day.
The other side of the sport is covered by Superlites with 900cc 4cyl Honda engines and this class has been one of the closest run formulas in British motorsport this year. Out for their Qualifying and the contenders picked up where they left off at Teesside. Rushton, Lee and Richardson were caught in a three way time battle which ended in Rushton just half a tenth ahead for 4th on the grid. The Macbeth brothers under no team orders battled for second with Duncan No.1 taking the second spot, leaving a very clean performance from Swann No.210 to earn pole position.
As the lights went out for race one, it was Macbeth with a storming start to take the holeshot, Richardson and Swann in pursuit. Only a lap later and Swann had made it firmly past into the lead, with Richardson following suit later in the race. Macbeth made a comeback at the end setting the fastest lap but it was too late, Swann taking victory followed by Richardson.
The second championship bout of the day and now onto the all tarmac circuit due to weather conditions, this tightened up the racing a great deal and the top 5 drivers were all fighting for the number one spot. Swann made a better start than he has been doing and at the end of lap one, the race order was Swann, Richardson, Macbeth, Rushton and Wayne Harris into the mix. Richardson seemed determined to put Swann under pressure and it paid off on lap 8 when he made it past. Meanwhile Macbeth Rushton and Harris all swapped positions, unusually it was our reigning champ Macbeth to come out on bottom, while Harris pulled through to third, Rushton just behind. It looked like Richardson had earnt a victory until the last lap and Swann made the move of the weekend to pass and take the win.
With the grid set, all eyes were on the lights for the final race of the day, another solid performance from Swann saw him take the race under control, Rushton making a good run to follow while defending advances from Macbeth in third. Richardson left himself work to do in fifth place but got the better of Harris NO.59 on lap 3 to take 4th place and chase down the leading pack. Swann held his cool to take a smooth run to the flag for overall victory but just behind him an epic battle for 2nd place was well underway. Rushton lost and regained the position but on lap 9 both Macbeth and then Richardson got through and that’s how the order finished up. Some of the best racing however came further down the order with Tom Roch and Charlie Macbeth swapping almost every lap, Roch coming out on top.
The Superlites were joined by some invited Rallycross competitors out for a test day and it was with great respect that they watching and enjoyed the Superlite racing as it unfolded. With the weather looking much brighter there were hopes for the Rallycross sections to be reintroduced, however they had took on so much water from the last 24 hours it was simply not possible. So with a few alterations and new corners the day went ahead under all tarmac conditions.
All drivers had been out for their free practice session to warm up and check their machinery, so the Race Director gave the word and Qualifying commenced. The Superlite 600 drivers were out first and had 18 laps to set their time for grid positions, lots of different tactics at play but it seemed that due to conditions, warming up slowly and leaving the hot lap to the end was the best play. Redfearn went for it on lap 15 and secured third place, Swann having pushed a little earlier on lap 12 for second spot but Turner, on lap 17 posted a time 2 tenths ahead to take pole position.
A clean getaway from the grid for all drivers, the front pack all falling in as per their grid spots, Turner leading the way. Swann and Turner broke a small gap but with nothing between them, leaving Knox No.47 to fend off the experienced No.4 Hudson. 3rd to 6th place were all lapping within a few tenths of each other, Hicks No.24 putting Hudson under extreme pressure towards the end for 4th place but he held. This left a little breathing room for Knox to take 3rd place. Every trick in his book was not enough for Swann to better his rival and Turner took the flag for race one.
Another solid start for Turner and again Swann making chase. Redfearn was back on the pace for Race two having worked up from the back in the last one. Lap 3 was enough for Redfearn to break through to third place, leaving Knox to fight off Hicks no.24. Despite another 14 laps of pressure Turner made it two wins with Swann on his tail.
As the pack broke out of the blocks for Race three it seemed Swann was limping a little and a slow start put him back in 4th place with lots of work to do. Turner made another clean break and Redfearn did his best to hold onto his coat tails. Swann seemed to be back on a charge and made it into third through lap one, then into second on lap 3 but there was now a decent gap to Turner and it was too much to achieve. Turner making it 3 wins and one of his best weekends of the season. Swann took overall Second and Knox third.
Our big boys the 900 Superlites had another Round of incredibly close action, making sure they deserve their accolade of being one of the most competitive single seater formula in modern motorsport. Slicks were the choice of the day with some warmth coming through onto the Blyton tarmac.
Qualifying is always entertaining to watch, but today the living screens were alight with new bests and position swaps. Macbeth and Swann appeared to be the ones to beat, however from no-where with his technical gremlins defeated came Wayne Harris No.59, super smooth yet blistering fast. A big upset to the party when on lap 6 he posted the Pole setting time just under 48 seconds for the lap. Macbeth followed him with Swann on his heels only a fraction of a tenth behind.
A new arrival for the day added fuel to the action with Bren Simpson No.11 starting this race from Grid spot 4. An characteristically good start from Macbeth saw him into turn one in the lead, Harris hot on his tail. Swann No. 210 had had a slow getaway and sat just behind Richardson in 4th place. Swann had other ideas however and by lap 2 had overcome Richardson, only 3 laps later was on the back of harris and made a good move going into lap 7. Macbeth having pulled a small lead looked safe out front but undeterred Swann closed the gap and on the last lap made it stick to take victory against all odds.
Race two came around without delay as the programme was running smooth under the watchful eye of the master of ceremonies in his tower! A very close start saw Macbeth nose in front of Richardson for the holeshot but there was to be no breathing room as the whole race there were a pack of 4 superlites nose to tail hungry to capitalize on any mistake. None came however and a hard earnt win for Macbeth with Richardson and harris behind.
The Third and last burst of action was slightly more intense than its predecessor, While Macbeth made another good start, he was unable to prevent an overtake from Richardson on the second lap, he regain that place however a lap later, only for the same to repeat on lap 4, with Macbeth again taking back the lead. No more chances came to light for Richardson and Macbeth took the flag for the race win and overall victory. Swann ended fourth while Phil lee No.10 not far off the leading pack after a solid performance.
The championship has now two rounds left to run, but is still wide open in both classes, we hope to see you at Three Sisters, Wigan for Round 9 of the Championship.