Witham News


We’re the experts in your field!

Posted on Thursday August 16, 2018

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Frustrating weekend for Power Maxed TAG Racing

Posted on Tuesday August 14, 2018

Frustrating weekend sees Power Maxed TAG Racing retain Top 3 position in Championship

  • Proctor misses out on podium by narrowest of margins
  • Cook makes up ground after component-related retirement in Race 1
Senna Proctor – Car #18
Race 1. Grid 17. Result P12
Race 2. Grid 12. Result P4
Race 3. Grid 7. Result P14
Championship position: P10

Josh Cook – Car #66
Race 1. Grid 21.  Result DNF (fastest lap)
Race 2. Grid 28. Result P12
Race 3. Grid 12. Result P12
Championship position. P8

Power Maxed TAG Racing arrived at Rockingham for Rounds 19, 20 and 21 of the hotly contested Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, bolstered by a return to podium form at Snetterton two weeks ago.
On what is allegedly the BTCC’s last visit to Rockingham, the teams and fans were looking forward to a return to the hot, dry weather of what used to be called the summer.

Free practice showed the pace of both Power Maxed TAG Vauxhall Astras, with Senna sitting in a comfortable 3rd in FP2, giving the Team a sense of optimism leading into qualifying.

Unfortunately, despite essentially repeating his FP2 time, Senna ended up finishing Qualifying in P17, whilst Josh just couldn’t find a balance, which restricted him to a frustrated 11th row start.

The dry conditions of Saturday were replaced with changeable weather for Race Day, with grey clouds threatening to affect Race 1.

The start of Race 1 saw both Power Maxed Racing Astras make solid getaways, jostling for position through the banked Turn Oneand onto the flat out run to the tight hairpin at Deene. It was here that Jordan’s BMW and Tordoff’s Ford came together, spinning in the middle of the track and causing chaos behind.
In the confusion, Senna was hit hard on the right rear corner, but managed to hold in P15.

Needless to say, the melee caused a Safety Car which lasted until lap 4. On the restart, both Senna and Josh managed to make some progress, the Yorkshireman moving into P13 and Somerset’s finest moving up to P18, as he was fastest car on the circuit.

By lap 12 however, Josh’s race was run as he brought car #66 into the pits, retiring with a power steering issue.

That left Senna, celebrating his 20th birthday, to bring car #18 home in P12, after a largely uneventful race, despite light rain falling sporadically through the 18-lap race.

Surprisingly, post-race inspection of Senna’s right rear Dunlop tyre showed the outer carcass to have been ripped open in the opening events of the race, remarkably with no loss of pressure or even damage to the wheel; testament to the build quality of Dunlop tyres.

Ahead of race 2 there was enough threat of rain in the air to prompt debate between drivers and engineers as to whether to call for wets. However, the rain held off and the multi-coloured field piled into the hairpin on the opening lap, with both Power Maxed TAG Racing drivers immediately showing their determined intentions by pushing hard, Senna up two places and Josh up an amazing nine before yetanother Safety Car.

On the lap 4 re-start, Senna immediately set about hunting Chilton down for P6, with a great move out of Pif-Paf to set off after Smiley, whilst further back Josh was up two more places into P17.

After yet another Safety Car (this time for Caine’s stranded VW), a very racy Proctor duped Smiley with a great switch-back move at the hairpin to move into P4, with his sights firmly on the BMW of Turkington ahead. Setting super-fast lap times, it didn’t take long for the Power Maxed TAG Racing Vauxhall Astra to catch the BMW, and with a good exit from the final chicane the birthday boy bravely and expertly drifted down the inside of the Irishman into the banked and greasy turn 1, securing P3 by under braking for the hairpin. P3 from P12 was yet another example of Senna’s racecraft in challenging conditions, which did not go unobserved by ITV’s commentators David Addison and Tim Harvey, only for a couple of grassy moments through the chicane on consecutive laps to allow the fastest-lap-setting Toyota of Ingram through to snatch the final podium: a great drive nonetheless.

Earlier, the aforementioned Safety Car had caused a bit of consternation over the Cook radio as the BMW of Collard seemed to overtake under the yellow flag. This was quickly forgotten as Josh battled past the squabbling Austin and Cammish head, surviving a rub to slot into P14.

Over the last couple of laps, Josh moved his way expertly into a strong P12 finish. From P28 on the grid, it was another great drive for the Bath ace, and with Senna finishing P4, Race 2 had certainly been a race to be proud of for Power Maxed TAG Racing.

A fully dry track greeted the 31-car grid for Race 3 with Senna starting P7, followed closely by Josh in P12.
With the race reduced to 14 laps after a delayed start (Collard’s BMW had stopped on the green flag lap), Senna was slow away and got out-dragged down to the hairpin, only to be confronted by sliding cars galore, as the dry track the drivers had quickly become wet, greasy and a nightmare for most of the grid.

Senna, perhaps keen to make up lost ground, also slid wide, and dancing on the edge of the track, showed great car control to recover and continue, albeit down in P9 with Josh a couple of cars back in P12.

And then, another Safety Car. This time the kerfuffle was at the chicane.  Once again, the field bunched up and were unleashed at the end of lap 5, this time over an extended 16 lap race.

Josh was battling hard, resisting Lloyd for P13 until the Honda forced the Astra dangerously wide, causing contact which delayed both and poetically caused the Civic’s retirement.

As the race wore on, the success ballast from Race 2 carrying Proctor sportingly over the now-wet track, the door opened for Cook, allowing the #66 Astra to challenge Oliphant ahead, a task he managed to complete on the last lap, crossing the line in P12, with Proctor in P14, rounding off an ultimately frustrating day for the Power Maxed TAG Racing squad.

Next stop is Knockhill in Scotland where Power Maxed TAG Racing hope to return to race-winning form in time for the Championship run.

Power Maxed TAG Racing still sits 3rd in the Teams’ Championship, 3rd in the Manufacturers’, and 8th and 10th in the Drivers’.

Quotes:
Josh Cook, Power Maxed TAG Racing Vauxhall Astra #66 said: “The whole weekend has been frustrating for me. Both the car and I have been on the pace, but the power steering hose failure during Race 1 put us on the back-foot right from the get-go. It just shows how close the championship is; we didn’t qualify anywhere near where we wanted to be, but were just 0.8 of a second off pole. I’m gunning for another win at Knockhill.”

Senna Proctor, Power Maxed TAG Racing Vauxhall Astra #18 said: “Race 2 went really well, and although we missed out on a podium in the closing stages, I’m glad we scored enough points to keep us at the sharp end of the championship. Race 3 didn’t go quite to plan, but we’re back at one of my favourite tracks in a couple of weeks, and I’m confident we can grab enough points to propel us back to the top.”

Martin Broadhurst, Technical Director, Power Maxed TAG Racing: “Obviously I’m disappointed we missed out on a podium in Race 2, but Senna defended really well, and it was only the tyre degradation that cost us another trophy. Josh drove hard throughout the day, and I believe that without component failure causing retirement in Race 1, we would have been on the podium by the end of the day.”

Adam Weaver, Team Principal, Power Maxed TAG Racing: “It’s been a weekend of ups and downs, what more can I say? Senna’s P4 in Race 2 has given us the points needed to ensure we’re still in the top 3 in both the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ Standings, which I’m proud of. We’re heading to Knockhill in a strong position, and I’m confident of some good results up there.”

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Ingram maintains BTCC title tilt with stunning Rockingham recovery drives

Posted on Tuesday August 14, 2018

  • Talented Bucks ace reproduces Snetterton heroics for seventh podium of season
  • Speedworks close in on fourth in Teams’ table on another scene-stealing weekend
  • Reigning Independents’ Champion continues his quest for overall Drivers’ crown

For the second event in succession, Tom Ingram blasted his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis from virtually the back of the grid to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship podium at Rockingham last weekend (11/12 August), in so doing keeping himself firmly in contention for the most coveted crown in UK motorsport.

The talented young Bucks ace arrived at Rockingham – scene of an emotional rostrum breakthrough three years ago – at the summit of the standings in what is commonly regarded as the world’s premier and most fiercely-disputed tin-top series. Success in the BTCC, however, is a double-edged sword, as the championship leader must carry 75kg of ballast on-board for qualifying and race one – a significant handicap in such an ultra-competitive field.

That much was evidenced in qualifying, where the top 28 drivers in the high-calibre, 31-strong entry – composed of some of the very best touring car protagonists on the planet – were blanketed by less than a second. Handling the extra weight in his stride, Ingram lined up 13th on the starting grid, right behind chief title rival Colin Turkington and comfortably clear of some of his other key adversaries – and by dint of carefully navigating his way past a first corner mêlée in the curtain-raiser, he immediately gained four places to run ninth.

Following a brief safety car interlude, the 24-year-old swiftly despatched multiple champions Turkington and Jason Plato, thereafter producing an inch-perfect defence to keep the former at bay. He was set to extend his advantage in the overall classification when the Toyota suddenly coasted to a halt on the last lap due to throttle failure, costing Ingram nine points and consigning him to a lowly 27th on the grid for race two – a double blow.

The Speedworks crew toiled tirelessly to rectify the issue before the next contest, where on a tricky wet-but-drying track surface, the reigning BTCC Independents’ Champion put on a scintillating show for the live ITV4 television cameras and awestruck crowds. Having sensationally vaulted up to 16th on the opening tour – just outside of the points-paying positions – he was into the top ten by lap eight and outpacing everybody else on the circuit.

After snatching two spots for the price of one on lap 12 with a supremely committed move, Ingram scythed past Turkington for fifth, Mike Bushell for fourth and – with just two laps remaining – Senna Proctor for third, going on to take the chequered flag less than a second behind race one-winner Adam Morgan in a carbon-copy of his Snetterton heroics from a fortnight earlier.

The three-time Ginetta Champion and former British Karting Champion snared an additional point for posting the race’s fastest lap, and – notwithstanding the three-fold challenge of 57kg of ballast, the less favourable hard-compound tyres and intermittent drizzle – he completed his day’s work with a solid fifth place in the finale, less than two tenths-of-a-second adrift of an eighth podium of the 2018 campaign.

That means Ingram will travel to Knockhill in Scotland on 25/26 August sitting a scant four points shy of the top of the Drivers’ table and having strengthened his grip on the Independents’ Trophy. Speedworks have similarly increased their margin in the battle for Independent Teams’ glory, while closing in on fourth position in the prestigious Teams’ ranking.

“What can I say? Another superlative performance by Tom in races two and three after a rotten race one,” praised the Northwich, Cheshire-based outfit’s Team Principal, Christian Dick. “It was almost like being in ‘Groundhog Day’! Just as at Snetterton, his effort behind the wheel – and that of all the Speedworks boys in the pit garage – transformed what could have been a disastrous, points-haemorrhaging weekend into a successful and rewarding one that keeps our title bid very much intact. I’m immensely proud of everybody involved.

“What happened in race one after a flawless drive was hugely frustrating, but Tom’s extraordinary charge through the field in race two – for the second weekend in succession – was an absolute masterclass. To my mind – and doubtless in the eyes of many observers – that was the drive of a champion in waiting.

“Tom’s performances throughout this season prove he is more than ready to fight for British motorsport’s biggest prize – and over the remaining three events, that is exactly what we intend to do.”

“Well, that was another rollercoaster ride of a weekend!” echoed KX Akademy graduate and MSA Academy member Ingram. “Rockingham has been the scene of a few memorable moments for me in the past, and it certainly delivered again this year.

“We worked hard during practice to establish a good set-up in both dry and wet conditions, as we knew the forecast for Sunday was mixed. The ballast inevitably counted against us in qualifying, but to line up just one place behind Colin and well ahead of many of our other major rivals was a solid outcome, and we were on-course to bag a decent points haul in race one until the throttle issue intervened. Having kept out of trouble throughout and done everything right, to be denied a finish so close to the end was particularly cruel.

“Race two, by contrast, was incredible – really, really cool and so much fun. Starting 27th, we were aware we would have to throw caution to the wind a bit to avoid conceding even more ground, and we had showed at Snetterton that we can come through from the back of the pack – although I honestly never expected to achieve the same result again. That proves just how good a car the Avensis is and what an awesome effort the Speedworks boys are putting in weekend-in, weekend-out.

“We didn’t know what to expect over the first few laps, but I love conditions like that – ever since we couldn’t afford to buy wet tyres in karting and I had to keep going round on slicks in the rain, which taught me so much about car control.

“For the second weekend running now, we’ve had to do the same thing and all credit to the Speedworks boys – we were up against it after race one and only just got the car out in time for race two, but we pulled it right back. There’s definitely a lesson there – don’t let yourself get beaten up, don’t let your head go down and look at the positives in any situation.

“With the weight back on-board, race three was always going to be about trying to hold position and bag as many points as possible, so to come away with a fifth-place finish was a job well done and leaves us still very much in the fight. Knockhill next will be an interesting one. Historically, it’s a track that tends to favour rear wheel-drive cars, but we didn’t fare too badly at Croft a couple of months ago – and ultimately, we do like a challenge…”

Image Credits: Matt Sayle Photography

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Godfrey regains British Rallycross Championship lead

Posted on Tuesday July 31, 2018

Godfrey regains British Rallycross Championship lead after superb Spencer Sport Mirage RX victory at Croft

Julian Godfrey has regained the lead of the Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship after winning an exciting Final at Croft Circuit in his Spencer Sport Mitsubishi Mirage RX Supercar.

The victory was just reward, after an unfortunate accident at Croft in May that cost Godfrey and the Penrhiwllan-based team the lead in the series. It saw an incredible mid-season Mirage RX rebuild and a return to action without even missing a round.

Godfrey started the Croft race day by finishing second in Heat 1, before some set-up changes saw him win Heat 2 and set the fastest lap – in what was the wettest and most difficult race of the day. A jump start penalty then saw the Heathfield-based, five-times British Rallycross champion start Heat 3 from the back of the grid, but another great getaway saw him climb up the leaderboard to finish second.

The start of the Final was dry, but by the end of lap one it had started to rain and as the race progressed it got heavier and the track conditions more slippery. The superb chassis and handling of the Mirage RX helped Godfrey pull away as the conditions deteriorated, and he crossed the line four seconds ahead of Kevin Procter (Ford Fiesta Supercar), with Mark Higgins (Peugeot 208 RX) in third.

Godfrey is now one point ahead of Ollie O’Donovan (Ford Fiesta RX) and Higgins, who are tied for second – and even when you take the mandatory one dropped score into account, Godfrey remains one point ahead of O’Donovan.

“The Mirage RX performed extremely well at Croft,” said Godfrey. “I made one small mistake all day, and that was pressing the radio button instead of the start button at the start of the third Heat; the car crept forward and we were moved to the back of the grid for a jump start. But even then we had a good race and finished second!

“Having began dry, it started to rain in the final and the conditions got worse and worse with every lap, but despite this we were able to pull away and win it quite comfortably – so it was a very good day for us in terms of performance, results and points. It’s very close in this year’s British Rallycross Championship, and with three rounds to go I think the title is going to be decided at the final round, which will be very exciting for everyone.”

“It was a faultless performance by all of the Spencer Sport team and the Mirage RX ran perfectly,” said Spencer Sport Team Manager Charlie Jukes. “We lost the lead in the British Rallycross Championship when we crashed out of the final at Croft in May, so the aim was to try and regain the it when we returned there this weekend. We’re absolutely delighted we’ve achieved exactly that. It’s also good to have enjoyed three clean heats and a well fought out final and go home with a car without any damage. The Championship is finely balanced, but we’re in a good position heading into the next round in a few weeks time.”

Round 7 of the Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship takes place at Lydden Hill on 27 August.

Support for Spencer Sport’s rallycross campaign comes from Spencer ECA, Oil 4 Wales, Speedline Corse, Hopkins Specialist Race Trailers, Julian Godfrey Engineering, Motul, Sea & Slate Holiday Cottages, Atech Racing and Rallycover Insurance.

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Power Maxed TAG Racing back in the title fight at BTCC’s Jubilee event

Posted on Tuesday July 31, 2018

Date: 30th July 2018 – Location: Snetterton Circuit, Norfolk
  • Cook robbed of another win by late safety car in Race 2
  • Proctor follows up Croft podium with another strong and racy weekend
Senna Proctor – Car #18
Race 1. Grid 19. Result P25 (not classified)
Race 2. Grid 25. Result P7
Race 3. Grid 19. Result P12
Championship position: P12Josh Cook – Car #66
Race 1. Grid 6.  Result P4
Race 2. Grid 4. Result P2
Race 3. Grid 11. Result P7
Championship position. P5

Power Maxed TAG Racing re-affirmed its title credentials as Rounds 16, 17 and 18 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship took place around the challenging curves of MSV’s Snetterton circuit in Norfolk.

The hard-working team returned to action at Snetterton after a mid-season break punctuated by the annual tyre test, also at Snetterton, and the spectacular appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Free Practice session 1 suffered the worst possible start, as Josh slid into the back of Senna’s slowing Astra on the out lap, causing the #66 car to miss the whole session.

Despite being on the back foot, Josh still managed to qualify in P6 for Race 1, although lack of running caught up with him somewhat in Qualifying 2 (a separate session for the Diamond Double Race 3) to place a slightly disappointing P11. Senna was frustrated, suffering a lack of balance resulting in a P19 for the qualifying for Race 1, only for his mood to darken with the weather to qualify P25 for the double-length Race 3.

Meanwhile Senna placed the second Power Maxed TAG Racing Astra in P14, less than 3/10ths away from Josh and with a bit of work to do on race day.
After a scorching summer, race day dawned with unexpected gale force winds and driving rain, creating a welcome rush on the heavy weight Power Maxed TAG Racing merchandise jackets before Race 1.

A soaking track greeted the first race and saw Josh get too much wheelspin on the initial launch, dropping a place to the fast-starting Subaru of Sutton, and going onto the defensive in the opening skirmishes.

Further back, Senna’s Power Maxed TAG Racing Vauxhall Astra was hidden in the spray, as he avoided the rebounding BMW of Collard, only to be hit on the rear corner by the second Subaru of Plato. Proctor pressed on before pitting at the end of the opening lap, resuming two laps down and circulating until the end of the 12-lap race.

Meanwhile, Cook had consolidated his position and pulled away into a clear 4thplace, following the 3rd place Honda of Cammish to the flag and a comfortable and welcome return to Race 1 form.

Race 2 saw conditions improve to a damp circuit and Josh make a better start to hold 4th place, moving to 3rd as the race moved in to its second half. Showing blistering speed, the Power Maxed TAG Racing Vauxhall Astra dragged up onto the back of the works Honda of Cammish. A dogfight ensued with the clearly quicker Cook searching for a way past, knowing the race-leading Subaru of reigning Champion Sutton was pulling away.

Frustratingly, Josh finally made his move just as the Safety Car was deployed, passing on the blind side of a yellow and having to hand the place back to the Honda as the field formed in single file. At the restart, Josh took a lap to get back past and cruised back up onto the tail of Sutton, eager for the win. Sadly, we were now on the last lap and sturdy defence by the Subaru secured a fortuitous win by a narrow margin.

The cameras didn’t know which Power Maxed TAG Racing Astra to follow at one point as Senna was carving through the field like a hot knife through butter. Memories of his epic drive at Brands Hatch resurfaced as the Yorkshireman flew from 25th on the grid to a superb 7th after 14 hectic laps, reserving his place at the hot end of the Dunlop Forever Forward leaderboard.

Well-orchestrated 60th anniversary celebrations were dampened again by the weather, as the field lined up for the 21-lap Diamond Double race, although the field were once again on slicks.

Whilst Race 3 typically has a last chance saloon feel about it, the drivers were obviously conscious of the double championship points on offer, as the field behaved relatively well in the opening laps. Sadly, this didn’t apply to the cars around Senna as he was pushed wide, losing the benefits of a great start, although he still crossed the line in P16, up from P19.

When the Safety Car appeared after 3 laps for the crash between Smith and Oliphant (so much for the conservative approach to a long race…), Josh was up to P9 and Senna was P15.

By lap 5, Cook was now caught up behind Smiley’s wide Honda, frantically searching for a way past as his young teammate continued to move forward, this time coming around in P13.

To add more spice to an already spicy mix, rain started to fall on the back of the Snetterton 300 circuit, wipers frantically clearing water as the drivers searched for both grip and visibility, Power Maxed Rain Off doing its thing to maximise visibility for Astras #18 and #66.

Cars were running 3 and 4 abreast as openings were sought and doors frantically shut. In the melee, and with Cook still stuck behind Smiley, the rear bumper of Cook’s Astra was left flailing as Turkington got far too close, the BMW in a very tight Vauxhall sandwich with Senna searching for a way past the former Champion, as the squabbling foursome started losing touch with the train battling for 4th place ahead.

Josh was then unceremoniously punted wide by Turkington at the final corner, with Senna put right behind. The Mercedes of Morgan snuck past Senna and then proceeded to shunt Josh wide, only to then spin across the bows of #66 and into retirement.

Entering into unknown territory for tyre degradation, Senna now passed Josh on lap 15 and entered into a great battle with Turkington and Smiley, pulling alongside the BMW as they tousled over a small but important part of Norfolk. All this hard work was then undone on lap 17 as Smiley repeated Turkington’s move on Josh, firing the #18 wide at the last corner, dropping Senna back to P12 and putting the Honda into retirement.

As the race entered its last stages Josh re-joined the fight with Turkington, the two battle-scarred challengers (actually caused as they came together on lap 3) crossing the line a few tenths apart in P6 and P7. A recovering Senna managed to recover a place on the final lap, only to be penalised 0.1 sec to be reclassified behind Jackson. Unfortunately, this also had the effect of losing another place to Thompson with the Power Maxed TAG Racing Astra now classified in P12.

Power Maxed TAG Racing once again just missed out on the Dunlop Forever Forward award with Senna scrapping expertly from P25 to P7 in race 2 and P20 to P10 in the double-length Race 3.

Power Maxed TAG Racing now sits 2nd in the Teams’ Championship (by one point following the Proctor penalty), 3rd in the Manufacturers’, and 5th and 12th in the Drivers.

Roll on Rockingham.

Quotes:

Josh Cook, Power Maxed TAG Racing Vauxhall Astra #66 said: ““It was a great weekend for me. P2 in Race 2 was, obviously, a great result. I’m gutted that I didn’t quite have the time to get past Ash Sutton, and even he admitted that he was right on the limit, and if we’d had another lap I would’ve taken him. The car performed fantastically all weekend, and Martin Broadhurst and the team pulled out a corker. I’m really proud to have done Euro Repair Car Service, Glide Parking and Helix Clutches proud this weekend.”

Senna Proctor, Power Maxed TAG Racing Vauxhall Astra #18 said: “I’m really happy with my pace over the weekend. The incident in Race 1 with Jason was really frustrating, and undoubtedly cost us some points, but I couldn’t be happier with Race 2. Both Josh and I were held up for a number of laps by Smiley, and after passing Josh, a coming together with the Honda cost me a number of places. Still, we pulled a good amount of points from the weekend, which sees us in a great position in the championship.”

Martin Broadhurst, Technical Director, Power Maxed TAG Racing “Both the cars had really good pace throughout the day, and I couldn’t be prouder of both Josh and Senna. From a technical perspective, we were slightly on the back foot after an incident in FP1 meant Josh was unable to finish the session, but, as always, the team worked relentlessly to make sure we were on the pace from the get go come Race Day. All in all, we’ve come away from the weekend with a good points haul, and that can only help our championship campaign.”

Adam Weaver, Team Principal, Power Maxed TAG Racing ““What a weekend! The 60th Anniversary celebrations were always going to be something special, and the racing today was some of the closest I’ve seen all year. Both Josh and Senna did us proud today, and even with a couple of issues beyond our control, we came away with some really positive results and, more importantly, points.”

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Ingram charges back into championship lead on BTCC’s biggest weekend

Posted on Tuesday July 31, 2018

  • Talented young Bucks ace storms through field and back to top of title table
  • Gritty performance yields podium double for Speedworks at Snetterton
  • Independent Cheshire-based outfit’s Team Principal hails ‘one hell of a drive’

Last weekend at Snetterton (28/29 July), the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship celebrated its 60th anniversary, and Tom Ingram marked the momentous milestone with a stunning charge from the back of the grid to a podium finish to return to the summit of the Drivers’ standings.

Ingram has been a title contender season-long in his fifth campaign in the immensely popular, ITV4 live-televised, all-action BTCC – commonly regarded as the world’s premier and most fiercely-disputed tin-top series.

The Speedworks Motorsport star travelled to Snetterton sitting second in the chase for the coveted crown, 19 points adrift of two-time champion Colin Turkington, but he found himself immediately on the back foot after an electrical issue curtailed his running early on in the first free practice session.

Undeterred, Ingram made light of the 66kg of success ballast aboard his #80 Toyota Avensis in qualifying to secure an excellent fifth on the grid for race one amongst the 31 high-calibre entrants – some of the very best touring car protagonists on the planet – half-a-second and ten positions ahead of Turkington.

Saturday’s sunny skies soon disappeared on Sunday, however, as the heavens opened with a vengeance, soaking the track and making for treacherous conditions characterised by rooster-tails of spray and minimal grip.

Ingram nonetheless went on the attack from the start, challenging for third only to be hung out to dry on the outside line and demoted back to fifth. Despite grappling with a lack of power steering, the talented young Bucks ace was comfortably holding station and on-course to outscore Turkington by ten points when alternator failure forced him into retirement on lap three.

With a short turnaround in which to rectify the issue before race two, the Speedworks crew had to knuckle down and from a lowly 27th on the grid – on a still very greasy track surface – Ingram made astonishing progress to complete the first lap in 12th. Courtesy of a series of ultra-committed moves, the reigning BTCC Independents’ Champion was up to sixth when the safety car emerged with just two laps remaining to deal with a stranded car.

With the bit between his teeth, at the re-start, Ingram opportunistically snatched fifth from Sam Tordoff and held his nerve to deprive Chris Smiley of fourth before hunting down Dan Cammish, 1.5 seconds up the road in third. The KX Akademy graduate and MSA Academy member inexorably narrowed the gap and was right on his rival’s tail by the last corner, darting out of the slipstream on the dash to the chequered flag to steal the final podium spot by a scant four hundredths-of-a-second.

It was a truly heroic effort that saw Ingram improve an extraordinary 24 positions on his starting slot and set fastest lap in the process – but he wasn’t done yet. From fourth on the grid for the 60-mile, ballast-free ‘Diamond Double’ feature race – awarding twice as many points as usual and prioritising strategy, tyre management, fitness and above all patience – the three-time Ginetta Champion and former British Karting Champion gained a place at lights-out as the leading trio rapidly made their escape in the precarious conditions.

Keeping the pressure on throughout in a tense nip-and-tuck battle – with less than half-a-second blanketing all three cars on occasion – Ingram turned up the wick in the closing stages as he tried to force an error, before ultimately deciding discretion was the better part of valour with the bigger picture foremost in his mind.

His second rostrum finish of the weekend saw the 24-year-old convert his 19-point deficit in the Drivers’ classification into a six-point championship lead heading next to Rockingham, scene of his breakthrough BTCC podium three years ago. He has also extended his advantage in the Independents’ Trophy scrap, as Speedworks consolidated the top spot in the Independent Teams’ table and sixth position overall.

“It was very special to be part of the BTCC’s diamond jubilee weekend,” Ingram acknowledged. “It has been my life ever since I was a small kid, and to now be competing in it is a dream come true for me. The BTCC boasts such an illustrious history over the past six decades with so many great drivers having raced in the series, and it just keeps on going from strength-to-strength.

“I think we did a good job with the weight in qualifying, and the second session proved that the Avensis works really well both with and without ballast. With the championship situation as tight as it is, we were well aware of the importance of staying out of trouble in the races, and the slippery conditions made it even harder as whilst we knew we couldn’t afford to take risks, at the same time, we needed points.

“That being the case, it was obviously a huge frustration to score none at all in race one, and that left us massively pumped-up for race two. We had so many supportive messages come flooding in after the DNF, which really gave us that extra motivation to fight back. My aspirations were to try to break into the points, but I honestly never expected to get all the way up to third. It just goes to show how quickly things can turn around in this championship.

“The double points scenario in the final race then represented a golden opportunity to net a big haul. The three of us at the front were each quicker in different areas, which resulted in very similar lap times. We were all glued to each other’s bumpers and the advantage ebbed-and-flowed throughout, but I was very happy with third and to leave Snetterton with the championship lead – particularly after what happened in race one – was fantastic. Now we need to keep this momentum going over the remaining four weekends.”

“Every team has clearly been working hard over the summer break, and for us, the effort back at base to prepare for the second half of the season has been relentless,” added the Northwich, Cheshire-based outfit’s Team Principal, Christian Dick. “It really has been non-stop for all the boys, so to come away from Snetterton with two more podium finishes and the championship lead is tremendously rewarding for everybody involved.

“We worked our way through a lot of potential set-up permutations during the pre-event test, with a particular focus on the longer-distance race and that paid off as the pace of the Avensis was mega all weekend – and in all conditions. To qualify fifth with 66kg on-board I think opened a lot of people’s eyes and with a short window of peak performance for the tyres, Tom knew he only really had one shot to set a good time in Q2 and he delivered there as well.

“After that, the alternator issue in race one threatened to really derail our challenge. We picked up a low-voltage warning on the way to the grid, but with no chance to carry out a proper fix, all we could do was keep everything crossed and hope we would somehow get through. Deep down, though, we knew we were on borrowed time and our hearts sank when we saw Tom pull off the track as he was sitting pretty inside the top five.

“What’s worse when you find yourself in that position, is that you know you face the risk of losing even more points starting so far back in race two – particularly on a still-damp track with everybody on slick tyres. That only added to the danger element, so for Tom to turn the situation around in the way he did was quite remarkable. Yes, we needed a little bit of luck towards the end with the safety car closing the field right up, but even so, that was one hell of a drive!

“He then went on to apply the pressure and keep the two cars ahead honest throughout race three, deciding towards the end to settle for the points for third as we knew that was more than enough to take the championship lead. It was a really mature, sensible drive and leaves us feeling very confident now heading to Rockingham. It’s a circuit at which we’ve traditionally gone well, and whilst we’ve not carried maximum ballast there before, our tails are up and we’re ready for the fight!”

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Quality Classic Lubricants

Posted on Tuesday July 17, 2018

Delighted our Classic & Vintage range of lubricants has been featured in Classics Monthly magazine! If you own or know of anyone with a treasured classic, take a look at our new range which you can now buy online. Trusted and quality products, we have a passion for vehicles old and new. https://www.withamgroup.co.uk/shop/classic-range/
Buy online and get quality lubricants straight to your door.

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Motul and Le Mans, a Classic Tale

Posted on Friday July 06, 2018

Just three weeks after the popular success of Le Mans 24 Hours both on and off the track, the legendary Sarthois circuits hosts another event this weekend anticipated by both motor sports fans, and vintage mechanics enthusiasts: Le Mans Classic.

From 6th to 8th July, engine will roar once more on the Sarthe track which will host the 9th running of the Le Mans Classic. As the Official Lubricant Partner of the competition for the third consecutive edition, Motul will once again be at the heart of this legendary event organised by Peter Auto in partnership with the ACO, two partner organisations of the French oil brand. There will be a “classic” atmosphere both on the track and in the paddock with more than 8,500 vintage cars expected for what promises to be an unforgettable event!

More than just a partnership on track…

A key part of various motorsport championships, Motul is also very involved in historic events, as shown by the recently signed partnership with the renowned Goodwood Revival festival, as well as its partnerships with the other two flagship events of the international classic stage: Tour Auto and Carrera Panamericana. Motul will be present on all cars from 1966 to 1971 at Le Mans Classic, constituting stage no 5 and the classic range of the French firm will also shine at the highest level of stage no 4 with Jean Pierre Lajournade’s Jaguar E Type, as well as team CTC’s Ludovic Carron’s Shelby Cobra.

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Nathalie McGloin first disabled sports to present trophy at Formula 1

Posted on Friday July 06, 2018

NATHALIE MCGLOIN TO BECOME WORLD’S FIRST DISABLED SPORTSPERSON TO PRESENT TROPHY AT FORMULA 1 BRITISH GRAND PRIX

For the first time in history, a podium trophy will be presented at the Formula 1 2018 British Grand Prix by a disabled sportsperson. Nathalie McGloin, the only female tetraplegic racing driver in the world to be competing, will hand over the third place trophy in place of David Richards, Chairman of the Motor Sports Association (MSA), who has passed the honour to Nathalie in order to highlight the participation of people with disabilities in motorsport. The presentation will take place on Sunday 8 July 2018 at the Silverstone Circuit.

British driver Nathalie is co-founder of the charity Spinal Track, which gives disabled people the opportunity to take part in track driving experiences in a specially adapted car. She runs the charity with her partner Andrew Bayliss. She was also made President of the FIA Disability and Accessibility Commission at the end of last year.

David Richards, MSA Chairman, said, “We’re committed to promoting the unique opportunity that motorsport presents for people of all backgrounds, whether male or female and able bodied or disabled, to compete together on a level playing field. On behalf of the MSA, I’m pleased to take this opportunity to demonstrate my personal commitment to inclusivity, and would like to thank both the FIA and Silverstone for their support in making this possible, not just in raising awareness of the accessibility of our sport but in providing a lasting legacy at the circuit.”

Nathalie McGloin commented, “When David Richards confirmed that I would be presenting the third place trophy after the F1 race at Silverstone, I was speechless. The support I’ve had from the MSA with my new role as President of the FIA Disability and Accessibility Commission has been incredible. Being gifted this opportunity by David is humbling beyond words – it’s something that has never been done before by any other chairman, and the idea was completely supported by Jean Todt, President of the FIA. The sense of pride is enormous and I cannot wait for the F1 weekend to get started now!”

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Respect the Classics, a Rare Barn Find

Posted on Friday July 06, 2018

When people think of barn-finds, they usually think of a rare sports car sitting under a thick layer of dust (or worse), locked up in a shed somewhere for years and years. But for us, finding a piece of our own brand history is more important than any car could be.

RESPECT THE CLASSICS. A RARE BARN-FIND.
It all started with an ad placed by an industrial antiques dealer in the north of France announcing that during his search for unique pieces he had come across an old Renault AHS3. But this wasn’t just any old rusty Renault truck. This one was used as a Motul delivery truck by a motorcycle dealer. We were pretty soon alerted to this discovery, and we had no choice but to acquire this unique piece of our own history.

The Renault AHS3 was manufactured in 1945 and could have seen military action (it was probably painted white at the time), before being bought by a Motorcycle specialist in Normandy. After it had served its purpose, it spent 30 years shut away at a vehicle recycling center until it was discovered.

RESPECT THE CLASSICS. A RARE BARN-FIND.

But this Renault truck will soon see the proud light of day again when we show it to the public at this weekend’s Le Mans Classic, before it undergoes a complete technical restoration. The exterior will remain unrestored, however, as we want to make sure this wonderful piece of our brand history retains its original patina.

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