VTEC Challenge does Silverstone 2016

Discussion in 'Racing' started by Jonathan F, May 10, 2016.


  1. Jonathan F

    Jonathan F Member

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    Silverstone: May 8th 2016

    (Rounds 3 and 4 of BRSCC Honda VTEC Challenge)


    With the dust barely settled after our season opener at Oulton Park, the Honda VTEC Challenge series headed to the “home” of British Motorsport, Silverstone on the 8th May.


    Running on the “National” layout, the paddock and garages were a hive of activity as everyone prepared for the next event on the 2016 calendar.


    With another healthy turn out, the action on track looked like it was going to be as hot as the weather we were blessed with.



    Entrants:


    04 – Luke Biel – EK4 Civic – Tuner

    14 – Daz Smee – DC2 Integra – Production

    25 – Adam Jones – EP3 Civic Type R – Super Tuner

    22 - James Nolan – DC2 Integra - Production

    29 – Neil Wrenn – EK4 Civic - Super Tuner

    45 – Mark Bennett – S2000 – Tuner

    46 – Pete Dunmore – EP3 Civic Type R – Production

    54 – Lewis Corton – Integra – Production

    58 – Martyn Kemp – EP3 Civic Type R – Super Tuner

    66 – Paula Webb - EP3 Civic Type R – Production

    73 – Stu King - DC2 Integra – Tuner

    555 – Paul Waddington – EK9 Civic Type R - Tuner

    666 – Paul Donkin – EP3 Civic Type R – Production



    Following his accident at Oulton, Pete Dunmore’s Civic was back in fine fettle, having been rebuilt. Pete had the car stripped down the day following the incident and repaired using a donor car he had to hand. A few last minute jobs caused a couple of sleepless nights, but his commitment to the cause came through.


    It was a welcome to VTEC first timers Lewis Corton and his DC2 Integra and James Nolan in his freshly built UKDM DC2 Type R Integra.


    Following a trial at Donington last year, Neil Wrenn in his EK4 Civic was back out, but this time running in Super Tuner with his turbo charged unit. Having gone through a comprehensive rebuild over the winter, the car was barely recognisable as the same one he last raced with us in October 2015.


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    It was great to welcome back Paula Webb to her first VTEC Challenge races of 2016, joining our ever growing number of stalwart drivers.



    Qualifying:


    Following sign on and scrutineering, the short time until qualifying soon passed.


    With clear blue skies and already rising temperatures, the track was calling and all drivers headed to the assembly area before being allowed onto the track for their qualifying session.


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    From the off there were problems for Neil Wrenn, which saw his Civic limp around for a lap before pulling off. Thankfully a quick problem to resolve, which resulted in a mad dash to get him back out to do his mandatory 3 laps in order to qualify.


    A loss of VTEC after a few laps, saw Daz Smee in the pits in order to effect repairs. With team mate James Tracey helping out, he was soon back on track and pushing to make up for lost time.


    New guy, James Nolan suffered from fuel surge around the long left hand bends at Silverstone and after finishing his minimum amount of laps, brought it back to the garages to check on the issue.


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    Setting the pace from early on was Jones in his turbocharged EP3, with Waddington in close contention. With the session coming to an close, Bennett in the S2000 pulled out his fastest lap and pipped Waddington to 2nd place.


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    Paul Donkin set the fastest “Production” class time of the session, followed by Pete Dunmore and Paula Webb.


    With the session ending without further incident, the drivers returned to the paddock to await the results.


    With closely matched times over the top three drivers, less than half a second separated them.


    Pole: Adam Jones

    2nd: Mark Bennett

    3rd: Paul Waddington



    Race 1:


    Adam sat on pole, (which for Silverstone is on the outside for the run to “Copse”) with Bennett alongside. FWD v RWD and Turbo v N/A, so the start of race one would be anyone’s guess.


    With the green flag lap completed, all drivers re-took their grid positions in readiness for the race.


    With the lights out, Jones suffered from an excess of wheel spin, which saw Bennet and those behind capitalise.


    Bennett took an early lead, from King and Waddington, whilst further back saw Smee cut a path through the field. Wrenn came through from last place as his Civic was back in full health.


    Gear selection difficulties for Webb, meant she had some work to do in order to close back up, but after only a couple of laps, Paula had picked her way past Lewis and James and then on to chasing down Dunmore in a similar spec’d Civic.


    With Jones recovering from his earlier problems, he began to mount his comeback and skilfully picked his way through the field until he was back out in front. However, even when leading, Jones was unable to rest on his laurels and he was put under constant pressure from Waddington and Bennett for the remainder of the race. At the chequered flag, there was little over a second separating the top 3 and an almost photo finish for 2nd! A fine example of the diversity of machinery in the VTEC Challenge and how evenly matched cars and drivers can be.


    King remained in contention with the top three until his tyres began to cry enough and was forced to drive within the limits of the compromised grip, instead of risking throwing the car off in pursuit of those ahead.


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    Donkin in the red EP3 began to make a break for the “Production” class lead and was looking at a top 5 finish until the Civic lost VTEC and the TPS began to fail. Having to drive around the problems set the North East driver back and saw positions fall to Kemp and Biel.


    With Donkin stricken, Smee began to sense a class win, but with a near spin at “Becketts”, the gap opened up and the time left on the clock wouldn’t allow Smee the opportunity to close up. Smee was then left to monitor the gap back to Dunmore who was now closer than ever.


    First timers Corton and Nolan played out their races without fault and brought them home in one piece, both thoroughly enjoying the whole experience.


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    Unfortunately for Wrenn, his race was cut short as his engine cried enough with bottom end failure, signalling an end to his weekend.


    A great first race, with close fought battles throughout and a first race win for the rookie racer Jones.


    1st Adam Jones

    2nd Paul Waddington

    3rd Mark Bennett


    Class wins were awarded to:


    (P) – Paul Donkin

    (T) – Paul Waddington

    (ST) – Adam Jones


    Fastest lap: Adam Jones 1.06.297 on lap 6 of 14


    With all cars back in the garages, drivers set about carrying out any necessary repairs. The guys from “TDi North” began work on the Civic of Paul Donkin to address his issues from race 1 and soon had it back to full health.


    With fuel tanks filled and tyres checked and swapped, everyone was ready for their second race of the day.



    Race 2:


    Off the line and it was Waddington who got away first, as Jones again suffered from excessive wheel spin.


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    Coming through from 4th, King was up into 2nd place at Copse, however, Bennett and Jones managed to make their move on the opening lap to take back their positions, with Jones going on to retake the race lead soon after, leaving Waddington and Bennett giving chase.


    Webb, Nolan and Corton found themselves in a good 3 way battle for position in “Production” class, with carefully planned overtakes and subsequent re-overtakes throughout the race. Only an unfortunate spin on some dropped oil stopped Webb climbing further up the order.


    The oil was the result of a holed engine in that of Martyn Kemps Civic, which also saw his retirement from the race after having a great drive up to that point, dicing with Donkin, Biel and King. All four drivers giving it their all in vastly different machines. Great to watch.


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    Donkin was again back at the head of “Production” class in his repaired Civic, with Daz Smee in the “Camoteg” and Pete Dunmore in his Civic, running the whole race distance in 2nd and 3rd in class respectively.


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    With The top 3 cars so close, any mishap would have huge repercussions and running wide on the last lap saw Jones lose the lead. Not waiting to be asked twice, Waddington seized the opportunity and took first place.


    Jones immediately began to correct his mistake, but was unable to overhaul Waddington who went on to cross the line and take his first VTEC race win.


    Bennet also sensed “blood” and pinned the S2000’s accelerator to the floor, but was unable to overhaul the black and orange Civic of Jones before the chequered flag.



    1st Paul Waddington

    2nd Adam Jones

    3rd Mark Bennett


    Class wins were awarded to:


    (P) – Paul Donkin

    (T) – Paul Waddington

    (ST) – Adam Jones


    Fastest lap: Adam Jones 1.06.623 on lap 9 of 14


    Summary:


    With the glorious weather providing the perfect back drop to the weekend, the racing was action packed, close and enjoyable to watch.


    A huge thanks goes out to every single person that took the time and effort to attend the race meet, your support is very much appreciated.


    In recognition of his determination to get his car back on track after his accident at Oulton and pulling out two 3rd in class results at Silverstone, the “Spirit of VTEC” award went to Pete Dunmore.


    Thanks go out to the series sponsors: Toyo Tires, Competition Clutch, Dream Automotive, Performance Autoworks, Eurospec, TDi North, Simulator Racing, Honda Nation and MOTORV8 MEDIA for their continued support.


    The series heads to Rockingham in a few week’s time for rounds 5 & 6 on the 11th & 12th of June.



    Words: Jonathan Fletcher

    Pictures: Lindsey Fletcher & Jonathan Fletcher
     
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