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Trophy Series Donington Park Review Races 1, 2 & 3

Photo Courtesy of View Photographic

Photo Courtesy of View Photographic

John Seale had a weekend to remember at Donington Park as he made a clean sweep of all three Britcar Trophy Series races even securing pole position to round out the 2014 season in style.

However, it was not a good weekend for Mosler racer Kevin Riley as he had two major shunts in the first race and the third race. The first was a spin into the barriers coming out of the chicane and becoming beached in the gravel.

The second was altogether more severe as he got tapped into a spin again coming out of the chicane where the car proceeded to hit the barriers close to pit lane entry. Thankfully he got out the car and is okay.

Going now into race one and the main beneficiary of Riley’s trip into the gravel was the Topcat Racing Marcos of Warren Gilbert who moved up from third to second and attempted to close up to Seale.

However, the speed of the 458 GTC was too much for the Marcos Mantis and instead Gilbert focussed on stretching his lead over the sister Marcos of Steve Glynn.

Behind the Topcat pair was Peter Challis in the Porsche 997, all being considered he had a good weekend in the Trophy with a 4th, 5th and 3rd highlighting the speed still in the German car.

The Porsches seemed to suit Donington as Arjo Ghosh recovered from a spin at Redgate to finish in ninth place having recovered from being a lap down at the start of the 30 minutes.

Elsewhere in the race one field, Nigel Greensall – a late entry in the Chevron – was the last of the cars to finish on the lead lap however he was being pushed by a determined Nick Holden in the Ariel Atom Cup Car and if it wasn’t for Seale lapping him, the 21st lap could have seen him past the Chevron.

Into race two and some revenge was extracted on Greensall and co-driver Liam Clarke as Holden finished a place ahead of them in seventh.

Before moving to the top of the race two results it is worth giving an honourable mention to Alyn James & Martin Byford in the Honda Civic, Nigel Ainge in the Integra as well as Darren Johnson in the Renault Clio Cup. Their battle lasted the entire race distance and their eventually finishing gaps – roughly twenty seconds separating the trio – doesn’t do them any justice.

Indeed it could be argued that third place doesn’t do any justice for Arjo Ghosh whose valiant charge through the field from ninth place at the start run out of time before he could try for second placed Gilbert and instead settle for a still very worthy podium finish.

For the non-podium positions, Glynn again showed the Marcos is slightly too good for Challis’ 997 as they finished in fourth and fifth place respectively. They both finished ahead of the Mosler of Riley in what was his only points finish at the last round of the year.

However, none of them could compete with the titanic battle unfolding at the front between Seale and Gilbert. Going into the final five minutes of the race, the only thing keeping FF Corse’s man ahead of the preying Mantis was the sheer grunt of the Italian engine.

Going into the chicane for the final time, it is testament to the driver of the Marcos that he didn’t try a lunge up the inside and send them both into retirement. The gap across the line was 0.973 seconds but it was definitely a lot closer coming out of Coppice.

At this point we move to the last race of the year and it is worth mentioning Darelle Wilson.

Darelle would arguably have had the worst day of anyone at Donington if it were not for Riley as a mechanical issue meant he couldn’t finish the second race and in the last race he was excluded for not completing a mandatory pit stop amidst the confusion brought about by the red flag.

Into the race proper and Seale made sure he gave himself an easier time of it than he did in race two as he finished with more than one minute between him and runner up Ghosh whose Boxster couldn’t match the Ferrari’s pace.

At the start of the race Darren Johnson in the Clio made a trip across the gravel inadvertently teeing himself up nicely for a scrap with Chris Valentine in his Boxster S.

That battle didn’t last after the restart following the stoppage and Johnson made a remarkable leap up the field to finish in sixth place ahead of a Topcat Marcos and Alan Purbrick who made his first appearance of the meeting in the Saker RAPX.

Unfortunately for the second Marcos of Gilbert and co-driver Neil Huggins they were caught up in Riley’s shunt and had to retire due to the damage sustained to their own machine to finish what had been a good event on a sour note.

Rounding out the inaugural Trophy Series on a good note was Holden in the Ariel Atom who finished in a well earned fourth position following a battle with Challis ahead of him and the Chevron of Clarke & Greensall behind.

The 2015 Britcar Trophy Series Calendar will be announced in the coming weeks with John Seale no doubt wanting to carry over his momentum from this meeting into the next season.

Author – Nick Smith

Photo Courtesy of View Photographic

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