In poor weather conditions, Huddersfield-racer Mark Davies secured two victories to extend his championship lead while a fine drive in the final race of the weekend saw Louise Richardson storm to her maiden victory. Sadly, Andrew Richardson would endure a more challenging outing in the G55 class, but still came away from the weekend having scored in all three races.
With no pre-event testing, Andrew’s first taste of Thruxton at the wheel of a G55 came in Saturday morning’s wet qualifying session, where he qualified seventh. Moving up to fifth on the opening lap, Andrew got ahead of Fergus Walkinshaw on lap seven to secure fourth place; a result he then repeated in the first of two races on Sunday, when heavy rain arrived at the Hampshire circuit.
It seemed things would dry up for the final race and the team elected to go with a dry set-up on the car, only for rain to return; leading to a rush to change the set-up for the race. Sadly that meant Andrew missed getting out onto the grid for the start and he was forced to start from the pitlane, with his hopes of a strong result being hit by power steering failure.
That failure, added to the tricky conditions, made his car almost undriveable at the fastest and most challenging circuit on the calendar. With no straights on which to try and conserve energy, Andrew was under pressure throughout the race but battled against the failure to work his way up to ninth place, making a number of daring moves for position around the outside of his rivals in the process.
Eventually forced to pit, Andrew’s determination to rescue some points from the race meant he returned to the action to finish twelfth overall and seventh in class, adding more points to his championship tally.
“The positive thing is that I got three finishes but it’s been a tough weekend,” he said. “When it was dry in the first race, I was as quick as anyone but we hadn’t run in the wet with this car and we missed a trick with the ride height that other teams knew about in the conditions. The second race was difficult and then for the third race, we’d planned to go with a dry set-up and then the rain returned. I had to start from the pits but the power steering belt broke and it was so tiring behind the wheel.
“I brought the car in but I was determined to pick up some points from the race and I decided to go back out on track. The car was so heavy round the corners and I couldn’t relax for a second so I was exhausted at the end, but it was important to score.”
Mark qualified in pole for the G50 class and was the driver to beat throughout the first two races, leading both in their entirety to add two more victories to his name.
However, the decision to go with a dry set-up for the final race worked against him and having led the class through the early laps, Mark was unable to hold off the challenge of his rivals behind and slipped down to third at the finish.
Despite that, the triple podium from the weekend means he has extended his championship lead to 42 points.
“I’ve extended my lead again which is important for the championship,” he said. “Race one was good and in race two, the car was perfect for the conditions although it was tricky with a lot of standing water on the track. We went with a dry set-up for race three which was the wrong call and I think I would have won again if we’d not taken the gamble.
“Oulton Park is next, which is the closest thing I have to a home circuit, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Louise’s place on the grid was only secured late on Friday evening but she was on the pace from the outset to take second on the grid amongst the G50s, despite the fact she was driving the car for the first time in the wet and was also returning to Thruxton for the first time since being caught up in a huge start-line accident in the corresponding meeting last year.
Although she lost places on the opening lap of race one, Louise battled back to take third in class and eleventh overall, while race two saw her move up to second in class on the opening lap; a position she held through to the finish.
However it was race three where she would really shine and after battling her way ahead of Mark with a brave move at Church in the tricky conditions, Louise drove away from the rest of the G50 field; climbing as high as fourth overall and setting the fourth best lap of the race overall in the process.
Although she was demoted back to fifth overall in the closing stages by a G55 driver, Louise secured her maiden victory in the G50 class to help with the search for additional sponsorship to complete the season.
“I’m so, so happy!” she said. “I hoped it would go well this weekend, but I didn’t expect that much. To get three podiums, including my first win is just brilliant. In the final race, the car was absolutely amazing. I don’t know what the team did to it, but it was absolutely mega.
“These points are important for me in the championship and hopefully my victory will help find the sponsors we need for Oulton Park, Croft and the rest of the season. We’re still working on things and hopefully it will all come together.”