Race Reports For The 2001 Season.
Silverstone, Saturday March 3rd, l4 Laps
Daniel Eagling opens his account.
Having shown improving form throughout last year, including pole at Brands, it was no surprise that Daniel Eagling won the opening round of the 2001 season from pole at Silverstone on March 3rd.
A lightening start from the second row saw Peter Richings grab the lead from the start in bitterly cold albeit dry conditions. Having made a break while the others squabbled Richings held sway at the front for the first five laps but Eagling was slowly but surely reeling him in and dragging Michael Mallock and Peter Clark with him.
Lap one had seen an unfortunate incident at Brooklands when front row man James Lindley, having his debut run in his ex John Harrison Mk 29, lost it, spun and was collected by John Kelly in his freshly rebuilt car. The two coming to rest entangled at the entrance to Luffield. The ensuing recovery kept this area under yellow flags for much of the race.
Eagling took the lead exiting Copse, but a quicker exit from Becketts saw Richings alongside again under the bridge into Brooklands. Unfortunately the yellows precluded a challenge and he had to fall in behind Eagling. Daniel then asserted himself as Richings had his mirrors full of Mallock and Clark. After a couple of laps Clark muscled past Mallock and Richings, escaped their attentions and tried to close on Eagling. Over the last few laps he closed a little but Daniel still came home by a couple of seconds from Richings, a similar distance ahead of the battling Clark and Mallock. Clark bagged the point for fastest lap.
Ray Mallock was fifth as a guest driver in the Covill Mk 28 sporting the experimental all enclosed 'mini Panoz' bodywork. Ray was just ahead of Howard Payne and Arthur Dickens, who just keeps improving with each season. Willie Patterson started further down the grid than he had hoped but got quicker throughout the race to take eighth. Phil Weaver was next, a welcome returnee to Sports 1600 in the ex Dave Williams/Dave Smith Mk 30.
This race (like the next two) is run allowing the old Dunlop tyres to run against the new Avons introduced for this year. To allay some fears about the Avons Peters Richings and Clark showed that the new tyre is completely competitive against the old one by taking second and third place plus Clark's fastest lap.
Past champion Clive Woodward was a disappointing absentee, apparently suffering a heavy cold. Barry Webb had some anxious hours trying to find a replacement driver (Chris Hart and Jamie Champkin both having failed to get their 01 licences yet!) so eventually on Saturday morning Caterham racer Nick Frost was installed in the Mk 23, having never sat in a clubmans car before (or driven on the National circuit). He acquitted himself well taking 10th place ahead of Paul Freeman. Although a little disappointed with his own place (transmission trouble in the Ardmore) Mr Freeman was quite buoyant after the race telling anyone who would listen that over the winter he had rebuilt the engines of Dan Eagling (1st), Pete Richings (2nd) and rebuilt and prepared Peter Clark's car (3rd).