Race Reports For The 2001 Season.
Snetterton, Sunday September 30th, 10 Laps
Eagling benefits from "clerical" error
Because of his work commitments Dan Eagling has only competed in seven rounds of this year's championship, each time he has started the race from pole position. This time Peter Clark beat him to the prime grid spot - Dan won the race though!
Competitors arriving at Snetterton in heavy rain on Saturday were encouraged to see the clouds clear and a moonlit albeit foggy evening ensue; could the forecasts for yet more rain on Sunday be too pessimistic? Came the morning and it was still dry but clouds were rolling in from the southwest and everyone knew deep down that once again we were in for a wet race. The first spots started falling shortly before the twenty minute qualifying session and there was increasing anxiety in the collecting area as umbrellas were unfurled and raindrops could be seen bouncing on the puddles near the exit. Almost all were slick-shod, the exceptions were the Burnhams, pere et fils, and Simon Kelly. Once on track it was obvious that slicks were the right choice as the surface was predominantly dry although there were some fairly slippery bits around the track. Marcus Bicknell, second out behind Peter Clark was the first the discover the slippery bit in the Esses, the ensuing moment causing some nose damage although he was able to continue. Stefan Mumm also lost the nose from Chris Hart's Mallock Mk16. Several runners failed to last for the full session and lost out as the quickest times were set right at the end, on laps fourteen and fifteen. Howard Payne suffered a puncture, the Burnhams gave up the struggle on the wrong tyres, Brian Jordan and Tim Covill were suffering from misfires and Mike Luck buzzed his engine when using the first to second to first gearchange sequence while accelerating out of the Russell chicane. This last incident produced another of Paul Freeman's famed field hospital cylinder head rebuilds to enable Mike to race in the afternoon. When it was over the sharp end of the grid was occupied by the usual group, this time arranged in the order Peter Clark, Dan Eagling, Peter Richings, Jim Lindley, Clive Woodward and Mike Luck whose time was set on lap nine of the session, shortly before he buzzed his engine. The ever improving and consistent Adrian Brown was the best of the rest.
Heavier rain started to fall soon after the end of the session and as the afternoon wore on slick tyres were being loaded on to trailers, and race cars changed to full wet settings. It is fortunate that there is no curfew at Snetterton as it was fast approaching six o'clock when the race started; the approach of night was probably more of a concern. The late hour caused Stefan Mumm to withdraw as he had a flight to catch back to Scandinavia to ensure that he could attend an important business meeting the following morning, so twenty went out to race.
Eagling lost a place to Lindley in the charge from the line and at the end of lap one, Clark crossed the line with a small gap to Jim with Dan tucked right behind him. Next up was Richings with Luck, having displaced Clive Woodward, behind him. Also ahead of Clive was Howard Payne, up from eleventh on the grid. On the second lap Eagling was up to second place although seemingly unable to close on Clark who eased out a nearly five-second lead by the end of lap six. At the end of the seventh tour there was a loud cheer from the supporter on the Russell spectator banking as the orange car of Eagling appeared in the lead with Clark some three seconds adrift; apparently Peter had had a visit to the escape road at the Esses. Despite closing up a little Peter didn't get an opportunity to get the place back and it was resolved in the order Eagling, Clark, Lindley, Luck, Richings and Payne. Clive Woodward was next up, just a fifth of a second back, then came Arthur Dickens, Tim Covill and Adrian Brown. The lower half of the field came home in the order Tony Pouyanne, Alan Avery, Paul Freeman, Jamie Champkin with Brian Jordan a fifth of a second behind him, Simon Kelly, Ian Mitchell and Marcus Bicknell. The Burnhams came home one lap adrift with Peter ahead of son Chris.
Twenty starters, twenty finishers with eighteen on the lead lap in pretty awful conditions - not bad.