Race Reports For The 2001 Season.
Croft, Sunday April 22nd, 10 Laps
Clark of course.
The rumours of Foot and Mouth closing Croft were unfounded, so with disinfectant pads everywhere, the circuit was open for play.
Saturday through the windows of a motor-home promised the first signs of Spring with clear skies and a strange glow from a round thing in the sky. This proved to be deceptive as the wind had a bite to it; nevertheless several pairs of sunglasses were in evidence and sun block was mentioned in passing. Midday qualifying made for a leisurely atmosphere in the 'K' Sports Zone with the need to go to the collection area almost an intrusion on the day's socialising. Thirteen cars lined up, with Daniel Eagling pluckily in his car after an accident at work the previous week - an F3000 car had dropped of its jacks on to Dan and a colleague. His colleague has a broken rib and severe bruising and Daniel escaped with a sprained left wrist and the feeling of having fought Lennox Lewis for 10 rounds. In true Eagling spirit Daniel claimed pole in the following fifteen minutes with a 1min 27.6 almost seven tenths in front of a delighted Clive Woodward in second, followed by Peter Clark just under a second off Dan's time. Jim Lindley was next, then Howard Payne, Peter Richings and Paul Freeman in the pretty Ardmore. Peter Burnham, Alan Avery in his own "EBX'd" Avalon, Brian Jordan, Jamie Champkin and Mike Luck in his first run in Chris Hart's Mark 16 Mallock. Last on the grid was Marcus Bicknell continuing his learning curve, and enjoying every minute. With a weather forecast for Sunday to make an optimist gloomy; talk after qualifying was of wets and global warming. Justin Foley's lap record, set in 1997, of 1min 25.18 was looking secure.
Sunday had no surprises - intermittent rain, kept at bay by the bitter wind, had wets pumped up, and again (from mechanics and pit wall helpers) the desire to retreat to warmer places. It was an easy decision to stay on slicks as the wind won the battle with the rain. As the cars lined up on the grid at the published time, there was an unfortunate delay whilst an errant BMW was extricated from the tyre barriers. After about five minutes, the green flag dropped and the cars completed their warm-up lap and assembled for the final time on the grid. The lights turned green at seven seconds and not for the first time, Daniel came out of the first corner ahead of Peter and Clive. The following pack precariously filed through the chicane with Lindley already passed by both Richings and Payne followed by Freeman, Burnham and Luck making a cracking start to make up four places. The leading pair then eased a gap to Woodward who was being chased by Richings and Payne. Suddenly, Peter appeared in first position, with Clive a little way behind and Daniel some fifty yards back. Dan had missed a gear because of his strapped wrist and somehow corrected a tank-slapper of a slide. Then, on lap five, the luckless Mike Luck retired with loss of water from a faulty pressure cap and all eyes were again on Daniel's progress. Firstly he passed Clive, then under braking at the first corner on lap eight, Dan was under Clark's wing. Lap nine of ten and Peter's skills under pressure were tested as he maintained his slender lead. Into the first corner and a back marker made the result obvious as Dan was forced to avoid contact, and in so doing lost momentum and gave an overjoyed Peter a deserved win. Clive followed six seconds behind, with a chasing Jim Lindley just over a second behind him across the line and just over one tenth slower than the race's fastest lap set by Dan. Pete Richings and Howard followed in close formation then a gap of eighteen seconds to the remaining field of Paul, Peter, Jamie and Brian. Lapped were Marcus and Alan who retired with diff problems on lap nine but was classified in the results.
Daniel misses the next three rounds because of work commitments so Peter Clark has a clear run ahead of him - or perhaps the Eagling family have other plans!?