Race Reports For The 2002 Season.
Cadwell Park, Sunday May 26th, 6 Laps (After race red-flagged at 3 laps)
At some stage we were bound to pay the price for our own success and at Cadwell Park we faced the prospect of drivers not qualifying for the race for the first time for many years. The track licence allows a grid of only 24 cars and, of the initial entry of 28 cars, 26 arrived at this spectacular Lincolnshire circuit to contest the round. Those not certain of recording the fastest times had the added stress of what has become typical K Sports weather, a mixture of sun and rain during the half hour before qualification, making tyre choice a complete gamble.
Mark Cousin, making a most welcome comeback in his Mk. 31, had desperate luck with an electrical fault and was unable to qualify. This left one car to be eliminated of the 25 starters. As the weather brightened most of the experienced drivers opted to chance their luck and skills with slicks leaving about half of the field on wet tyres. As qualification started it became obvious that the slicks choice was correct as the wet patches quickly dried and the wet tyres overheated and refused to grip. Dan Eagling posted a stunning 1.31.95 on his 6th lap putting him in an unassailable pole position by over 3 seconds margin. Guy Woodward, Jim Lindley, Pete Clark and Neil Bevan took the next 4 positions separated by less than a second. Mike Evans managed to qualify 6th despite having no front brakes.
Meanwhile a real drama was unfolding amongst the wet tyre runners. Despite desperate attempts to keep the tyres cool in the remaining damp areas, the cars were becoming more and more difficult to handle. Marc Weyer, Chris Burnham and Dave Madgwick had a torrid time in cars that refused to keep in a straight line as they battled to avoid the 'cut'. In the end poor Marc lost out by one hundredth of a second and was forced to take the reserve spot.
As race time approached the weather was marginally kinder making slick tyres an easier choice. A full grid lined up and got away to a clean start with Dan Eagling a clear leader. At the end of lap two Woodward and Clark spun at a very damp Barn Corner leaving Jim Lindley nowhere to go and he lost his nosecone in the barrier. Clark recovered quickly and as he entered Coppice at the end of the start finish straight he clipped Mike Luck and demolished the rear of his car in a horrifying high speed collision with the barrier. The race was immediately red flagged. Fortunately both drivers were unharmed but the cars were damaged beyond immediate repair.
As the race had been red flagged with only two laps completed it was re-started as a 6-lap race. Eagling again led from the start with Woodward (who unfortunately spun out of contention on lap 5), Evans, Bevan and Richings in close pursuit. Paul Freeman, Adrian Brown, Mike Taylor, Jamie Champkin and an astonishingly improved Marcus Bicknell were in great form behind the leading bunch. Nick Bailey, enjoying his best day since his return to clubmans racing, had a spin early in the race which put him behind an intense battle between Pete Burnham, Ian Mitchell, Brian Jordan and a rapidly improving Dave Madgwick who eventually won the battle to take 9th position. Simon Kelly spun twice in the space of a couple of laps losing his good position and on the second occasion neatly depositing himself up the slip road to the paddock. Ian Crombie put in another competent performance to finish 13th. Adrian Lester and Des Andrews both had excellent races and Chris Burnham pipped Chris Karn who was suffering with a very sick sounding Avalon. Poor Jamie Champkin ran out of Voltage on the last lap of one his best races in the series and did not finish.
The winner by almost 15 seconds was Dan Eagling who had looked unbeatable all day and added another maximum score to his championship lead. Mike Evans took second despite losing his side pod in the Mountain collision and Pete Richings took another good third to consolidate his second place in the points table.