Race Reports For The 2002 Season.
Croix-en-Ternois, Saturday July 6th, 17 Laps
In-Croix-able. (Part un)
The 21 MG XPOWER K Sports drivers who made the trip to the Croix en Ternois circuit in Northern France were pleasantly surprised to find such an attractive and challenging venue which is very technical to drive but provides more overtaking opportunities than would have been expected.
As it was the outcome was pretty familiar with Dan Eagling cleaning up again with pole to flag victories in both races plus fastest lap each time. Chris Hart returned to the driving seat in his trusty Mk 16 and showed brilliant form bagging a brace of deuxieme places.
Most competitors took advantage of some testing on Friday when the weather was most unseasonable being either dark and cold or just plain soaking wet. At least it provided some familiarisation with the new to all circuit.
Saturday was another overcast and cold day but at least it remained dry. Morning qualifying looked quite familiar with Dan Eagling topping the pile. Perhaps the surprise (to some at least) was that the father figure of Clubmans, Chris Hart, planted his trusty Mk 16 on second spot with a very respectable time only 0.29s shy of Dan. James Lindley, Peter Clark and Peter Richings filled the next three spots which followed recent form. Another returnee was next up - John Kelly - showing good form in his Mk 28 which son Simon has been pedalling up to now this year. Howard Payne was feeling much happier in his EBX'd Mk 28 and took 7th from the steadily improving Mark Weyer and Paul Freeman who never seems to be out of the top 10 any more.
Mike Luck took 10th from Arth Dickens (out for the first time this year and going particularly well in the wet on Friday), fromTim Covill (struggling with brakes), Neil Bevan, Marcus (no testing) Bicknell, Dave Madgwick and Pete Burnham. Chris (ARP F3) Marshall, having a one off run in Glenn Eagling's hire car, was next ahead of Chris Burnham, Ian (no testing) Crombie Adrian Lester and Jamie Champkin, who admitted to not getting his act together.
Race 1 on Saturday afternoon saw another straightforward start to finish win for Dan as he established a gap, set the fastest lap and won by enough to be comfortable. Behind, Peter Clark tigered through to second on the first lap ahead of Harty but as the race wore on his slides became more lairy and he found the brakes becoming less effective until he took to the grass exiting turn 3 ( Virage de la Ferme) allowing Chris past and then a gravely moment at the final L'epingle let Jim through as well.
Howard Payne won the next duel from John Kelly and Mike Luck, who had to ease off at the end as his steering UJ was coming apart. Tim Covill exited this battle when his brakes wilted and he spun into the barrier at Maguy spraying the rescue truck with sufficient stones to smash its windows and wake up its driver!! Tim's car was too badly damaged so as to remain hors de combat for the rest of the weekend despite some brave efforts by many. Paul Freeman was eighth from Dave Madgwick, who had to fend off Marcus Bicknell throughout until Marcus spun at the very last corner. We were able to watch this after the race as Marcus's on board video was replayed through the TV in the circuit bar to the great entertainment of all.
Peter Richings failed at the start when his master switch decided to malfunction at just the wrong time. Merde! With Sunday's grid being decided by Saturday's result, he and Neil Bevan (who spun off on lap one) would start from the back. Richings was heard to be threatening to bonsai (sic) his way through on the morrow and others were warning him that he was in for a surprise!