Race Reports For The 2002 Season.
Snetterton, Sunday August 11th, 12 Laps
Eagling's home win.
Twenty-six cars converged on Snetterton for the first of the two replacement rounds lost at Rockingham and Donington this year. The 750 Motor Club organised a warm and sometimes sunny day - dark clouds threatened now and again, but only the most pessimistic had their wets ready.
With 25 of the drivers having followed in Daniel Eagling's wake for every one of the rounds to date, there was a brief glimmer of hope in qualifying for them all when Dan pitted after 3 laps complaining of a misfire. If he did have a misfire it didn't bode well for what he could do with all 4 cylinders firing at the same time as he took pole by almost a second from reigning champion Peter Clark in Barry Webb's Mark 23. The only top ten EBX front-runner, Peter (Sven) Richings got ever closer to Clark just 4/10ths behind. Guest driver, and lap record holder, Justin Foley, in Chris Hart's "Magic" Mallock Mark 16 showed his class after a four year lay-off from K Sports by getting within 3/10ths of the EBX car. After a dismal Croft race two weeks before, a returned to form Guy Woodward was next, followed by Jim Lindley, Neil Bevan, Brian Jordan, Mark Cousins with Paul Freeman completing the top ten. Adrian Brown was less than 1/10th behind Paul and then Mike Luck complaining of lack of straight-line speed followed by the ill-handling EBX of Howard Payne. Completing the 26 runners were Dave Madgwick having a torrid time with what looked like an evil car underneath him, and the very welcome return of Chris Karn in Alan Avery's Avalan after his serious Oulton park crash earlier in the season.
The race start was breathtaking! A grid of twenty=six sparkling Clubmans cars heading towards Riches at break-neck speed makes F1 starts look tame! The top six disappeared from sight towards Sear in qualifying order with much jockeying for position further down the field. Brian Jordan was the first casualty on lap two as Howard Payne's stunning move through the field caught both out resulting in a very rare DNF for Brian and a chance to meet the Marshals at Sear. Meantime it became obvious that no one could catch Dan as he eased away from Peters Clark and Richings and Justin. A gap developed between those three to a wonderful dice between James Lindley and Guy Woodward that had them nose to tail for the whole race and just over 1/10th apart across the finishing line in favour of Jim. Another gap developed to Mike Luck having a great race to make up five places to seventh, with Neil Bevan, Adrian Brown, Mark Cousins and Paul Freeman all in very close company just 3/10ths apart across the line. Howard Payne fought (and won) his battle with his ill-handling EBX to finish 12th but somewhat dejected by knowing he would normally be a top six finisher. Adrian Lester, Arthur Dickens, Nick Bailey and Marc Weyer were next up covered by less than 3/10ths, then Brendan Herd having a relatively lonely race followed by Des Andrews and a wonderful dice between Marcus Bicknell and Peter Burnham. Simon Kelley kept Peter in sight and stayed comfortably ahead of Dave Madgwick, Chris Burnham and Chris Karn. Ian Crombie was a DNF on lap six (the writer apologises for not knowing the reason). Behind Daniel, Richings had been close enough to Clark to "have a go" more than once but both drivers' experience and the need to finish won the day to keep Richings in third - until the last corner of the last lap! Justin, who'd been close enough to Richings to feint a couple of passes, saw a gap at the chicane and made a lunge which didn't come off, resulting in Richings being punted off and Justin crossing the line in third followed by a damaged Richings limping across still some way ahead of Jim Lindley. The subsequent Observers report deemed that Justin's move was too speculative and he was docked 10 seconds putting him behind Richings in the results. An exciting end to a race that, although won with ease by Daniel, contained a great deal of close racing all the way down the field and reinforced the level of professionalism that the MG XPOWER K Sports formula contains by twenty four cars finishing (with the exception of Daniel) within five seconds a lap of each other.