Race Reports For The 2003 Season.
Silverstone International, Monday April 21st, 10 Laps
Same car - different driver.
The 2003 MG XPOWER Clubmans Cup got off to a thrilling start at Silverstone on Easter Monday (April 21), with a strong grid and close racing being the order of the day. For Northampton's Howard Payne it was a day to remember when he took his ex-Daniel Eagling Mallock Mk20B to a hard-earned victory. For the elated Payne, it was his first race win for seven years.
It was the opening race of the season for the championship that enjoys superb support from MG, Powertrain Ltd and Ricardo plc. "We are proud to be involved with the series as some of the drivers have raced for eight seasons without a major rebuild. They are very reliable and what we learn from racing we put into our production build," said Fraser Winton, managing director of co-sponsors Powertrain Ltd.
Peter Burnham's Mallock Mk28/31 was a surprise pole-sitter, with Mike Luck's Dart 0.6s down in second. Guy Woodward and James Lindley shared the second row and fifth best was Barry Webb, returning to the scene after four years on the sidelines. "It was like deja-vu, my last race was at Silverstone, when I spun at Priory and was fifth," said Webb. "Today I spun at Priory and qualified fifth again!"
From the green light Woodward shot between the front row men to make it three abreast into Copse. Luck hit the front on the exit of the first corner from Woodward and Burnham, but with the poleman spinning at Brooklands, Payne was all over Woodward as Luck attempted to break clear. Lindley's victory aspirations ended on the first lap however, when he headed into the pits with an oil leak.
Payne soon closed down Luck's lead, leaving Woodward to fight off Matthew Slinn, Webb and Peter Richings for third. By the end of lap three the lead pair were as one, with Slinn diving past Woodward for third. Payne made the decisive move into Copse on lap four and quickly consolidated his place, "I thought I would do it there so everyone could see," he joked. Luck stayed well in touch but was just unable to re-challenge, "I was quicker in some places but Howard had the acceleration out of the corners," said Luck.
Despite a damaged rear wing Slinn retained third, surviving a penultimate lap challenge from Woodward, which dropped Guy behind Webb and Richings. Adrian Lester, in the new Mallock Mk35, finally escaped from a wheel to wheel duel with Adrian Brown to take seventh.