Pouring rain had given way to showers for qualifying in round nine of the Ricardo Clubmans Cup at Thruxton. Peter Richings found the conditions ideal though. "My first pole for five years and Thruxton in the wet has always been kind to me," he said. Seven tenths behind was former champion Michael Mallock with his super quick Mallock Mk18B. "The car was really good, but its my first time in a wet race for three or four years and my first time at Thruxton since then too. Plus the standing start concerns me a bit, as I have been used to rolling ones lately," he explained.
Defending Champion and current championship leader Barry Webb headed row two with a "very unremarkable session." "The new wets were great though," he added. Alex Osborne completed the second row, "I needed to stay out of the puddles, so I couldn't really go tight on the inside," he said. There were two Guy's sharing the third row, with Woodward taking time out of his Castle Combe GT programme and Parr, still sporting his allegiance to Liverpool FC.
Title contender Howard Payne was surprisingly low down in seventh, "I just got caught up with backmarkers," he explained. Jamie Champkin was alongside with his Phantom the first non Mallock in the field. Clive Fidgeon and Dave Madgwick completed the top ten in the 18 car field, while on the very back Shane Butler only managed four laps and spin in his newly rebuilt car, due to arriving late in the assembly area.
The track was drying as the grid formed up, but there was till a threat of rain. Mallock shot off the line as both he and Osborne built up a sizeable advantage on the opening lap. "I got shuffled down the third at the Complex," said poleman Richings. Webb and Payne latched onto Richings, while at the front the lead pair ran nose to tail. Payne slipped past Webb for fourth on lap two and Champkin started to harass Woodward for sixth, having already taken Parr.
"I made a demon start with Michael, but had a half spin at the Complex on lap three and let him get way," said Osborne. Payne's charge continued with third from lap three, while Richings successfully kept Webb at a safe distance. Having lost sixth place to Champkin, Woodward found Parr looming large in his mirrors, until a fifth lap spin at the Complex.
Although Mallock cruised to a comfortable win, he had a late scare too. "Three laps from the end I was ¾ opposite lock, clipped a kerb and got launched," he explained. Although Payne closed slightly, he settled for a solid third behind Osborne. "I just couldn't hold Howard back, but it was good to beat Barry," said fourth placed Richings. "It was a good clean race. I couldn't catch Peter but I could stay with him," Webb added.
Champkin completed the top six, from Woodward, while Adrian Brown took seventh with Brendan Herd in his wheeltracks. "I knew I had him covered," reckoned Brown. Madgwick completed the top ten, from the recovering Parr, while Ian Mitchell. John Palmer, Fidgeon and Gareth Salter remained unlapped.
After a promising top ten start Ian Crombie fell back, "Just no speed, I had the wrong diff in for here," he said. Butler completed the finishers after another spin, while Alan Avery was the only retirement after the rear wing broke on his Avalan.
Issued by Peter Scherer for the Clubmans Register on July 25th 2005