13/14th April – Croft Race Report

MaX5 at Croft!

Talk about chalk and cheese!! Glorious sunny weather the week before the race weekend then sub zero overnight on the Friday giving a glorious shimmery frost over the circuit and surrounding grass verges. Nice to see but freezing if you were in a tent!!!

Saturday saw the first of this years’ MAX5 race series – a 3 race weekend plus qualification.

From MX5 mk4, 3 and 1 on the grid, we were bound to get action throughout the 20 minutes of each race.

Qualification saw the mk4’s in front with Matt Tidmarshs’ mk3 close behind. Paul Roddison continued his dominant style and put his car on pole, closely followed by Ian Loversidge and Jeremy Shipley with, new to mk4 this year, Andy Pretorius and George Grant completing the first part of the grid.

Tidmarsh, Lee Hollin, newcomer Alex Richardson and Aaron Bunning filled the mk3 grid with Steve Kite and John Wood completing the grid in their mk1’s.

Race 1 brought it’s own problems for Hollin with clutch failure on the way to the holding area! It was all hands to the pumps (or spanners) to try and fix the problem but unfortunately it was all in vain.

From the start, Roddison held a commanding lead with very close racing between¬† four of the mk4’s with George Grant not enjoying the change from mk3 to mk4. Tidmarsh gave Pretorius a headache¬† by sticking to his rear bumper for most of the race to finish 6 seconds behine the much quicker mk4’s. Richardson and Bunning had a close race until a mistake put the ‘yellow peril’ car down the field to be overtaken by Kite in his mk1. Wood started off a little unsettled but by the end of the race, his pace was just over a second off Kite’s pace.

Race 1 over, it was all hands on Lee’s car. A clutch plate was found and within 1 1/2 hours, the car was up and running again to fight the mk3’s on Sunday.

Cars all fixed, it was off to the pub for the MAX5 crowd – a truly enjoyable social affair as usual!

Sunday dawned even colder! Temperatures didn’t get above 8 degrees C but the spectators were warmed up with some exciting action.

Race 2 was initially a repeat of race 1. The mk4’s lead but with one notable difference – Andy Pretorius had given himself a ‘good talking to’ overnight and was flying! A thrilling battled with Shipley pushed Jeremy into a misjudged line through the chicane. Tyres flew everywhere and Shipley pirouetted into the run off area. Tidmarsh was very close so I can’t wait to see his camera footage!

Roddison brought his car home first with Loversidge and Pretorius battling to the line. Tidmarsh brough his car home in first for the mk3’s but Hollin, in his MAX5 rebuilt car, pipped Richardson to the post. Kite brought his mk1 home first but Wood had reduced the lap time difference to 0.09 seconds!

Once Parc Ferme had cleared, it was out with the Gaffa tape to fix Shipley’s car. It all appeared to be cosmetic apart from front wheels that were like Marty Felman’s eyes! Out with the piece of string and a quick tracking was performed – don’t you just love it when the whole of the race series competitors come out to help get their fellow racer back in the race?

Race 3 saw Wood depart early due to a 7 hour journey home.

A great start from everyone was upstaged by Shipley firing the car off at Tower! One of the ABS sensors had failed which shot Shipley off the track. No damage except to Jeremy’s pride, but the car didn’t feel right so he retired.

Pretorius was on form bringing his car home a head of Loversidge who also had a problem with his car. The mk4 seems to be growing on Andy!

Tidmarsh lead the mk3’s but Bunning had taken on board advice from his girlfriend and was right in the mix. Hollin, Richardson and Bunning were very close for most of the race until Richardson tried an overtake at Cleraux and ended up in the gravel.
Kite brought the mk1 home with his fastest lap of the weekend.

A great start to the season with the next at Pembrey on the 11th and 12th of May – I can’t wait.

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