Round 11 & 22

Donington Park

5-6 September 2015

1st R1: David Tomlin (308 GTB) / R2: David Tomlin
2nd R1: Gary Culver (328 GTB) / R2: Jim Cartwright (328 GTB)
3rd R1: Chris Butler (328 GTB) / R2: Chris Butler
report by William Moorwood and Christian Mineeff
photography by Simon Cook


Following the Castle Combe races on the Bank Holiday Monday there was only a four day break before the next double-header at Donington Park. Peter Fisk pulled in a lot of favours to make his Mondial race ready as his 328 GTB will need a lot of work doing to it after his incident at Castle Combe. David Tomlin entered his very fleet 308GTB as an invited guest, it having been established that the Gulf-liveried 308 GTB is outside the Group 2 regulations but it was agreed that he could enter the races as an invited guest.

Qualifying took place at mid day with the best two lap times deciding the grid positions for the two races. David Tomlin headed the times and would be on pole for both races. Gary Culver and Jim Cartwright (both in 328s) were, as ever, very close with Culver heading Group 4 for the Race One and Cartwright leading the times for Race 2. In Group 3 Darren Wilson maintained his quick qualifying standards and headed Group 3 for both races. John Swift headed group 2 just ahead of the black Mondial of Pete Fisk


Race 1

Race 1 was due to start at 7.00pm on Saturday,  the penultimate race in a packed programme. Not surprisingly the cars left the assembly area slightly late  and were met on the grid by marshalls frantically waving cars into position endeavouring to get the race under way so that the final race could be completed in time before the 8.00pm curfew.

The cars were incorrectly lined up directly behind each other hampering forward visibility, but this was the least of our problems as the sun was very low and directly aligned into the drivers faces to the extent that when the green flag lap was completed and the cars ligned up on the grid all the drivers from David Tomlin on pole to those at the back were worried about their inability to see the red lights.

As it turned out all the cars safely got away to confront the next problem as the light conditions made it very hard to judge the correct braking point for Redgate at the end of the pit straigh, with similar problems approaching the chicane at the end of the lap. It was no surprise to note, that despite the good track conditions, lap times were down on qualifying as all were justifiably cautious.

Culver made the best start and led the race for the first few laps from Jim Cartwright  both being chased by the slow starting David Tomlin. By lap 6 Tomlin would have the lead but was being closely followed by Culver and Cartwright. In Group 3 Darren Wilson made a good start to lead the Group until lap 6 when an error in the darkness entering the chicane allowed Everingham and Walker to get ahead of him. Walker then managed to get past Everingham coming out of Coppice to lead Group 3. The Fisk Mondial with it’s matt black finish was hard to spot in the dark and would lead Group 2 from Swift. Pauline Goodwin had made a good start to get ahead of Swift and Fenny on the first lap and was closely followed for the whole race until her clutch failed on the last lap.

Once the race was over there was a sting in the tail for Jim Cartwright with time penalties. Of the tracks we have raced this year Donington has the most car friendly kerbs and even in two locations some nice smooth green painted concrete outside the kerbs. Clearly these kerbs were too tempting for Jim  who accrued no less than four off-track infringements with a total of 45 seconds of time penalties which would drop him down to 7th place in the final result.


Race 2

The second race was scheduled for the more normal time of 2.00pm on Sunday afternoon, a nice bright day so there would be no visibility issue this time.

With PGs 328 u/s following its clutch failure the Cartwright’s brought along Ben’s unused racer for her to use, an excellent gesture.

The grid was decided by the second quickest lap time in the single qualifying session the day before. David Tomlin was again on pole in the rapid 308 by almost a second from Jim Cartwright, Gary Culver and Darren Wilson. But Chris Butler, renowned for his hillclimb-like starts, was lurking on row 3…

As the lights went out Butler shot forwards and just about got up to the front row before they all closed the various doors on him and at the end of the lap it was Cartwright in the lead ahead of Tomlin, Culver and then Butler. Next up were the two Class 3 contestants, Evers ahead of Wilson, and it was no surprise that 15 laps later they were still less than a second apart! Just behind them and moving up the field was Cartwright the Dad.

At the front Tomlin took only a lap to get into the lead from Jim – but where was Culver? We all looked towards the pits and saw him slowly creep in, his brake servo having failed leaving him with a concrete brake pedal. Jim gave brave chase but his car was simply not quick enough and he began to drop away at the rate of about a second per lap. By the third lap we had lost another runner when Tim Walker’s 328 engine suddenly cut out, but then frustratingly fired up again when back in the paddock.

The race did not have much action at the front, with Cartwright Jnr dropping back from Tomlin and then a long gap to Butler who had Cartwright Snr not too far away, but put on a mid-race spurt to keep the gap at a few seconds.

But in the classes behind there was some close and exciting racing. Everingham and Wilson had a frantic dice for fifth overall and the Class 3 lead. Equally close were Swifty and Peter Fisk’s Mondial, fighting for the Class 2 lead. They swapped places a few times and this race would also go right down to the wire.

After the 15 laps Tomlin ran out the clear winner ahead of a dejected Jim Cartwright; the latter managed to get another 5-second penalty for exceeding track limits but this did not affect his second place. Butler was a lonely third ahead of Nick Cartwright. But behind this lot came the frantic battle between Wilson and Everingham who finished in that order less than a second apart.

Robert Pulleyn managed to keep Myles Poulton behind him for seventh spot, and Swifty moved ahead of Fisk with three laps to go and just held on to the lead of Class 2. Richard Fenny was the best of the GT4s this time, and finished ahead of Pauline Goodwin in the borrowed 328 and final runner, William Moorwood, in his GT4.

It had not been the best race at the front once Culver retired, but there were certainly some good class struggles going on behind!

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