Round Rounds 3, 4 and 5


13th and 14th May 2017

1st R1: Lee Moulden (355/Ch) / R2: Pete Fisk (550 Maranello) / R3: Lee Moulden (355/Ch)
2nd R1: Pete Fisk (550 Maranello) / R2: Lee Moulden (355/Ch) / R3: Pete Fisk (550 Maranello)
3rd R1: Chris Butler (328GTB) / R2: Gary Culver (328GTB) / R3: Chris Butler (328GTB)
report by William Moorwood
photography by Simon Cooke, Dave Clarke, William Moorwood

We were last at Knockhill in June 2010 and in the introduction to his report in the CompRes of the day John Swift wrote ‘what is there not to like about Knockhill?’  As ever he is correct as the first timers at the circuit all had the same sentiment about the challenging circuit cunningly located on the side of a Scottish hillside. As possibly could be expected, the weather played a part particularly on Saturday. The initial free practice session took place in increasingly heavy rain but there was the consolation of having some track time for us newcomers to get the feel of the circuit with its blind corners and unexpected gradients.

Qualifying took place on a dry track and Lee Moulden in Vance Kearney’s 355 was the quickest followed by Pete Fisk in his 550 and Chris Butler in his Group 3 328GTB. A little off the pace of the front three was Gary Culver in his 328GTB who was suffering from an oil leak and a slipping clutch. This problem could not be solved easily and as a result he would miss the first race.

Race 1

One of the many unusual features of Knockhill is the uphill gradient of the track at the start. At the front of the grid it is almost level with the gradient getting steeper towards the back of the grid. As the race would be run in decidedly damp conditions this would present a challenge. As it happened the only car with a poor getaway was Butler in his 328 GTB and the car making up the most places at the start was Ray Ferguson also in a Group 3 328GTB from the back of the grid who would gain three places with an impressive start.

At the front there was a very close race between the Moulden, Fisk and Butler and it was a treat for the spectators to see the three different cars fighting for the lead. Butler briefly ran in second position before a spin dropped him back to third place although he would have the consolation of achieving the fastest lap of the race. Nick Cartwright won Group 4 in his 308GTB with his fourth place ahead of Tris Simpson who was down on power, a problem later traced to a cracked exhaust manifold. Chris Goddard (308GTB) would have a quiet race in the middle of the pack for the first of his three Group 2 wins for the weekend. At the back of the field Ferguson would keep ahead of William Moorwood (308GT4) who in turn would be kept under pressure for the whole race by Len Watson (308GTB) and Richard Fenny (308GT4).

Right at the end of the day the cloud lifted to reveal long distance views of the Forth bridges bathed in sunshine and an announcement from the commentator that the weather would be good for the two races on Sunday

Race 2

Dry sunny conditions provided another three way struggle at the front. Lee Moulden made a good start to take the lead but the conditions were more favourable for Pete Fisk who was in great form all weekend in his 550. It would have seemed on paper that the 550 would not be suited to the short twisting circuit but it went well all weekend and was very competitive such that Fisk took the lead on the fourth lap and would hold it to the end.

Culver with his oil leak repaired was also great form harrying the two at the front for the whole race and even gaining second place with three laps to go but then drop back with a damaged suspension arm. Chris Butler was not able to run with the leaders on a dry track but soon got past Nick Cartwright to take a solid 4th place. David Edge kept his 355 firmly on the track and finished close behind Rob Pulleyn in his 328GTB. At the back of the field normal order was restored with Len Watson heading Fenny and Ferguson. Tris Simpson retired with a lap to go as he was concerned about his car.

Race 3

Grid positions were decided on the finishing positions in race 2. Lee Moulden was lucky enough to get all three races in the 355 as Vance Kearney did not feel up to driving and lined up beside Fisk at the front of the grid. Culver was missing as his suspension could not be repaired. At the back of the grid Terry Simpson, having missed the second race with a misfire, was on the grid thanks to the late replacement of a throttle cable and lined up beside Tris Simpson in his lacklustre 355.

Fisk made a good start and ahead of Moulden. At the back of the grid there was some small drama as Fenny stalled his 308GT4 but fortunately those behind him took avoiding action and at the end of a hectic first lap Ferguson had a spin at the hairpin enabling Moorwood to gain two places from his starting position.

The front two were well away but behind them Nick Cartwright was having a great race running in third position for much of the time and keeping Butler at bay and it would be well into the race before Butler could get by and take third place.  Chris Goddard whose 308GTB was only made race ready just in time to be loaded on the trailer for a modest drive from Basingstoke to Knockhill had a good weekend with three trouble free races to finish in 5th place. Fisk lead for 16  of the 20 lap race but finally the pressure told, or was it lack of grip from the tyres, and Moulden took the lead going into the hairpin for his second win of the weekend.

It had been a great weekend. The combination of Ferrari Track Day and races worked well on the first day. The dinner on Saturday night was enjoyed by many of the racers at their sartorial best but most importantly the track and the efficiency of the organisation made the weekend a real joy to participate in. Let’s hope we do not wait another 7 years before we return.

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