Round 11 and 12

Snetterton 300

23rd Sptember 2018

1st R1: Tris Simpson (355/Ch) / R2: Nigel Jenkins (355/Ch)
2nd R1: Gary Culver (328 GTB) / R2: Tris Simpson (355/Ch)
3rd R1: Tim Mogridge (355/Ch) / R2: Gary Culver (328 GTB)
report by William Moorwood
photography by Simon Cooke, William Moorwood, Nicky Paul-Barron

Our sixth and final race meeting of 2018 was held on the Snetterton 300 circuit at an event organised by the VSCC.

Following three late withdrawals 14 cars were entered on the day and ready for action on the track. It was good to see Nick Cartwright at the track and he assured us that he would have been racing but for the insistence of his doctor that it was not a good idea. The weather forecast for the day was not good and it began to rain hard as soon as the first qualifying sessions started on the track. By the time the assembled PFfc cars went out on track at 10.30 it was truly wet such that it was necessary to pick out the relatively dry line on the crown of the track on the long Revett Straight to avoid aquaplaning.

The two fastest laps would set the grid positions for the two races and pole position for both races was taken with an assured performance by Tris Simpson in his 355/Ch, this included a long slide around Corum which would have lost a lot of time on his second fastest lap. The next two positions were taken by our rain experts, Gary Culver in his Group 4 328 GTB and Chris Butler in his Group 3 328 GTB. William Moorwood in his Group 1 308 GT4 surprised himself by qualifying for the second race in the middle of the grid ahead of all the Group two cars. There was also a welcome return to the track by Pete Fisk in his 550 Maranello and given the conditions it was no surprise that he chose prudence over ambition to qualify safely with a modest time.

Race 1

The weather forecast held good and the sky cleared in time for the first race but as there was no sun the track was decidedly greasy and this was neatly demonstrated by Nigel Jenkins (355/Ch) when he managed a brief slide off onto the grass after the first corner on the green flag lap. Despite this all the cars were able to arrive and line up on the grid in their correct positions.

When the lights went out got away safely and at the front Simpson and Culver with good starts were to maintain their position at the front. Further back Len Watson (308 GTB) made an excellent start to gain places with a good run on the outside of Riches. As the first lap unfolded Tim Mogridge (355/Ch) and Jenkins were able to get past Chris Butler and this set the order for the rest of the race.

The best racing was to be seen at the back of the field with Chris Goddard (308 GTB) getting past Len Watson on Lap 3 leaving a group of 5 cars all running closely together and all of them changing places more than once. Included in this mix was the Fisk 550 which struggled on the slippy surface. On the penultimate lap Watson, Fisk, and Moorwood all crossed the line less than a 2 tenths of a second apart but in the final analysis it was Peter Moseley  (308 GTB) who was the pick of the bunch to finish second in Group 2.

At the front Tris Simpson and Gary Culver finished first and second with Tim Mogridge in third who deserved his place on the podium as he kept Nigel Jenkins at bay in the final two laps as track conditions improved.

Race 2

When the final race of the season started the sun was almost out and the track almost dry with the best conditions of the day. There was one nonstarter as Tim Mogridge had been unable to make good a water leak in time. The single green flag lap was well spent with all the drivers testing out how much the track surface had improved over the day.

As with the first race Simpson and Culver were able to make good starts and maintain their respective positions. Further back it was Moorwood’s chance to make use of the outside position on the grid to make up places at the start. Similarly Pete Fisk was enjoying the improved grip on offer and began to make up places.

The Revett Straight is one of the longest in the country giving a significant advantage to the more powerful cars and this was evident as by the end of the first lap Jenkins had made up three places to be third and Fisk had gained even more places to be sixth. By Lap 5 Jenkins took the lead of the race but was chased hard by Simpson and was given no let up.

The track conditions continued to improve and the lap times came down accordingly such that all the fastest laps were recorded at the end of the race. The closest racing was in the middle of the field where Chris Goddard caught up with Peter Everingham (328 GTB) to pass him on lap three but he was unable to get ahead of Chris Butler.

At the back Peter Moseley had another good race getting ahead of Pauline Goodwin (328 GTB) and Len Watson early on and finally catching and passing William Moorwood after his good start on the penultimate lap.

The final race of the season finished with Jenkins ahead of Simpson and Culver in a rather lonely third place following the failure of Mogridge to start the race. With confidence growing Pete Fisk finished in a strong fourth place.

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