Round 2

Thruxton Circuit

22-23 June 2024

1st R1: Gary Culver (328 GTB) / R2: Nicky Paul-Barron (355 Ch)/ R3: Tris Simpson (355 Ch)
2nd R1: Tim Mogridge (355 Ch) / R2: Chris Butler (328 GTB)/ R3: Tim Mogridge (355 Ch)
3rd R1: Tris Simpson (355 Ch) / R2: Tim Mogridge (355 Ch)/ R3 Nicky Paul-Barron (355 Ch)
report by William Moorwood
photography by Steve Jones, William Moorwood

The Thruxton Historic Festival has its own special character with its emphasis on single seater races mixed with an eclectic selection of other classic race cars. Our own race series fits in well and it was a pleasure to enjoy the Hampshire sunshine over the weekend.


We have not raced much at Thruxton in recent years and last year was a welcome return. The circuit itself needs a bit of getting used to being quite bumpy and for the most part very fast. To put in a good lap requires a combination of commitment and a smooth driving style, possibly the attributes of a successful hillclimber? So perhaps it was not much of a surprise to see the Group Three 328 GTB of Chris Butler on pole for the first two races. In second place was Nicky Paul-Barron with his 355 Challenge with all the other usual suspects lining up behind.

Well up in the placings in eighth place was the Group 3 328 GTB Nigel Sayles, impressive in his first season of racing with us. It was good to welcome newcomer James Parker to the series in a very smart 355 Challenge who lined up in 11th place.

Race 1

To help out the BARC who run the event, our Series Coordinator Steve Burns also acted as clerk of the course and he is well versed in the foibles of those who race in the series so he was well prepared when the Cartwrights made a later than usual entry into the assembly area such that Jim was not ready when the one-minute board was displayed. The marshals did their best but were forced to delay his entry onto the track and he had to start at the back of the grid.

Chris Butler made a customary good start and shot into a lead which he held for five laps while the chasing pack sorted themselves out. Then it was Tris Simpson who took the lead in his 355 Challenge for four laps. In the meantime, Nigel Sayles had an interesting moment on the fastest part of the circuit when a rear tyre delaminated putting him into a spin forcing him to retire, fortunately avoiding any hard contact with the Hampshire countryside.

In the middle of the pack Nick Cartwright made up places in his Group 4 328 GTB finshing narrowly ahead of the 328 GTB of Peter Everingham. It is possible also to have an interesting time at the at the back of the field as your scribe found that he was being rapidly caught up by the Mondial QV of Robin Fisk who easily passed me coming up Woodham Hill.  I sensed a moments hesitation and repassed him on entrance to the chicane but was also surprised by Peter Everingham who chose to get past by flying over the sausage kerbs and short cutting the chicane, a very generous move allowing the slower car to stick  to the racing line?

At the front Simpson lost the lead to race winner Gary Culver. Tim Mogridge was getting to grips with the circuit in his 355 Challenge, dashing Butler’s hopes of a podium finish, moving up to third place with 4 laps to go and then passing Simpson for second place.

Race 2

The race started with an incident without contact when the 355 Challenge of Chris Goddard had a brake issue on the first lap entering the twisty complex section of the track. Everyone got round him safely but the safety car was deployed for two laps to allow for safe recovery of the car which had its brakes locked on.

Once the safety car period was over it turned out that there would only be 5 laps of competitive racing. Nicky Paul-Barron kept his lead ahead of Chris Butler and Tim Mogridge again moved from 5th to 3rd to secure another podium place.

Tim Shearman went well in his 328 GTB to finish behind Nick Cartwright and second place in Group 3. In group 2 Robin Fisk was going really well getting past the 308 GTB of Jago Keen and pressing the 308 GTB of Nick Whittaker to head Group 2, then it all went wrong when going round Allard as he went wide and made contact with the Armco barrier. This immediately bought out yellow flags for a safety car which was quickly changed to red flags, finishing the race.

Race 3

Waiting in the assembly area prior to the race it was out of character to see the surprisingly late arrival of Nick Whittaker only to learn later that it was all planned with the help of the Marshals as Nick had just competed in the previous 40-minute race and needed to get fuel into his 308 GT4 in order to compete in the next race. It was no surprise that when the race started, he was right on it making up 6 places on the first lap.

The starting grid was set by the finishing positions in the previous race. Chris Butler repeated his performance from the first race with a good start to take the lead for 5 laps. He was ahead of another incident which took place when Colin Sowter, after a good start in his 348 Challenge, had a spin going into the complex and luckily avoided any contact with the following pack.

Nick Cartwright continued to improve over the weekend getting into 6th place on lap one ahead of son Jim. James Parker whose previous experience of racing Minis is probably not the ideal preparation for racing a 355 was continuing to go better and testing the limits of his car with the first of two harmless spins on lap 3.

By lap 6 Tris Simpson was in the lead with Tim Mogridge very close behind him. On lap nine there was a big incident with the group chasing these two. Jim Cartwright was up to 4th place and looked to get ahead of Culver going into the chicane. Culver was tagged into a spin by the spinning Cartwright who also collected Chris Butler who had nowhere to go causing the immediate retirement of both cars.

In the middle of the field there were some notably close races with Shearman and Everingham fighting hard for the win in Group 3 with Tony Claringbould very close behind. Ray Ferguson managed to finish narrowly ahead of Myles Poulton.

A terrific weekend finished with three different winners. Tim Mogridge caught the commentator’s eye with three podium finishes and the RnR driver of the day award, all the more impressive as it was his first time at Thruxton. Peter Everingham was the ‘Scrutineers Choice’ for overcoming all sorts of difficulties. Ray Ferguson was able to celebrate a ‘big’ birthday with three successful races at his local circuit along with his family.


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