Performance Direct Radical Clubman's Cup: Donington Park, 13 August 2011
18 August 2011

James Abbott took another step towards the Radical Clubmans Cup title, with a double win at Donington Park. He didn’t have it all his own way however, as debutant Martin Brooks had the majority of the lead until fortunes turned against him.

Although Abbott’s SR3 RS had pole, it was the PR6s of Brooks and Mark Boot that emerged at the head of the field after the mass charge into Redgate. 
Mark Abbott’s PR6 slotted in behind James, with Tony Wells, Darron Anley and Andy Cummings following them through on the opening lap.
Brooks started to build a good lead, but James Abbott had his eyes on second place and was right on Boot’s tail through Goddards on lap four, as Mark closed in too.
The chasers had begun to spread out, with both Wells and Anley struggling to stay in touch with the lead quartet, while behind them Richard Stables found himself being harassed by Graham Ridgway’s brand new SR3 RS. 
Apart from the flying Brooks it suddenly all closed up again, with second to fifth line astern and changes looking imminent. “I missed a gear at the Old Hairpin,” admitted Boot, which gave James the opportunity to snatch second. Wells was also up to fourth at Mark Abbott’s expense. “Those PR6s were so fast at the start, I lost two places straight away. But Mark got sideways at Redgate and I got him back,” said Wells. 
There was movement further down the order too when having dropped out of the top ten earlier, Andy Cummings was back in the frame on lap seven, only to retire a couple of laps later in the McLeans gravel. Timothy Lyons was also flying, chasing down Ridgway, before sneaking through to threaten Stables, when Ridgway spun and taking Bill Henderson along for the ride too.
With the hint of a clear track the lead gap began to close, it was a similar story behind too where Wells was pushing Boot for third. It was still a solo race for Mark Abbott and Anley though. 
Wells finally made it into third at Goddards on lap 14 but any further progress looked unlikely, until Brooks spun at McLeans with three laps to go. “I started OK but lost the gap over James when I was caught behind backmarkers with yellow flags. Then I spun avoiding another backmarker,” Brooks explained.
Although James Abbott had the lead Wells was right with him.  “I had to go on the grass to avoid Martin spinning,” he explained. “I almost got him too,” Wells added. 
So it was Abbott’s victory over Wells, but the drama wasn’t over, “I saw the marshal with the chequered flag and slowed thinking the race was over,” said Brooks, which explained why he dropped to fifth. 
Both Boot and Mark Abbott took advantage of the former leader’s mistake, but had their own battle which saw contact as they exited Goddards. “My tyres had gone off in traffic but when I saw the chance I took it,” said Abbott after clinching third and a class win. “I thought there was no way Mark would get through there at that speed, but then he shunted me onto the grass,” Boot added. 
Brooks finally finished fifth, with Anley a disappointed sixth. “I was with the lead group but backed off behind backmarkers at the Old Hairpin and couldn’t get back,” he explained.
Stables kept a determined Lyons at bay for eighth, while Henderson and Ridgway completed the top ten. “I did a bit of rallycross at Redgate at the start and then played catch up,” Lyons explained. 
With Jon Morris left at the start and then spinning out at Goddards on the opening lap, Jenifer Ridgway’s SR4 was the dominant Clubsport winner over Ian Charles.

1 James Abbott (SR3 RS) 18 laps in 20m53.952s (102.27mph); 2 Tony Wells (SR3 RS) +1.518s; 3 Mark Abbott (PR6); 4 Mark Boot (PR6); 5 Martin Brooks (PR6); 6 Darron Anley (SR3 RS); 7 Richard Stables (PR6); 8 Timothy Lyons (SR3 RS); 9 Bill Henderson (PR6); 10 Graham Ridgway (SR3 RS).  Supersports: 1 J.Abbott; 2 Wells; 3 Anley; 4 Lyons; 5 Ridgway; 6 Gary Baxter. Prosports: 1 M.Abbott; 2 Boot; 3 Brooks; 4 Stables; 5 Henderson; 6 Doug Carter. Clubsport; 1 Jennifer Ridgway (SR4); 2 Ian Charles (Clubsport) no other finishers. Fastest lap: J.Abbott 1m08.090s (104.63mph).

Following his disappointment of race one, Brooks was determined to make the most of starting from pole in the second. He had the lead into Redgate from Boot and James and Mark Abbott, with Lyons fifth until he hit the kerb exiting Goddards and Stables went by. 
The top four were quick to break clear and while Brooks tried to build on his lead, James Abbott was all over Boot in his quest for second. 
Behind fifth placed Stables, Lyons had Anley and Wells both poised to challenge, with Gary Baxter behind and Andy Harwood losing touch after hitting the Goddards kerbing. 
Although James made it into second on lap three, the gap to Brooks had continued to grow. Mark Abbott continued to shadow Boot and after Anley and Wells had demoted Lyons, they both closed in on Stables. 
On lap four it was all over for Boot as he peeled into the pitlane.”It was a good start, I tore through the field and then my chain broke,” he explained. 
Although Mark Abbott was now third, he had fallen well back from the lead pair. Wells had also made it past Stables for fourth but it all became insignificant. Red flags were out after Jon Morris’ Clubsport faltered on the pits straight and was hit from behind by Darren Matschull’s SR3 which went under the rear of Morris’ car and flipped it over, before sliding into the pit entrance upside down. “I wasn’t sure I had been hit and found a broken driveshaft when we got the car back, so I may have slowed. I broke a finger nail but was otherwise unhurt, then got stung by a wasp when I went back to the paddock,” he explained.
The restart was a five lap sprint, but Brooks was forced out after the green flag lap. “A throttle body went, I am gutted as you only get one chance of a debut win,” he said.
It was close into Redgate on the opening lap with James and Mark Abbott almost side-by-side until James took the initiative for the plunge down the Craner Curves. “I thought I would have a bit of a go as it was for overall, then just concentrated on the class,” said mark. 
Stables started well and was third at the end of the opening lap, but couldn’t hold off the charging Wells and Anley who both went by a lap later. “That was much better, good start but just not quite fast enough. But at least I am in with a shout again,”said a delighted Stables. 
The top five held station for the remaining laps, although Wells did close a little on Mark Abbott. Stables also had to keep an eye on his mirrors towards the end, when Tim Porter began to close. 
It was virtually nose to tail for the next six cars, before Ridgway made a late break to clinch seventh, leaving David Frankland to head home Harwood, Baxter, Cummings and Lyons. “Their squabble let me get away,” said Ridgway. “That was a really good battle, it’s always been there with me but doesn’t always come out,” Frankland added. 
With Jenifer Ridgway tipped into the gravel at McLeans, Charles was the only finisher in the Clubsports.

1 J.Abbott 5 laps in 5m49.880s (101.81mph); 2 M.Abbott +0.653s; 3 Wells; 4 Anley; 5 Stables; 6 Tim Porter (SR3); 7 G.Ridgway; 8 David Frankland (SR3 RS); 9 Andy Harwood (SR3); 10 Baxter. Supersports: 1 J.Abbott; 2 Wells; 3 Anley; 4 Porter; 5 Ridgway; 6 Frankland. Prosports: 1 M.Abbott; 2 Stables; 3 Henderson; 4 Doug Carter; 5 Brian Murphy; no other finishers. Clubsports: 1 Charles; no other finishers. Fastest lap: J.Abbott 1m08.522s (103.97mph).

Published by Peter Scherer for Radical Sportscars, August 15th, 2011
Photo Gallery
Click on an image above to view the complete gallery