Anley secured pole for the first race, but less than a second covered the top four. Martin Brooks’ PR6 completed the front row, with Westerholm and Steve Burgess’s SR3 on the second. James Abbott was next up, while outgoing champion Darren Luke was back with his PR6 to complete the top six.
As the lights went out Brooks made the best getaway, as Westerholm and Anley fought for second. “There’s just something with the PR6’s, how they get away so well,” said Anley.
Back on the grid though Bradley Smith had stalled and was hit by Andy Cummings, in virtual repeat of their incident earlier in the year. “I had stalled, just got going and Andy hit me,” said Smith. “I couldn’t believe it, the cars parted and Bradley was there stalled, I had been totally unsighted,” Cummings replied.
Tobias Larson’s PR6 had slotted into fourth on the opening lap, closely followed by Burgess, John Eriksson’s PR6, Luke and James Abbott.
Anley was soon on the attack and made a brave move around the outside of Coram, to emerge with the lead into Murrays. But Brooks fought back as they flashed past the pits and led again into Riches. “It was a spur of the moment move,” Anley admitted. “I got him back when he went on the grass at the end of the straight,” Brooks replied.
Into Coram again a lap later Anley was back in front, but made it stick on this occasion, with Westerholm joining his escape as Brooks started to lose ground to become the head of a six car train.
As Burgess began to pile the pressure on Larsson for fourth, they both started to threaten Brooks too. Into Brundle for the fifth time Larsson snatched third, with Burgess following into Coram, and Eriksson poised to follow. Brooks tried to fight back but was unable to match Burgess’s pace and lost further places to Eriksson and James Abbott on lap seven.
Anley admitted to a few mistakes in the closing laps, but took the win by over two seconds, “I had pushed too hard for a while, so had to calm down,” he said. Westerholm retained a comfortable second, “he just had the faster car, but I managed to come back a bit,” he said.
Larsson completed the podium, but had Burgess closing in at the flag. “A frantic start but I was struggling with oversteer towards the end,” said Burgess.
Eriksson held onto fifth from a closing James Abbott. “I heard a bump at the start, but don’t know what it was. Then the tyres came in but I still had some vibration,” said Eriksson.
Early leader Brooks finally settled in seventh, “great start, but never seen so much overtaking in my life, and I seemed to be on the receiving end of most of it,” he reckoned.
Paul Marsham gave Brooks a hard time too in the final laps, “I had him a couple of times but couldn’t make it stick,” he explained. Luke settled in ninth, “I enjoyed it, not too rusty but don’t like being beaten,” he said,
Tenth place had been Mark Boot’s for much of the race, with fellow PR6 drivers Mark Abbott and Richard Stables in pursuit. “I spun twice and the back end felt slippy, so I pulled off thinking I had a puncture, but didn’t,” Boot explained. “Mark got me at the first corner but the gap closed and then he went off,” said Abbott after sealing tenth.
Simon Hulzen had been in the top ten too on the opening lap, “then my visor broke on the second lap and the rush of wind dried out my lenses. So I completed the race with a squint and could hardly see,” he explained after coming home 17th.
1 Darron Anley (SR3) 11 laps in 20m42.789s (94.60mph); 2 Jesper Westerholm (PR6) +2.322s; 3 Tobias Larson (PR6); 4 Steve Burgess (SR3); 5 John Eriksson (PR6); 6 James Abbott (SR3); 7 Martin Brooks (PR6); 8 Paul Marsham (SR3); 9 Darren Luke (PR6); 10 Mark Abbott (PR6). Supersports: 1 Anley; 2 Burgess; 3 J.Abbott; 4 Marsham; 5 Graham Ridgway; 6 Gary Baxter. Prosports: 1 Westerholm; 2 Larsson; 3 Eriksson; 4 Brooks; 5 Luke; 6 M.Abbott. Clubsport; 1 Jenifer Ridgway (SR4); 2 Ian Charles (Clubsport) no other starters. Fastest lap: Anley 1m51.374s (95.96mph).
It was Westerholm from the second row that led the charge to Riches in the second race, from Anley and Brooks, as Luke pressed Burgess for fourth, before Larsson surged past them both.
But as the top four soon became evenly spread, Burgess ousted Luke for fifth and left the outgoing champion to fend off James Abbott. They all moved up however on lap five, when Larsson made a smokey exit.
As Westerholm continued to dominate, Brooks gradually closed in on Anley’s second place. Although Eriksson and Abbott had been duelling between themselves after taking Luke on lap six, they were also able to make inroads on Burgess too.
Into Murrays for the ninth time Anley was all over the kerbs and gave Brooks the run on him past the pits, and claim second into Riches. Abbott also made a move on Burgess but found himself on the grass, a move he repeated a lap later as his tyres were almost totally devoid of grip.
Westerholm eventually took the win by well over 10 seconds, “a brilliant start and I just drove away,” he said. “To close on Darron like that in a PR6 was good. I got close a couple of times before he made his mistake, but we had put the car back to qualifying settings and it worked,” explained second placed Brooks.
Although a little disappointed, Anley was pleased to complete the podium with a class win. “I couldn’t get it to do what I wanted it too. Then I started making mistakes and he caught me,” he said.
Burgess managed to re-establish himself in fourth after Abbott’s excursions. “Larsson was a bit more adventurous than me early on, but I could see James threatening until he went off,” he explained.
Eriksson therefore secured fifth from Abbott on the last lap, “it felt more bumpy for me, but I made progress,” he reckoned. “He got me into Riches, there was nothing left of the tyres, but fun sliding,” added Abbott.
Luke was a solid seventh, “we made some changes so it was a bit better. One of the young Swedes got a bit close, but my tyres were too old,” he said. Marsham was eighth and delighted to beat his old car, while Bradley Smith was just delighted to see a chequered flag after a troubled year.
Mark Abbott and Hulzen spent most of the race together and tenth was enough to secure the class title too for Abbott. “Otherwise it was uneventful, as I couldn’t stay with the lead pack” he said. “At least I could see this time,” added Hulzen.
Boot had both cars in sight for most of the race, after recovering from a stalled start. “I just couldn’t get any closer,” he said.
1 Westerholm 11 laps in 20m37.400s (95.01mph); 2 Brooks +10.695s; 3 Anley; 4 Burgess; 5 Eriksson; 6 J.Abbott; 7 Luke; 8 Marsham; 9 Bradley Smith (SR3); 10 M.Abbott. Supersports: 1 Anley; 2 Burgess; 3 J.Abbott; 4 Marsham; 5 Smith; 6 Andy Cummings. Prosports: 1 Westerholm; 2 Brooks; 3 Eriksson; 4 Luke; 5 M.Abbott; 6 Simon Hulzen. Clubsports: 1 J.Ridgway; 2 Charles; no other starters. Fastest lap: Westerholm 1m51.188s (96.12mph).
Published by Peter Scherer for Radical Sportscars, October 17th, 2011