Monday 27 August 2012

Rob Collard and Dave Newsham take victory at Knockhill

Rob Collard rides the curbs as he leads Tom Onslow-Cole to victory
Robert Collard and, in front of his home crowd, Dave Newsham shared the wins in today’s three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at Fife’s spectacular Knockhill circuit – attended by huge numbers of people including Olympic cycling gold medal winner Sir Chris Hoy MBE.

Meanwhile the main title protagonists – Matt Neal, Gordon Shedden and Jason Plato – all experienced a number of highs and lows. Nevertheless reigning Champion Neal has increased his advantage at the top of the table as the title race now heads into its final three rounds of 2012, starting at Rockingham in Northamptonshire on Sunday 23 September.
Plato started the day in pole position after setting the fastest time in Saturday’s qualifying session only to then crash out of the opening race after a tangle between his MG KX Momentum Racing MG6 and Aron Smith’s Redstone Racing Ford Focus. This left the way clear for Collard and Tom Onslow-Cole to finish first and second in their WSR-prepared eBay Motors BMWs. Shedden took third in his Honda Yuasa Racing Team Civic while team-mate Neal was a lowly seventh.
It was the same top three in the second race as reigning Champion Neal this time finished eighth. Plato was only 11th, his car struggling with turbo-related problems.
Inverness’s Newsham, high in confidence after his maiden win at Snetterton a fortnight earlier, then took victory in the third race in his Team ES Vauxhall Vectra. Jeff Smith followed in his Pirtek Racing Honda Civic for the first podium result of his BTCC career as Neal took third. Shedden and Plato, though, both retired.

As a result Neal leaves Scotland having slightly stretched his advantage over Shedden to ten points at the top of the table. Third-placed Plato has fallen 36 points adrift of Neal having gone into Knockhill’s event just ten behind…

Hampshire racer Collard enthused: “It’s just been a fantastic day for me and the whole eBay Motors team with a pair of 1-2 results and our other car driven by Nick Foster also very strong. It’s a big ask but another day like today at Rockingham and we could be right back in the title hunt.”

And added Newsham: “I really didn’t believe a podium result let alone a win would be possible here but I banged in some really fast laps at the start of race three and that clinched it for me. I’ve had a new sponsor on board this weekend and I’m chuffed to bits.”
Worcestershire’s Neal appeared stunned to still be leading the standings. He commented: “I have no idea how I am still in front. It’s been a horrid weekend for me, but Gordon’s retirement in that third race plus a bad day for Jason as well have saved my skin.”

Fife’s Shedden said: “This was meant to be one of our stronger circuits and the next three, Rockingham, Silverstone and Brands Hatch require good straight line speed which is where we are lacking. We might still be in front but the truth is we are struggling.”

Oxford’s Plato had also expected more from Knockhill, particularly after his pole position lap. The double Champion reflected: “It’s an opportunity for us to take more points out of the Honda drivers and even take the championship lead gone begging. We’ve clearly got the performance – we’ve just had rotten luck but it’s certainly not over yet.”

Notably Irishman Aron Smith celebrated his best result to date in the BTCC with fourth in the first race. Similarly series returnee Paul O’Neill gave the Speedworks Motorsport squad a best ever finish of fourth in the second race in its Toyota Avensis.
Honda/Dynamics and the Honda Yuasa Racing Team continue to lead the Manufacturers/Constructors and HiQ Teams standings, as does Andrew Jordan the Independents Drivers Championship. However, his Pirtek Racing team has lost the lead in the Independent Teams Trophy table to eBay Motors.
Elsewhere a number of drivers were punished by officials for on-track indiscretions today. Race 1: Aron Smith received three penalty points on his competition licence and was fined £500 for an incident involving Jason Plato; Gordon Shedden received two penalty points on his licence plus an official reprimand for an incident involving Aron Smith; Daniel Welch received three penalty points and was fined £500 for an incident involving Jeff Smith. Race 2: Chris James received three penalty points and was fined £500 for an incident involving Daniel Welch.

Saturday 25 August 2012

Jason Plato claims Knockhill Pole Position

Under leaden skies, Jason Plato splashes his way to pole position for tomorrow's race
Jason Plato has taken pole position in a wet Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship qualifying session at the Knockhill circuit in Fife.
Plato set a best time of 57.128s in his KX Momentum Racing MG6 to secure pole for the third time this season. Qualifying second fastest was Robert Collard in his eBay Motors BMW while young Irishman Aron Smith was a best-ever third in his Redstone Racing Ford Focus.
But Plato’s two Honda rivals, Worcestershire’s Matt Neal and Scottish ‘home hero’ Gordon Shedden who lay just ahead of him in the title race, could only manage eighth and sixth places.
It means Plato, chasing the third title of his career, has a golden opportunity to make further inroads into their advantage in the first of tomorrow’s three races at least. They will go into it with Neal, the reigning Champion, leading the standings with Shedden in second and Plato third. Just ten points cover them with 20 awarded for a win.
Oxford’s Plato commented: “I had a bit more in reserve if required but the main thing is I’m starting from the front tomorrow and the two Hondas have a lot to do. But we’re looking good in all conditions – I was very happy with the car in the dry in the earlier practice sessions so I’m feeling good about tomorrow.”
Hampshire’s Collard, currently fifth in the table, said: “I gave it everything. Pole would have been very nice but I’m satisfied to be starting on the front row which is important here as it’s a tough circuit to overtake.”

Dubliner Smith, aged just 21, added: “I’ve been chipping away all season and finally I’ve got my first top three and it feels great. I’m looking forward to tomorrow – it's a chance to see how the more established names do it and hopefully I can go with them.”
Elsewhere ‘returnee’ Paul O’Neill qualified an excellent seventh fastest in his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis. Inverness’s Dave Newsham, a winner for the first time at Snetterton, Norfolk two weeks ago, was tenth on his home track in his Team ES Vauxhall Vectra.
Tomorrow’s three BTCC races from Knockhill will be shown live on ITV4, ITV4 HD and during a mammoth seven hour show from 11.00am-6.00pm.
Leading position, BTCC Qualifying, Knockhill, Sat 25 Aug
1. Jason Plato (GBR), MG KX Momentum Racing/MG6, 57.128s
2. Robert Collard (GBR), eBay Motors/BMW 320si, +0.297s
3. Aron Smith (IRL), Redstone Racing/Ford Focus, +0.350s
4. Tom Onslow-Cole (GBR), eBay Motors/BMW 320si, +0.405s
5. Frank Wrathall (GBR), Dynojet/Toyota Avensis, +0.444s
6. Gordon Shedden (GBR), Honda Yuasa Racing Team/Honda Civic, +0.477s
7. Paul O’Neill (GBR), Speedworks Motorsport/Toyota Avensis, +0.522s
8. Matt Neal (GBR), Honda Yuasa Racing Team/Honda Civic, +0.560s
9. Mat Jackson (GBR), Redstone Racing/Ford Focus ST, +0.648s
10. Dave Newsham (GBR), ES Vectra, +0.676s

Friday 24 August 2012

Scottish Adventures for Porsches

The Porsches attack the first corner of Snetterton. More spectacular action at Knockhill!
Rounds 13 and 14 of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB are sure to deliver some of the most exciting and unpredictable racing of the season as the teams and drivers take on the unique challenge of the Knockhill circuit in Fife (25/26 August).

Michael Meadows (Redline Racing) heads north with a 36-point lead in the overall standings and is clearly the title favourite. But Michael knows well enough that Knockhill is one of those tracks where fortunes can change very quickly and he will be working very hard to make sure he qualifies at the front of the pack.

Last time out at Snetterton was a fabulous weekend for Sam Tordoff (Team Parker Racing), who dominated the weekend to take two wins and move into second place overall at the expense of Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing). Aside from Gelzinis, three drivers are vying to topple Tordoff as the big threat to Meadows and Daniel Lloyd (Team Parker Racing) and Ben Barker (Parr Motorsport) could both be race winners. Series newcomer Andy Meyrick (Team Parker Racing) will surely be quick on his first race weekend at Knockhill but it is local ace Rory Butcher (Celtic Speed) who will really want to stamp his mark on the weekend.

As the Carrera Cup GB makes its annual foray north of the border, five Scottish drivers will be on the grid. Top of the pack in terms of overall championship position is Butcher and he has a pretty good knowledge of Knockhill. The son of circuit owner Derek and brother-in-law of BTCC ace Gordon Shedden, Kirkcaldy-based Rory is a Knockhill instructor. Rory had the weekend of his life in June at Croft when he was in dominant form and won both races with two perfect performances. Add that to consistent scores elsewhere and he is now fourth in the points, within striking distance of second-placed Tordoff.

Also running in the Pro category is Aberdeen’s Glynn Geddie (Redline Racing). By his own high standards, 2012 has yet to deliver the results that were expected, but Knockhill is just the sort of track where Glynn’s natural pace and gutsy style could shine. If the weather is unpredictable, as can be the case at Knockhill, he will be right in the mix.

Battling for glory in Pro-Am1 are West Kilbride’s Derek Pierce (JD Pierce with Team Parker) and Edinburgh’s Oly Mortimer (GT Marques). Pierce is badly overdue some good luck to go with his undoubted pace, while Mortimer and the team have been working wonders on a very limited budget. Currently, Pierce heads Mortimer by a single-point as they chase Pro-Am1 leader Ahmad Al Harthy (Redline/Oman Air).

Completing the Scottish contingent is Edinburgh’s George Brewster in the second car from Montrose-based Celtic Speed. The former Pro-Am2 champion is only tackling a part season this year due to business commitments, but will be aiming for a visit to the Pro-Am1 podium on home ground.

Finally, the contest for Pro-Am2 glory is set to be between Welsh teenager Fraser O’Brien (GT Marques) and Tania Mann (sibsport performance). O’Brien made an impressive series debut last time out at Snetterton and will now tackle Knockhill for the first time.

After qualifying at 13.50 on Saturday, round 13 will start at 10.45 on Sunday, with round 14 at 15.30. Round 14 will be broadcast live on ITV4 during the extensive BTCC programme which runs from 11.00 on Sunday.

Thursday 23 August 2012

Tom Onslow - Cole takes on a new Challenge...

...And it's not what you might have thought it would be. One half of the Wheeler Dealers team joins up with Tom Onslow-Cole to transform, of all things, a Milk Float, into a racing car. And you get no prizes for guessing where they found that!

eBay Motors launches its Mechanics Challenge at Snetterton with British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) star Tom Onslow-Cole and TV motoring expert Edd China to highlight the wealth of automotive parts on the site. 
What on earth are we going to do with this?
eBay Motors challenges Tom and Edd to turn a milk float into a race car using parts and accessories from eBay Motors, the UK’s leading  online automotive marketplace with more than 18 million listings and 250,000 cars and motorcycles for sale.
During the next month Edd will work with the eBay Motors BTCC team engineers in a challenge that will showcase their skills as top mechanics and the huge range of parts and accessories available on eBay Motors.  The activity culminates in September with Tom behind the wheel in an exciting final test. 
BTCC fans and motoring enthusiasts will vote on the parts and accessories from eBay Motors that will be used to transform the milk float into a race car. The finished car will be on display for fans at the final BTCC round at Silverstone on the 7th October 2012.
Edd China, eBay Motors blogger and host of Wheeler Dealers, commented: “This is a really tough challenge, but I am very excited to be working with Tom and the guys from the eBay Motors BTCC team to build this vehicle.  The range of items available from eBay Motors will make our job a lot easier, and we look forward to getting started on the developments.”  
Tom Onslow-Cole, eBay Motors team driver, added: “I have never been involved in anything like this before and can’t wait to get started. Having driven the milk float around Snetterton it is clear that we have a massive amount of work on our hands. We have got some great engineers working on the car and I am eager to see what is in store for the final challenge.”
This probably goes a bit slower than Tom's BMW.
The optional Edd attachment is likely to add a bit of drag too!
For exclusive videos, imagery and to see the latest vote statistics go to   
This is eBay’s third season involved in the 2012 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), although the first as title sponsor of the team. Rob Collard, Nick Foster and Tom Onslow-Cole are the three drivers in 2012, and the team is currently lying in first place in this season’s Independent Team Championship.

We caught up with Tom earlier in the year... Here's what he had to say

BTCC heads north to Knockhill

Gordon Shedden (pictured leading) will be hoping for a win or two in front of his home BTCC crowd at Knockhill this weekend when the Fife circuit celebrates 20 years of touring car action.

There is now less than a week to go before the UK’s premier motor racing championship – the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – makes its annual trip to Scotland and one of the most spectacular circuits on its calendar, Knockhill in Fife which hosts the series’ latest three races this weekend (Sat 25/Sun 26 August).
With its off-camber corners and blind brows, Knockhill is rated by many as one of the toughest driving challenges of the BTCC season. Furthermore its trackside crowd is among the most passionate of the year as tens of thousands of people turn out to cheer on their home heroes, namely, in 2012, Dalgety Bay’s Gordon Shedden and Inverness-based Dave Newsham.
Shedden, vying to become the first Scotsman since John Cleland in 1995 to win the BTCC title, will arrive lying second in the standings to his Honda Yuasa Racing Team team-mate Matt Neal who pipped him to last year’s crown. Meanwhile Newsham, driving a Team ES Vauxhall Vectra, will go into the event truly on a confidence high following his first race win in the BTCC just over a week ago at Snetterton in Norfolk.
Making 2012’s event extra special is the fact that this year Knockhill is celebrating 20 years of BTCC action. Almost every living Scottish driver to have graced the BTCC grid at Knockhill during the past two decades will be present, including Cleland who will be reunited with his famous Vauxhall Cavalier for several demonstration laps. A number of iconic BTCC cars will also be present, including a Honda Accord once raced by the much missed David Leslie.
Shedden is now the most successful Scottish driver in the BTCC in terms of race wins and also boasts an unrivalled six victories to date in 2012.

Three of his 27 career wins have come in front of his home fans at Knockhill and he commented: “It is just going to be a phenomenal weekend for Scottish sport. The BTCC is always spectacular, particularly so at Knockhill because of the nature of the circuit and the fact it falls at such a crucial time in the calendar. After this weekend we start to get a picture of who are the men most likely to be in with a shout as we get to the business end of the season.

“I was a kid watching the likes of John Cleland from the spectator banks when the BTCC first came here 20 years ago and this year’s event is going to be a hugely important landmark in both Knockhill’s and Scottish motor sport’s history.”
While Shedden hopes to close down the gap to leader Neal in Sunday’s three races – he is eight points adrift with 20 awarded per win – he will also be wary of his pursuers. Jason Plato, with two titles and a record 71 race wins to his name, is just two points further back in his MG KX Momentum Racing MG6. Plato has also achieved an unrivalled eight career wins to date at Knockhill…
In all seven drivers – Neal, Shedden, Plato, Newsham, Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Racing Honda), Robert Collard (eBay Motors BMW) and Mat Jackson (Redstone Racing Ford Focus) – have won races so far this season. Others, including Frank Wrathall (Dynojet Toyota Avensis) who took a career-first pole position in qualifying at Snetterton last weekend, have shown they are more than capable of mixing it with the title protagonists as well.
Keeping the BTCC crowds at Knockhill this weekend (25/26 Aug) further entertained will be an additional 11 races for the supporting Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Ginetta Junior and Ginetta GT Supercup categories as well as the ‘guesting’ Celtic Speed Mini Cooper Cup and Scottish Classic Sports & Saloons series.
Rory Butcher (Kirkcaldy) and Glyn Geddie (Aberdeen) are among the front-runners in the Carrera Cup – indeed Butcher still has a realistic chance of winning the crown. Charlie Robertson (Aberfoyle), aged 15, is also a title contender in Ginetta Juniors while Fergus Walkinshaw (Edinburgh), son of the late, great Scottish touring race winner and team boss Tom Walkinshaw, is one to watch in the GT Supercup.
Admission to the event is FREE all weekend for accompanied children aged 12 and under. Tickets for adults will remain on sale at special advance rates until Saturday (25 Aug) via the website or by calling 01383 723337.

Apologies for the interruption to posts. This is due to technical difficulties to do with our RSS feeds.

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Formula Renault BARC Back at Donington

This is just about the only way you can see Formula Renault in the UK this year, and where better than Donington?

Britain’s most popular and hotly contested one-make single-seater category, the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship, returns to action at Donington Park next weekend, 18th/19th August, for a bumper three-race outing – an event which could prove pivotal to the destiny of the 2012 title.

With five races remaining, and a possible 170 points up for grabs, the championship is still wide open but two drivers have started to emerge as the main contenders, Cullen Motorsport’s Scott Malvern (Barkingside, Ilford) and MGR Motorsport’s Josh Webster (Stowmarket, Suffolk).

Ahead of rounds 10, 11 and 12, two-time McLaren Autosport BRDC Award finalist Malvern holds a slender seven point advantage over his younger rival. Webster took a pair of faultless victories last time out to reignite his challenge but Donington Park’s National Circuit, unlike Croft and Thruxton the two previous venues on the calendar, is a track Malvern has prior experience of.

While both drivers are a long way clear of the tightly bunched chasing pack, third placed Seb Morris (Marford, Wrexham) has taken three wins so far in his maiden year of single-seater racing and will undoubtedly be a threat at Donington.

Some serious misfortune at both Thruxton and Croft, which resulted in two non-finishes, has dented the 16-year-old’s title aspirations and ahead of next weekend’s penultimate race meeting of the year the Fortec Motorsports driver is 73 points adrift of Malvern.

Next up is MGR’s David Wagner (Glasgow) who edged three points ahead of Scorpio Motorsport’s Macaulay Walsh (Northampton) at Croft last month. Walsh, in his first full season of car racing, endured a desperately unlucky event in which he retired from the first race with damage and only scored four points in the second encounter after a driveshaft failure prior to the start.

Wagner, meanwhile, had one of his strongest weekends of the year with a welcome return to the podium in round nine, his first visit to the rostrum since the opening race of 2012. The series top six is then rounded-out by MGR’s James Fletcher (Windlesham, Surrey) and Hillspeed’s Kieran Vernon (West Chiltington, West Sussex) who are tied on points after both enjoying podium success at Croft.

Two new faces join big grid for Donington races
Among the expected 26 car grid for the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship’s annual visit to Leicestershire will be two new faces, 17-year-old Struan Moore (Trinity, Jersey) and 16-year-old American-Norwegian national Falco Wauer.

Not only will next weekend’s races with Hillspeed mark Moore’s single-seater debut, the event will also see a long overdue return to competitive action for the teenager who last raced in the Ginetta Junior Championship in 2011 where he accrued several podium finishes.

Wauer, who will be the youngest driver on the grid, is to compete with Cliff Dempsey Racing and despite his age he already has a reasonable amount of single-seater experience – namely in Formula Ford, Formula 4 and the Norwegian Formula Basic series.

Qualifying for rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship will get underway at 10.30 next Saturday, 18th August, with the first of the weekend’s races beginning at 15.50. Rounds 11 and 12 will follow on Sunday, 19th August, at 11.50 and 16.50 respectively.

Along with headline sponsor Protyre, Formula Renault BARC is additionally supported by Michelin, The Lubricant Consultancy, Petronas Syntium and NGK Spark Plugs.

Provisional 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Driver Standings (after Rd9):
1st Scott Malvern, 234pts
 2nd Josh Webster, 227pts
3rd Seb Morris, 161pts;
4th David Wagner, 147pts
 5th Macaulay Walsh, 144pts
6th Kieran Vernon & James Fletcher, 143pts

Monday 13 August 2012

Maiden Victory for ES Racing

Dave Newsham collects the first place trophy for the first time!

12 August 2012 will be a day etched in Luton-based Team ES Racing history as Dave Newsham took his and the teams’ maiden victory in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton.

The weekend didn’t start ideally for Newsham when he retired from the first practice session early with radiator problems, but he soon made up for lost time as he qualified third place just 0.054 seconds from pole position.

Race one saw Newsham drive a strong race to finish fourth only to be disqualified after stewards deemed the car to be underweight after a miscalculation with fuel.

Newsham had it all to do again in the second race as he started from last on the grid, his steady pace saw him move up through the field to finish a strong eighth place, securing second place on the grid for the final race of the day as 9 was drawn for the reverse grid.

After initially losing out to the BMW of Tom Onslow-Cole at the start Newsham pushed hard to build the pace and take back his second place by the end of the first lap. His pace would prove relentless as he found a gap to pass Lea wood in to the hairpin for the top spot, from that moment Newsham never looked back.

Dave Newsham crosses the line to take the maiden victory
“I thought we might be able to do something like this this weekend if everything went in to place. We had great pace in qualifying and practice, no testing in between the last race, it’s just awesome isn’t it.” commented Newsham after the race.

Team mate and team principal Chris James suffered a disappointing weekend that involved delaminated tyres in qualifying, broken driveshafts and a number of collisions where James was hit from behind. Despite his own disappointment James was delighted at the performance of Newsham to take his team the top spot of the podium.

“We always believed we could do it but believing and it turning in to reality is two different things. What an up and down weekend for the whole team with Dave being disqualified in the first race and three DNF’s from myself we ended the weekend as a BTCC race winning team” said James. “The team have turned out a quality car and with Dave in the driving seat the whole package comes together.”

Team mananger Andrew Dean added “Well done to all at Team ES racing after another ‘character building’ weekend - under sometimes trying circumstances Dave and the team got the result that we knew we were capable of at the media day back in March.”

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge moves on to Donington Park

James Birch takes the lead into Donington Park... will he remain there afterwards?
The fabulous sweeps of Donington Park await contenders in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge GB for rounds nine and ten of the 12-race season (18/19 August). With only the final two races of the season at Silverstone to follow, championship leader James Birch will be striving to maintain or even extend his overall advantage.

The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge is managed by Porsche Cars GB alongside the Carrera Cup GB and is growing as the season develops, with steadily building competitor interest. The series gained championship status this year for the six-event, 12-race season and is for the cars from 2009 or before, including the 996-model cars from up to 2006.

Heading the GT3 Cup Challenge GB entry into rounds nine and ten will be championship leader Birch (GT Marques), who is enjoying a stunning season with five wins and two seconds from eight races to date. The Buckinghamshire racer heads to Donington with a 20-point lead and will need to build that to at least 45 points by the end of the Donington weekend to clinch the title. More probable is that the title contest will be resolved in front of the BTCC crowds at Silverstone over the weekend of 6/7 October.

Last time out at Croft, two drivers kept Birch away from the top step of the podium as Justin Sherwood and Steven Liquorish each took a win for Team Parker Racing. It is Liquorish who is really taking the fight to Birch across the season and his second win of the campaign in the most recent race at Croft shows that Liquorish is still very much in the title race. He now needs to peg back Birch’s points’ lead at Donington to ensure a cliff-hanging finish at Silverstone.

Although he has not contested all the races this season, former F3 racer Sherwood has shown excellent pace and he will be firmly on home ground at Donington, so expect him to be very rapid. Meanwhile, making a welcome return to the GT3 Cup Challenge after missing a couple of events is Peter Smallwood (Parr Motorsport) and he is another driver with overall podium ambitions.

John Ferguson (ASK Racing) could be a dark horse in the battle for overall wins having shown strong pace at unfamiliar circuits over recent races. Donington should suit the Birmingham-based Irishman and he has the pace to rival Birch, Liquorish and Sherwood at the very head of the contest. Joining Ferguson in the Dublin-based ASK Racing squad is Tom Hallissey in the team’s Class Two 996-model 911 GT3 Cup.

Now running third overall in what is proving to be a remarkable debut season of racing is Mark Cowne (Parr Motorsport), while back on track after missing the Croft races will be Mark Flaherty (Redline Racing).

After qualifying at 11.15 on Saturday, round nine will start at 16.30, with round ten at 13.45 on Sunday. Both races will be filmed for transmission on the Porsche Origin website and Porsche’s YouTube channel.

Current provisional championship points:
Overall: 1 James Birch, 149; 2 Steven Liquorish, 129; 3 Mark Cowne, 90; 4 John Ferguson, 69; 5 Justin Sherwood, 63; 6 Neil Houston, 60; etc.
Class 2: 1 Mark Cowne, 28; 2 Tom Hallissey, 11.

Wins for Plato, Jordan and Newsham at Snetterton

Andrew Jordan grabbing the lead to win today's second, highly dramatic second race at Snetterton.
Jason Plato, Andrew Jordan and, for the first time, Dave Newsham shared the wins in today’s three action-packed Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk. But it is Matt Neal who continues to lead the standings – just – from team-mate Gordon Shedden as the nation’s premier motor racing championship now heads to the latter’s home circuit of Knockhill, Fife in a fortnight on the weekend of 25/26 August.
Preston’s Frank Wrathall had achieved his and his Dynojet team’s first BTCC pole position in Saturday’s qualifying session. Oxford’s Plato, though, got in front at the start of race one to take his third win of 2012 in his MG KX Momentum Racing MG6. Wrathall was second in his Toyota Avensis and Jordan third in his Pirtek Racing Honda Civic.
Lichfield’s Jordan took the win in the second race – his first of the season – but only after Plato’s MG and Worcestershire ace Neal’s Honda Yuasa Racing Team Civic had controversially collided and run off the track ahead of him with a lap to go. Shedden was second ahead of the recovering Plato and Neal in third and fourth.

Inverness racer Newsham’s victory, his and the tiny Team ES squad’s first in the BTCC, came in race three as he won comfortably in his Vauxhall Vectra. Tom Onslow-Cole was second in his eBay Motors BMW ahead of Plato who took another third.
Redstone Racing's new NGTC Focus ST proved to be highly capable
Lea Wood may well have achieved a maiden podium result had his BINZ Racing Vectra not cruelly retired with just a few laps to go, while Mat Jackson completed a hugely encouraging debut for Redstone Racing’s all-new NGTC-spec Ford Focus ST – only completed at 7.00am on Saturday – with a fourth-place finish.
But there was a double disaster for the factory Honda squad as Neal finished a lowly eighth after a spin and Shedden, who had crossed the line in third, was later excluded for a technical infringement with his car.
It means reigning Champion Neal retains the championship lead but now only ten points cover the top three, with Shedden eight behind and Plato just two more adrift. Plato had started today 29 points down on Neal…
Neal commented: “We knew we were on the back foot after qualifying and so it proved to be. It’s been a case of damage limitation today and the spin in race three after contact from Wrathall did me no favours. Knockhill, which has shorter straights, is next so should be better for us but it’s clear we have a lot of work to do.”

Dalgety Bay’s Shedden, who’d started the day’s first race from last on the grid after a spectacular fire aboard his car on Saturday morning had prevented him from qualifying, was dejected. He said: “I’ve clearly done something to someone, what with the fire and then the exclusion – without that I’d have been leading the table and it was also very cruel on the team who’d performed miracles to give me a race-ready car today after the fire. Knockhill is, of course, next and I’m determined to fight back for the fans there. I won’t be short on adrenaline…”

Three podium results today have suddenly moved Plato right back into contention as he chases a third BTCC title. He added: “I couldn’t have asked for much more, although it was a shame about the incident with Matt in race two after I’d led all the way up until then. What’s encouraging is the MG is really starting to come alive at a crucial stage of the season. In fact I think it’s going to be strong at all four remaining rounds so it’s game on.”
Jordan and Newsham were both elated with their wins. The former enthused: “The win is long overdue and the perfect way for us to start the second half of the season. I’m delighted.” And said Newsham: “A win for little ES Racing and the sponsors who keep our season ticking over is just unbelievable but thoroughly deserved. The timing couldn’t be better either with Knockhill, my home race, next. It’s going to be a very special weekend.”
Elsewhere Honda/Dynamics and the Honda Yuasa Racing Team continue to handsomely lead both the Manufacturers/Constructors and outright HiQ Teams championships. Jordan has also extended his lead in the Independent Drivers standings and his Pirtek Racing outfit has taken command of the Independent Teams Trophy.
Robb Holland (35) takes a disliking to Adam Morgan(33)
Meanwhile a number of drivers were penalised for incidents at Snetterton today. Race 1: Robb Holland, official reprimand and two penalty points on his competition licence (for an incident with Adam Morgan); Dave Newsham, excluded (underweight car); Andrew Jordan, verbal warning (for an incident with Dave Newsham). Race 2: Jason Plato and Matt Neal, verbal warnings (for an on-track collision); Jeff Smith, official reprimand and two penalty points on his licence (for an incident with Andy Neate). Race 3: Gordon Shedden, excluded (for exceeding turbo boost limits); Frank Wrathall, verbal warning (for an incident with Matt Neal).

2012 Dunlop BTCC Drivers’ Points after Snetterton (round 6 of 10):
1. Matt Neal, 255
2. Gordon Shedden, 247
3. Jason Plato, 245
4. Andrew Jordan, 218
5. Robert Collard, 178
6. Mat Jackson, 170
Manufacturers/Constructors’ Points:
1. Honda/Dynamics, 567
2. MG/888, 458

HiQ Teams’ Points:
1. Honda Yuasa Racing Team, 482
2. eBay Motors, 350
3. Pirtek Racing, 313
4. MG KX Momentum Racing, 292
5. Redstone Racing, 267
6. Team ES, 133

Independent Drivers’ Points: 
1. Andrew Jordan, 265
2. Robert Collard, 217
3. Mat Jackson, 213
4. Tom Onslow-Cole, 203
5. Frank Wrathall, 163
6. Dave Newsham, 141
Independent Teams’ Points:
1. Pirtek Racing, 287
2. eBay Motors, 282
3. Redstone Racing, 262
4. Dynojet, 188
5. Team ES, 187
6. BINZ Racing, 152

*All points remain provisional

Pictures courtesy of

Sunday 12 August 2012

ES Racing's David Newsham qualifies 3rd at Snetterton.

David Newsham qualifies Third for today's first race at Snetterton. Photo :

Team ES Racing had a positive return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship today at Snetterton when Dave Newsham qualified in third place, just 0.054 seconds away from pole position while team-mate and team principal Chris James finished the session in fifteenth.

The day didn’t start well after radiator problems put Newsham out of the first practice session. Newsham made it out for second practice and soon started to signal his intentions as he set the second fastest time just behind Jason Plato.

It took some time to set a time in qualifying after a red flag interrupted the first flying laps for the Team ES drivers. As the session resumed and the drivers headed out James was unlucky to pick up a puncture and had to limp back to the pits on a rim. Thankfully there was no major damage cause by the blow-out and James was able to resume the session promptly.

The first flying lap of the session from Newsham catapulted him up the timesheets placing him second, just behind the flying Toyota of Frank Wrathall. As the session went on the times fell and the top three would be covered by just 0.054 seconds as the chequered flag fell. Team-mate James had been putting in consecutively faster laps and finished the session in fiftheenth, just 0.042 seconds behind Rob Austin, who himself was only 0.020 seconds off the pace of Andy Neate in the works MG.

It started off with a bit of a problem with Dave’s radiator, but at least it happened in first practice, hopefully that’s the bad luck for the weekend out of the way” reflected James. “I was happy with my pace in free practice two but qualifying started with a puncture which was far from ideal.”
“It’s a shame I couldn’t be a little further up the grid as I’ve got Nick Foster behind and he’s likely to be quick of the grid in the rear wheel drive BMW, but we’ll plug away and look to stay out of trouble on the opening laps.”

Newsham added: “I’m happy with today, and I’m surprised at our pace in comparison to the NGTCs. We know we have great race pace as we did a long run this morning and were competitive times.
“I’ll be looking to get off the grid cleanly and let the grid sort themselves out before we can see where we are. I’ll be attackin early, and if we have the pace I’ll be going for the win, we just have to see how we get on.”

Saturday 11 August 2012

Wrathall beats Plato to take his first Pole Position

Frank Wrathall narrowly beat Jason Plato to achieve his first BTCC pole position at Snetterton Norfolk.

Frank Wrathall has spectacularly taken the first pole position of his Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship career at the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk.
The 25-year-old from Preston achieved pole in a time of 1m57.595s in his Dynojet Toyota Avensis to pip former double Champion, Oxford’s Jason Plato in his MG KX Momentum Racing MG6 by just 0.015s.
Motorbase debured the new Focus ST
Wrathall’s pole is the first for a Toyota driver in the BTCC since 1993 and also a qualifying record for the championship around the Snetterton track.
Inverness’s Dave Newsham was also close to pole, just 0.054s away from Wrathall in third in his Team ES Vauxhall Vectra.
An elated Wrathall said: “That was very close as Jason and I were trading fastest times but in the end I came out on top. I’d come back into the pit lane and knew he was out there giving it one final go, but it seems he made a mistake and went off the track – when the team told me I was shouting a lot in the car! To beat a driver of his stature makes it all the more rewarding and I’m delighted.”
Plato replied: “Congratulations to Frank – it’s always nice to see a young driver doing well, even if it is at my expense! The important thing is I’m ahead of the two drivers I’m chasing for the title and from here can start thinking about taking points back off them.”
And added Newsham: “Finally the Vectra feels like it did back at the start of the season when I had three really strong opening events. From what we’ve seen in the earlier practice sessions our tyre wear rate is also excellent so I’m hoping for three very strong races tomorrow.”
Marshals rush to put out Gordon Shedden's burning Honda
There were career-best qualifying results, too, for Preston's Adam Morgan and Fleet's Daniel Welch – a fine fifth and sixth fastest in their Speedworks Motorsport Toyota and Welch Motorsport Proton respectively.
That'll polish out. The mechanics had the car out later on.
But there were major frustrations for the two championship leaders, Honda Yuasa Racing Team team-mates Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden. Worcestershire's Neal was a lowly seventh by his standards and Fife's Shedden 22nd and last after on-going problems with his Civic – which had suffered a major fire in practice this morning – prevented him from setting a time.
Elsewhere Warwickshire's Mat Jackson, another of the championship’s top names, qualified the Redstone Racing team’s all-new Ford Focus ST an encouraging 16th fastest on its debut. The Focus, only completed at 7.00am, becomes the seventh different make of car to be built to the BTCC’s new and much-applauded NGTC regulations…
Meanwhile Neal will go into tomorrow’s three BTCC races at Snetterton leading the standings by a point from Shedden. Plato is a further 28 back with 20 awarded for a race win. All the action will be shown live on the ITV4 and ITV4 HD channels plus in a seven-hour show from 11.00am-6.00pm.
Top positions, Dunlop BTCC qualifying, Snetterton, Sat 11 Aug 2012
1. Frank Wrathall (GBR), Dynojet/Toyota Avensis, 1m57.595s
2. Jason Plato (GBR), MG KX Momentum Racing/MG6, +0.015s
3. Dave Newsham (GBR), ES Vectra, +0.054s
4. Andrew Jordan (GBR), Pirtek Racing/Honda Civic, +0.538s
5. Adam Morgan (GBR), Speedworks/Toyota Avensis, +0.610s
6. Daniel Welch (GBR), Welch Motorsport/Proton Persona, +0.668s
7. Matt Neal (GBR), Honda Yuasa Racing Team/Honda Civic, +0.957s
8. Lea Wood (GBR), BINZ Racing/Vauxhall Vectra, +1.104s
9. Tom Onslow-Cole (GBR), eBay Motors/BMW 320si, +1.286s
10. Jeff Smith (GBR), Pirtek Racing/Honda Civic, +1.620s

Pictures courtesy of

Friday 10 August 2012

Teams prepare for Snetterton : Honda

The two Hondas squabble for position at Croft. Can they bring home success at Snetterton?

Matt Neal and Gordon ‘Flash’ Shedden will be defending their lead in the MSA Dunlop British Touring Car Championship as the Honda Yuasa Racing Team heads to Snetterton this weekend.
After a long summer break, the duo will be making its second race visit to the 300 version of the Norfolk circuit, this time with the title-leading NGTC Honda Civics.

Despite being at the top of the table, the squad has been working hard over the break so that it can continue its fine run. Work has been ongoing with the chassis as the boost restrictions in the series are still limiting the Civic’s straightline speed.

“Our engines have been away for a check over and we’ve been tweaking bits and bobs,” says points leader and reigning champion Neal. “Everyone’s learning the NGTC package and we’ve had the best grip of it so far, and we’ve got a few new bits to try.”

The triple champion had a difficult time at Snetterton last year on his way to the title, but he still likes the new layout, which was used for the first time in the BTCC in 2011.

“We’ll get left on the straights at Snetterton, so we’ll have to work in the corners,” he said. “[MG driver and rival] Jason Plato will be there, and so will the Fords, but we should be in the mix again.

“The 300 circuit still has long straights, but it’s more technical than the old layout, which should help us. I enjoy it – I loved the old circuit, but I like the new one even better. It’s challenging.”

Shedden, who is just one point behind Neal in the drivers’ table, did win a race at Snetterton last year and is not worried about the lack of testing he has had since the last BTCC round at Croft.

“We had quite a few things we needed to make changes too and we focused on those rather than running,” he said.

“There are a lot of corners at Snetterton, but there are a lot of straights too. You’re flat in sixth on the start/finish straight, again on the straight behind the pits, and again on the Bentley Straight. It’ll make it a bit tricky, but we’ll have to make the most of the corners.

“It’ll be the usual suspects and I can see the Fords and BMWs being quick. The racing was quite good last year, but it’s quite easy to defend.”

As well as leading the drivers’ table with its two stars, the Honda Yuasa Racing Team leads the team’s table and the manufacturers’ championship heading into the weekend.

The Snetterton action gets under way at 09:35am on Saturday with free practice. Qualifying is at 3:15pm, and the first of three races on Sunday is scheduled for 12:00.

In addition to heading to the circuit or watching ITV4’s live BTCC TV coverage, fans can also follow Honda Yuasa Racing’s exploits on Facebook and Twitter for news and race results as the action happens - and

Teams prepare for Snetterton : MG

The colourful MG is proving very capable in the hands of Jason Plato and Andy Neate

The MG KX Momentum Racing team is back on track this weekend as the 2012 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) resumes racing after a six week summer break. The Snetterton circuit in Norfolk will play host to rounds 16, 17 and 18 of the series, as the championship battle re-commences.

It was a weekend of highs and lows for Jason Plato last time out at Croft, as technical gremlins within the MG6 continued to blight the Triple Eight team’s progress. Failure to see Jason take the start of Race One was disappointing for the MG KX Momentum Racing Team, however the squad was sent into the summer break happy as the double BTCC champion fought back to win Race Three in spectacular style.

Andy Neate recorded his strongest BTCC weekend to-date with the MG6 at Croft, when he brought the car home for points paying finishes in all three races. It could have been even better for the young Englishman though, as he had impressively led Round Fifteen for the majority of the race.

Having had a chance to catch their breath following the team’s late start to the season’s preparations, the second half of the BTCC season gives the MG KX Momentum Racing squad a chance to build on the team’s positive first six months of existence. The team will now look to push the established squads for glory, in what is still their maiden campaign. The charge towards the finish starts at Snetterton this weekend!

Jason Plato (#99), BTCC Standings 3rd – 192 points:

“Our summer break has been long, the batteries are well and truly re-charged, the team are well prepared; I feel strong and very motivated. Our season starts at Snetterton! I am confident that our recent developments with the MG6 GT will not only improve our speed, but also our race performance. I feel some race wins coming this weekend.”

Andy Neate (#44), BTCC Standings: 17th – 46 points:

“The Croft race-weekend seems a long while ago now, my memory of it is very positive though with a triple points finish and having the pace to lead Race Three from the front for so long. I’m taking those positives into the second half of the season and am determined to get the results that the car, and I, are capable of.“

Ian Harrison, Team Principal, BTCC Standings: Teams - 4th – 235 points, Manufacturers – 2nd - 360 points:
“The summer break has been a good chance for the team to re-group before heading into battle for the second half of the season. It hasn’t been time off and holidays for us at Triple Eight though, we’ve been working hard to get on top of the new MG6 and do a little bit of testing. This should hopefully see us unlock some more potential in the car and challenge at the front – which is the only place we want to be.” 

Thursday 9 August 2012

Rally2Raise enjoy successful Speyside Rally

The Rally2Raise team run ahead of the pack on the Spayside Stages
The Rally2Raise team of Rachel Medich, from Aberdeen, and Katherine Begg, from Morecambe, enjoyed a very successful Speyside Stages rally last weekend when they had a troublefree run through the three stages they had been allocated to complete as well as raising over £340 for the four charities that the Rally2Raise project is supporting.

The Elgin-based event was round six of the Scottish Rally Championship and the organisers, 63 Car Club, had invited Rachel and Katherine to drive some of the stages ahead of the competitors as “000” car.

The day started with stages one and two which were held in Cooper Park in Elgin in front of a large number of spectators.  The Rally2Raise team had a clear run through the stages in their Clark Motorsport and DMack supported-Nissan Micra, entertaining the crowd with a dramatic lock-up of the tyres as they approached a tight hairpin bend on the course.

The team then headed for the Rosarie stage which was a forest test near the town of Keith. Despite having to use a map rather than pacenotes the girls negotiated the very slippery stage well and made it to the finish without a mark on the car.

“I was pleased to get through the stages unscathed,” said Rachel. “It was first time Katherine and myself had driven on an event since our accident on the Granite City rally so we were both quite nervous before the start. It went really well though and we both had a very enjoyable time.”

“We were absolutely delighted to find that we had received over £340 in donations from the spectators and officials of the rally, a huge thank you to everyone who supported us and our four causes and thanks also to the 63 Car Club for letting us run on the event.”

The Rally2Raise car’s next scheduled appearance is at the Merrick Stages in South West Scotland which takes place on 1st September.

Please visit or for more information on the project or to make a donation to the charities the project is supporting.

Monaghan heads for Tyneside Stages on new Dunlop Tyres

Kev Monaghan's new tyres should allow him to reach new heights

Kev Monaghan is hoping that brand new Dunlop tyres supplied by new sponsor Stauff will help him challenge for a class win on next weekend’s Tyneside Stages rally on Otterburn army ranges.

The event is round six of the MSA Asphalt Championship and despite not entering the last two rounds Monaghan presently lies third in his class championship, his points tally boosted by a class win on the last rally he contested.

Chris Purvis is still not 100% fit so Steve Dargan will take his place in the co-driver’s seat in the Pirtek and Stauff-backed Vauxhall Corsa Kit Car

“It has been a few weeks since we competed so I’m raring to go,” said Monaghan. “I can’t wait to get the car on Otterburn on the new tyres. It will be the first time I have ever used brand new rubber, I usually use part-worn or 10 year old S1600 tyres.”

“We will be pushing hard for a class win to try and move ourselves up the championship standings but there is some top class competition so it will be very tough.”

“Thanks to Pirtek, Stauff, GB Lubricants and F&R Belbin for their continued support and also to Chris for working with Steve preparing the pacenotes.”

The rally starts on Sunday morning (11th August) and the crews will face around 90 miles of stages on the notoriously difficult ranges.

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Chevron scores personal best

Anthony Reid at the wheel of the Chevron GT3 on his way to 7th at Snetterton

Contesting selected rounds of the 2012 British GT Championship, Chevron Racing’s Anthony Reid and Jordan Witt piloted their Chevron GT3 to 7th place at Snetterton (on Sunday 05 August) equalling the highest ever finish for the marque in the series, although this time among a much bigger field. This is also the Chevron GT3’s highest placing in a British GT race – making it a new ‘personal best’.

Despite a weekend of mixed fortunes for the team in Norfolk, the result for Reid and Witt in the second race highlights the success of Chevron Racing’s continued development of the GT3. However, due to tricky weather conditions, which resulted in less track time and qualifying being cancelled, the testing of the Chevron GT3 with newly fitted brakes was limited.

Jordan Witt, having taken the Chevron GT3 across the line on Sunday for 7th place, said;

“After Saturday’s wet weather, and the difficulties it brought with it due to the allocation of grid positions from practice sessions, we really wanted to push in the second race. Anthony handed the car over to me whilst lying in tenth, having come up through the field from near the back of the grid, and by this time the new brakes had bedded in.

“The Chevron GT3 stayed strong until the end of the race, as others seemed to be dropping off the cliff. This is probably down to the fact that we suffered from less tyre degradation, mainly as a result of the Chevron being a lighter car.

“I managed to reduce the gap between us and the leaders, catching them by nearly four seconds a lap towards the end of the race! I could see the sixth, fifth and fourth placed drivers just ahead of me, and we were only six seconds off the pace at the finish. If there had been another ten minutes of the race to run, I’m sure we could of made it onto the podium.”

Anthony Reid commented; “We learnt a tremendous amount from the weekend, came away with a great result, and the team left Snetterton in good spirits. It was unfortunate about the weather on Saturday, but we were able to fight back on Sunday which was fantastic.

“For the next British GT round, at Silverstone in early September, we can now hone the various updates on the car.”