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MSVR Season Review part 1 - Saloons

Tuesday, December 17 2013

Once again the MotorSport Vision Racing season surpassed its best-ever year and hosted no fewer than 37 events in 2013. With a growing portfolio of some of the country's best club championships, MSVR's 2013 produced some of the closest racing on the best circuits in the UK. MSVR visited Castle Combe and Zolder for the first time, and introduced three new series to much acclaim.

We're taking a look back at all of the winners, starting with the saloons.

Andrew Aldridge's near-perfect season in the 8v class of the Touch of Mojo Mk2 VW Golf GTi championship helped him wrap up the overall title ahead of the squabbling 16v class front-runners at the final event of the season. Five victories for VLN racer Jamie Martin couldn't stop the late charge of four-time race winner Harry Vaulkhard to the class win. Former WTCC and BTCC racer Vaulkhard's season turned around at the championship's first ever overseas round at Spa-Francorchamps and the former Bamboo Racing Engineering driver won twice before adding two more wins including one at the final round to take second in the standings.

James Bark, Ian Carvell and Jason Tingle all visited the top step, but it was Bark's front-running pace that elevated him to third in the class standings.

Aldridge's Class 1 campaign was impressive, collecting eight wins from 12 races. Simon Tomlinson and Adrian Ward took a win apiece while Alex Nuttall claimed a double around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.

Another who benefitted from the front-runners taking points off one another in another class was Shane Stoney of MINI Challenge. The near-unbeatable Cooper Class racer made his return to the championship and won all but five of the 18 races he contested. He wrapped the title up in the first race of the three-race Donington Park-hosted final event and opted to sit out the last two races.

Ex-Clio racer Jake Packun looked as though he was going to be difficult to beat in the early throes of the JCW season, winning twice and then retiring twice from promising positions at Snetterton. Championship rivals Chris Smith and Chris Smiley picked up the fortunate wins before Packun returned to the front with a hat-trick of wins on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. Reigning champion Lee Allen then dominated the Mini Festival for the second year around the shorter Brands Hatch Indy, winning twice before Smiley won the third.

Smiley collected a third win of the season at a sunny Oulton Park and was denied three wins in a row when he retired from the lead allowing Packun to return for the final time in 2013. Smiley's season turned after that misfortune, and the Northern Irishman was only beaten once in the remaining seven races to ease to the class title. Smith bettered Smiley after the eventual champion had claimed race one at Castle Combe, and Smiley claimed all three wins at Zandvoort before doubling up at Donington Park. He, like Stoney, sat out the final race after securing the crown, and up-and-comer Jono Brown led from lights to flag for a maiden win.

In the non-turbo charged Cooper class, the fight behind Stoney was fraught. Josh Gollin, Gideon Cresswell, Hamish Brandon and a pair of wins for Ollie Walker filled the top step gaps Stoney failed to fill.

A titanic battle was played out in the Marangoni Tyres Production BMW Championship in association with Kwik Fit, but it was Matt Parkes who eventually reigned supreme. Double wins at Oulton Park, Silverstone and Donington Park, and a win at the final round at Castle Combe wrapped up the title in a year when rarely more than a few seconds covered the top six.

Four drivers shared the first eight wins to set up a season-long battle for the title but it was Stuart Waite who began in the best possible fashion. He picked up a double at the season starter at Snetterton and then a third win at Brands Hatch GP before Liam Crilly took race four. Parkes' Oulton Park brace brought him into contention and Tovey became the season's third double winner at Cadwell Park.

Five wins from the final races ensured Parkes sealed the title at Castle Combe before Tovey added to his win haul in the final race of 2013.

It was another bumper year for the Project Eight Racing Saloons series, and again a BMW was the car to be in for the outright wins.  Karl Catliff picked up both wins on offer at Snetterton before the wins on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix were shared by the Sheldons: Matt beat dad Peter in the first before the roles were reversed in race two. Stephen Pearson claimed the first of his five wins during the season at Oulton Park and Adam Sharpe picked up his first win in race two.

The Cadwell Park and Silverstone rounds belonged to Pearson, who won four comfortable races on the trot. When the action went to Donington for the final two rounds of 2013, Matt and Peter Sheldon collected their second wins of the season.

The SuperPro VAG Trophy classes combined to create a thrilling climax, and James Dowding did just enough to defeat Josh Caygill. Caygill collected five wins in 2013, a double at Cadwell Park and at the final round at Snetterton, plus a win at Brands Hatch on the Grand Prix circuit.

Paul Taylor and Dan Rose took a win apiece at the season's opener at Donington Park after the planned Oulton Park round was lost to the snow. Caygill's Cadwell double followed before Aaron Mason and Ken Lark split the wins at the championship's first visit to Snetterton.

2013 featured the first trip abroad for the VAG Trophy and Stewart Lines claimed both wins around the iconic Spa-Francorchamps and when the championship returned to England, Richard Morgan claimed his first ever podium by making his way to the top step. He followed that up with a second in race two behind Caygill, who finished the year unbeaten but for the invitational class returnee Aaron Mason, fresh from wrapping up the VW Cup.

Visit MSVRacing.co.uk to keep up with all the latest MSVR news and follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Photos courtesy of Az Edwards and James Bearne.

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