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MSVR Season Review Part 2 - Sportscars

Wednesday, December 18 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, this time with the sportscars.

Trackday superstar the Ariel Atom made its one-make series debut in 2013 with the Atom Cup, and it provided plenty of excitement. Nick Whitehead tasted the winner's champagne the most times in 2013, taking an impressive five wins including a double on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit. Jean-Paul Burguet was the only other driver to win twice in a weekend, at the opener at Silverstone in April.

Whitehead's best win came at Oulton Park where he beat multiple single seater champion Scott Malvern, who was driving in the Atom Cup guest car. Malvern had enough in reserve to win race two, and Lee Cunningham matched the feat in a thrilling second race on the Brands Hatch GP circuit. Oval racer James Tucker made his mark when he joined the fledging series, winning at Castle Combe and the Brands Hatch GP opener. Neither Stuart Drewell nor John Hamilton could add to their wins at round two, though Andrew Smith took a brace as the season drew to a close. Tom Onslow-Cole ended the debut Atom Cup season with a flourish, taking the final victory of the year. More cars are expected to be on the grid in 2014 which will only add to the thrillingly close racing.

One of the many championships that went down to the wire was GT Cup, decided only after some heavy numbers had been crunched at Donington Park. The extra 10 points awarded to drivers who enter the first and last race of the season swung the title the way of Jeff Wyatt as Alex Martin was at Imola racing in the Ferrari Challenge. Wyatt still had plenty of work to do, but a class pole, win and second was enough to wrench the title from Martin's grasp.

Experienced GT racer Martin Short began the season most impressively, winning two of the opening round's three races to bookend the win of the equally experienced Derek Johnston. Triple Eight/Optimum's BMW Z4 made quite an entrance at Brands Hatch GP as it prepared for the British GT round there, and Lee Mowle and Joe Osborne claimed the first of the three wins. Derek Johnston again took race two before Mowle added a second win of the weekend driving alone. Derek Mustill's booming Daytona-esque Riley Track Day Car dominated at Oulton Park in sweltering heat before another guest appearance stole the headlines.

Mark Poole, one of the Barwell Mortorsport surprise package pairing in British GT, romped to two wins at Silverstone before the Riley returned to the top step, only this time with Bob Berridge behind the wheel. All the while, the many classes were playing out a superb championship battle, and it was Alex Martin who had steadily been building an advantage. He finally took an outright win, between a win apiece for Iain and Chris Dockerill, at the penultimate round at Snetterton. The former took a second win at Donington Park before the Barwell Motorsport Z4 won again, though it was Marco Attard behind the wheel.

This year saw Lotuses again pack grids up and down the country in the Lotus on Track Elise Trophy and Lotus Cup UK, while Lotus Cup Europe filled the continent's best circuits.

It was a three-way fight in the Lotus on Track Elise Trophy as Adam Gore, Luigi Mazza and Andrew Bentley locked horns in 14 superb races. Gore and Mazza shared the first four wins of the season, winning a race each at Snetterton and Silverstone but it was at Oulton Park where Bentley joined the battle.

He claimed the opener in Cheshire before Baker profited from the front three clashing. Gore then dominated around the twists and turns of Cadwell Park while Mazza and Bentley sat the trip to the northeast out. At Brands Hatch, Craig Denman claimed his first win of the season after Bentley had nudged Mazza into the gravel, Gore retired and Bentley couldn't hold onto his lead.

Bentley and Gore then took turns on the top step for the final races taking a win apiece at Donington and then Snetterton. Bentley's win in race two was the last before teh series is expected to gain championship status for 2014.

Bentley didn't reserve his best just for the Lotus on Track Elise Trophy, he also claimed the second win in the SuperSport class of the Lotus Cup UK season. Jon Walker, eventual champion of the Lotus Cup Europe V6 class, had already taken the season's opener at Snetterton and Andy Napier began his Production championship-winning campaign in the best way possible by claiming the Production win. Silverstone's round two Production win was claimed by Bentley's fellow-Elise Trophy racer Adam Gore.

When Lotus Cup UK joined the DTM bill, Rob Fenn held on in his Go Green Motorsport Elise from Adrian Hall's Exige and Stuart Plotnek took his first win of the season in the Production championship. Gore claimed a second win in the 75 minute encounter at Oulton Park and Steve Train took a superb SuperSport win from ninth on the grid.

The year's overseas trip took the Evoras, 2-Elevens and Elises to Spa and Fenn and Plotnek took their second wins before Simon Deacon took the much-coveted Lotus Festival win. Craig Denman made it two Festival wins in the weekend by adding the Production win to his earlier Elise Trophy win.

Train's second and Gore's third win of the season came at Donington Park before Train took full points once more at the halfway mark of the two hour season ending round at Snetterton. Ossy Yusuf and Gavan Kershaw went on to take the chequered flag first, and Dave Carr and Craig Denman claimed the Production honours. Any one of the top 15 could have left the final round with the title, but it was Simon Deacon who emerged victorious.

In the European counterpart, V6 class runners Gregory Rasse and Jon Walker went head-to-head in the early stages of the season. They split the opening two wins around the Nurburgring before Rasse dominated at Dijon-Prenois.

Walker responded by winning four races on the bounce taking both wins at Hockenheim and again at his home round at Brands Hatch during the Lotus Festival. Nikolaj Ipsen became the season's third winner from the V6 class when the championship visited Zolder in Belgium but Rasse made amends in race two, the final race of the season.

Despite the V6 class, and Rasse and Walker in particular, controlling the outright wins, Thomas Dehaibe's eight wins in the Production class handed him the title. Jeremy Lourenco impressed in the busy 2-Eleven class to take second in the outright standings.

The Radical SR1 Cup announced itself on the club motorsport scene in 2013, and Colin Noble Jnr proved he has been given more than his fair share of his father's winning pedigree. The young Scot was beaten just once in the debut year to add the SR1 Cup to the family championship haul that already contains the Scottish Legends and Radical UK Cup championship titles.

The one defeat came in contentious circumstances at Cadwell Park to Dan Vaughan. Noble Jnr was reeled in by Vaughan, and he squeezed through robustly. Noble Jnr fell back and attempted to reduce the gap but Vaughan managed the gap to pick up a maiden win.

Will Palmer joined the championship at the final round at Snetterton and put his SR1 straight on the front row, but, he couldn't live with the champion-to-be and was forced to settle for two second places. Sir Chris Hoy made his four-wheeled debut in the championship and was certainly in the mix. But for a couple of spins, podiums would have been regular; instead, it was a year of plenty of overtaking and great entertainment for the great Olympian.

Bradley Smith's year in the Performance Direct Radical SR3 Challenge was nearly as dominant as Noble Jnr's. He claimed all but two wins in 2013, plus one of the extended Feature Races alongside junior team-mate Lewis Plato, to take the title ahead of some impressive professional racers.

Bradley Ellis and Andy Cummings were the first to beat him in a safety car-disrupted second race from Oulton Park, and Peter Belshaw and Phil Keen won at Snetterton after the safety car was scrambled for the first quarter of the race.

Smith's season also yielded BRDC Rising Star status for the young Essex prospect and the Sunoco Daytona Challenge prize drive, handing Smith a seat in a Daytona Prototype at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in January 2014.

Much of the drama was taken by the Radical Clubman's Cup, the championship Smith honed his skills in in 2012 when he took the title. His Mectech team-mate Lewis Plato missed out on the title at the death, pipped by Jesper Westerholm from the Prosport class.

Steve Burgess began the season in fine form and won both races at the Snetterton opener and added a third in race four at Brands Hatch on the Grand Prix circuit. Tony Wells opened his account for the season in the first of the battles on the GP. A contingent of Swedish Radical racers joined the championship at Brands Hatch, and Jesper Westerholm bagged a brace at the following round on the Indy circuit. He added two more on his first trip to Oulton Park before Plato dominated the Silverstone rounds.

The close and twisty Cadwell Park played into the hands of the Prosport racers and Westerholm made full use to take another pair of wins before the longer and more expansive Donington Park turned the tables. Plato profited and picked up another two wins, but they were well matched at Snetterton, both winning once. Westerholm's superior form in his class meant he collected more points than Plato, who had to settle for the class title instead.

Radical Clubman's Cup champion from 2011 James Abbott added the Radical Masters Euroseries to his collection after beating Colin Noble by 49 points. The youngster took nine wins from 12 in the Supersport class.

The outright wins were taken by the more powerful SR8 Masters class competitors. Victor Correa converted his pole in race one on the Algarve while his fellow front row-starters Tony Wells and James Littlejohn took race two. They followed that up with another race two win a month later at Paul Ricard after Konstantins Calko dominated race one and Alex Mortimer took the honours when Radical returned for its home round at Silverstone. Calko then became the season's second repeat winner in race two.

Terrence Woodward and Ross Kaiser gave 360 Racing a one-two at Spa ahead of Jamie Constable as the season headed past the second halfway mark, and Correa claimed a second win his own in race two before taking his third at Monza a month later. He and Calko shared the wins from there on, both finishing up with four wins apiece.

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

Photos courtesy of Oliver Read, Az Edwards, Jakob Ebrey, Mick Herring, Jon Bryant, Phatphoto and James Bearne.

Atom - Ollie

Atom - Az

GT Cup - Jakob Ebrey

GT Cup - Mick

Elise - Az Edwards

Elise - Bryant



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