ACEquip Championship Race Report
Croft - 18 &19 April 1998

First lets get up to date with the results this season so far!

Round 1 Results, Cadwell Park 22 March 1998
Standard Class: 1st Mark Prutton, 2nd Peter Toes, 3rd Andrew Bentley
Road Going Modified Class: 1st Peter Harrison, 2nd Mike Entwisle, 3rd Mark Ashworth
Modified Class: 1st John Hewitt, 2nd Jon Paul Ivey, 3rd Chris Groves

Round 2 Results, Brands Hatch 5 April 1998
Standard Class: 1st John Cartwright, 2nd Paul Newton, 3rd Simon Colins
Road Going Modified Class: 1st Mike Peters, no other finishers!
Modified Class: 1st John Hewitt, 2nd Chris Groves, 3rd Jon Paul Ivey

Hewitt Leads
John Hewitt wins two 2 out of 2 races!
Can he make it 3 in a row?

Round 3 Report, Croft 18 April 1998

Hello, and welcome to my first track report of 1998.
I know at the end of last season I said I was having a year off but you never actually believed that did you? There I was quietly minding my own business when I heard the results from the first round and suddenly got itchy feet! It was too tempting, especially as the first three home in the Standard Class had not beaten me in the previous year. A bold statement like that was bound to back fire on me, so read on!

The reason for not coming out this year was because my wife gave birth to a little baby girl back at the beginning of December, on the 2nd to be exact. So it seemed like a sensible idea to try and curb my expenditure, so having decided to come out it was going to have to be on the cheap! (Some would say that's how I've always done it!). Naturally I have been very pleased to retain my three sponsors of the last few years in Toyo Tyres, Moss International MG Parts and my old stalwart Grosvenor MOT Garage who always gets the mucky job of unbending my MGB. However if you are in Stockport and need your car looking after nip down there and ask for Dave, say I sent you!
Enough of plugging the sponsors onto the racing!

I really enjoyed qualifying, it was sort of half damp half dry and on the smooth surface at Croft I was really sliding the car around and enjoying myself, what a great circuit. I passed Andy Bentley early on and as he is one of this years top boys I thought I must be in with a shout of pole position for the Standard Class. However this plan had neglected to take into account Bill Hewitt in "Ethel" an MG 1300 that is allowed to race in the Standard Class despite having a full race engine in it, mind you you need something when driving a barn door (aerodynamically)!
Bill was on pole by a clear second with Andy Bentley second followed by Peter Toes just three one hundredths of a second behind and yours truly another two one hundredths of a second slower, you don't get much closer than that.

We were to have two races one on Saturday and one on Sunday both using the practice time from Saturday to provide the grid positions, did you follow that? Each race counted for half points. At twelve laps each these races are probably one of the longest we will do all year so I was a bit surprised at all the mayhem in race one. The first race was red flagged after a start line shunt to John Hewitt in the Modified Class and his car certainly looked modified afterwards. It was a bit annoying for me as I had had a great start and any regular readers of this drivel out there will realise this is an unusual occurrence. However my second start was not too bad either and I managed to stay in fourth but by Tower bend I was fifth passed by a rapid Ian Wright. From then on things got a little hectic, Ian hit Bill at the Hairpin leading on to the Pit Straight and Bill had to wait as we all shuffled by. Mark Prutton sneaked ahead in his Midget down the Pit straight, which is incredible! Its very rapid in a straight line, due I believe to an engine that has spent most of the Winter on an engine dyno, depleting Marks pockets at an alarming rate, almost as fast as the engine goes! Then a couple of laps later Ian spun off up at Tower and I was fourth again.
Bill came storming through from the back closely followed by John Cartwright, ironically in Bills old car from last year. So I am now back to sixth, then lady luck pulls out her wand and waves it in my direction as John Cartwright attacks Bill Hewitt in the Complex and both go off, I was fourth, again! All this time I was being shadowed by Simon Bentley, Andy's brother who was having his best race to date. That was how it stayed until the end of an exciting first race. Mark Prutton had got all the way to the front, Andrew Bentley was second and Peter Toes third. David Ecob won the Modified Class with a good drive to second from Arto Kesterlain, the Championship sponsor. Mark Ashworth won the Road Going Modified Class being kept honest by Peter Harrison, last years Standard Class Champion.

My one disappointment was that I did not feel I had driven quite well enough and I was determined to do better in the second race. I made quite a good start for me and got passed Peter Toes for third at Tower and for the next five laps threatened Andy Bentley who was on the back bumper of Bill Hewitt. A nice dry day meant speeds were up and the barn door that is "Ethel" was suffering. Then some modified cars came through after starting from the back of the grid and I just slowly dropped away from the leaders being caught and passed by no less than four cars to leave me seventh. I can't remember a time when I've driven so hard for a place outside the top six nor when I've been passed by four cars in a race. It is clear this years Championship is going to be as competitive as last year with Andy, Bill, Peter and Mark all on a charge. Now that I've blown the cobwebs out of my system I'll have to peddle a little harder. Now if I could just find a kind sponsor to rebuild my five year old engine.............

John Hewitt won the Modified Class in a repaired car, you'd be amazed what pop riveting a few beer cans to your car can do. Peter Harrison got his revenge on Mark at the death and this year looks like giving Mark a hard time in the class.

The next ACEquip Cockshoot race is at Snetterton on 17th May.
Allan Paterson

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