A day of changing fortunes and variable weather provided a dramatic backdrop to the final races of the Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli and Porsche Classic Boxster Cup seasons. Matt Kyle-Henney overcame a points deficit to claim the club championship after reigning champion Simon Clark hit problems, while Richard Forber’s race one win meant he only had to start race two to become the Boxster Cup champion in just his first season of racing.
Pete Morris won the first race, appropriate as his PMC Midlands company sponsored the day’s trophies, with Paul Simpson heading class two, while later in the day race two was won by James Caley, his first win of 2021, with son Bill taking his maiden class two victory.
It was a dry track for the morning’s qualifying session and Morris showed his intent with pole, just clear of Clark who came into the weekend with a 19-point lead after dropped scores (drivers discount their two lowest scores from the 14-race season). James Caley was next up ahead of Mark McAleer, while row three of the race one grid was an all Cayman S affair, Jake McAleer fifth ahead of Chris Dyer.
“It was wet when we tested here yesterday, but we went for some new tyres this morning and just went for it,” said Morris. “Really pleased with how quick we were, I was getting a tow off both of the McAleers!”
Toby Barlow set the class two pace in his Boxster S, but had his gearbox let go which ended his day early, Simpson second quickest from Kyle-Henney and Bill Caley.
Forber set the Boxster Cup pace, a second clear of Alistair Nelson and Mike Thompson.
Morris made the best start as the lights went out for race one, Clark holding off a challenge from Mark McAleer into the first corner to hold onto second. Into Agostini’s in the infield part of the Snetterton 300 layout Clark looked to go inside Morris, but ended up going wide, Mark McAleer seizing the chance to go past, and Clark was on the grass and tumbling down the order, and soon to pit.
“I went for it and just misjudged my braking,” explained Clark. “I ran into Pete and Mark McAleer got inside me, it was all my fault and now something isn’t right on the car.”
The shake-up saw Mark McAleer lead, only to pit with a puncture at the end of lap four, Morris going ahead with Dyer rapidly closing in. Conditions became tricky as oil was down on the circuit and then it started to rain, with most cars out on slick tyres, but Morris held off Dyer at the end to take the win, while behind Jake McAleer ran third before losing out to James Caley on lap ten.
“I got off the line well and got in front, then Simon tried to get inside me and there just wasn’t room for us all,” said Morris. “After that I was just trying to get a gap but I could see Chris Dyer closing in and we swapped places a couple of times. It’s nice to win one of the trophies I have sponsored!”
“I got in front of Pete at one point,” said Dyer, ”but was then the guinea pig who arrived at the oil first, and when he got back in front I thought ‘fair dos’. I was looking behind me to see where everyone else was and just had to get the car back home safely.”
The class two battle was a highlight, Paul Simpson leading but with a pack of cars squabbling over second right behind, Angus Archer in that position early on before Kyle-Henney, Andy Muggeridge and Bill Caley became threats to Simpson. The lead group went into the first corner three-abreast more than once, Simpson holding on to take the win from Bill Caley, Kyle-Henney passing SW Engineering team-mate Muggeridge for third and vital championship points on the final lap, to head into the final race just a point behind Clark.
“They made me work for that but it was good fun, though I had some nervous moments when it got really slippery towards the end,” said Simpson. “There was oil down from about halfway in the race so I was being a bit careful, and that let them get right back with me.”
Forber led the Porsche Classic Boxster Cup field all the race, Thompson initially running second before Nelson got past on lap four. The result left Forber just needing the 20 bonus points for starting race two to take the title.
“I got a good start and went past some class two cars,” said Forber, “that gave me a buffer but as soon as it got wet in the last few laps it started to get interesting and there wasn’t much grip. Hopefully we start the final race and it’s job done.”
Clark was on pole for a wet race two with James Caley alongside, and from the outside of the front row it was Caley’s 997 that made the best start, Clark slow away and getting swamped by the row behind. At the end of the opening lap it was James Caley over a second clear at the front, Dyer second ahead of Richard Ellis, up from eighth on the grid after a strong first lap.
Despite a soaked track Caley was flying at the front and staying clear of the rest, and extended his advantage as the race progressed to take his second club championship win. Dyer in turn stayed clear of Ellis to take second, the latter recording his first podium finish of 2021.
“I really enjoyed that, I have had some rubbish starts this year but nailed it today,” said James Caley. “I lost ground a couple of times as we got to backmarkers, but there was grip to be found out there. I didn’t realise Bill had won class two and I was so pleased when I was told and it’s a great way to end the season.”
Simpson was the early class two leader, Kyle-Henney second and Bill Caley third at the end of lap one. Bill Caley was revelling in the wet conditions and was ahead at the end of lap two, emulating his father who was leading class one.
Bill Caley pulled away to record his maiden class win, Kyle-Henney second after a spin for Simpson on the tricky circuit, the points for that finish enough to make Kyle-Henney the champion with Clark only fifth in class one.
“Conditions weren’t as bad they looked,” said Kyle-Henney, “but I had to make sure I brought the car home safely. There was no way I was going to catch Bill Caley and I didn’t know the points situation but could see everyone celebrating on the pitwall at the end of the race so thought we had it.
“I only had my first win here last year and now we have a championship, the series is brilliant and I have had so much fun, maybe that is why there are so many cars out in it!”
“That was my first class win,” said Bill Caley, “it was slippery but the car felt so good and I just kept going. I really wanted the class win, and so nice to do it with my dad as a winner as well!”
Forber duly took the start to score his bonus points and seal the Boxster Cup title, but continued to push and was amongst class two cars early in the race before electing to bring his Boxster safely home. Thompson claimed third in class while Pete Evans came through to claim another podium finish.
“The champagne tastes great!”, joked a celebrating Forber after the race. “I was able to follow some class two cars early on then thought I ought to drop back rather than get caught up with anything. We never thought we could win at the start of the year, so to be here now is just brilliant, I’ll need a suit for the awards dinner now!”
Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli and Porsche Classic Boxster Cup, Race One:
1 Pete Morris (997 C2S) 12 Laps
2 Chris Dyer (Cayman S) +2.917s
3 James Caley (997 C2S)
4 Kevin Molyneaux (996 C2)
5 Jake McAleer (Cayman S)
6 Richard Ellis (996 C2)
7 Paul Simpson (Boxster S)
8 Bill Caley (Boxster S)
9 Matt Kyle-Henney (Boxster S)
10 Andy Muggeridge (Boxster S).
Class Winners: Morris, Simpson. Fastest Lap: Mark McAleer (997 C2S) 2m06.537s (84.46mph).
1 James Caley 10 Laps
2 Dyer +2.041s
4 Mark McAleer
5 Simon Clark
7 Jake McAleer
8 Richard Bayston
9 Bill Cale
10 Matt Kyle-Henney.
Class Winners: James Caley; Bill Caley. Fastest Lap: Mark McAleer 2m29.737s (71.37mph).
2021 Petro-Canada Lubricants and Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli and Porsche Classic Boxster Cup Calendar:
Donington Park, East Midlands – April 10th
Brands Hatch GP, Kent – May 1st
Snetterton 300, Norfolk – June 5th
Oulton Park, Cheshire – July 3rd
Silverstone GP, Northants. – August 14th
Brands Hatch Indy, Kent - September 5th
Snetterton 300, Norfolk – October 2nd