In a quiet part of Norfolk is Hethel, the home of Lotus Cars and the venue for the penultimate round of the Speed Championship. Organised by the Borough 19 and Lotus Motor clubs the day was taking place on the very impressive Lotus test track, sweeping quick and technical with great surfaces and an opportunity to really let the cars have their head.
Track walks done, weather perfect, the Porsche drivers lined up for practice. In P4 Stephen Jury battled with a recalcitrant gearchange but couldn’t quite match the time of Martin Leach in his 911E who recorded a time of 96.05 seconds.
The P3 class was well supported again. Quickest was Adrian Rowlands in his 3.2Ltr Boxster who was straight on the pace in a time of 90.53 seconds. P2 had two cars running. Ian and Nick Wadsworth were again sharing their 911SC/RS and were joined by Mel Spear in his historic Carrera Cup 964. Mel was quickest in practice with a time of 92.92 seconds, with Nick Wadsworth close behind at 93.40 seconds.
P1 also had two cars taking part. Tim Barber and David Hilton would be sharing the always rapid 996 GT3. Seeking to steal a win from the GT3 was Karl Lupton in his purposeful sounding supercharged 3ltr 944. It was Tim Barber who despite a near spin at one point got to grips with the Lotus circuit best in practice and set a time of 90.22 seconds (after slick adjustment).
1st Scoring Runs
Thanks to the smooth running of the event by the Borough 19 and Lotus clubs the drivers could expect at least three runs. In the first timed run the P4 drivers of Martin Leach and Stephen Jury were only separated by 0.11 seconds with Martin taking the lead. In P3 Andy Fagan was quickest in his 3.2 Boxster in 90.66 seconds but Adrian Rowlands was clearly going to fight for the win and was less than half a second slower in his Boxster recording 91.01 seconds.
In P2 Nick Wadsworth made a big improvement in the shared 991 SC/RS circulating in 90.01 seconds exactly a second quicker than Mel Spear in the 964. Ian Wadsworth was first out in the shared car throughout the day and hence was on the colder tires but still managed a first run time 93.87 seconds.
All the P1 drivers made improvements from their practice times. Karl Lupton shaved off over five seconds to post a first scoring time of 89.15 seconds. David Hilton also improved but it was Tim Barber’s time of 86.55 seconds (slick adjustment) that placed the big GT3 in the lead going in to the second and third championship scoring runs.
2nd and 3rd Scoring Runs
In P1 David Hilton’s best time of the day came on the second scoring run at 89.20 seconds (slick adjusted). Karl Lupton had lost a little time in both his second and third runs and so it was his strong first time of 89.15 seconds that secured him second place for the day. Winning P1 and recording the quickest time of any of the Porsche cars on the day was Tim Barber who, like Karl, found the conditions were not as good for later runs. It was Tim’s first scoring time of 86.55 seconds (slick adjusted) that won the P1 class.
In P2 Mel Spear driving the Carrera Cup 964 couldn’t better his first time of 91.01 seconds in either the second or third runs and ended the day runner up in P2. In third place was Ian Wadsworth. Again it was the first scoring run which was the best. Nick Wadsworth drove really well in the second and third outings putting in two strong 89 second runs, the best of which was 89.23 seconds, enough to win P2.
P3 bucked the trend a little with the best times mostly coming in either the second or third runs. Ending the day in third place was Paul Watson in his Boxster in a time of 91.85 seconds. There was a tussle going on all day between Adrian Rowlands and Andy Fagan and it was Adrian who took the class win with a great time of 89.11 in his 3.2 Boxster. Andy Fagan was a close runner up in his 3.2 Boxster with a time of 89.39 seconds.
The two cars competing for the P4 class had been close all day and so it was at the end of the third timed run. Martin Leach took the win with a time of 92.75 seconds in his 911, just 0.36 seconds quicker than Stephen Jury in his 944.
It was a great day of very close competition at the fabulous Hethel track and everyone is looking forward to being back there again in 2023.
The final round of the championship is on September 17th at Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb. Why not take a drive to this historic motorsport venue and say hi?