Reports > WALTER HAYES TROPHY SILVERSTONE 6/7TH NOV 2010
A podium for Guy Parr and Olly Bull makes WHT final
The team had planned it usual invasion of Silverstone in November by adding a couple of GTs and a Saloon car to its usual complement of Formula Fords. Unfortunately the race that Guy Parr's Fiesta was entered into was cancelled so its debut may have to wait until 2011. However, Guy's Nemesis GT and Des Andrews' Radical SR3 made the trip for the 2 Allcomers Closed Wheel races planned on the Sunday.
Wet testing on the Friday didn't seem to agree with the Nemesis and it wasn't until practice on Sunday moring that a faulty coil was diagnosed. Despite missing Race 1 a quick trip to Banbury sourced a replacement coil and Guy was able to take the start in Race 2. Starting near the back of the grid Guy charged through the field to fifth overall and third in Class E which was some compensation for the disappointments. Des also encountered problems breaking a gear linkage in practice. It was welded up for Race 1 but promptly broke again early on in Race 1 (Des's red Radical pictured left in traffic). This time Kevin re-welded the assembly with a couple of strengthening side pieces and threatened something dire if it broke again! It didn't and Des managed to complete Race 2 in 15th place.
Turning to the Formula Fords, practice was held in wet conditions making it particularly difficult for most of the WPR drivers for various reasons. Ash Clifford (Mygale SJ03) hadn't been in the car for a few months and did particularly well to qualify 12th in Heat 1 despite his motor worryingly cutting out from time to time. Ash had an exciting battle with a large mid field bunch of cars in the race, finishing a good tenth and easily making it into the semi final. Don Boyack (Van Diemen RF88, pictured right) now in it's original Festival winning colours from 1988) was having his first race in the UK and taking it easy and enjoying the experience. Don successfully finished Heat 2 but was surprised and concerned to find himself placed on the third row in the Progression race. A word with the organisers saw him moved to the back of the grid to keep out of the way of the faster runners.
Matt Horwood was having his first outing in the Reynard 89FF that Tom Margetson won the 2009 Combe Class C Championship with. Despite no seat time in the car, a fuel leak and a problematic mis-fire that appeared in second practice Matt qualified an excellent 9th in Heat 3. Part of this was down to feeling much more comfortable in the car than his Mygale SJ01 and 11th place in the race saw Matt into the semi finals. Steve Bracegirdle (Van Diemen RF88) who was also running in Heat 3, experienced severe front wheel vibration (new fillings required after the meeting!) after fitting new tyres in practice and was disappointed to line up at the back despite turning in 1m 7s laps in testing. Fortunately the Heat was run quickly enough to ensure Steve got in to the Last Chance race.
Another driver without much recent seat time was Darren Houldcroft who found the wet conditions in practice difficult.However, a better run in the race saw Darren finish 16th in Heat 4 and earn a mid grid slot for the Last Chance race. In fact Darren felt he had more speed in the car and would have been further up with a little more commitment. Encouraging words from team boss, Wayne Poole, strengthened Darren's resolve for the next race! The WPR driver with, on paper, the best chance of making the final, Olly Bull (Swift SC92) went well in practice to line up for Heat 6 in 7th place, a position he held in the race to earn a mid grid slot for the semi final.
Sunday dawned bright and dry with the prospect of much quicker times than the previous couple of days. As planned, Don startd the progression race at the back but ran well to finish in penultimate place and well pleased with his first experience of the WHT and Silverstone. The Last Chance race saw Darren start from the middle of the grid and Steve from the back. Darren ran well, holding position, until a spin at Becketts (he thought he felt a tap from behind) saw him rejoin just behid Steve who had been making up places from the back. The pair spent the last couple of laps locked in a fierce battle with Darren, demonstrating more commitment (!) squeezed ahead in the final corners. Unfortunately neither finished high enough to make the semis but both thoroughly enjoyed the race (see photo right).
Olly, Ash and Matt all appeared in Semi Final 1 and after a good start Olly ran well, picking off cars ahead of him, to finish a strong 13th and secure a good place in the final. Ash and Matt were embroiled in the huge mid field pack with Matt getting faster as the race went on and more familiar with the car to finish just ahead of Ash in 26th place but sadly no appearance in the final..
So to the WHT Final with Olly (pictured below left in the late afternoon sun) hoping to improve on his 21st place finish in 2009. Despite starting 25th and making up places in the early running, such is the competitiveness and tight racing in mid field at the WHT, Olly ran out of time to make it any further than 23rd by the end.
So it was left to Guy Parr (pictured below right) to take the team's best result from the day.