The organizing team from Boundless by CSMA returned to Lymm for their 10th consecutive year and 2nd event this year at this popular venue. In addition to being in the various ANWCC and SD34 championships this event was also a BTRDA round and hosting the Inter Association AutoSOLO on behalf of ANCC. The multi permit event had National B & Clubmans AutoSOLO, PCA and a Nat B Autotest included, all using the same test setup with the Autotest having different tests . A total of 50 competitors signed on in anticipation of an interesting day. A total of eight teams were entered for the I/A from 5 Associations.
The quality field included current top 3 BTRDA contenders, most of the ANWCC championship field and other well known faces including Nick & Dan Darkin, John Fox and Mike Sones. This had the makings of a very competitive event. Teams in the I/A had some likely contenders.
The Welsh team included Neil Jones and Howard Morris who convincingly won Nat B and Clubmans categories at Lymm 5 weeks earlier. Neil’s brother Darren was a dark horse competing in his first AutoSOLO!
West Midlands fielded Nick & Dan Darkin alongside Jamie Yapp whose pace in the Nova is well known. On this occasion the Nova was unavailable, the standby Clio would be in the wrong class so Jamie had to substitute a Golf R. He claimed it would be uncompetitive because it was too big, turbo lag, with 4WD it would bog down etc, etc ……. Time would tell. At least he was close to the ethos of the regular, unmodified, daily use driver that AutoSOLO’s are all about?
Central & Southern had current BTRDA leader Alan Wakeman with the rapid pairing of John Fox and Kevin Hardman sharing John’s Mini.
North West had past championship winners and current front runners Steve Mather, Andy Williams and Steve Kennel. They also fielded a Junior team and a team of over 65’s!!
Two teams from ANCC made up the 8.
The fun started at 10AM with 4 runs at 2 tests back to back. First run at test 1 gave first blood to Neil Jones in his MX5 but only by a tenth to Dan Darkin. Jamie realized how much of a handicap the Golf was going to be by being two tenths behind Dan!! To paraphrase Shakespeare … ‘ the lad(y) doth protest too much, methinks’ !
First run at test 2 went to 16 year old Scott McMahon in his Micra showing the promise of our Juniors. Neil managed to pull 1.7 seconds out of Jamie this time, the ‘huge’ Golf obviously less suited to this test. Obviously this contest was going to be fiercely contested.
The rest of the morning tests had a familiar story. By lunchtime Neil had taken 6 out of 8 test victories with 2 to Jamie and was just 2.9 seconds up with Steve Mather a distant (!!) 2.1 seconds further back . It was no takeover by these three as on all tests only 2 seconds typically covered the top 8-10 contenders with the same names consistently appearing in this group namely both Darkins, both Jones (Neil’s brother Darren), Alan Wakeman, John Fox, Steve Mather, Steve Kennell and Scott McMahon.
The longer afternoon test had a greater spread of times but by then many were tiring in the 30 deg temperatures. Neil took 2 out of 3 tests in the afternoon although Jamie drove a blinder on his final run of the day to pull a whole second back!! The competition was so close on this event that any errors hurt as all runs count i.e. no dropped scores. Steve Mather collected a penalty on his very last test cruelly dropping him from a creditable 3rd to 6th. John Fox & Alan Wakeman both had an early cone penalty which cost them 4 places in o/a results and class placings.
At the close of competition at 3PM, after 11 tests Neil Jones came out a worthy winner but only by 4.6 seconds from the ‘lumbering’ Golf of Jamie Yapp. Dan Darkin took 3rd another 7 seconds behind. Now he has mastered the MX5 he is back to beating Dad Nick, albeit only by 1.5 seconds. Neil’s brother Darren had a superb result in 4th in a 1200 Nova with Nick Darkin and Steve Mather 5th and 6th. John Fox, Kevin Hardwick and Dave Robinson battled Mini honours with just 4.9 seconds between them. Just 1.9 seconds covered 3rd to 6th place!! What a tight event this had been.
The combination of speed, accuracy and crucially, consistency proved to be the winning formula. On test site 1 Neil had 3 times out of 4 within 0.7 sec, test 2 all four within 0.8 sec and test 3 all within 0.4 sec and his brother Darren was very similar. These Jones brothers are ones to watch. Most of the other top drivers showed similar consistency but ultimately none could match Neil for raw speed.
In the I/A the 3 class winning and 2nd, 3rd & 5th o/a performances of the West Midlands team meant they took the magnificent new trophy home. Howard Morris couldn’t match the pace of the Jones brothers in the Welsh team on the day . After a total of 33 tests the West Midlands winning margin was just 14.7 seconds from the Welsh, with Central & Southern team a further 20 seconds adrift, John & Alan cursing the penalties collected in the morning.
The Clubmans AutoSOLO proved to be equally competitive.
Joe Smart came to Lymm for his first time having ‘discovered’ AutoSOLO at Preston MC. He won but was just 0.3 seconds ahead of Sam Self who was hugely entertaining throwing his Nissan 200SX drift car around with impressive skill. Just 3.4 seconds covered the top 5 cars.
There were 3 entries in the Autotest and they had a superb battle. The improving ( and new to BTRDA) Dafs Roberts was delighted to beat Colin Moreton with Dave Goodlad in 3rd.
The PCA was won by 14 year old Lwi Price Edwards in a stunning Fiat 128.
The day proved to be a celebration of AutoSOLO with competitors from across the country, 4 different class cars in the top 5 yet just 13 seconds apart, youngsters competing head to head with Dad’s and a few Autotesters joining the fun. By 4PM, after 3 different tests, and 11 timed runs each in 30 degree heat, the 50 weary competitors were on their way home, hopefully for all the Dad’s to enjoy some Fathers Day treats.
Clerk of the Course.
Boundless by CSMA Inter-area AutoSOLO