2011 UK Ford Fiesta Championship – Rounds 1 & 2 Silverstone

The Race (One) Classes A and B

The racing was good and the ‘new kid on the block’ – John Langridge was quick to show his class with some stunning times and a mature performance that belied his tender years. Scott Baines was also back to Zetec form and was not bested throughout the first race. Zena Cooper managed ten laps before an engine problem sidelined her. James Appleby out on his maiden race found the wrong gear and buzzed the top end and was instantly out before a lap had passed and the Zetec reliability of Keith Chapman was absent as his driveshaft/hub went bang with 15 out of 17 laps done. Our other lady driver, Claire Kemp, faired better with some impressive driving to record her first Fiesta race outing with a good 5th in class. Nik Barton and Nick Tiley also put in some fine drives but in their classes were just shaded by David Elsom and Ken Bateman.

From the off David Elsom had the advantage to Copse corner and out of Becketts to Wellington straight the cars were already spaced out but into Brooklands Langridge recovered from a poor start and took the lead from Elsom with Baines now challenging but Tiley had a spinning moment and was instantly last. Appleby was gone. End of lap 1 and order was Langridge, Baines, Elsom, Bateman, Barton, Cooper, Kemp, Thoresen, Edwards, Chapman and Tiley. By lap 4 Elsom’s Si power proved too much for the Baines Zetec and the 2nd and 3rd places were swapped. Bateman was up in 4th some 5 seconds in arrears. Lap 7 saw Cooper drop from her 5th down to 9th as her woes became apparent. By the ninth lap Zetecs were loosely bunched as Baines led Bateman, Barton, Edwrads and Kemp with Tiley and Thoresen behind them. As the laps ran by the order was retty much unaltered and with a hot sun shining the first race of the year was won by John Langridge with Scott Baines taking the B class win.

The Race (One) Class C

Well, this was the one class grid that so many people have spoken about in the close season and were eagerly anticipating as the season drew closer. The time for talk was over and the time for action on the track was now on ! Many a new driver to the ST class meant that the outcomes of the races were heavily debated and ideas on form were rife. As always, my answers were predictable when challenged on grid size and likely winners. “Lets just see how it all unfolds, shall we ?”

From the off David Grady looked very positive and determined and made good his pole advantage over the following field. All cars made it through the first bends and a tightly bunched group of cars made the end of lap 1 of 18. The order was Grady from Cockill (H), Cooper, Cockill (E), from Bushell and Napolitano. The next lap saw Cooper out of shape at Luffield, and then black/white flag to Wilmot for running wide at Copse (?).
Lap 3 saw Sutton get by Foley for 9th. AT the end of lap 5, Grady led still just from Cockill (H) by a whisper. And three abreast over the start finish line as Daly, Upton and Toumazos. Into Brooklands for the 6th time and Grady held sway with Harry Cockill putting in a personal best alp time and then Cooper was shown a drive through penalty as we believed 21 was shown a time penalty board. Grady did look classy out on the track and with 9 laps gone both Cockills were just over a second from the leading Grady ST. Lap 10 and Abbott inherited 5th as Cooper took his driver through penalty but erroneously stopped before getting the haurry up by the pit marshals. In 4th spot, Bushell was driving well for his first outing but saw the space opened a bit from the leading trio. Foley was impressive and from a 7th on his 13th lap was up to 6th as 15 laps were seen off. All too soon the chequered flag waved home a worthy winner as David Grady took the inaugural win of the 2011 Fiesta ST season.

Race 2 Class A and B

Both Langridge and Baines sustained the earlier race one pace and both men made it a brace of class wins. David Elsom again took second place in a good race.

As reds went out, Langridge found the start a little better but this time a dogged Elsom held on to the Daniels Motorsport prepared car to give him a bit of a battle. Baines held a good third behind them and Chapman had managed to move up a couple of places by the end of lap 1. ELsom put on a good drive to keep Langridge honest and to make him work hard on his driving and lines. On lap 3 Chapman slipped by Kemp and set off towards Edwards who in turn was chasing 6th placed Barton. The remaining laps were set in stone with Langridge leading Eslsom first by a couple of seconds to the eventual 6.6 seconds. AT the flag, John Langridge recorded his double as did Scott Baines in Class B.


Race 2 Class C

Having seen a real amazing first race, I was asked if the second race would be as good. I had high hopes. The racing was to prove spectacular and some elements were to tax the clerk of the course (and still may do ?)

As the red lights went out the field made a lunge for the opening right hander but once again Grady led but under real pressure from both Harry and Ed Cockill with Bushell, Foley, Wilson, Napolitano and Sutton leading just a smidgeon from Parr, Byrne, Cooper and Papworth. This order remained constant until lap 5 when Foley fell down to 7th from 5th. Once again though, Grady seemed untouchable at the front as try as they might, both Harry and Ed Cockill stuck to their task and chased hard and well. Already, Nye Papworth and Eason had retired with Field holding out until lap 8 when he too went OTL. Cooper made up another place as Napolitano had a big tank slapper. At the end of the halfway point (lap 9) Grady led both Cockills and then Bushell. As always the real battle was going on in the middle order. Cooper was now settled into a rythym in 6th with just ahead, the red ST of Sutton. By lap 12 Sutton led Cooper by just under 2/10ths of a second. Another lap and Cooper had got by Sutton and had the younger driver trying hard to get his lost spot back. The next lap and he had got it back but on lap 15 we saw Sutton centre track down the pit straight and a flick here and there gave a opening to Cooper who took to the pit wall side for a run. Sutton, almost in ‘slowmo’ moved to the right and for a moment looked as if the pit wall would kiss Coopers offside. Fortunately, space prevailed and Cooper safely continued. It was very very tight as Sutton held the 5th place. Sutton was now looking at Bushell’s rear end and the latter held his nerve earned him a warning flag (as did 51 and 82). The end of lap 16 and Sutton had 4th and Cooper was side by side with Bushell but again the latter drove well to keep 5th. Chequered flag and David Gardy won by the small margin of 3.543 seconds after some 21 minutes and just over 7 seonds of race time. Harry and ED Cockill 2nd and 3rd and they were split by 0.329.

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