The BRSCC North Western Centre crossed over the Welsh border to the picturesque Anglesey Circuit for the second BRSCC meeting in the region, with many teams, drivers and supporters revelling in the first opportunity to race at the circuit since 2019 following the lifting of Covid19 restrictions in Wales. The Avon Tyres National Formula Ford Championship, Northern and Super Classic Formula Ford Championship, Vinyl Detail ST-XR Challenge, Silverlake C1 Endurance Series and Nankang Tyre supported BMW Compact Cup and CityCarCup championships were on the bill from the BRSCC stable, while we were joined also on the event programme by the Legends Cars National Championship and the Motorsport UK British Superkart Championship, each bringing their own unique styles of racing to thrill onlookers.
The weekend began in earnest on the Friday evening as the C1 Racing Club drivers took to the circuit to take part in their obligatory night practice session for drivers to familiarise themselves with the circuit in darkness prior to their race on Saturday evening.
Saturday came and the day began at 9am when the Legends took to the track first of all for their ten minute qualifying session. John Mickel a long standing competitor of the Legends series, set the pace early on with a time of 1 minute 43.221 seconds to cover the 2.1 mile International circuit. Miles Rudman then lowered the benchmark to a 1 minute 43.019 seconds with just a couple of minutes remaining of the session and looked set to take the spoils; that was until Stephen Whitelegg in the dying seconds of the session knocked off over a tenth of a second to get in to the 42’s with a time of 1 minute 42.970 seconds to grab the quickest time.
Free Practice for the Superkarts was the next session with Liam Morley setting the fastest time of 1 minute 24.238 seconds, a mere 18.7 seconds faster than the fastest Legends time of Stephen Whitelegg in the previous session!
Qualifying sessions then was the order of the remainder of the morning. In the CityCarCup Andrew Dyer set the pole time of the impressive 32 car field with a time of 1 minute 58.696 seconds with Stuart Bliss in his Toyota Aygo setting the second fastest time just under three tenths slower than Dyer set in his Citroen C1.
In Avon Tyres National Formula Ford, the pace was set early on in the session with Americans Colin Queen and Andre Lafond setting the standard before 2021 Formula Ford Festival winner Jamie Sharp went three tenths quicker. Jordan Dempsey lowered the pole time slightly shortly after. On the following lap, Queen went quicker again by three tenths, before Sharp again set a pole time of 1 minute 33.595 seconds, a time that remained unbeaten for the remaining ten minutes of the session.
The BMW Compact Cup had a qualifying session blighted by track limits infringements where 14 lap times were deleted, Mikey Doble looked to have set the pole time on his final lap, however one second behind at the chequered flag was Lee Dendy-Sadler who went a tenth quicker to finish the session at the top of the timesheets.
For their positions on the combined Formula Ford grid the Northern and Super Classic Formula Fords had their own session to get the best from themselves and their machinery, and John Murphy showed the way in his Van Diemen RF90 with a time 1.234 seconds quicker than second placed BRSCC Chairman Peter Daly.
The ST-XR Challenge field took to the track for their qualifying session, and no one could beat Michael Blackburn’s early pace as he set the fastest time of 1 minute 49.248 seconds on his second timed lap, Sam Beckett set the second fastest time, though four tenths slower than Blackburn with Daniel Robinson remarkably qualifying third for his first ever motor race!
The final qualifying session of the day was the 50 minute session for the C1 Endurance Series to set the grid for their four and a half hour race which ended the day. Alistair May set the pole time of 2 minutes 1.819 seconds for the 392 Quattro Formaggio C1, with 458 Silverlake 2 to start alongside on the front row.
The last session prior to the lunch break was Heat 1 of the Legends National Championship, where Stephen Whitelegg took the lead into the Banking before pulling away to take the win and maximum points, 4.3 seconds ahead of John Mickel.
After the break, the Nangkang Tyre CityCarCup lined up on the grid for their first race of the weekend and 32 buzzing superminis were quite a sight on their approach to Rocket, though contact was likely and somewhat inevitable as Seb Melrose dived up the inside of a pack of cars and scattered a few across the exit of the left hander. Meanwhile pole sitter Andy Dyer had managed to convert his pole position into a lead and a four-way battle pack formed of Dyer, Stuart Bliss, Elliot Lettis and Richard Bliss over the coming laps. Richard Bliss fell off the back of the front three as the chequered flag approached, but Dyer was able to withstand the relentless pressure of Stuart Bliss and Lettis to take the win.
National Legends lined up for Heat 2 next, with Miles Rudman and Nick Bridgeman on the front row of the rolling start. Rudman took the early advantage out of turn 1, before making a mistake on lap 3 at Seamans which Will Gibson took advantage of along the Tom Pryce Straight. John Mickel challenged a recovering Rudman up to the Hairpin, but Rudman managed to hold on and began to fight back for the lead. Mickel challenged Rudman on the entry to Seamans again on lap 6, but the tide turned for Rudman as he took the lead from Will Gibson on lap 7. On the final lap, Gibson again regained the lead, which left Rudman on the defensive from Mickel, and on the approach to the final corner Rudman challenged for the lead again but ran wide allowing Gibson to take the win and Mickel to grab second at the line as the top three were separated by less than two-tenths of a second.
The incredibly quick Superkarts formed up on the grid for their first race, Liam Morley and Lee Harpham diced for positions in the first two corners of the 12 minute race with Morley ahead at the end of lap 1, and kept the lead throughout to take the flag. While a battle at the front did not materialise, the Superkarts were still as much spectacle for the bravery and skill of those piloting them as the Legends and City Cars were for their race long battles.
The combined National and Northern & Super Classic Formula Ford championships gridded up next and Jordan Dempsey leap frogged the pole man Jamie Sharp to take the lead off the start. They were joined by Romanek, Queen and Rashid in a breakaway pack at the front. Dempsey locked up heading into Rocket and Sharp took advantage slipping past the Irishman. The front five continued to battle for position and Lucas Romanek slipped past both Dempsey at Banking and Sharp at Rocket on the same lap to take the lead. Sharp fought back the lap following and again the lead changed hands again at Peel. Going into the final lap Romanek again took the lead at Rocket and held off the challenge of Sharp and Queen to win a typically thrilling Formula Ford race. In the Northern & Super Classic contest, John Murphy took the spoils from Peter Daly and Garath Buckingham all driving the venerable Van Diemen.
Anything after that race would have been a disappointment, but a large grid of BMW Compacts took to the track next and the thrills kept on coming with a race long battle for the win. Mikey Doble stole a march on the pack off the line and lead the first lap ahead of Guy Davis and pole man Lee Dendy-Sadler who all broke away from the rest of the battling and paint swapping field early on. Doble and Davis fought closely throughout the race however Davis got a run on Doble out of Church corner and took the lead at Rocket with four minutes remaining of the 20 minute race. The front three continued to scrap for the race win, but Davis hung on to take the chequered flag.
The Vinyl Detail ST-XR Challenge took to the track for their first race with Michael Blackburn and Sam Beckett on the front row. As the lights went out Beckett had a poor start and dropped to fifth place as the cars entered turn 2. Here though Chris Flynn and Chris Chisnall got together which then resulted in further contact between Chisnall and Daniel Robinson; Chisnall would stop before Rocket with the damage suffered. Meanwhile Michael Blackburn was out front, with Sam Beckett recovering back to third, until Chris Grimes appeared to miss his braking point into the Hairpin collecting stablemate Beckett and the unfortunate Luke Woodward with nowhere to go collecting Beckett also. With cars scattered across the circuit and requiring recovery, the Safety Car and subsequently red flags were shown to stop the race and allow the marshals and recovery crews to deal with the clear up. On the restart Mark Blunt made a blistering getaway to lead exiting turn 1. Blackburn challenged on the approach to the hairpin, but bad luck would befall Mark Blunt as his car ground to a halt on the pit straight allowing the 55 car to streak ahead unchallenged for the rest of the race. Meanwhile Matt Pimlott and rookie Daniel Robinson diced for second with Robinson coming out on top of that battle, and Pimlott would retire from the race with a mechanical issue when a podium looked on the cards. Further back, newcomer to the series Chris Lindley would have a race long fight with the XR3i of Chris Jones and would eventually finish ahead of the venerable Escort. Following the race there were the Clerk’s investigations which saw Chris Grimes penalised for his part in the contact at the hairpin, and both Matt Pimlott and Chris Flynn would be on the receiving end of disqualifications for overtaking under the Safety Car.
The Saturday Final for the Legends was another typically thrilling and close race with Florian Robin and Luke Ttakoushis leading the pack on the rolling start. John Mikel’s class though would see him take to the front after making his way through the field from mid-pack and claim victory in a Safety Car interrupted race after Oli Schlup was left stricken after contact with Ttakoushis sent him into the pit wall on the National circuit. After a short supper break it was time for the four and a half hour C1 Into the Night race where the number 513 CSC Racing/FDC Packaging car driven by Nicholas and James Cunliffe took the win with 128 laps on the board, 19.7 seconds ahead of the 458 Silverlake 2 car of Michael Harris and Matthew Parkes, and also on the lead lap was third placed Scuderia Pollo Rosso piloted by Graham Wilkins, Frank Claydon and James Matthews.
Sunday came and the silence was broken by a field of 1200cc Yamaha propelled Legends cars to qualify for their Sunday heats. Miles Rudman headed the times over half a second ahead of Marcus Pett. They were then followed by the Superkarts with their second race of the weekend which was won by Liam Morley in dominant fashion followed by Lee Harpham and Ross Allen claiming the remaining podium places respectively.
The BRSCC Nankang Tyres CityCarCup took to the grid and after a delay to proceedings when two cars stopped on circuit during the green flag lap and required recovery, and once the red lights were turned off to start the race the front row pair of Andrew Dyer and Stuart Bliss were leap-frogged by Elliot Lettis from the second row, however on the approach to the Hairpin Dyer threw a terrific dummy to outfox Lettis on the inside to retake the lead. The front three continued to trade places throughout the remainder of the race in a display of hard, fair and respectful racing with Elliot Lettis taking the chequered flag ahead of Stuart Bliss three-tenths behind and Andrew Dyer a further four and a half tenths behind in third.
The National and Northern Formula Fords lined up next for their second race of the weekend, and expectations were high for another epic contest similar to what we witnessed on Saturday. Off the line Jamie Sharp stole a march on race one winner Lucas Romanek but on the approach to Rocket, Brin Kinch’s right rear suspension failed leaving his Ray GR08 stranded and immobilised at the top of the hill and so the Safety Car was deployed for recovery to take place. Clerk of the Course Ray Sumner added 5 extra minutes to the race time as allowed in their Championship regulations and we resumed with 8 minutes remaining. On the restart Romanek lost out to Colin Queen to fall back to third place. Meanwhile in the Northern and Super Classic field, there was a battle royale between Alaric Gordon and John Murphy. The race though came to a premature end, when Garath Buckingham and Alaric Gordon got together and the car of Buckingham mounted and landed atop of the Swift machine of Gordon, momentarily trapping him in the vehicle until the swift actions of a marshal and Buckingham working together freed the two cars allowing Gordon to leave the car seemingly unharmed. Sharp took victory in the National class, with John Murphy the Super Classic winner.
After the clear up had been completed, the BMW Compact Cup drivers locked horns once again, and the Safety Car was again called upon early in the race as a concertina into Church corner saw Pete Smith, Dale Wherton and Richard Sutherland collide with Sutherland heading into the barrier on the outside of the circuit and requiring the services of the recovery team. On the restart Mikey Doble led the pack from Guy Davis. With just three minutes remaining Doble pulled off with a mechanical issue at School, leaving Guy Davis to take the win, with Gareth Claydon and Gordon Macmillan filling the podium in second and third respectively.
The Sunday Heat 1 for the Legends saw Miles Rudman take first place, ahead of Will Gibson and Stephen Whitelegg before the ST-XR Challenge took to the track for their second race of the weekend. With penalties and retirees from race one on Saturday aplenty, this meant some could enjoy a starting position further up the grid than they did for race one, however Michael Blackburn and Daniel Robinson took their top two positions on the front row. Blackburn led from Robinson on the first lap, and those starting towards the back of the grid began to make progress with Sam Beckett passing Richard Steele into the Hairpin, and set after third-placed Mark Blunt. Further back, Chris Grimes and Chris Jones battled hard over 8th place until Jones retired the XR3i into the pit lane with a mechanical issue, and Chris Lindley fought off the attentions of Chris Chisnall. Out front rookie Daniel Robinson kept the on form Michael Blackburn honest throughout the race, and the Beckett/Blunt battle also raged on. Chris Grimes continued to make progress up to 5th place despatching Chris Lindley on the short run into Peel corner. The race finished two-by-two with Blackburn taking the chequered flag just ahead of the impressive Robinson, and Blunt completed the podium just ahead of Beckett, a good 4th place considering the damage the car sustained in the first lap incident the previous day.
A well deserved lunch break beckoned, and the afternoon kicked off with the final outing for the British Superkart Championship for another 12-minute showdown. Liam Morley and Lee Harpham led the pack away at the start of the race but an incident at turn 1 saw six karts skittled off onto the grass with the Safety Car having to intervene to allow karts and drivers to be removed to safer positions. At the restart the remaining 15 set off again, with Lee Harpham up front. Liam Morley took the lead with 6 minutes remaining after gaining better traction and a great run on Lee Harpham out of Banking and into right hander at Church. Morley took the final Superkart race win of the day from Harpham, with Ross Allen a distant third.
Heat 2 for the Legends was up next with a charging Miles Rudman taking the victory after having being reinstated by the Stewards after initially being sanctioned for overtaking under yellow flags, when John Mickel and Will Gibson touched wheels, sending Gibson into the tyre barrier. They were quickly followed by the CityCarCup and pole man George Palozzi, while enthusiastically warming his tyres, spun but was able to rejoin quickly and take up his start position on this reverse grid race for the top-7. The race was a very hard-fought and clean battle throughout with rookie Palozzi holding off the likes of race winners Stuart Bliss and Andrew Dyer until his race ended after sliding into the tyre barrier at the base of the Rocket In marshal post. At the same time the Safety Car was called upon as the car of Craig Flynn ground to a halt at Peel corner. The race ended under the Safety Car with Richard Bliss leading from Andrew Dyer and Ross Makar.
With the Super Classic Formula Fords packing up after their second and final race, the National Formula Ford Championship went to the grid their third race. The top 7 were reversed on the grid, and Josh Le Roux and Ben Cochran found themselves on the front row. At turn 2 Alex Vos suffered a broken front suspension and at Rocket, Ben Cochran a right rear failure. The red flags were flown and the race restarted after the clear up was completed. By the end of the restarted lap 1, Lucas Romanek had fought his way up from sixth on the grid to the race lead, and subsequently made hay while the sun shined and romped away from the rest of the field as his closest rivals fought through some of the slower cars at the front of the reverse grid. Behind Romanek, Jamie Sharp, Jordan Dempsey and Colin Queen traded places throughout the race and quite often were covered by no more than half a second. As Sharp and Queen battled for the remaining podium place, this allowed Dempsey to pull out a gap on the final lap and secure second behind the comfortable Romanek, who more than deserved his North Western Centre Formula Ford Driver of the Weekend vote win as well. Again the National Formula Ford championship provides the proving ground for talented drivers with great skill and race craft.
The BMW Compact Cup lined up for their final race of the meeting and Guy Davis completed a hat-trick of victories despite a poor start that saw him drop to fourth on the first lap with Matt Wilkins and Gareth Claydon setting the early pace. Davis did not panic and clawed his way back into first place before the half-way stage. By the end of the race he had pulled out a 3.7 second margin of victory from Matt Wilkins and Gordon Macmillan in second and third respectively.
Not wanting to be out done by Guy Davis in the Compact Cup, Michael Blackburn got away well from the grid for the final race of the weekend for the Vinyl Detail ST-XR Challenge and to lead from lights to flag to take his hat-trick of victories back down the A55. Meanwhile further down the order Chris Grimes and Matt Pimlott locked horns in a battle for the ‘best of the rest’ behind the top 3, with Pimlott the victor in that particular battle. When the flag fell, an untroubled Blackburn took the spoils from Sam Beckett and Mark Blunt.
A short delay preceded the start of the Sunday final of the National Legends as the appeal lodged by Miles Rudman disputing a judicial decision against him in the prior heat was being heard by the Stewards. Rudman was reinstated into the second heat results and the grid order for the Final could be determined. Ben Higgins, son of three time British Rally Champion and James Bond stunt driver Mark Higgins lined up on the front row of the rolling start alongside Eduardo Gago and led the early laps by some distance until the experience of Stephen Whitelegg saw him storm through to take the lead on lap 7 with John Mickel and Miles Rudman close behind. Mickel assumed the lead and places were traded throughout the final few laps in true Legends style with Mickel leading from Rudman and Whitelegg starting the final lap. However the drama was not over as Mickel out braked himself at Rocket to allow Whitelegg to pass for the lead and take victory.
Yet again this was a typically terrific Anglesey race meeting with plenty of incident, but even more superb racing and excitement to boot. We look forward to our return to Anglesey in August if this meeting was anything to go by with great anticipation as the Fun Cup Championship race into the night and Caterhams come to the island from 12th to 14th August.
Words: Andrew Roberts
All photos: BRSCC YouTube LiveStream