Pete Morris took two of the three overall wins as the Baylis & Harding Porsche Club Championship field took on the challenge of the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit (June 21st and 22nd), Tom Bradshaw taking the opening race before Morris dominated. Mark Koeberle went one better in Class Two – taking his first ever class win in race one, then going on to make it a clean sweep of wins over the weekend.
The meeting also saw the Club present the Bill Taylor Memorial Trophy, competed for annually on a handicap basis – which was won by Jonathan Evans.
QualifyingBradshaw set the early pace in qualifying on Saturday morning, then improving his time at the mid-point of the session, Morris immediately responding but with a time only good enough for second on the grid. Adrian Slater was second early on, but was leapfrogged by team-mate Mark Sumpter with two minutes left to make it an all Paragon 964 second row.“That was pretty close, we are just two-tenths clear on a long lap,” said Bradshaw. “I went out again and was up on my time but lost time behind a backmarker, so I know we have a little more time in the car so should be good for the races.”In Class Two Koeberle’s Porsche Centre Leicester-backed 968 CS outpaced Stuart Ings and Paul Livesy, John Williams quickest in Class Three.Race OneBradshaw led away from pole in the first of Saturday’s two races, the lead group forming up behind in grid order. On the move was Mark McAleer, up to sixth at the end of the first lap from ninth on the grid, and past John McCullagh for fifth at the end of lap two.Bradshaw was pushing his Hartech 996 hard in the early running to open a gap on the rest, Morris in turn easing clear of Sumpter as McAleer began looking for a way past Slater, taking the position on lap four. In Class Two Livesey was leading, with Koeberle and Ings in close attendance.Bradshaw stayed clear to open the weekend with a win, Morris second ahead of Sumpter. McAleer’s early charge had taken a lot out of his tyres and he slipped down the order in the latter laps, Slater taking fourth ahead of Richard Ellis and McAleer.“I was aiming to push hard early on as the car felt good, and the plan worked,” said Bradshaw. “The 996 was nice and consistent, but we will tweak the set up a little for the next race.”“I couldn’t stay with Tom,” said Morris, “but was able to keep clear of the rest. I’m happy to start the weekend with another second place, consistency is what is important.”“Our only opportunity was going to be to get amongst them right at the start,” said Sumpter, “but they got away and there was nothing more we could do, they weren’t slowing each other up and we couldn’t stay with them.”Lap seven saw the decisive move in the Class Two battle, Koeberle going past Livesey to take the lead, and reel off the remaining laps to take his first class win, Ings taking third.“Everything came together today,” said Koeberle. “I had an average start, but I knew I had a lot of time to get back past them and I waited and it all came good. My tyres stayed in a good state and I was doing what I had to do and I’m delighted to get a win.”Race TwoMorris made the best of starts for lap two, Bradshaw slipping down to fourth on lap one as Slater and Sumpter claimed second and third. In a dramatic lap three, Bradshaw took third from Sumpter, McAleer pitted with a detached wheel arch lining that was thrashing round, Gary Sullivan went off on the pit straight but David Botterill trumped everyone with a fire on the rear of the car that was out of his sight, the Yorkshireman completing a lap trailing flames and smoke before pitting.Once the dust had settle it was still Morris in front, but now Ellis was in the thick of the podium fight, and for a while it was a four way battle for the position before Ellis and Bradshaw broke clear of Sumpter and Slater. Sumpter slowed on lap six and retired, Slater then becoming embroiled in a battle with McCullagh for fourth.Morris calmly stayed clear for the lead, while the fight between Ellis and Bradshaw for second went the way of the former’s Strasse 993 C2 once Bradshaw was given a five-second penalty for exceeding the track limits. McCullagh was fourth, Slater tumbling down the order as a wheel bearing failure pitched him into several spins.“I had a plan, I’d saved a set of tyres from Croft and knew I had to go quick early on or they would catch me,” said Morris. “I nursed the tyres home at the end, happy to take another win.”“The car was great,” said Ellis. “It was a great battle with Tom, we had so many moments between us it’s hard to pick them all out. There was some oil down so you had to be careful, but we were getting braver by the lap and the car was sliding.”“I was running wide as the tyres went and ended up going a bit too wide in places,” said Bradshaw, “but I had a good race with Adrian Slater and then Richard Ellis – very clean, very enjoyable.”The Class Two battle was equally intense, Andy Toon heading a train of cars with Livesey, Koeberle and Ings right with him. Koeberle moved up to second, then made his move with two laps to go to slide inside Livesey at Copse and claim his second win of the day, Toon taking second. Jakob Ebrey won Class Three, Williams having engine failure on his 911.“I was hanging back early on and didn’t want to get too close,” said Koeberle. “It was all about timing, if I went too soon they were going to come back at me so I let them fight and heat their tyres while I saved mine. I knew roughly how many laps were left and made a move when I had to.”Race ThreeSunday morning’s race again saw Morris head the field away, Bradshaw retiring early with a suspected electrical issue that had been plaguing him since race one. Ellis was second at the end of lap one, with Chris Dyer in third, his Strasse Cayman improving race by race over the weekend.Ellis was right with Morris, the pair trading positions and running close for the majority of the race. Ellis made a good exit from Luffield with a lap to go and Morris had to defend into Copse, but stayed clear to take his Strasse 996 to its second win of the weekend.A storming opening lap charge from Slater was him quickly into fourth from eighth on the grid, and closed in on Dyer, going past at Aintree on lap eight to claim the final podium position, Dyer having to be satisfied with fourth – the Cayman’s best finish.“I saw my water light flashing on the first lap, so I had the heater on full blast and cooked myself for 20-minutes,” said Morris. “Richard Ellis got past while I was watching the gauges, and even though I was trying to nurse the car home the pace was still pretty quick. Two firsts and a second this weekend is pretty good.”“That was a great battle with Pete,” said Ellis. “I was trying to look for an opening without doing anything silly. I was keeping the pressure on, but I was having some brake issues and knew even if I did get in front I couldn’t keep him behind. A good weekend.”“I had a great battle with John McCullagh once I got up to him,” said Slater, “but he then fell away and I was chasing down the top three. I finally managed to muscle my way down the inside of Chris Dyer at the hairpin and I’m delighted to take third from eighth on the grid.”Again it was a close battle in Class Two, Koeberle electing to make his move earlier than in the other races and hitting the front at the mid-point of the race and breaking his duck in style with three wins from the weekend. Williams claimed Class Three in a 911 3.2 Carrera he picked up from home overnight.“The car ingested a stone in testing on Friday,” said Koeberle, “the team changed the cam belt and now I have three wins! Again I was just sitting in early on, I went past and got away, he came back, and it was a great class battle.”Baylis & Harding Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli, Round Five (11 Laps): 1 Tom Bradshaw (996 C2); 2 Pete Morris (996 C2) +4.369s; 3 Mark Sumpter (964 C2); 4 Adrian Slater (964 C2); 5 Richard Ellis (93 C2); 6 Mark McAleer (996 C2); 7 Chris Dyer (Cayman S); 8 John McCullagh (Boxster S); 9 Kevin Harrison (964 C2); 10 Jonathan Evans (Boxster S). Class Winners: Bradshaw; Mark Koeberle (968 CS); John Williams (911 Carrera RS). Fastest Lap: Bradshaw 2m18.387s (94.67mph).Race Two (11 Laps): 1 Morris; 2 Ellis +9.444s; 3 Bradshaw; 4 McCullagh; 5 Harrison; 6 Dyer; 7 Evans; 8 Slater; 9 Koeberle; 10 Toon. Class Winners: Morris; Koeberle; Jakob Ebrey (924S). Fastest Lap: Morris, 2m19.614s (93.84mph). Race Three (11 Laps): 1 Morris; 2 Ellis +0.408s; 3 Slater; 4 Dyer; 5 McAleer; 6 Harrison; 7 Evans; 8 Koeberle; 9 Ings; 10 Livesey. Class Winners: Morris; Koeberle; Williams (911 3.2 Carrera). Fastest Lap: Morris, 2m19.385s (93.99mph).Next Races: Rockingham, Northants, July 12th and 13th.