ROCKINGHAM COOPER REPORT - MINI CHALLENGE

Rockingham MSVR Cooper Pro/Am Class race report

Qualifying: Weather: Cloudy/Dry Duration: 15 minutes
Nearly midday but overcast for the 17 Cooper Class cars. 10 in the Pro Class, led by Jessica Hawkins and 7 in the Am class led by Stuart Mclaren. A lot of the drivers were struggling to get to know the Rockingham circuit. It is “round the wrong way” anti-clockwise and has a very grippy surface. It was not until the last few laps, at the end of the session that the best times were achieved. Jessica was on P1, as she has been all season. Owen Walton was on P2 with his car running the best we have every seen it all season, Richard Newman was on P3. (Relegated to P5). Average speeds were all around 70 mph for these 3. Matt Hammond was having brake trouble though still made P3. Sam Weller was not at his best but was on P4 after the grid penalty applied to Richard.

In the Am class, Daniel Bishop was bang on the pace and secured P1, with Stuart Mclaren, the class leader in P2 followed by Chris Middleton in P3.

Qualifying Results:
Pro:
P1: Jessica Hawkins
P2: Owen Walton
P3: Richard Newman (2 place grid penalty)
Am
P1: Daniel Bishop
P2: Stuart Mclaren
P3: Chris Middleton

Round 3 Race 1 Weather Cloudy/Dry Duration 15 minutes

Lights to flag for Jessica is becoming a habit. Jessica is so very quick, tidy and fast. At the flag, she nearly had a 2 second margin. Owen Walton has come alive and though he never worried Jessica he showed that he too is quick and pulled away from the rest of the field.

Sam Weller and Matt Hammond had a good battle with Matt staying behind Sam for the whole race. Fastest lap in Pro Class went to Owen Walton.

Martin Poole and Richard Newman in Pro Class had a race of their own, while Simon Walton was trying to get his new car set up to his liking. His old car being “bent” at Silverstone. Nice looking car in true Minion colours!

In the Am class, Daniel Bishop was again out in front for the whole race with Chris Middleton and Stuart Mclaren close behind but never managing to pass each other. Adrian Norman was staying in touch. Neil Clarke worked his way past Dale Jameson and Andy Godfrey. Fastest lap in Am Class went to Daniel Bishop

Race 1 Results:
Pro:
P1: Jessica Hawkins
P2: Owen Walton
P3 Sam Weller
Am
P1: Daniel Bishop
P2: Chris Middleton
P3: Stuart Mclaren

Round 3 Race 2 Weather Cloudy/Dry Duration 15 minutes

Dark clouds welcomed the last race of the meeting. The rain was in the air but it kept away. What a great last race this was. Reverse grid mixing the cars up. Matt Hammond on Pole with Sam Weller on P2. Owen Walton on P3 and Jessica on P4 in the Pro Class.

In the Am class, Adrian Norman was on P1 alongside Stuart Mclaren, on P3 was Chris Middleton, P4 had Daniel Bishop.

Sam Weller pulled away at the start and Matt Hammond slotted in behind him. In the Am class, Chris Middleton got the best start and Daniel Bishop slotted in behind him. Adrian Norman had a bad start and struggled with pace.

On lap 5 an incident caused the safety car to come out, on the restart Neil Clarke went off the track coming out of Graceland and caused the whole track to go to waved yellows. Jessica made a move on Sam Weller just before the incident and Martin Poole just after the incident.

The track went green for the last lap. With Matt Hammond the winner from Owen Walton and Jessica Hawkins.

In the Am Class, Daniel Bishop got the win from Chris Middleton and Stuart Mclaren. All 3 went to the Podium ready for the celebration and champagne.

Post race an appeal was submitted. This resulted in a 1 second penalty being applied to Jessica Hawkins, this gave the P3 to Martin Poole and P4 to Sam Weller.

Race 2 Results:
Pro
P1: Matt Hammond
P2: Owen Walton
P3: Martin Poole
Am
P1: Daniel Bishop
P2: Chris Middleton
P3: Stuart Mclaren

Going into the next round at the Brands Hatch MINI Festival it all is shaping up for a great set of races. Jessica Hawkins, Matt Hammond, Sam Weller and Owen Walton all are going well. Can the men take the challenge to Girl Power in the Pro Class? In the Am class, Stuart Mclaren and Chris Middleton are both going well and Adrian Norman is no too far behind them.