MR2 championship - Race Reports & TV Coverage

MR2 Championship - August 5th 2012
Anglesey Ty Croes Circuit

As Team GB racked up more Olympic gold medals in London, the Toyota MR2 competitors gathered in Anglesey to compete for their own prizes – valuable points towards the 2012 Championship.

A slightly reduced field of 18 cars arrived at the beautiful coastal Ty Croes circuit to race in rounds 9 and 10 of the championship. Guy Hefford put in a series of stunning lap times in the morning qualifying session to claim pole position by almost a full second from Michael Wells. Paul Hinson, looking for some good results after a disappointing Donington Park meeting last time out, claimed 3rd on the grid with current MR2 Super GT and former MR2 Championship race winner Alric Kitson in 4th. Kitson, who had arrived at the circuit in his new Toyota GT86 road car, was using the races as a shakedown for his white Mk2 which had been gathering dust since the end of the 2009 season. Championship leader George Robinson lined up 5th with Reading’s Matthew Palmer alongside him. Devonian Ben Rowe was 7th, Matt Wallis 8th, Tim Heron 9th and series veteran Clive Morphett 10th. Jim Davies, the only class C Mk3 entrant this weekend with the Nicholls family absent, lined up 13th vowing to do better in the races.

Race 1 took two attempts to get going. Wells led the first lap comprehensively after contact with Hefford at the start left the matt black car off the road and having to rejoin at the back. Guy was to get another chance however as Amy Atkinson crashed heavily at the start of the second lap, bringing out the red flags. The Middlesborough lady was somewhat battered and bruised by the impact and was whisked off to the medical centre for a check-up. The good news was she was okay with no broken bones or serious injuries. Her previously immaculate orange-and-blue Mk2, however, was not so healthy…

The second start saw a much cleaner get-away for Hefford who led from Wells, Robinson, Palmer, Kitson, Wallis, Rowe and Hinson. Championship contender Hinson’s race unfortunately came to an early conclusion as he retired the yellow Mk2 on lap 3 with apparent brake issues. Wells hung onto the exhaust of Hefford for the first 5 laps until he took a dive at the Rocket chicane and, tyres smoking from a locked brake, got inside Guy to take the lead. Once there, the Yeovil man in the lime green machine was not going to relinquish the position and held on valiantly to take a jubilant first win. Hefford took 2nd, just 0.65s behind at the flag with Palmer a further 2s back in 3rd. Kitson came home 4th, complaining his car felt somewhat down on power. Robinson took 5th on the road, despite a spin at Rocket, but was penalised 10s for a jump start which left him an aggrieved 8th, promoting Rowe, Heron – a best ever finish for him – and Wallis up a place each. Dan Holmes drove a solid race to finish 9th – from 14th on the grid – one place ahead of class C winner, Jim Davies.

Gloriously sunny conditions greeted the 17 starters for race 2 and once again it was Hefford who got the best start, leading a rejuvenated Hinson from Robinson, Wells, Palmer, Wallis and Rowe. Paul set about hassling Guy as much as he could to try and force the #50 car into an error. On lap 6 he finally squeezed past and began to open a small gap. Hefford was not done though and recomposed himself for a final attack, going around the outside of Hinson at Rocket on the penultimate lap. Try as he might, Hinson couldn’t find a way back and had to settle for 2nd, 0.33s behind Guy at the flag. First race winner Wells had a perfect view of all this as he followed them home in 3rd with Palmer, Robinson – getting to keep 5th this time – Wallis, Kitson, Rowe, a much happier Davies in the Mk3, and Heron completing the top 10. The dicing in the lower half of the field was no less intense either as Mark Snelling, Holmes and Morphett jostled for 11th to 13th- Holmes narrowly avoiding a spinning Robert Wells on the 9th lap - and Mark Warren-Leighton, David Rowe and Peter Lewis all vying not to be the tail-end Charlie!

Guy Hefford has now closed to within 2 points of leader George Robinson in the championship with Matthew Palmer a further 25 points – a race win – behind. Battle resumes at Donington Park in early September where Robinson and Hefford took a win apiece in June. This one’s going to the wire…

Report and photographs by Gary Walton.

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