If you wanted variety in racing cars from around the world then this was the race to watch at Donington last weekend.
From American muscle cars with sonorous V8s represented by a Ford Mustang and a Studebaker Lark Daytona 500, from Sweden a Volvo Amazon, Alfa-Romeos from Italy, BMWs from Germany and a range of British cars from a 998cc Hillman Imp to a 3.8 litre Jaguar Mk VII. And this last race of Saturday was a real humdinger right to the end thanks to a gladitorial battle between Martin Stretton in a Lotus Cortina and Sean McInerney in a BMW 1800TiSA.
Tomlin/Stretton put their Lotus Cortina on pole with the Studebaker of Nick Whale and Richard Dutton alongside, but both were quickly overtaken by Howard Wise and John Young in their Lotus Cortina. However the gremlins struck and the lead Lotus Cortina was forced to retire on lap six, and the McInerney BMW took the lead.
The widest 1800 Ti BMW ever made…
For the next 8 laps the Cortina of Tomlin/Stretton snapped at its heels but was unable to get past. The Studebaker of Whale and Dutton used all its 4.5 litres to power down the straights but couldn’t keep up on the twisty bits. It was well placed up the field, then it too succumbed to mechanical misfortune and retired on lap 10. At the driver change Martin Stretton took over the Cortina and set off in pursuit of the Bimmer. From his perspective although it looked like an ordinary 1800 TiSa it must have been the widest one they ever made. However on lap 21 Martin managed to squeeze past to take the lead. However taking a wide exit at Roberts allowed the BMW to retake the lead. Martin then battled to find a way past the BMW, on one occasion putting all four wheels on the grass attempting an inside pass on the way to Redgate. The final laps saw them scything through the back markers but the positions remained and at the flag the gap was a fraction over one second.
Epic stuff! The Mustang of Nicholas King followed home in third, while fourth was Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams again proving he’s lost none of his artistry when racing Mini’s.
Pictures: Chris McEvoy