While there’s no disguising the fact that an entry of 13 cars for the Silverstone National circuit was very disappointing, at least we had glorious weather and those who did enter had superb conditions for an exciting day’s racing and enjoyed a convivial and positive atmosphere between everyone in our pit garages – something not to be taken lightly.

Some drivers were absent due to injuries sustained in other sporting activities (James Ford) and others due to a blown engine at Croft (Scott Austin) and Mark Skeggs somehow managed to achieve both these things. Ian Stapleton’s continuing absence was attributed to what appears to be a growing problem in Club Motorsport – the difficulty of getting hold of essential parts, in his case getting hold of a gear set that he originally ordered from a supplier in October 2023 who had promised delivery in 6 weeks.

On a positive note, we welcomed four new drivers to our championship. Nathan Bicknell brought his red Alfa 33 to the Power Trophy class and Garry Jackson the ex-Luther Blissett/Jon Tortolani 156 to the Twin Spark Cup, both having their first competitive race and both acquitted themselves extremely well. We also welcomed the experienced and former chief instructor at Silverstone Steve Deeks in the Alfa Workshop 4C and Jamie Porter’s brother-in-law Jack Berry in the Alfa Workshop’s MiTo 404, Jack also having his first competitive race (although you’d never have believed it!). With other new drivers expected to compete soon as well as some returning ones there is hope for the future.


It was bright and sunny with a cool breeze when we began our qualifying session at 9.45 and the first question that arose during the session had the appearance of a riddle that wasn’t a joke: ‘When is a kerb not a kerb?’ A number of drivers, most notably Steve Deeks (6 times), had lap times deleted due to exceeding track limits – all at Copse Corner. Mike Hilton was one of these and having never previously had a lap time deleted for this reason he got to work with his iPad to find out why. The answer transcended the ridiculous. Part of the kerb at the corner had been painted green, with some white markings also showing in places. Therefore, although it was still a kerb, as far as the officials were concerned it was grass because it was (mostly) green and if you put a wheel on it you had exceeded track limits. That clarified we had no transgressions in our races but it was difficult to pretend that it wasn’t farcical. Hopefully they will have painted that section of kerbing a different colour by the time the British Grand Prix takes place…

The first to go quickest early in the session was Steve Deeks with a time of 1:03.841 on his first flying lap in the 4C and on his 4th lap he set an early provisional pole time of 1:01.735. 6 of his 9 subsequent laps were deleted for the above reason but even if they had counted he would not have outqualified the flying Jamie Thwaites in the TCR Giulietta. Jamie steadily buit his pace throughout the session; his quickest 3 laps were his final 3 and he achieved pole with a 1:00.241 on his final lap. This was over 2 seconds inside Gareth Haywood’s lap record which augured well for a new race lap record later in the day. With Steve also under the lap record he would join Jamie on the front row.

It was great to see Barry McMahon back on the entry list in his championship winning Modified class 156, although P3 on the grid has been unaccustomed territory for Barry in recent times. Initially all seemed well as he worked his way down to a time of 1:02.313 on his 6th lap, but just when we were expecting the fireworks to start his times dropped off with a series of laps in a variety of different times so things were evidently not quite right with the car. A crack in the exhaust manifold appeared to be the potential cause. Jack Berry was 4th quickest in the MiTO and a series of laps in the 1:04/1:05s was highly creditable in his first competitive outing and – more importantly – he was enjoying himself.

Leading Power Trophy class runner Richard Ford was 5th quickest overall in his GT – a return to form and a change of fortune for Richard after the series of niggly mechanical issues he has experienced over the past couple of seasons. A best time of 1:07.203 marked an excellent performance. Dave Messenger in the sole V6 class entry was just 2/10ths adrift of Richard and Andy Page in his Modified class Giulietta 116 was 1/10th further back, promising a close midfield battle come the races. These 3 drivers are mainstays of the championship and it was gratifying to see them all running well.

Things didn’t go quite so smoothly for another mainstay of the championship, Stacey Dennis. Her Giulietta seems to have acquired a habit of going into limp mode recently and it happened again on her out lap. She pitted and was sent on her way again by the Bianco team but then it happened again before suddenly clearing on her 3rd lap and she began to do competitive lap times. She worked her way down to a respectable time of 1:09.166 before pitting again towards the end of the session, perturbed by a knocking sound coming from the front suspension. With his 4C still behaving temperamentally on the rolling road, Mike Hilton elected to have his first ever race in a front wheel drive car – Bianco’s Giulietta 1.4T. Adapting to a different cornering technique proved to be counter intuitive but he was enjoying the challenge and 1:10.122 put him 9th overall.

Nathan Bignell was next in his Alfa 33 and in his first ever qualifying session he went extremely well. He approached the session methodically, not rushing things, and gradually turned up the wick, reeling off a series of strong laps in the 1:11s and setting his quickest time of 1:10.472 on his final lap, just 3/10ths behind Mike and a couple of seconds clear of the Twin Sparks – a fine performance. As might have been expected Toby Broome took the Twin Spark ‘pole’ with a best time of 1:12.177 but Edward Robinson and debutant Garry Jackson also dipped into the 1:12s on their quickest laps with a 1:12.635 and 1:12.921 respectively, so the closeness of the times suggested that Toby wasn’t going to win without breaking sweat.


It was a long wait till our first race at 2.20 PM and by then we were enjoying blazing sunlight and much hotter temperatures with the breeze no longer taking the edge off the heat. On the green flag lap Steve Deeks’s 4C was slow away but he then got going and circulated in his correct position. However, when he positioned himself next to Jamie Thwaites on the grid the engine wouldn’t pick up and he signalled that he had a problem. There was a short delay as the marshals pushed him off the grid to avoid a startline incident. When the red lights went out the rest of the field got a good clean start, although Garry Jackson was slow away at the tail of the field. Meanwhile in the pit lane Steve’s 4C was still not running correctly initially but then suddenly the engine warning light went off and it roared into life and he took off after the rest albeit some 40 seconds adrift with a lot of ground to make up.

The extra heat made the track slower than it had been earlier in the day, with some drivers unable to match their qualifying times, but at the front Jamie Thwaites was setting a blistering pace. At the end of lap 1 he led Barry McMahon by a second and Jack Berry by over 2 seconds These gaps progressively widened as the race developed, with Barry unable to keep pace with Jamie and Jack likewise with Barry. By lap 6 Jamie had a 19-second lead over Barry and by now it was clear that all was not well with Barry’s car. On lap 5 he had 7 seconds in hand over Jack but then the gap began to come down for a few laps before stabilising at around 3-4 seconds. Barry was now lapping in the 1:06s, well off the pace that he and the car are capable of. By lap 12 the gap to Jack had come down to 1.5 seconds where it stayed till lap 17 when Barry retired the 156. The split in the exhaust manifold had widened and to cap it all a drive shaft failure became imminent so that was that – a great shame for a great driver and a great car.

As Jack Berry took over 2nd place overall, where was Steve Deeks after his much-delayed start? It took 5 laps for him to catch up with the tail of the field and begin clearing back markers. In the process of making his way through the field he was lapped by Jamie on lap 7 but continued to pass car after car. His lap times were affected slightly by having to make his way through the traffic and his times throughout were around the 1:03 mark. He had risen to 4th overall by lap 15 and inherited 3rd with Barry’s retirement a couple of laps later but Jack Berry was too far ahead in second place for any further progress to be possible.

Behind the top 3 Richard Ford, Andy Page, Dave Messenger and Stacey Dennis were engaged in a midfield battle as the qualifying times had suggested they would be. At the end of lap 1 Richard led the quartet but was then passed by Andy Page on lap 2. Unlike some, Andy was going quicker in the race than in qualifying, lapping consistently in the 1:08s early on, but Dave and Richard were matching his times and he wasn’t able to pull away from them. Stacey was a couple of seconds adrift in 7th and then gradually fell away from the other 3. They held station until lap 11 when Dave (wearing number 7 instead of his normal 79 due to a typo on the entry list) got past Richard, the latter making a slight mistake at Maggots and running wide but then electing not to fight too hard as he still held the Power Trophy class lead some way clear of Stacey. On lap 14 Dave got past Andy on the Hangar Straight afet Andy was slow exiting Maggots but Andy quickened his pace into the 1:07s and retook the place at Copse on the next lap and held it to the chequered flag. The four of them finished in that order 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th.

Behind Stacey, Nathan Bignell was lapping strongly in 8th, setting times close to Stacey’s – not close enough to make a serious challenge for the place but it was a drive showing great promise and he finished well clear of Mike Hilton who had dropped to the rear of the field suffering erratic turbo boost with a consequent lack of power. The Twin Spark group was led throughout by Toby Broome who took a fine class win ahead of a dicing Edward Robinson and Garry Jackson. Edward was not lapping quite as quickly as he had in qualifying and Garry was able to close in on him after a slow getaway at the start; he got past Edward briefly but Edward repassed him at Luffield. Fighting back, Garry then made a mistake, put a wheel off in the gravel and spun. He got going again but had lost a lot of time and by then Edward was well out of reach to take the 2nd in class place.

At the front of the field Jamie Thwaites pressed on at full pace trying his hardest to breach the 1-minute mark with his lap times. It remained tantalisingly out of reach but his best time of 1:00.754 was still 1.6 seconds quicker than the lap record which was therefore conclusively surpassed, Jamie taking a dominant race victory.

Race 1 Results

ModifiedJamie Thwaites
V6Dave Messenger
Power TrophyRichard Ford
Twin Spark CupToby Broome


Our second race was the final one of the day at 5.30 PM. Track conditions had improved again as the air temperature had cooled a little. Barry McMahon had decided to withdraw as a result of his mechanical problems but all the rest were ready to go. With no engine gremlins to contend with at the start this time Steve Deeks made a rapid start and led at the end of the first lap from Jamie Thwaites and Jack Berry before Jamie passed him on lap 2 to take the lead. Jamie then pulled clear of the field, going quicker and quicker: 1:00.207, 1:00.131 then finally he broke the 1 minute mark with a lap of 59.975 – sensational! However….

as Mike Hilton’s Giulietta went into limp mode on lap 8 he had pulled off the circuit at Copse – well off the circuit and out of the way of potential spinners – but there were waved yellows which Jamie missed as he lapped Andy Page. He only realised his mistake when he saw the green light after the exit to Copse. His heart sank and the seemingly inevitable happened after the race – disqualification. A real shame after a great drive.

Of course none of this was known until after the race. Steve Deeks was now unknowingly in the lead in the 4C and he steadily pulled clear of Jack Berry in 2nd place and actually lapped Jack eventually on lap 15 but both drivers drove impeccably to finish 1st and 2nd respectively. No driver likes to win as the result of the disqualification of a driver who finishes ahead of them but nevertheless it was a fine result for the Alfa Workshop team.

Andy Page led the midfield battle throughout with a train behind him of Dave Messenger, Richard Ford, Stacey Dennis and Nathan Bignell behind him, all driving well but unable to mount a challenge to the car in front for most of the race. However, Stacey was experiencing a difficulty at the exit to corners, the car hesitating as she picked up the throttle, and Nathan Bignell closed in. For 3 laps he lined up an overtaking move at Luffield but wasn’t quite able to get through, but the 4th time he succeeded – a fine move which helped him to win the Driver of the Day award. Richard Ford also established the Power Trophy lap record at the circuit with a lap time of 1:07.827 and he now holds both Power Trophy and Twin Spark Cup lap records there.

The Twin Spark Cup battle was again won by Toby Broome, lapping smoothly and consistently in the 1:12s ahead of Edward Robinson and Garry Jackson. However, Edward is continuing to improve his performances and his fastest lap was only 0.2s slower than Toby’s and this time the gap back to Garry in 3rd was greater than in race 1. Garry was lapping in the 1:13s but his car would not rev cleanly above 5000 RPM and eventually he retired from the race on lap 18. However, it was a very creditable performance in his first ever circuit race.

Race 2 Results

ModifiedSteve Deeks
V6Dave Messenger
Power TrophyRichard Ford
Twin Spark CupToby Broome

The Championship now moves on to Cadwell Park on 20th/21st July where we hope to have a healthy grid of cars to tackle this challenging circuit on the Lincolnshire Wolds. Get those entries in!

Andy Robinson

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