Equipe Classic Racing at Cadwell Park – 20 April 2024

MSV’s Lincolnshire circuit hosted Equipe’s second race meeting of the year. With their saloon and sportscar categories on the programme, the races produced some close competition and entertaining battles to keep the spectators entertained.

Equipe Classic Racing has hitherto been the preserve of classic sports and racing cars from the 50s, 60s and 70s but the addition of the MG Cup has brought more modern front-wheel drive MGs and Rovers into the Equipe family. 

The MG Cup and BCV8s had two 20 minute races during the day whilst the Equipe GTS, Libra and Libra Plus entrants had 40minute pitstop races.

MG Cup Pole man, Jack Chapman, chased by Dennis Robinson and Leon Wignall

Equipe MG Cup

Jack Chapman (MG ZR 170) set the pace in qualifying with a storming lap nearly two seconds ahead of the similar car of Tony Wigley followed by Leon Wignall and Ashley Woodward who filled the second row of the grid.

Chapman got away well at the start of race 1 to lead at the end of the first lap from Dennis Robinson (MG ZR 170) who had moved up from P5 on the grid. Leon Wignall (MG ZR 170) was close behind the leading pair and it looked like the race was shaping up to be an epic battle between these three contenders. But it was not to be as Wignall dropped down the order on lap 2 following a spin and Chapman limped into retirement on lap 3 leaving Robinson in P1 with Woodward some 3.7s in arrears. However, Cal Moore was on a charge from the sixth row of the grid and was into P4 by lap four. He then claimed P2 on lap 7 but by then Robinson had a substantial lead and, despite his best efforts, Moore was unable to bridge the gap and took the flag in P2 with Woodward P3.

Class wins went to: Class A – Paul Wignall; Class B – Cal Moore; Class C – Ashley Woodward; Class D – Keith Egar.

Cal Moore heading for the MG Cup Class B win in Race 1

Race 2 saw Robinson complete the double another win. He was never headed as he eased away form the pack. Initially Moore was his closest rival with Woodward P3 but Keith Agar was on a charge in his slick-shod MG Midget. From eighth on the grid he was sixth at the end of lap 1 and then set about picking off the cars ahead passing Tony Wigley and Leon Wignall on lap 4. He then demoted Woodward on lap 5 and was into P2 two laps later. Once again, Robinson had an unassailable lead and took the top step of the podium followed by Egar and Moore.

Class winners were: Class A – Paul Wignall; Class B – Cal Moore; Class C – Ashley Woodward; Class D – Keith Egar.

James Wheeler heads a train of BGT V8s around Chris Curve

Equipe BCV8s

As anticipated the Class D Full Race BGT V8s dominated the day with the fastest trio of Jordan Spencer, Jack Rawles and Neil Fowler separated by less than 0.3s after the 20 minute qualifying session. James Wheeler and Russ McCarthy were not far behind in P4 and P5 respectively. The sight and sound of these hugely powerful machines blasting round the the narrow Cadwell circuit would have stirred the soul of even the most sceptical observer.

The two 20-minute races were superb! When the lights went out to start Race 1 Wheeler made a tremendous start and blasted into the lead from the second row of the grid. Behind him the howling pack of V8s squabbled for position for the remainder of the race with Rawles looking most likely to displace the leader. However, after several laps of great racing Rawles put two wheels on the grass heading up the Mountain and spun. He was unable to restart and, with his car in a vulnerable spot, the CoC had no alternative but to bring out the red flags leaving Wheeler to take the laurels from McCarthy and Spencer.

The class winners were James Walpole (MGB Roadster), Paul Eales (MGB Roadster) and Ken Deamer (MGB GT V8).

Jack Rawles on his way to victory in the BCV8 Race 2

Race 2 provided a fitting end to a good day’s racing. This time Spencer got away well from pole and led at the end of lap 1 with Wheeler and Fowler P2 and P3 respectively. Rawles, who got wheelspin off the line, had dropped to fourth but would stage a comeback and move up to P3 on lap 6. By that time Wheeler had taken the lead and was being harried by Spencer who was intent on reclaiming the top spot. On the approach to Park on lap 7 Spencer locked his rear brakes and, as his car slewed sideways he clipped the rear of Wheeler’s machine taking them both onto the grass on the outside of the bend. They both restarted but Wheeler retired whilst Spencer continued to finish P3. A very grateful Rawles safely avoided the errant cars and went on to take the win with McCarthy claiming P2.

Walpole and Eales were again class winners.

Rob Cull, unchallenged in the lead of the Equipe GTS race

Equipe GTS

Rob Cull was listed in the programme as having entered all three of the races for the 50s, 60s and 70s sports and saloon cars and his performance during qualifying for the GTS race must have been a concern to the other entrants. His TVR Grantura was over 3 seconds faster than Trevor Buckley (MGB Roadster) during the 20 minute session with Babar Farsian (MGB Roadster) a further 3 seconds adrift.

Dominic Mooney extracting the max from his MG Ashley GT

Cull made a great start when the lights went out at the start of the 40 minute pitstop race and opened a gap on lap 1 to head the field from Buckley and Dominic Mooney (MG Ashley GT) who had moved up from the third row of the grid. By the end of lap 2 Mooney had claimed P2 but was already some 10 seconds behind the flying Cull who continued to extend his lead to 55 seconds by the time the chequered flag flew at the end of lap 22. Buckley was classified P2 having regained the position from Mooney on the penultimate lap. Steve Spink, the only other driver not to have been lapped, brought his MGB Roadster home in P4.

Simon Cripps (MGB Roadster), who briefly held the lead during the pitstop window, incurred a 3 lap penalty for an infringement during his visit to the pits but then retired from P2 on lap 15.

An eclectic mix of cars formed the Libra Plus grid

Equipe Libre Plus

The entry for the Equipe Libre Plus race featured a great mix of cars from the Libre, 50s, Pre’63 and 70s categories. It was Mark Lucock in his Escort MK 1 RS2000 who took pole ahead of the Cobra Daytona 4700 of Graham Moss. Several of the more powerful cars qualified lower down the grid than expected which offered the prospect of entertaining track action once the 40 minute pitstop race got underway.

Moss used the power of the Daytona to lead them away. Richard Hodson slotting the diminutive Lotus Mk VI into second and Lucock completed lap 1 in P3. Hudson inherited the P1 on lap 4 when Moss, who had pulled out a 2 second lead, retired but the nimble Lotus was unable to outpace Brian Caudwell’s thundering black Cobra that was carving its way through the field from the fifth row of the grid. Caudwell took the lead on lap 7 and was not headed again, except for one lap during the pitstops.

Lucock held on to P3 until lap 10 but was overtaken by the Mustang Mach1 of Martin Reynolds and then dropped out of the race when he was unable to restart after his pitstop at the end of lap 11. Hudson was briefly back in the lead when Caudwell made his pitstop at the end of lap 12 but relinquished the place when he made his own stop to hand the Lotus over to Charles Angrave. 

Brian Caldwell and Martin Reynolds, P1 and P2 in the Libra Plus race

During the second half of the race Caudwell stretched his lead to 18 seconds from Reynolds and Angrave but was greeted by the safety car at the end of lap 17 when the Triumph TR250 of Roy Chamberlain stopped at Coppice. As the clock ticked down the race finished behind the safety car with Caudwell winning from Reynolds and Angrave/Hodson. Jamie Boot was fourth in his TVR Griffith.

Rob Cull, who had qualified on the second row of the grid dropped to P10 on the opening lap but then took no further part in the proceedings after a rear wheel decided to part company with the car on lap 2.

teve Spink, P4 in the GTS race and P6 in the Libre race

Equipe Libre

Many of the cars from the Libre Plus race were also entered in the Libre race and, for many, it was battle rejoined for the penultimate race of the day.

Qualifying saw Brian Caldwell take pole in his Cobra with the Angrave/Hodson Lotus in P2. The Cull TVR, which qualified in P3, could not be repaired in time and non-started. 

Caudwell powered the Cobra into the lead at the start and led throughout except for lap 13 when he made his pitstop. Behind him there was battle royal between the Angrave/Hodson Lotus MK VI and the Lotus Elan 1600 of Andrew Cahill. Initially Angrave held onto his start position but Cahill was past him and into P2 on lap 3 only to be hit with a ten second penalty for an out of position start. Try as he might, Cahill couldn’t shake off Angrave who stayed right with him throughout the race.

The Lotus MK IV and Elan battled from lights to flag

Caudwell pitted form the lead at the end of lap 13. He resumed in P4 but was back in the lead one lap later. Both Lotus racers pitted on lap 14. Angrave had a longer stop as he handed over to Hodson but Cahill could not take advantage and overcome the penalty as the two Lotus’s were very evenly matched, the Elan’s fasted lap was 1:45.479, marginally quicker than the MK VIs 1:45.525. Although Cahill crossed the line in P2 he was classified P3, only 2.9s adrift.

The next Equipe Classic race meeting will be at Oulton Park on 18th May.