Masters News

Saturday 21st May 2022

Thomas/Lockie romp to dominant Masters Gentlemen Drivers victory at Donington

Julian Thomas and Calum Lockie finished the Masters Race Weekend at Donington Park in style by claiming a dominant victory in their Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé. Leading almost from start to finish, the pair romped home with a 51-second lead over the TVR Griffith of Nigel Greensall/John Spiers, with Mike Whitaker clinching a close third in another Griffith.

“Julian did all the hard work, really”, said Lockie. “He’s driven immaculately all weekend long. I was just cruising, no risk, take our first win of the weekend.”

“First time I’ve been on the top step this weekend, so I’m happy with that”, said Spiers. “Thanks to my co-driver for a fantastic opening stint!”

“It was hot and long!” quipped Whitaker. “I was looking faster than John in the end but Nigel had made a good break in the beginning. I’m happy with the podium, especially against all these amateur/pro line-ups!”

The John Pearson/Alex Brundle Jaguar E-type and the Andrew Jordan/Roy Alderslade Daytona Cobra took a distant fourth and fifth respectively, polesitter Jordan having challenged Thomas initially before the latter began stretching his legs. In another Daytona Cobra, Irishmen Michael Cullen and Paddy Shovlin ended up sixth, just in front of a thrilling battle for CLP class honours won by Robin Ward and Ron Maydon in the Ginetta G4R.

Nick & Eddie Powell stormed up into second place in class before their Lotus Elan began developing a brake problem, allowing father-and-son duo John & Sam Tordoff in a similar Elan to snatch the place right at the end. Andy Willis led the CLP class before the stops but team mate Stephan Joebstl couldn’t hold on to that, their Elan dropping to fourth in class.

“I would like to say that I played with Tordoff for a bit and then put the hammer down”, Maydon joked, “but Robin gave me a great lead and I just needed to bring it home.”

“I really enjoyed it!” said Sam Tordoff. “It’s my dad’s first race with Masters, and our first race together in the Elan. We’ll now be trying to make dad faster and faster – that’s the plan!”

“We did well to catch second,” said Eddie Powell, “but then we had a serious brake problem that cost us a lot of time. I think I could have stayed ahead if that hadn’t happened.”

David Smithies and Chris Clarkson cornered the C2 class in their Austin Healey 3000 while Andrew Walton took C1 honours in his Porsche 911.

Ending a gloriously sunny Easter meeting, the 22-car Gent Drivers grid got going for their event-closing 90-minute race, with Andrew Jordan performing the opening stint in Roy Alderslade’s Daytona Coupé – but it was Julian Thomas’ similar car that crossed the line in first after the opening lap. John Pearson’s E-type was third ahead of Mike Whitaker’s TVR Griffith, Michael Cullen in the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé shared with Paddy Shovlin, and Nigel Greensall in John Spiers’ Griffith. Soon after, though, Greensall demoted Cullen, with Nathan Dod in another TVR following through.

Andy Willis in the lead Lotus Elan was eighth ahead of class rival Robin Ward in Ron Maydon’s Ginetta G4R, with Mark Shaw in 12th overall occupying third place in the CLP class. The Elans of Nick Powell and John Tordoff were up next. David Smithies was the early C2 class leader, heading Mark Pangborn’s similar Austin Healey 3000.

After three laps, Thomas had eeked out a two-second lead over Jordan, while Whitaker had usurped Pearson for third, as Greensall chased the pair of them. Two laps later, Cullen fought back to regain sixth from Dod, who proceeded to also drop a place to Willis in Stephan Joebstl’s Elan. The reason was soon apparent, as Dod entered the pits with a damaged front left and a flat tyre, just as lap 6 was started with Thomas now five seconds ahead of Jordan. Whitaker had gone three seconds clear of the battle between Pearson and Greensall, the latter snatching fourth on that very lap.

In the second half of the top-ten, Ward had moved up into seventh by passing Peter Thompson in the AC Cobra, while Shaw entered the top-ten having overtaken another Cobra, this one belonging to David Methley.

Continuing his seering pace into lap 10, Thomas led Jordan by nine seconds, but Greensall and Pearson had both moved up places at Whitaker’s cost, to run third and fourth. Sadly, Shaw was into the pits with a brakeless Elan, denying star teammate Dario Franchitti the chance of driving the Lotus in the race.

Lap 13 was completed with Thomas again improving on his fastest lap of the race, the blue-and-silver Daytona Cobra now leading… Nigel Greensall in the TVR! Jordan was suddenly lapping two to three seconds slower than Thomas, but for now looked safe from Pearson and Whitaker, both setting similar lap times. Further back, Andy Wilis had gained another overall place by passing Cullen’s Cobra Daytona Coupé and was sixth overall while leading the CLP class Ward in eighth and Powell in tenth. Meanwhile, Methley’s Cobra pulled off at the back of the circuit, his engine smoking heavily.

Approaching the half-hour mark, Thomas maintained his commanding lead over Greensall who was equalling the Daytona Cobra’s laptimes but not bettering them, as he trailed Thomas by 14 seconds. Jordan had dropped away, now 13 seconds behind Greensall but leading Pearson by a similar margin, Whitaker following the E-type three seconds further down the road. Willis, Ward, Cullen, Thompson and Powell were next, the latter chased by Niall McFadden’s E-type. In C2, Smithies continued to lead Pangborn, while C1 and B1 competitors Andrew Walton (Porsche 911) and Robert Ingram (Lotus Elite) fought over 18th overall.

Little change occurred in the next ten minutes as the pit window drew ever nearer. Greensall did knibble away at Thomas’ lead, that went down from 14 to 10 seconds, while Whitaker got ahead of Pearson to be fourth. Jordan in third now trailed the leader by 40 seconds. Several of the shared crews with ‘elite’ and ‘elite plus’ drivers would have to make longer pitstops, so the order would certainly be looking very differently in the ten minutes that the pits would open for all the mandatory stops. Meanwhile, McFadden E-type pulled off at the Craner Curves.

On lap 32, Pearson opened the series of stops by handing over to Alex Brundle, with Cullen following to make way for Shovlin and Nick Powell switching places with Eddie Powell. Next, Jordan was in for Roy Alderslade while father John Tordoff handed their Lotus Elan to son Sam who on the cusp of the top-ten was surely looking to make up positions. Past the halfway mark, Ward handed over the Ginetta to Maydon, and soon after Whitaker was in for his stop. Then, on lap 35, the leader came into the pits to be relieved by Calum Lockie, immediately followed by Greensall who would hand over to John Spiers, and Andy Willis handing the reins to Stephan Joebstl.

As the pit window came to an end, we now had Lockie leading Spiers by 13 seconds, with Whitaker in third, 54 seconds down on the leader. Next up were Alderslade, a lap down already, followed by Brundle and Maydon – now in the class lead ahead of Joebstl. Shovlin was eighth ahead Eddie Powell, as Charles Allison completed the top-ten. In C2, Chris Clarkson in the Healey started by David Smithies led class rival Pangborn by two seconds, with the Ian Pearson/Callum Grant Marcos 1800 GT squeezed in between, Pearson driving.

On lap 38, Brundle’s pace was such that Alderslade was demoted to fifth, as Lockie increased his lead over Spiers to 22 seconds, with Whitaker still some 30 seconds adrift from second place while Brundle needed to overcome a similar gap to third – the start of another more static phase in the race, as the one-hour mark approached. Having said that, Sam Tordoff did make his way into the top-ten by passing Allison’s Cobra, but his nearest CLP class rival, Eddie Powell, was still 45 seconds up ahead and setting similar times.

On lap 49, Lockie having increased his lead to a massive 32 seconds, Eddie Powell moved past Stephan Joebstl to take eighth overall and second in the CLP class, the Austrian now having look in his mirrors for the fast-arriving Sam Tordoff. Maydon was still leading the class, though, now in seventh overall, with 42 seconds in hand over the Powells. Meanwhile, Mark Pangborn had been forced to give up the C2 class fight when he retired his Austin Healey 3000 to the pits on lap 45.

With ten minutes to go, now into lap 58, Lockie was well away as Spiers now looked at a 50-second deficit, with Whitaker continuing to gain on him. Brundle and Alderslade were locked solid in fourth and fifth, a lap down, leading Shovlin in sixth. Maydon still led the CLP class, increasing his lead over Powell, but the younger Tordoff behind him was flying, that massive 42-second lead now reduced to just four seconds. Two laps later, and with five minutes remaining on the clock, Powell’s fate was sealed as Tordoff moved up into second place in class.

As the race drew to a close, Lockie switched to cruise mode to nurse the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé across the finish line with a 51-second lead over Greensall, Whitaker following 14 seconds further back. Behind Brundle, Alderslade and Shovlin, Maydon secured the CLP class win ahead of the Tordoffs and the Powells, with the Allison/Thompson Cobra rounding out the top-ten. In 14th overall, David Smithies and Chris Clarkson took C2 class honours while Andrew Walton’s Porsche 911 won the C1 class in 16th overall.



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