Following two previous visits to the former home of the Dutch Grand Prix, the Mini 7 Racing Club made a welcome return after a year’s hiatus last season. A magnificent 37-car turnout produced two action-packed races that kicked off on late Saturday afternoon.
In a pulsating Miglia dice, polesitter Rupert Deeth was ahead of Aaron Smith and Kane Astin overall when red flags took the result back to 11 laps. In Mini Libre, Ian Fraser and Phil Harvey were split by just 0.040s after a similarly enthralling duel.
The Mini Se7en battle was just as manic, with several changes of lead and a hectic penultimate lap when being lapped by the Miglia leaders but, keeping the calmest of head on young shoulders, Joe Thompson secured his first win by a scant 0.070s from Tom Sanderson, with Max Hunter and Dom Burger in their mirrors.
Thorburn Astin took S-Class honours after early leader Nick Croydon-Fowler collided with Andrew Deviny.
Sunday’s early afternoon encounter produced more superb neck-straining action, with the final result reflecting a couple of yellow flag incidents.
In Miglias, Deeth and Smith were again on course for top honours when both went off together on the last lap, leaving Charlie Budd in front.
However he was adjudged to have passed under yellows, handing the overall win to Colin Peacock ahead of Dave Drew and Alfie Brown, while the Libre result was a reverse of the previous day, with Harvey getting the nod over Fraser by 0.98s, and Belgian Pieter Van Cleemputte almost joining them in third.
The Se7ens race was set to be a two-car shootout between Andrew Deviny and polesitter Darren Thomas, before the latter’s engine cried enough a lap short.
Deviny took a clear win, followed by a humdinger of a scrap between Burger, Sanderson, Hunter and Thompson. Croydon-Fowler made up for Saturday by taking the S-Class category, with Thorburn Astin and Andy Dickinson almost on his tail at the flag.
Capping a glorious weekend away was the Club barbecue on Saturday evening, held on the beach at Strand 21 bar/restaurant, just a short stroll from the circuit. Such was the relaxed atmosphere and glorious weather it prompted a few tongue-in-cheek requests for a 14-round Challenge entirely at Zandvoort for 2019!
Expect more pulsating race action at the forthcoming Brands Hatch Mini Festival on 25-26 August, rounds 9 and 10 of the Dunlop Mini Se7en & Miglia Challenge supported by Mini Spares.
Race 1 11 Laps (red-flagged)
1 23 Rupert Deeth Mig
2 21 Aaron Smith Mig
3 11 Kane Astin Mig
15 127 Ian Fraser Libre
17 8 Joe Thompson 7
18 19 Tom Sanderson 7
19 46 Max Hunter 7
29 736 Thorburn Astin S-Class
Race 2 13 Laps
1 83 Colin Peacock Miglia
2 29 Dave Drew Miglia
3 81 Alfie Brown Miglia
11 113 Phil Harvey Libre
14 77 Andrew Deviny 7
15 28 Dom Burger 7
16 19 Tom Sanderson 7
24 777 Nick Croydon-Fowler S-Class
Words by: Richard Williamson