12th Sep, 2018 ‑ Car Features 

Cadwell Capers

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Rain and red flags may have dampened the spirits in Lincolnshire, but all four Mini races produced close title battles to set up a much anticipated championship climax at Silverstone next month.

With the timetable running late on Saturday, the opening Mini Miglia race got under way in drizzle. Undaunted, however, the lead battle became a terrific encounter over 11 laps, Kane Astin jubilant to have taken his first win of the season to hold off Aaron Smith and Rupert Deeth.



Series leader Dave Drew settled for fourth, with Alfie Brown and Martin Wager (in a red/black TCR Motorsport car last seen on track a decade and a half ago) completing the top six, while the Libre class saw an early duel between title rivals Phil Harvey and Ian Fraser before the latter dropped back, with Gary Warburton nabbing third from Peter Hills.

Condition worsened for the Se7ens’ race, with increasing rain under darkening skies. Having broken his duck at Brands, Spencer Wanstall repeated the feat to maintain the series lead, with title rival Max Hunter not only giving chase but also contending with the battling S-Class cars of Scott Kendall and Nick Croydon-Fowler in his mirrors before the growing puddles induced a red flag stoppage.



Fellow title contender Tom Sanderson had failed to start after engine problems in qualifying, while Dan Budd’s ‘pink piglet’ winner from Brands was credited in fifth, and third Se7en home, similarly Andy Dickinson had third in the S-Class.

Sunday morning was thankfully dry, although the track was still damp in places under the trees. The same leading trio eventually broke away to vie for Miglia honours before another red flag gave victory this time to Deeth to keep his title hopes alive. Smith was very happy to bag another second, with Astin down to third, also with a slim outside chance going to the final rounds.



Colin Peacock eventually sneaked past Drew for fourth, both also title contenders, with Brown slipping out of contention in seventh behind Charlie Budd. In Libres, Harvey and Fraser again led the way before the latter lost gears, then Justin Cooper stormed through from the back to win, with Hills in third.

A hectic Se7en encounter on Sunday afternoon had the crowd on tenterhooks, Hunter narrowly holding on in front despite a black/orange flag for a trailing rear bumper that fortunately dropped off just before he was required to pit. Early leader Dan Budd took second, with Kendall again in third overall and top S-Class.


Joe Thompson worked his way up to fourth in front of Wanstall and Croydon-Fowler’s S-Class, while Sanderson had stormed up from a back row start before loud backfire and blinding flashes of exhaust flame signalled his demise. Dickinson again took third in S-Class as Thorburn Astin’s DNF leaves him as an outside bet now for the class title.

 

The 2018 Mini Challenge finale weekend, held at the Silverstone International circuit, is next on 6-7 October, with all four Mini class trophies still to be decided. Should be a corker!

 

RESULTS

Miglia/Libre:           

Race 1                        11 laps

1st            11            Kane Astin

2nd            21            Aaron Smith

3rd            23            Rupert Deeth

12th            113            Phil Harvey (Libre)

           

Se7en/S-Class:           

Race 1                         6 laps (red-flagged)

1st            5            Spencer Wanstall

2nd            46            Max Hunter

3rd            708            Scott Kendall (S-Class)

5th            47            Daniel Budd

 

Miglia/Libre

Race 2                        10 laps (red-flagged)

1st            23            Rupert Deeth

2nd            21            Aaron Smith

3rd            11            Kane Astin

11th            616            Justin Cooper (Libre)

 

Se7en/S-Class:           

Race 2                         11 laps

1st            46            Max Hunter

2nd            47            Daniel Budd

3rd            708            Scott Kendall (S-Class)

4th            8            Joe Thompson

 

 

Words by: Richard Williamson, Photography: Rick Jessop

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