Honda VTEC Challenge at Donington Park
Horrendous conditions greeted the Honda VTEC Challenge as they amassed at Donington Park on October 13th – 16th. Newcomer to the 2016 Honda VTEC Challenge, Rich Hockley set the quickest qualifying time in his EK4 Civic. Matt Walker in his K20 EK9 took second and Jeff Cooper in his featherweight K20 CRX to third. Series regular and regular pace setter (Rob Burkinshaw) fell foul to the slippery conditions and unfortunately ended up hitting the tyre barrier hard down the “Craner Curves”, retiring him from the entire event.
In race one a trio white EK Civics out in front caused the commentators some confusion as the battle raged. The fly in the ointment for the race came in the form of Cooper’s CRX which holed its sump, spilling oil over a section of the track. Mixed with the wet circuit the cocktail proved disastrous for several cars which spun on the ice-like track surface.
At the head of the Production class was Vaughan Fletcher in the EP3 Civic, which whilst lacking some of the outright pace of the Tuner and Super Tuner cars, was able to make the most of the circuit’s corners to climb through the field, passing Mark Bennett and Rob Williams to finish in 4th overall. Ultimately it was the three EK Civics that contested the win, with the final result being Hockley in first, Sawley second and Walker third.
Against all odds Cooper was able to find a replacement sump for his CRX and re-join the pack for race two, albeit with some trepidation in case of underlying issues created by dropping so much oil in the first race.
Off the line in race two, it was the white EK’s again which led, but with the CRX now repaired, Cooper began to pick off drivers at a great rate and was soon back up towards the front. Wrenn was also another to capitalise in the dry conditions, storming into 1st place before being side-lined by brake failure.
Trouble hit Smee and Dunmore early on, when both span off on the “Craner Curves”. This increased the lead Fletcher had in class and also allowed Markham to improve position. Fletcher was unable to make any significant headway in race two due to the change in track conditions, but kept Williams in the DC5 in his sights, hoping for a mistake. Unfortunately the mistake he hoped for never visualised.
Having a much better second race was Kemp in the supercharged Civic, reeling in the cars up front and finally having some better luck than of late. Cooper continued to climb through the pack, eventually taking the lead and remained in control until the chequered flag fell. Hockley and Sawley remained in close contention, but the repaired red CRX was uncatchable.
The overall race result was Cooper in first, Hockley second and Sawley third. Class wins where awarded to Rich Hockley (R1), Jeff Cooper (R2) (Super Tuner) Matt Walker (R1) Stu King (R2) (Tuner) and Vaughan Fletcher (Production) in both races.