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EXCEL R8 come back down to earth with a bump

PUBLISHED: 06:00 22 August 2019

Rob Smith, in the #37, fought hard to make progress with his Draper Tools supported MG6 fighting for position with Michael Crees� VW CC and the Ford Focus RS of Tom Chilton in the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Thruxton in Hampshire. Picture: Mark Campbell

Rob Smith, in the #37, fought hard to make progress with his Draper Tools supported MG6 fighting for position with Michael Crees� VW CC and the Ford Focus RS of Tom Chilton in the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Thruxton in Hampshire. Picture: Mark Campbell

MARK CAMPBELL

After the euphoria of earning their first British Touring Car Championship points at their home track of Snetterton the EXCELR8 MG6 team came down to earth with a bump at Thruxton.

Harry King working his way up the Ginetta GT4 SuperCup race order in race three which the Elite Motorsport racer won after two dismal earlier races at Thruxton Circuit. Picture: Jakob Ebrey PhotographyHarry King working his way up the Ginetta GT4 SuperCup race order in race three which the Elite Motorsport racer won after two dismal earlier races at Thruxton Circuit. Picture: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Sam Osborne seems to be attracted to Mark Blundell's Audi this year as the pair collided again, this time during qualifying, which restricted the him to last on the 30 car grid with team mate Rob Smith two places higher.

In the opening contest Smith fought up to 23rd place before being squeezed back two places on the final lap while Osborne finished in 28th place.

Race two Smith again made progress, this time ending up 23rd, as his team mate matched his earlier result while in the third encounter Smith fell back to 24th with Osborne holding off Blundell for 26th place.

"Sneaking under the surface, that was a very positive weekend," said an optimistic Smith. "The numbers next to our finishing positions weren't particularly great, but what we've had are probably the best two consecutive race days we've had this year."

James Hedley on the podium with his third place trophy from the second of the Ginetta Junior races at Thruxton: Picture: Jakob Ebrey PhotographyJames Hedley on the podium with his third place trophy from the second of the Ginetta Junior races at Thruxton: Picture: Jakob Ebrey Photography

"It's just not really been my weekend to be honest, which is a shame after Snetterton," admitted Osborne.

Harry King did everything possible to win the opening Ginetta GT4 SuperCup race at Thruxton in his Elite Motorsport of Shipdham prepared car after claiming pole position but instead saw his series lead diminish.

"From the lights going out we led the race until a puncture struck on the final lap," explained King.

Sadly, it got even worse as King lost the series lead to Will Burns in race two. "Another DNF (Did Not Finish)," related a frustrated King. "No fault of the team or myself with a driveshaft failure on the warm-up lap but we'll bounce back in race three."

Sam Osborne, while keeping his EXCELR8 MG6 ahead of the VW CC of Ipswich�s Carl Boardley and Nic Hamilton�s Ford Focus RS at the Thruxton Chicane, had a disappointing time at the Hampshire circuit. Picture: Mark CampbellSam Osborne, while keeping his EXCELR8 MG6 ahead of the VW CC of Ipswich�s Carl Boardley and Nic Hamilton�s Ford Focus RS at the Thruxton Chicane, had a disappointing time at the Hampshire circuit. Picture: Mark Campbell

As promised King, starting last of the Pro drivers, picked his rivals off one by one to greet the chequered flag for the sixth time this season.

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"Salvaged what we could from the weekend. The championship hunt continues," promised King.

James Hedley's Ginetta Junior Championship lead has been cut to 50 points after he failed to finish the third of the Thruxton races.

Harry King throwing up the spray with his Ginetta GT4 SuperCup car, prepared by Elite Motorsport of Shipdham, which suffered a puncture, broken driveshaft before King could take a race three win at Thruxton in Hampshire. Picture: Jakob Ebrey PhotographyHarry King throwing up the spray with his Ginetta GT4 SuperCup car, prepared by Elite Motorsport of Shipdham, which suffered a puncture, broken driveshaft before King could take a race three win at Thruxton in Hampshire. Picture: Jakob Ebrey Photography

"A win in race one, third in race two and a machinal failure in race three which sadly meant I didn't finish. We will bounce back at Knockhill," pledged the Elite Motorsport racer.

In the first race Hedley, starting from pole position, claimed his fourth win of the season with title rival Zac O'Sullivan following him home with the latter winning race two while Hedley, who again started from pole, ended up third but with his rival's second place in race three his series lead has been cut by a third.

Eleven years after their previous Citroen 2CV 24 Hour victory the Wisbech-based Team Gadget Racing repeated the feat after a tense race long battle at Snetterton over the weekend.

Gadget's crew, compromising of Tom Perry, Lien Davies, Simon Clarke, were in an early three-way battle for the lead with Tete Rouge Crisis and the multi winning Team Lion 1 until the latter needed an engine change during the middle of the night.

The Elite Motorsport�s James Hedley on his way to winning the opening Ginetta Junior race at Thruxton for the Shipdham based team. Picture Jakob Ebrey PhotographyThe Elite Motorsport�s James Hedley on his way to winning the opening Ginetta Junior race at Thruxton for the Shipdham based team. Picture Jakob Ebrey Photography

A smarter pit stop strategy during a triple safety car interlude allowed the local team to steal a small lead over their rivals which was almost wiped out with less than two hours remaining with a contentious stop/go penalty.

However, fading brakes didn't allow the Tete Rouge Crisis crew to take advantage to the delight to the Wayne Cowling led team.

Team Lion recovered to third place while it was heartache for the all-girl Blueberry Tarts team who lost a wheel 10 minutes before the end with the GR Racing car needing assistance as their suspension collapsed within sight of the chequered flag.

The Greg Page led Iceni Racing squad suffered engine problems for much of the event but the Watton based team did take home the 'Spirit of the Event Award' for their efforts to get to the finish.

Wisbech’s Wayne Cowling holding aloft the 2CV 24 Hour winners trophy 11 years after lifting it for the first time. Picture: Peter SchererWisbech’s Wayne Cowling holding aloft the 2CV 24 Hour winners trophy 11 years after lifting it for the first time. Picture: Peter Scherer

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