VOLKSWAGEN RACING CUP RACE REPORTS 05
3 APRIL 2005
INSKIP GOES BACKWARDS TO WIN AT DONINGTON
Golf GTI racer Craig Inskip claimed a memorable motorsporting first at Donington Park yesterday (Sun) when he crossed the Volkswagen Racing Cup finishing line backwards at 100mph - yet still managed to win the race.
Inskip's victory, his first in four seasons in the championship, was the astonishing climax to a breathtakingly exciting race which had seen him and Shaun Hollamby, driving an R32 Golf, swap the lead at least a half-dozen times.
They entered the final lap with Northiam-based Inskip just ahead and seemingly on course for a trouble-free win, but as he entered the Goddards Esses for the final time Craig encountered a backmarker at precisely the wrong moment, they touched mid-corner and Inskip's car was pitched into a violent high speed spin.
Inskip was powerless to control the Becra-backed Golf as it rocketed backwards across the slippery grass alongside the main straight - but as luck would have it, it still crossed the finish line a gnat's whisker ahead of Hollamby's car, albeit rear-end first.
A shaken and surprised Inskip said on the victory podium: 'That was a fantastic race with loads of overtaking and I enjoyed every minute of it, right up to the last corner! Thankfully the car isn't badly damaged and it's only my nerves that have suffered…'
Hollamby, who lives in Chelsfield, Kent, added: 'Normally you're delighted to see a rival spin off, but I wasn't this time. I think that was the best race I've ever had and Craig thoroughly deserved to win it.'
The two men had dominated the race, round two of the Volkswagen Racing Cup, both charging through from the third row of the grid to assume first and second places on the opening lap. None of their rivals could live with their pace - the reigning champion, North Yorkshireman Philip House, was their nearest challenger, five seconds behind in his Beetle RSi.
Earlier in the day Hollamby and Inskip also saw off the rest in the opening round of the championship, but this time it was Shaun who took the win - a decisive one with the Golf R32 ahead all the way from pole position to a five-second victory margin at the chequered flag.
Third behind the Golf men was the sensational 16-year-old Dan Thackeray (Buntingford), enjoying an impressive maiden outing in his Saxon Motorsport Corrado VR6. Not only was it Dan's first Volkswagen Racing Cup event, but it was also his first race on a grid of adult drivers. Unfortunately he fared less well in round two, retiring with mechanical problems after a lap-one clash with another car.
Hednesford-based Racing Cup veteran Mark Smith enjoyed one of his most competitive days with the Chase Accident Repair-backed Bora Turbo. Mark finished third on the road in round one but was penalised by two seconds - dropping him to fifth - for a flag infringement, then raced to fourth place in round two, just ahead of championship newcomer Giles Lock (Farnham) in his Golf TDI.
The new Golf GTI enjoyed a competitive world racing debut in the hands of Car magazine road test editor Chris Chilton, taking 15th place in round one despite some teething problems with fuel delivery. 'It has the makings of a great race car,' said Chris, whose second outing was curtailed by a gravel trap visitation.
There were mixed fortunes for Martin Rutherford, who qualified his turbo-powered Beetle on the front row for round one and raced to fourth but who then dropped well down the field in race two after an early spin, recovering to 10th. Ken Lark was in the wars also, his Corrado failing on the second-race grid after a promising run to sixth earlier.
The other top-10 finishers from the two races were Dave Turner's Beetle and Lloyd Allard's diesel Golf, the Vento VR6s of Grant Woodhatch and Martyn Culley, Steve Wood's Golf VR6 and the Mk V Golf TDI of championship debutant Rob Palmer.
24 APRIL 2005
HOLLAMBY ROMPS TO DOUBLE WIN AT OULTON
Shaun Hollamby and his amazing four-wheel-drive Golf proved an unstoppable combination at Oulton Park at the weekend (23/24 April), racing to twin wins in both of the incident-packed Cheshire rounds of the Volkswagen Racing Cup.
Though neither victory was straightforward for the Kent driver and his Revo Technik/Big Boys Toys-backed R32, they were nonetheless convincing displays which, with the championship now one-third completed, have earned Hollamby a handsome overall points lead.
Hollamby led every inch of Saturday's round three, from pole position to chequered flag, and broke the circuit lap record along the way for good measure. But a first-corner incident came close to upsetting his progress to victory.
The accident was triggered when Ray MacDowall (Carlisle) was tipped into a spin in his ECM Beetle as the pack streamed through Old Hall Corner for the first time. Miraculously only one other car became seriously entangled - the Caddy TDI of Peter Wyhinny. The van suffered only wheel and driveshaft damage but the Beetle was badly banged about and dropped oil and other fluids on the circuit as MacDowall tried to limp back to the pits.
Among the many caught out by the greasy track were rapid novice Didge Dziurzynski (Exeter), who spun off and into a tyre wall, and reigning champion Philip House (Ripley), who slithered from second spot back to fifth. Hollamby's four-wheel drive helped keep him on the straight and narrow and 16-year-old Dan Thackeray (Buntingford) tiptoed his way through the mess to storm into second place in his Corrado VR6.
The safety car was brought into play for a lap and, at the restart, Thackeray closed right on to Hollamby's rear end, the youngster looking determined enough to challenge for the lead. 'Dan was driving brilliantly and really giving me some hassle,' said Shaun. 'I messed up the restart and it nearly cost me the race.' Alas for Thackeray his engine gave up the ghost a couple of laps later.
With second place the subject of a fierce dispute between Martin Rutherford (Little Chalfont) and Craig Inskip (Northiam), Hollamby seized his chance to make good his escape. He crossed the line just over a second ahead of his rivals.
Rutherford got the better of a long duel with Inskip to claim second - equalling his best-ever result - in the Citygate-backed Beetle, with reigning champion Philip House a disconsolate fourth in his misfiring Beetle. Steve Wood (Ashleworth) made superb progress from 15th on the grid in his Golf VR6 to liberate fifth from the grasp of Martyn Culley (Basingstoke) on the final lap. Not that Culley was much bothered - sixth was his best-yet result and gave him pole for Sunday's race.
Ken Lark (Peters Green) overcame braking problems to take seventh, only just ahead of Car magazine editor Jason Barlow, whose first outing in the new Golf GTI demonstrated the machine's track potential. 'It's an absolutely belting race car,' said Jason. 'It's quick and responsive, and that makes all the difference to your race confidence.'
Giles Lock (Farnham) took ninth in his Golf TDI, just ahead of the similar car of Cheltenham's Lloyd Allard, who had chased up to fifth only to spin five places away on the final lap. Mark Smith (Hednesford) and his Bora, another to leave the circuit after hitting oil, took 11th and Exeter's Rob Palmer was 12th in his Golf TDI.
Old Hall Corner once again claimed victims in the second race of the weekend, a first-lap multi-car pile-up bringing a very premature end to the races of Les Latham (Kirkby Mallory), Michael McInerney (Datchet), Rutherford and Barlow. Nobody was hurt in the incident, which necessitated another period under the safety car.
House had made a great getaway from row two to snatch the lead from pole man Culley on the opening lap, but Philip's continuing misfire meant he had no answer when Hollamby came looking the lead on lap five. Shaun swept past the Beetle and on to his third race win of the year, by a half-second margin.
Inskip would have finished third but for a 10-second jump start penalty which demoted him to sixth. Thus Smith gained the final podium placing, ahead of Martyn Culley, Lock, Inskip, Palmer, Lark, the Vento of Barrie Culley (Thatcham) and Gloucestershire driver Dave Turner's Beetle. Eleventh spot went to the Isle of Man's Paul Lloyd-Roach, and 12th to Wood, who was also penalised for an anticipated start.
23 MAY 2005
FULBROOK & HOUSE THE RACING CUP VICTORS IN SCOTLAND
The first visit north of the border for the Volkswagen Racing Cup provided not only great entertainment for the enthusiastic Knockhill crowd but also a thrilling race victory for newcomer Joe Fulbrook and first win of the year for reigning champion Philip House.
Racing novice Fulbrook, from Maidenhead, put in a virtuoso performance at the wheel of his Komori-backed Bora Turbo to win the first of the weekend's races. Chelsfield-based Shaun Hollamby and his four-wheel-drive Golf R32 splashed their way to success on Sunday, but were later excluded from the results after scrutineering checks.
Fulbrook's Saturday win - in what was only his fourth motor race - was not only the 34-year-old's maiden victory but it was also the first for a Bora in the Volkswagen Racing Cup.
It was another Bora Turbo, the Chase Accident Repair-backed example of Hednesford's Mark Smith, which made the early running, Smith getting the better getaway from the front row of the grid than did pole man Fulbrook.
Fulbrook in fact found himself pushed back to third in the opening laps, behind both Smith and the Beetle of House (Ripley). It took Joe three laps to find his way into second spot and a further six before he was able to nose past Smith for the lead - and then only to see all his hard work undone by an excursion on to the grass at Scotsman Corner.
Fulbrook's error seemed to galvanise his efforts and, on the next lap, he regained second from House, who was by now beginning to feel the effects of a recurring misfire, and then Joe snatched the lead from Smith up the hill away from the hairpin.
Smith was beginning to suffer severe brake fade and was forced into the pits after a gravelly moment on the 12th lap. He rejoined to finish 21st.
Fulbrook swiftly pulled out a five-second lead over House and held on in front to the chequered flag despite also suffering braking problems. 'I couldn't be more pleased,' said Joe. 'We've done a lot of work on the car and it's all paid off. The last few laps were a bit hairy because I had virtually no brakes left.'
House was delighted with second given his Beetle's misfire, and Ken Lark (Peters Green) was equally pleased with third in his Corrado after a steady climb through the field from seventh on the opening lap.
Lloyd Allard (Cheltenham) scored his best result of the season with fourth in his turbodiesel Golf, just ahead of Craig Inskip (Northiam), who had started with the handicap of a seventh-row grid slot after an off in qualifying in his turbo Golf.
Championship leader Hollamby was a brave sixth: he had had to start from the very back in his Golf R32 after being penalised for passing under yellow cautionary flags in qualifying. Exeter's Didge Dziurzynski was seventh in his Golf, ahead of Paul Sanderson's (Sidcup) Mk I Golf, the Beetle of Dave Turner (Stonehouse), Stuart Bliss (Weston super Mare) and his Golf, the Golf VR6 of Steve Wood (Ashleworth) and Isle of Man resident Paul Lloyd-Roach's Beetle.
The new Golf GTI driven by Car road test editor Chris Chilton was 14th after surviving a head-on bump with the spinning Beetle of Little Chalfont's Martin Rutherford. Peter Wyhinny was less lucky - his Caddy TDI broke a driveshaft, possibly the result of a swipe it received from another car.
Streaming wet weather on Sunday played straight into Hollamby's hands. The Kent driver's Revo Technik and Big Boys Toys-backed car rocketed away from pole position into an unassailable lead thanks to the superior traction afforded by its four-wheel-drive system.
Hollamby's escape was aided by a spin from Lark at Scotsman Corner on the opening lap; although the rest of the field managed to avoid his gyrating Corrado, the fracas split the pack. Neither did Hollamby have his closest championship rival, Inskip, to worry about - Craig's Golf broke a driveshaft on the way to the grid.
Thus it was House who provided Hollamby's main opposition. But in the conditions Phil's two-wheel-drive Beetle was no match and Shaun - despite a big slide on the second lap - was never seriously threatened. He took his fourth victory of the year by 5.7 seconds. 'It was a hard race to win,' said Shaun, 'because I had to maintain my concentration and the conditions were pretty bad. It's a great end to a fantastic weekend.' Post-race scrutiny of his car on the championship rolling road revealed it to have been over power, however, and Hollamby was excluded from the results.
Thus House, who had endured race-long pressure from Allard, collected the win, with Allard second to again set a personal best. Despite starting 21st, Smith charged through to an impressive third place, just ahead of the equally mercurial Martyn Culley (Basingstoke), who had started even further down the order in his Vento VR6. It was an impressive drive made all the more so by the fact that he was suffering gear selection problems which led to several tricky moments including a 180-degree spin at the hairpin.
An excellent fifth - despite a lurid early-race spin through Duffus Dip - was Chilton in the Golf GTI, underlining the competitiveness of the newest car in the championship. Fulbrook, still hampered by a lack of brakes, was sixth, just ahead of Bliss.
Wood would have finished higher than eighth but for a late-race spin induced by a careless backmarker. Didge Dziurzynski took ninth ahead of the amazing eBay-bought Caddy TDI of Giles Lock (Farnham) and Alex Dziurzynski's Corrado.
26 JUNE 2005
DOUBLE VICTORY FOR HOLLAMBY AT CASTLE COMBE
Shaun Hollamby romped to twin wins in the Volkswagen Racing Cup today (Sunday) at Castle Combe, the Golf R32 racer leading almost every inch of both races to underline the superiority of his four-wheel-drive machine.
They were sweet victories for the Kent driver, coming shortly after the news of his exclusion from the results of last month's sixth round of the championship at Knockhill following post-race scrutiny. Said Shaun after his first win of the day at Combe: 'Those were the most important 25 minutes of racing in a 25-year career. I needed that win to prove a point.'
Reigning champion Philip House collected third-place finishes in both Combe races; with Hollamby handed a points penalty in addition to his Knockhill exclusion, it is now Beetle racer House who leads the championship overall.
Hollamby's Revo Technik and Big Boys Toys-backed Golf was in superb form right from the first moments of qualifying, and the 39-year-old looked set to claim his third pole position of the season until the closing moments of the session when North Yorkshireman House found an extra tenth to deprive him of top spot.
But it made little difference when the starting lights signalled the off for the first of the day's races, Hollamby's R32 leaping into an instant and impressive lead. His closest pursuer was 16-year-old Dan Thackeray (Buntingford), up from fourth on the grid and going great guns in his re-engined Corrado, with the Bora of Mark Smith (Hednesford) third and House fourth.
A two-lap safety car period - brought about by the need to remove Giles Lock's smashed Caddy TDI from the main straight after it smote the barriers - gave Thackeray a chance to narrow the gap between himself and Hollamby but Shaun responded to stay ahead of the youngster. Much to Hollamby's relief, Dan's race came to a close four laps from home with more engine problems.
Knockhill victor Joe Fulbrook (Maidenhead) quickly made up ground from seventh on the grid in his Bora to move past Smith and then House into second spot with four laps remaining. By the fall of the chequered flag he had narrowed the gap between himself and Hollamby to 1.5 seconds, but had to settle for second.
House was happy with third given that overheating problems had blunted his Beetle's pace, with Smith staying ahead of the Golf TDI of Lloyd Allard (Cheltenham) to take fourth. Martyn Culley (Basingstoke) snatched sixth from the grasp of Exeter's Rob Palmer and his Golf TDI at the final corner. Seventh was nonetheless novice Rob's best placing of the season so far.
Hertfordshire Corrado driver Ken Lark took eighth ahead of Wokingham's Jason Marino - his best finish - Barrie Culley (Thatcham) and local heroes Grant Woodhatch (Brislington) and Steve Wood (Ashleworth). Championship newcomer and youngest driver, 16-year-old Darelle Wilson, brought his Vento VR6 home an encouraging 18th on his debut.
There was going to be no stopping Hollamby in race two, either. He made another blinding getaway, this time from row three, to slot in behind pole position man Martyn Culley. By the time they reached the first right-hander, Quarry Corner, Shaun was through and into a lead he would never lose.
That was not for the want of trying on the part of Fulbrook, however, who dislodged Culley from second on the third lap and set about bringing down the gap between himself and Hollamby to half a second within a further three laps. 'At that point,' said Joe, 'I decided that maybe I was driving a bit beyond my ability and maybe I should back off. My concentration was lapsing a bit and Shaun's a hard man to pass.' Hollamby was certainly relieved: 'I think Joe was the quicker man out there.'
Hollamby crossed the line 2.3 seconds ahead of Fulbrook, with House and Smith once again taking third and fourth respectively. Smith had relieved Culley of third spot on the 12th lap after a long battle, diving through on the inside of Camp Corner; the two made contact and Culley's Vento spun sideways, glancing the barriers, but he was able to continue to sixth behind Allard's Golf.
Craig Inskip (Northiam), whose Golf had suffered handling problems throughout qualifying and the first race, found a better balance in race two to take seventh, ahead of the cars of Wood, Marino, Lark, Dave Turner (Stonehouse) and Paul Lloyd-Roach (Laxey).
The race was brought to a premature close following a heavy accident which befell Michael McInerney, whose Beetle went off at Tower Corner and hit a tyre wall. McInerney was later taken to hospital for precautionary checks.
With four rounds remaining, the Volkswagen Racing Cup championship points table is now headed by House. Philip has a 34-point advantage over erstwhile leader Hollamby, but on the evidence of Castle Combe, Shaun's title bid is far from over…
1 AUGUST 2005
HOLLAMBY UNSTOPPABLE AT BRANDS HATCH
Shaun Hollamby took his Volkswagen Racing Cup victory tally to seven yesterday at Brands Hatch, the 39-year-old triumphing in style in both of the day's races on his home circuit.
Chelsfield-based Hollamby and his Golf R32 led the first from pole position to chequered flag, and the second for all but the first few yards to narrow the gap between himself and championship leader Philip House to 22 points with only two rounds remaining.
Car magazine competition winner Graham Needham was the hero of the day, the novice driver claiming third at the wheel of the new Golf GTI in his first-ever race.
Hollamby's progress to victory in the first of the Brands sprint races was as serene and unflustered as the five wins which had preceded it this season. His Big Boys Toys and Revo-backed Golf R32 blasted into the lead from pole position (its third qualifying top-spot of the season) and, though closely pursued by House's Beetle for the duration, there was never any doubt who would be standing atop the podium come the race end.
North Yorkshireman House gave it everything he had: 'I made a great start,' said Philip, 'and was hanging on to Shaun for several laps, but then I made a slight mistake at Clearways and lost a couple of lengths. I tried everything but there was no way to close the gap.'
Hollamby was just under two seconds clear at the chequered flag. 'I was hoping to pull out more of a gap over Philip at the start but it all worked out OK in the end,' said Shaun. 'I covered many, many miles around Brands when I worked at the racing school, so I reckon I know my way around.' He set a new lap record on his way to victory.
The real interest of the race lay in the astoundingly professional performance put in by total novice Needham, who won his place on the grid in the new Golf GTI thanks to a competition in Car magazine.
Although a lifelong car and motorsport enthusiast, Graham, 40 and from Lincoln, had never competed before. He was put through a training programme at Silverstone race school before being plunged into the deep end with Volkswagen Racing UK at Brands Hatch.
Undaunted, Needham - a fine arts student at Lincoln University - qualified the Car Golf GTI a superb sixth, less than eight-tenths of a second off the practice pace set by Hollamby. When told his grid position, Graham wept: 'Qualifying was my greatest concern; I was so worried about getting through it unscathed that the relief to have done so was immense. Then when I was told I was sixth quickest, the emotion came flooding out.'
But there were even better things to come: Needham made a blinding start to slot into fourth behind Hollamby, House and Mark Smith's Bora Turbo as the field flooded through Paddock Hill Bend. There was drama behind as Berkshire driver Joe Fulbrook's Bora spun through the gravel trap, but Needham stayed clear of any danger and overhauled Smith for third by the end of the opening lap.
With Fulbrook out of the reckoning and Smith dropping back behind the Corrado of Peters Green-based racer Ken Lark, Needham found himself a safe third. He didn't put a wheel wrong at any stage during the race and collected a richly deserved podium placing.
Volkswagen Racing UK director Sam Roach paid him tribute: 'It's an incredible performance for a novice driver to take third in his first race. We knew he had the technique but did not dare hope that he could hold his own against such experienced opposition.'
Added Needham: 'Volkswagen Racing UK have been great. They gave me the best possible preparation I could have had in what was a short space of time, and I was talked through what I should do at the start and during the race. I think I was fortunate that Joe Fulbrook spun, because he's very quick and would have been coming after me.'
Needham was just seven seconds behind House at the flag, and nine seconds ahead of the battle for fourth, which was won by Hednesford-based Smith very narrowly from Little Chalfont driver Martin Rutherford's turbocharged Citygate Beetle. Lark just managed to keep a nose ahead of Basingstoke-based Martyn Culley's Vento VR6 to claim sixth.
Exeter's Alex Dziurzynski enjoyed his best outing of the season in his Corrado, qualifying seventh and finishing eighth, just ahead of Steve Wood (Ashleworth) and Steve Dorrell (Speen), the latter's 10th place his best result of the year.
Twenty of the 30 starters were classified finishers, the remaining places claimed by Dave Turner, John Quartermaine, Claire Tippet, Stuart Bliss, Peter Wyhinny's Caddy TDI, Michael McInerney's Europcar Beetle, Didge Dziurzynski, Darelle Wilson, Michael Kurton and Lloyd Allard.
Among the retirements were Barrie Culley, whose race ended in the Paddock Hill Bend gravel; Dan Thackeray, who was a strong sixth when he retired his Corrado with a split radiator; and Craig Inskip and Rob Palmer, both of whom suffered driveshaft-related problems on the opening lap. A fine 10th in qualifying from Paul Lloyd-Roach was negated in the race when he broke a wheel on the second lap after a clash with another car.
Les Latham's Beetle continued to the end but was unclassified having lost several laps, power steering problems coming on top of engine dramas cured by the PT Motorsport mechanics following a heroic overnight rebuild.
There were no doubts that Hollamby had the pace to win the second race also, but few expected him to put the matter beyond doubt within 100 yards of the startline. Yet that is what Shaun achieved, streaking away from the third row of the grid, past the cars of pole man Lark, Rutherford, Smith, Needham and House, to take the lead well before the first corner.
It was an audacious and breathtaking move, but Hollamby did not get the chance to romp away, thanks to a multi-car pile-up on the opening lap at the notoriously tight Druids hairpin.
It was triggered when Inskip clouted the rear of Wyhinny's Caddy, which in turn struck Tippet's Golf. McInerney and Barrie Culley were involved also, and Culley's car and that of Tippet came to rest in the gravel trap, necessitating a five-lap safety car period while they were removed to safety. McInerney's race ended in the pits, as did Wyhinny's a few laps later.
Hollamby handled the restart with aplomb, and proceeded to edge away from Rutherford to claim win number seven by a 2.7-second margin. The race was ended two laps early when Inskip and Palmer clashed, again at Druids, and both became wedged in the gravel trap.
After a Schumacher-style leap on the podium, Hollamby said: 'The Golf always makes a great start, and I just took off from the third row of the grid… I just had to hope that as many people as possible finished between me and Phil House.'
Rutherford was thrilled with his second place, equalling the result he scored at Oulton Park in April, and Lark was similarly delighted with third, his second podium visit of the season.
House took fourth after a prolonged and occasionally all too close battle with Smith in the early laps, and Allard was an excellent fifth. Lloyd had started 20th on the grid after a spin and a puncture in the first race.
Another rear-of-grid starter, Fulbrook, was next up, ahead of Smith, Needham, Martyn Culley and 10th-placed Alex Dziurzynski.
There were 22 finishers this time, the remaining runners being Turner, Quartermaine, Lloyd-Roach, Bliss, Dorrell, Didge Dziurzynski, Wilson, David Scott, Marino, Latham, Kurton and finally, claiming his first race finish of the year in the Lupo GTI, Mark Hope.
26 SEPTEMBER 2005
HOUSE WINS TITLE, TAYLOR WINS RACES
The Volkswagen Racing Cup season sped to a superb end at Snetterton yesterday (Sunday), with reigning champion Philip House claiming his second title and series newcomer Paul Taylor making a dream debut to win both Norfolk rounds.
For 24-year-old Beetle RSi driver House, second place in the first of the day's races was sufficient to guarantee the crown with a race in hand, and he gave Taylor - who has bought multiple race-winner Shaun Hollamby's Golf R32 - more than a run for his money.
Hertfordshire-based Taylor's bid for victory in round 11 was straight from the Hollamby racing manual. Paul's Big Boys Toys-prepared R32 stormed to the front within yards of the startline after blasting off from row two and past front-row men House and Dan Thackeray.
House had said before the race that there would be no heroics from him as he endeavoured to secure the championship title, but Philip decided he was not going to let Taylor have things his own way.
House's Beetle shadowed Taylor's Golf for three laps, trying to pressurise his less experienced rival into making an error. Philip was rewarded on lap four when Paul ran wide exiting the Esses. 'I made a mistake and Phil got me,' said Taylor, 'and then it was a case of biding my time and waiting for an opportunity to repass.'
That chance came on lap 10 when House missed a gear as he swept on to the long Revett Straight; Taylor was able to take advantage and streak past to regain the lead. He maintained the advantage over the remaining five laps to claim a dream debut victory, 0.225s ahead of House at the chequered flag.
'We've started as we mean to go on,' said Taylor, who plans a full Volkswagen Racing Cup season in 2006. 'All credit to Big Boys Toys for the job they've done on the car and in helping me to get the best from it.'
Third place was disputed by the Bora of Berkshire's Joe Fulbrook and 17-year-old Thackeray's Exeter Diesels Golf TDI - a little too closely fought over as it transpired, for the pair clashed at Coram and again out of Russell on the seventh lap. The resulting damage forced Fulbrook from the race and delayed Hertfordshire driver Thackeray sufficiently to hand third on a plate to the TDI Golf of Cheltenham's Lloyd Allard.
Allard was only just over a second behind House at the line, with Thackeray recovering sufficiently to hang on to fourth, a further eight seconds behind.
Mark Smith's Bora and Martyn Culley's Vento VR6 battled over fifth for the duration, a tussle joined by Alex Dziurzynski's Corrado for several laps until a brush with Smith's car cost Alex a broken driveshaft. Smith won the place ahead of Martyn Culley, with Car magazine editor Jason Barlow enjoying a strong run in the new Golf GTI to make it to seventh after getting the better of Steve Wood's VR6 Golf early on.
Martin Rutherford stormed through the field to ninth in the turbocharged Citygate Beetle after being forced to start from the back of the grid; he finished one place ahead of Barrie Culley's Vento VR6. Steve Dorrell's Beetle collected 11th ahead of the misfiring Golf of Tony Harberman, Stuart Bliss in his Golf GTI, Dan Taylor's Polo TDI, Claire Tippet's Golf and Michael McInerney's Europcar Beetle.
Snetterton double winner from 2004 Ken Lark lasted less than half a lap, his Corrado's suspension broken by a swipe from Didge Dziurzynski's Golf. Didge made it only as far as the pits. Peter Wyhinny enjoyed a good outing in the Caddy TDI up until the final lap when a broken engine mount forced him out.
It nearly all went wrong for Paul Taylor at the beginning of race two. With the top six finishers lining up in reverse order on the grid, Paul found himself starting sixth and with an ever-decreasing gap ahead of him as he tried to squeeze his Golf between the cars of Allard and Thackeray. There was contact between Taylor's car and Thackeray's and Dan was forced to the pits to have some panel damage sorted.
With pole-sitter Martyn Culley making a tardy getaway it was Allard who seized the lead, ahead of House, Smith and Taylor, his Golf seemingly none the worse for its brush with Thackeray's machine. Paul disposed of Smith and House to move into second on lap two, and then unseated Allard from top spot down the Revett Straight a lap later.
And that was the closest anyone came to depriving Taylor of his second victory of the day, Paul romping off to a three-second win.
Allard beat off a brief challenge from House when Philip nipped in front entering Russell on lap three. Lloyd repassed him a few hundred yards later up the Senna Straight and went on to take an excellent second, just as he did at Knockhill in May. 'It's a great end to the year,' said Allard, 'and a fantastic achievement for Allard Turner Motor Racing.'
House claimed third and Smith fourth, with Martyn Culley hanging on to fifth for the duration of the race despite major harassment from Rutherford, who was battling to control a Beetle with failed power steering.
Barlow survived a scary 360-degree spin at Coram on the opening lap after contact with Wood's car, Jason bringing the GTI home seventh once more. Lark was an excellent eighth in his hurriedly repaired Corrado, just ahead of Fulbrook, with Barrie Culley 10th, Dorrell 11th and Wood 12th despite his early brush with Barlow and a late-race thump from John Quartermaine's Vento.
Tippet and Stuart Bliss enjoyed a superb battle in their Mk I Golfs, swapping places lap after lap until Stuart's engine gave up the ghost four laps from home. Claire was lucky to make it to the end, her car running dry of fuel as it crossed the line in 16th spot, just ahead of McInerney's Beetle and Wyhinny's Caddy.