As the championship entered the Norfolk circuit Gordon Shedden was leading the overall driver’s championship and Colin Turkington was leading the independents trophy. Alex Martin was absent from the weekends racing due to his wife going into labour so Barry Horne stepped in and piloted the car for the weekend. Aiden Moffat spun off at high speed and made hefty contact with barriers at approximately 75mph during free practice two. Moffat managed to walk away from the scene unassisted but immediately showed clear signs of concussion. After he was checked at the medical center he was flown to a nearby hospital for checks, he was given the all clear but sat out of racing due to suffering from concussion. Snetterton also saw the return of Motorbase after they had to sit out of the first half of the season due to budget. Another thing that spectators enjoyed at Snetterton was that Andrew Jordan debuted a special chrome livery after signing an extended deal with Pirtek until 2018.
At Croft Colin Turkington expressed how he was becoming more confident and making a lot of progress with his Team BMR Volkswagen CC and he proved exactly that during free practice and qualifying. Turkington qualified on pole for race one and had teammate Aron Smith alongside in second. Third place was the third of the BMR Volkswagen CC’s, Jason Plato followed by Andrew Jordan in fourth place in his MG. Fifth was Matt Neal, sixth was Andy Priaulx, followed by Jack Goff in the second MG. Eighth was Sam Tordoff, ninth was Tom Ingram and rounding out the top ten in qualifying was Rob Collard.
Turkington fired off the line and got the perfect start and headed up a Team BMR 1-2-3 as they entered Riches. Aron Smith was running second with Plato in third. Turkington was 2 seconds clear by the end of lap four, he then maintained his lead. Meanwhile Smith was constantly watching his mirrors for Plato. Matt Neal and Andy Priaulx were having a close battle for fifth place, they kept swapping places over and over. Priaulx got past and got onto the back of Jordan’s MG. Rob Collard was collected by teammate Sam Tordoff on the run towards the first corner, which broke the car’s rear suspension forcing Collard to retire from the race.
Team BMR’s Colin Turkington took the race win, his teammate Aron Smith took second and third was taken by Team BMR’s third driver Jason Plato, a podium lockout by Team BMR this time. The fourth driver for Team BMR, which is Warren Scott finished in 13th. Fourth place was taken by Andrew Jordan, fifth was Andy Priaulx and sixth was Matt Neal. Seventh was taken by Adam Morgan followed by Dave Newsham in eighth. Ninth went the way of Jack Goff and rounding out the top ten was Tom Ingram.
Race two saw Colin Turkington start on pole position with Sam Tordoff alongside in second. Adam Morgan started in third with Jack Goff for company in fourth. Fifth was snapped up by Jason Plato and he had Andy Priaulx alongside in sixth. Aron Smith lined up in seventh with Andrew Jordan in eighth. Ninth was Tom Ingram and Dave Newsham rounded out the top ten of the grid.
For race two Colin Turkington carried 75gk of success ballast but was also on the hard compound tyre. Tordoff got a bad start which allowed Turkington to get away, this allowed Morgan to fire past him too. Priaulx and Plato were battling side by side, with Priaulx on the outside line he managed to keep Plato at bay and also tip toe past Tordoff. Priaulx set about trying to pass Morgan in the Mercedes but was unable to. On lap seven Plato managed to get ahead of Tordoff and set about hunting down Priaulx. After a few laps Plato went into tyre preservation mode as he was trying to prevent his soft tyres from going off. Meanwhile Jack Goff had a lonely race and brought his MG home in sixth. Jordan and Ingram were having a really good battle with close but fair racing until Ingram was hit with a deflating tyre. The main memory from that race that most spectators will remember is Gordon Shedden being hit by teammate Matt Neal during the opening lap carnage as the traffic jam headed into Hamilton. The impact had damaged the subframe on the front of the car, the team bolted a new one on ready for race three. Matt Neal also retired later in the race with both front and rear end damage. Other drivers who were ruled out after contact early in the race included Aron Smith and Dave Newsham, who came together as the train of cars approached Hamilton on lap two. Also Warren Scott’s Team BMR Volkswagen CC was fired off the circuit after a scuffle with other competitors later on lap two at Williams, a move that also gave Josh Cook a puncture. Rob Collard started the second race in last place after his DNF in race one, he got as far as Riches when he got tangled in other drivers having their own crashes and incidents which damaged the BMW’s suspension once again. Collard managed to crawl it back into the pitlane where the team worked frantically to repair it, he rejoined the race 3 laps down.
Colin Turkington took the flag first to take the victory followed by Adam Morgan to take second and rounding out the podium was Andy Priaulx. Fourth place went to Jason Plato followed home by Sam Tordoff in fifth, Jack Goff took sixth whilst his teammate Andrew Jordan followed him home to take seventh. Mat Jackson took eighth on his first race weekend back in the championship. Ninth went to Rob Austin and rounding out the top ten was Mike Bushell, his best finish since his accident at Thruxton.
Race three’s reversed grid draw saw Jack Goff promoted onto pole position in his MG machine with Sam Tordoff’s BMW alongside for company. Third on the grid was Jason Plato in his Volkswagen CC followed by Andy Priaulx in his BMW in fourth, fifth place was Adam Morgan in his Mercedes-Benz A-Class, sixth place was Colin Turkington’s Volkswagen CC and seventh place was Andrew Jordan in his MG6. Mat Jackson lined up eighth in his Ford Focus, Rob Austin lined up ninth in his Audi and rounding out the top ten was Mike Bushell in his AMD Tuning Ford Focus.
Jack Goff got a brilliant start from pole position and Sam Tordoff got jumped at the start by both Priaulx and Plato, which allowed Goff to start to pull away. Priaulx slotted into second and Plato into third place. Plato pulled a good move to pass Priaulx as they exited Brundle and entered Nelson on lap two. On lap five Plato was running two seconds behind Goff but kept trying to apply pressure to make Goff work the tyres into dropping off. Plato managed to cut the gap down from 1.9 seconds to 0.3 seconds by the time the two crossed the line to take the flag. Throughout the whole grid there were some really amazing and entertaining battles going on which kept fans entertained from start to finish. On the last lap at Coram Goff had a big wobble, which put all his team’s and fan’s hearts in their mouths but the talent Goff has was proven when he managed to hold on and take the victory.
Goff took victory followed by Jason Plato in second and Andy Priaulx rounded out the podium. Fourth was sealed by Sam Tordoff, fifth went the way of Andrew Jordan and sixth went to Mat Jackson. Seventh across the line was Colin Turkington, eighth went to Rob Austin and ninth went to Tom Ingram. Rounding out the top ten finishers was Rob Collard.
When the championship’s drivers left the Norfolk circuit Jason Plato was 16 points in the lead of the overall driver’s championship from Colin Turkington. Colin Turkington left the circuit leading the Independent Driver’s Trophy by 12 points from Jason Plato and Josh Cook was leading the Jack Sears Trophy by 82 points from Derek Palmer.
© Fay Tilley 17th January 2016