RDS Automotive K Sports 1600 Championship (1998)
Calendar, Championship Table
Reports: Round 1,2,3,4, 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12
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Round 1, Silverstone National, Saturday March 7th 1998
Round 2, Brands Hatch, Sunday April 26th 1998
Webb bounces back
This was a race that Barry Webb really wanted to win. Having been edged out of victory at Silverstone in the first round, the Redditch driver was determined to win round two of the 1998 RDS Automotive Rover K Sports 1600 Championship as the series moved to the famous Brands Hatch circuit In Kent on Sunday (April 26th). "I made a good start and just went for it. But it was a long race!" said Webb on the top step of the podium after a thrilling race.
Webb started his weekend perfectly by clinching the Mintex Pole Position Award in qualifying on Saturday. The capacity field on the 1.2 mile Indy circuit made an impressive sight but with 29 cars pounding round, finding a clear lap was not easy. As the session developed, the leading times changed constantly until late in the session Webb stormed round in 46.55s, an average speed of 93mph.
Webb then got the start he wanted as the field charged away in front of the Formula 3 crowd. Behind, first-round winner Clive Woodward (Maidenhead) slotted into second from David Smith (Croydon) and Tony Richardson (Congleton). The battle for second actually made life a little easier for Webb as the trio of cars fought for position, but an 18-lap race was a demanding proposition. "That was superb, 18 laps around the Brands Indy circuit in these cars is brilliant," beamed Webb after his victory.
However, behind the leader matters were far from settled. Smith and Richardson swapped places several times before Smith established himself in third and then set about chasing Woodward. Their battle for second was one of the highlights and it took a bold move from Smith into Paddock Hill Bend to settle the matter. "I had a fantastic battle with Clive. It was great going into Paddock," said a jubilant Smith. More battles raged through the pack and it was Gerry Cain (Herts) who starred by battling from tenth on the grid to finish fourth, claiming a new lap record in the process. His performance earned him the RDS Automotive Driver of the Race Award.
Provisional points position after round two: 1 Webb, 49; 2 Woodward, 46; 3 Peter Clark, 33; 4 Smith, 32; 5 Alan Palmer, 26; 6 Peter Richings, 25.
Round 3, Cadwell Park, Sunday May 10th 1998
Smith on top at Cadwell Park
Former test cricketer David Smith (Croydon) was the class of the field in round three of the 1998 RDS Automotive Rover K Sports 1600 Championship as the series moved to the demanding Cadwell Park circuit in Lincolnshire on Sunday (May 10th). In difficult conditions, Smith drove an assured race to win as his rivals could only battle for second in his wake.
A wet track greeted teams as they arrived at the Lincolnshire track but conditions had dried enough for most drivers to risk fitting slick racing tyres for qualifying. Top of the pack was Clive Woodward (Maidenhead) who lapped more than two seconds quicker than Smith to take the Mintex Pole Position Award. Tony Richardson (Cheshire) and Mark Pierce (Hertfordshire) completed the top four and ensured that three different marques were represented on the first two rows of the grid.
Despite a major thunderstorm over lunch, the track was dry enough later in the afternoon for the K Sports 1600 race for most drivers to opt for slick tyres once more. However, the conditions were still difficult and many drivers had spins in the early laps, including Rover's Peter Richings (Bromsgrove) who spun down to last place. However, Smith had no such problems and grabbed the lead on the opening lap before gradually extending his advantage with a sure- footed drive which also earned him the RDS Automotive Driver of the Race Award.
Behind Smith, a fine battle raged for second as Woodward successfully fended off the challenge of Peter Clark (Staines) and Pierce, though only a second covered the three cars as they raced across the line. Woodwards second place takes him to the top of the championship points table at the expense of Barry Webb (Redditch) who was back in fifth after a race-long battle with Richardson.
Provisional points position after round three: 1 Woodward, 69; 2 Webb, 65; 3 Smith, 57; 4 Clark, 53; 5 Alan Palmer, 39; 6 Richings and Andy Langridge, 35.
Round 4, Lydden Hill, Monday May 25th 1998
Woodward extends series lead at Lydden Hill
Clive Woodward (Maidenhead) extended his lead in the 1998 RDS Automotive Rover K Sports 1600 Championship with a hard-earned victory over David Smith (Croydon) at Lydden Hill (Kent) on Bank Holiday Monday (May 25th). In warm sunshine, the packed grid of Rover K-powered sports-racing cars produced some thrilling racing as the feature event of the meeting.
Woodward staked his claim to victory by setting the pace in qualifying to take the Mintex Pole Position Award with a best lap of 41.98s around the tricky one-mile track. Barry Webb (Redditch) and Mark Pierce (Hertfordshire) were close to Woodward with Smith fourth and airline pilot John Kelly (Bucks) an inspired fifth. As feature race of the day, the drivers than had a 10-lap heat to resolve grid positions for the championship race which was won by Webb from Smith as Woodward took a cautious third.
Webb was slow away into the 20-lap race away and then spun at Pilgrims on the second lap which left him back in fifth as Woodward and Smith went through to set the pace at the front. Their battle for the lead raged for the remaining 19 laps, with Smith a constant challenge to Woodward. However, the leader used all his experience to fend off Smith and, after a nail-biting race, Woodward was ahead by less than a second as they raced across the line. To complete a perfect day, Woodward also took the extra championship point for fastest lap and now heads the table by 13 points.
Behind Smith, Peter Clark (Staines) jumped up to third and then defended his place vigorously from Peter Richings (Bromsgrove) and Webb. Despite numerous attacks from Richings, Clark held onto the place to claim his third podium finish of the season while Pierce completed the top six with a stirring drive which earned him the RDS Automotive Driver of the Race Award. After problems in the heat, Pierce started 18th on the grid for the main race but tigered through to finish a remarkable sixth.
Provisional points position after round four: 1 Woodward, 95; 2 Webb, 82; 3 Smith, 79; 4 Clark, 73; 5 Richings, 53; 6 Andy Langridge, 49.
Round 5, Mallory Park, Sunday June 7th 1998
Smith and Pierce head the field at Mallory
David Smith (Croydon) scored a superb victory in the 1998 RDS Automotive Rover K Sports 1600 Championship Mallory Park (Leicestershire) on Sunday (June 7th) as a packed grid of Rover K-powered sports-racing cars produced one of the best races of the day. Smith's team-mate Mark Pierce (Hertfordshire) chased hard but found himself under increasing pressure from Malcolm Jackson (Warwickshire) at the end of 15 hectic laps around the tight 1.35-mile track.
Pierce celebrated his birthday by claiming the Mintex Pole Position Award as a 26-car field gathered for the fifth round of the championship. Although Pierce headed the jostling pack into Gerards, Smith dived ahead at the Hairpin moments later. "He sold me a big dummy on the first lap," admitted Pierce. This duo then eased ahead of the rest of the field which was headed by a mighty four-car battle. Barry Webb (Redditch), Jackson, Clive Woodward (Maidenhead) and Tony Richardson (Cheshire) were almost locked together as Webb battled to hold onto third.
But Smith was not having such a hard time at the head of the race and stormed to his second win of the season. "The car was fantastic round Gerards, and that made a big difference" said Smith who won by just under three seconds. Pierce never gave up in his chase of the leader but had to concentrate on holding onto second in the closing laps. A daring move into Gerards put Jackson ahead of Webb on the tenth lap and Jackson then charged up onto Pierce's tail as they dashed over the line. His fighting drive earned Jackson the RDS Automotive Driver of the Race Award.
Webb, Woodward and Richardson completed the top six but Smith has now jumped to second in the points table, just seven points behind Woodward. There is no respite for the teams as round six of the championship is at Snetterton this coming weekend (June 13th).
Provisional points position after round five: 1 Woodward, 111; 2 Smith, 104; 3 Webb, 100; 4 Peter Clark, 82; 5 Pierce, 71; 6 Peter Richings, 67.
Round 6, Snetterton, Saturday June 13th 1998
Pierce takes maiden win in the rain
Mark Pierce (Hertfordshire) scored his first ever race win during an action- packed sixth round of the 1998 RDS Automotive Rover K Sports 1600 Championship at Snetterton (Norfolk) on Saturday (June 13th). A 28-car field of Rover K-powered sports-racing cars produced a race full of drama and incident which leaves the title contest wide open as drivers go into a six-week break in the calendar.
David Smith (Croydon) followed up his Mallory Park win by taking the Mintex Pole Position Award in dry conditions on Saturday morning. However, by the time of the race later in the afternoon, the track was awash from heavy rain and the drivers faced a very difficult race. The drama started at the first corner when a tangle between Smith and Tony Richardson (Cheshire) put Smith out of the race and badly delayed championship leader Clive Woodward (Berkshire).
However, Pierce was in no such trouble and set off into the lead, benefiting from clear vision as his pursuers faced heavy spray around the high-speed track. Peter Clark (Staines) led the chase of Pierce while Neil Bevan (Milford Haven) drove an incredible opening lap to jump from 14th on the grid to third place! He then survived a trip across the gravel trap at Russell but it all went wrong on the sixth lap when he slid wide at the same corner and damaged the nose of his car. Though forced into retirement, his stunning display earned him the RDS Automotive Driver of the Race Award.
A jubilant Pierce completed a sure-footed performance to score his first racing win while Clark moved back into the title race with second as an ecstatic Peter Richings (Bromsgrove) completed the podium party after a gritty drive up from tenth on the grid. Richings finally got the better of a race- long battle with RDS Automotive team-mate Barry Webb (Redditch) while David Williams (Oxford) scored a best-ever fifth in another thrilling K Sports 1600 race.
Provisional points position after round six: 1 Woodward, 120; 2 Webb 118; 3 Smith, 105; 4 Clark, 104; 5 Pierce, 97; 6 Richings, 87.
Round 7, Donington Park, Saturday August 1st 1998
Webb back on top in Donington thriller
Barry Webb (Redditch) returned to winning form and jumped back to the top of the championship table in the seventh round of the 1998 RDS Automotive Rover K Sports 1600 Championship at Donington Park (Leicestershire) on Saturday (August 1st). A 26-car field of Rover K-powered sports-racing cars produced a cracking race as four cars battled for the lead until the start of the final lap. Webb's second win of the season puts him just six points clear of Clive Woodward (Maidenhead) at the head of the table.
Webb proved his wet-weather prowess to claim the Mintex Pole Position Award as a very wet and slippery circuit greeted the drivers for qualifying. Alongside him on the front row was RDS team-mate Peter Richings (Bromsgrove) while Woodward and Howard Payne (Northampton) shared the third row of the packed grid.
The track was fully dry for the 12-lap race and Webb shot straight into the lead from the start with Richings slotting into second. While this duo led the pack around, it was the progress up the order of Justin Foley (Harlow) and Mark Pierce (Hertfordshire) that was catching the attention. They charged into contention and by lap nine the leading quartet were running nose-to-tail around the parkland track. 'Mark was coming very, very fast,' said Webb who saw his pursuers getting ever-larger in his mirrors.
Into the final lap, Pierce was up to third and challenged Richings into Redgate with an over-ambitious move. They touched and Richings spun into the gravel while Pierce dropped to ninth. That left Webb to take a clear victory from Foley who claimed the the RDS Automotive Driver of the Race Award with a gritty performance. 'It was a very exciting race,' said Justin on the podium. Payne took his best result of the season to complete the podium party while Woodward outfumbled Tony Richardson (Congleton) at the final corner to grab fourth.
Provisional points position after round seven: 1 Webb, 144; 2 Woodward, 138; 3 David Smith and Peter Clark 119; 5 Pierce, 110; 6 Richings, 87.
Round 8, Pembrey, Sunday August 16th 1998
Woodward goes ahead as Richardson takes first-ever victory
Tony Richardson (Cheshire) was a jubilant winner of the eighth round of the 1998 RDS Automotive Rover K Sports 1600 Championship at Pembrey (Carmarthenshire) on Sunday (August 16th). 'I've never even been on the podium before,' said Richardson after a hard-earned victory in a race shortened following an accident. The 24-car grid of Rover K-powered sports-racing cars produced a race full of drama in which second place was sufficient to take Clive Woodward (Maidenhead) back to the top of the championship.
Peter Clark (Staines) set the pace in qualifying to take the Mintex Pole Position Award but the fact that the top nine cars were covered by just a second promised a thrilling race. For Woodward, who lined up second on the grid, it was an opportunity to steal the title lead away from Barry Webb (Redditch) who was away on holiday!
Clark got a great start to lead the opening lap as a first-corner tangle eliminated Tom Bellamy (Sheffield), Mark Pierce (Hertfordshire) and Peter Richings (Bromsgrove). Clark's moment of glory was short-lived, however, and he spun his lead away before the end of the opening lap. As the chasing pack braked to avoid him, Richardson saw his chance and swept into the lead. Woodward and Alan Palmer (Stratford-on-Avon) gave chase and this trio ran in close formation as Justin Foley (Harlow), David Smith (Croydon) and the recovering Clark battled for fourth.
However, with marshals still struggling to retrieve the stranded car of Bellamy, the officials brought the race to a halt after seven laps, leaving Richardson a delighted winner for the very first time. His efforts also earned him the RDS Automotive Driver of the Race Award, while Woodward scored vital championship points to take the lead away from Webb.
Provisional points position after round eight: 1 Woodward, 160; 2 Webb, 144; 3 Smith, 135; 4 Clark 120; 5 Pierce, 110; 6 Palmer, 88.
Round 9, Silverstone, Sunday August 23rd 1998
Scammell walks on water
With an incredible performance in only his second ever race, Richard Scammell (Reading) mastered appalling conditions to win the ninth round of the 1998 RDS Automotive Rover K Sports 1600 Championship at Silverstone (Northants) on Sunday (August 23rd). In front of a bumper crowd at the Silverstone Summer Fest meeting, the packed grid of Rover K-powered sports-racing cars had to contend with a flooded track as persistent rain made conditions very difficult.
Barry Webb (Redditch) set the pace in Saturday qualifying to take the Mintex Pole Position Award but Scammell signalled his arrival as a star of the future by taking second fastest time, only a fraction of a second slower than Webb. However, by the time of the race on Sunday the track was awash and drivers faced a tough 10-laps on the Silverstone International circuit. Webb headed the ball of spray into the first corner from Scammell but then fell foul of standing water at the Ireland Esses and spun, leaving Scammell ahead!
With a stunning display of car control, Scammell extended his lead throughout the race to take a commanding victory. 'I just tried to keep it on the road,' said Richard on the podium, scarcely able to believe the result. Inevitably, his performance earned him the RDS Automotive Driver of the Race Award. Despite his first-lap spin, Webb held second until caught by the charging Peter Clark (Staines) who drove a mighty race up from 13th on the grid. Another fine drive came from Tony Richardson (Cheshire) who fought up to third at the expense of Webb and his team-mate Peter Richings (Bromsgrove). By fighting ahead of his friend and rival to take fourth, Richings gave the large contingent of guests from RDS and Etsong RDS plenty to cheer about!
Provisional points position after round nine: 1 Webb, 161; 2 Clive Woodward, 160; 3 Clark, 142; 4 David Smith, 135; 5 Mark Pierce, 110; 6 Richardson, 107.
Round 10, Spa (Belgium), Saturday September 12th 1998
Foley stars in Belgium
Justin Foley (Harlow) was the star of the day as the tenth round of the 1998 RDS Automotive Rover K Sports 1600 Championship took drivers to the world- famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit (Belgium) on Saturday (September 12th). Despite starting on slick racing tyres on a damp track, Foley drove brilliantly to win convincingly and finished ahead of many of the more powerful Supersports cars in the concurrent race.
For virtually all of the 22-strong field of Rover K-powered sports-racing cars, this was a first-ever experience of the incredible 4.5-mile track set in the Ardennes Mountains in Belgium. As the venue for the Belgian Grand Prix, the circuit is widely recognised as one of the most challenging in the world. In dry qualifying on Friday afternoon, Mark Pierce (Hertfordshire) set the pace to claim the Mintex Pole Position Award by lapping at an average speed close to 100mph.
Conditions in the build up to the race were difficult as the track dried after earlier heavy rain. Then, as the cars lined up on the grid on slick racing tyres, another shower of rain made the track slippery once more. However, the whole field safely negotiated the first corner and Foley charged away with a remarkable drive in very testing conditions. With a 10-second lead over his rivals, Foley was racing in with the 2-litre Supersports cars and that almost led to his downfall when he tangled with one of them on the last lap. But, with damaged bodywork he still got the car over the line for a famous win. Tony Richardson (Cheshire) led the chase of Foley while Tom Bellamy (Sheffield) battled through from fifth to claim the RDS Automotive Driver of the Race Award.
Provisional points position after round ten: 1 Clive Woodward, 169; 2 Barry Webb 161; 3 Peter Clark, 160; 4 David Smith, 150; 5 Richardson 129; 6 Pierce, 127.
Round 11, Oulton Park, Saturday, September 26th 1998
Smith wins to set up title cliff-hanger
David Smith (Croydon) won a thrilling eleventh round of the 1998 RDS Automotive Rover K Sports 1600 Championship at Oulton Park (Cheshire) on Saturday (September 26th), to set up a nail-biting championship conclusion. When early leaders Guy Woodward (Bath) and Charles Scammell (Sussex) touched and spun out, Smith could hardly believe his fortune at being handed the race lead. 'It was like heaven,' beamed a jubilant Smith on the podium. However, with title rivals Peter Clark (Staines) finishing third and Clive Woodward (Maidenhead) fourth, the championship is incredibly close heading into the final race of the season at Snetterton (Norfolk).
Scammell claimed the Mintex Pole Position Award by setting the pace in qualifying but Guy Woodward was close as he took over the RDS-liveried car normally raced by Barry Webb. From the start, Guy Woodward just edged ahead as Scammell slotted into second and Guy's younger brother Clive briefly grabbed third. But Smith was soon through to third and tracked Woodward and Scammell as they battled. 'I just held back a fraction,' said Smith, and his patience was rewarded as they braked for Lodge Corner on the fifth lap. Scammell tried to go round the outside and touched Woodward before they both spun. Woodward was later able to continue but Scammell was stuck in the gravel trap.
Smith swept into the lead but could not relax for a moment as the battle for second between Clark and Tony Richardson (Cheshire) was never far behind. It was Richardson who nipped ahead on the final lap while Clive Woodward just fended off Peter Richings (Bromsgrove) for fourth. Into sixth from 12th on the grid, came Andy Langridge (Dorset) who earned the RDS Automotive Driver of the Race Award for his efforts.
Provisional points position after round eleven: 1 Clive Woodward, 187; 2 Clark 180; 3 Smith 175; 4 Barry Webb 161; 5 Richardson 152; 6 Richings 134.
Round 12, Snetterton (Norfolk), Sunday October 11th 1998
Smith grabs the title in final thriller
David Smith (Croydon) snatched the championship title in a thrilling final round of the 1998 RDS Automotive Rover K Sports 1600 Championship at Snetterton (Norfolk) on Sunday (October 11th). While new sensation Richard Scammell (Reading) raced to his second win of the season, Smith battled ahead of title rival Peter Clark (Staines) to take second place and the championship crown after an incredibly hard-fought season. The unlucky loser was Clive Woodward (Maidenhead) who led the title race going into the final race but was forced to make a pit stop after an early clash damaged his car.
In a wet qualifying session Tony Richardson (Cheshire) set the pace to take the Mintex Pole Position Award but less than two-tenths of a second covered the next three drivers comprising Scammell, Clark and Smith. At the back of the grid was Justin Foley (Essex) after missing much of the session. While Scammell romped away at the start, most eyes were on the three title contenders and the contest came to a head at Sear Corner when Woodward and Richardson touched. The dejected Woodward was forced into the pits for attention to minor damage and later resumed a lap down.
Up front, Scammell was in a class of his own and the deciding moment in the championship came when Smith squeezed ahead of Clark to take second. While Clark then came under intense pressure from Andy Langridge (Dorset), Smith was able to edge away in second and was ecstatic to be confirmed as champion. Clark just beat off Langridge while Foley turned in a stunning performance to tiger up to fifth from the back of the grid. Meanwhile, another fine drive from Philip Barak (Northants) as he fought up to seventh earned him the RDS Automotive Driver of the Race Award.
Provisional points position after round twelve: 1 Smith 196; 2 Clark 190; 3 Woodward 187; 4 Richardson 168; 5 Barry Webb 161; 6 Peter Richings 144.