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MOTOR RACING: Wheeler dealer Shanley comes up trumps
11:10am Wednesday 6th June 2012 in Latest news
TROWBRIDGE'S Andrew Shanley thought he had seen the last of his Radical Prosport after selling it at the end of the 2011 season.
But after finding out its new owner had not raced it he decided to buy it back and at his home circuit’s Jubilee Race Day on Monday, Shanley took it to a brilliant class victory and second overall in the Vadabar Sports and GT championship at Castle Combe.
Last year saw Shanley fighting right to the end of the season to try to secure the title from his arch-rival Simon Tilling.
But Tilling’s far more powerful Radical SR3 was just too sophisticated for the more simple Prosport and despite a valiant effort, Shanley had to be content with second.
His re-acquaintance with the car on Monday got off to the best possible start when he qualified ahead of Tilling, only the much more powerful class A three-litre Jade of Tony Sinclair ahead of him.
A typically slow start by Tilling and an on-the-limit drive by Shanley, saw the local man win his class by almost five seconds from Tilling and justified his decision to buy back the car.
Predictably, Sinclair won the race and was in a class of his own.
Bath’s Guy Parr had his two litre Nemesis in class B, which he drove to fourth in class and seventh overall.
His teammate Des Andrews, also from Bath, was four places further back in his Megahart 001.
A thrilling Startline Formula Ford 1600 race at Castle Combe saw Saltford’s Steven Jensen take his first win of the year and extend his championship lead, though pole sitter Ben Norton, from Bratton, was the fastest man on the track.
Jensen took advantage of Norton’s slow start, immediately slotting into second behind his teammate Roger Orgee, from Lengford.
By lap three, Jensen had found a way past and after a safety car on lap seven, judged his restart impeccably to make sure Orgee and the likes of second round winner Nathan Ward were kept at bay.
Nevertheless the intense pressure remained right to the end, with Norton, in the Wiltshire College Spectrum, recovering from ninth at the start to take a fantastic second place and fastest lap en route.
Jensen said: ”That was really good, very, very competitive.
"They were all pushing me hard but it was very safe racing, great for me, great for the spectators.”
Indeed, many felt it was one of the best races they had ever seen and to add to Jensen’s extended lead of nine points over Orgee, he was also given the ‘Abrahams Driver of the Day’ award.
Norton rued his poor getaway and said, “It was a disastrous start.
"I don’t know what happened to the clutch, I wish we’d had a few more laps.”
Orgee who was both defending and attacking for most of the race was complimentary about his team mate and said: “It was very close, Steven knew exactly where to put his car. It was interesting thinking about how to go forward and defend at the same time.”
Orgee and Ward finished third and fourth respectively, with Yatton Keynell’s Luke Cooper fifth in the family Swift SC10 and Stroud’s Alex Ames in sixth.
In the National Mobile Windscreens Saloon Car championship race, Corsham’s Will Di Claudio had another impressive result.
An outright third in his class B Peugeot 106 Gti retains his overall lead of the championship over Shepton Mallet’s Charles Hyde-Andrews-Bird, who took the class C victory.
Tony Hutchings, from Calne, took second overall in his Audi TT behind race winner Adam Prebble and said: “I’m pleased with that result. We lost boost in qualifying and thought we had repaired it but it was still down.
"Adam drove brilliantly. I thought I might get him but couldn’t quite manage it.”
Mark Funnell, from Trowbridge, took fifth in his modestly powered Mini behind an improved Tony Dolley, while Bath’s Guy Parr brought his Fiesta home second in class B and ninth overall.
Mini races made up a large proportion of the programme and in the ‘Mighty Minis’ races, Bath driver David Marcussen, who went into the event fifth in the championship, qualified second fastest and held that place for three laps early in race one, eventually taking a fifth in a super competitive tussle.
In race two, Marcussen reversed that by starting fifth on the grid and fighting up to second.
REACTION & PICTURES ROM MONDAY'S MEETING IN THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD AND FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES