The weekend of October 2nd saw the RNRM Car Racing Team head to Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk for the final 2 rounds of the Armed Forces Race Challenge. 9 drivers lined up for the team as part of a 43 car grid at the fast and flowing circuit built on the site of the former RAF base.
Unseasonably warm weather greeted the drivers as they set up their cars for the early warm up and qualifying on a dry but greasy track to decide the grid for the day’s two 20 minutes races.
The 15 minute session saw a number of yellow flags as all drivers looked to find a competitive time on the 3 mile circuit but the stand-out performance was from Veteran Mark Inman (Caterham Sigmax) who powered his way to 2nd on the grid and 1st in Class B with a lap at an average speed above 78mph. Further back team manager Keith Attwood (Mini R53 Cooper S) would start from 12th (5th in class) and would be looking to capture a podium in the competitive Class C. Mike Wells (Toyota MR2) qualified 1st in Class D and would be looking to add to his impressive total of Class wins this season. With the other drivers starting in the middle of a large and competitive field the stage was set for an exciting 2 races. Steve Hutchings (Peugeot 106 – Class A) would be looking to make up ground as a boost control issue on his impressively modified car left him towards the back of the grid.
Race 1 began well with the fast starting Mazda MX5s of Gareth Moss and Simon Vernon making up a number of places on the run to the first corner. All drivers successfully negotiated the opening few laps before a spin for Sean Graham exiting the hairpin saw his Locost travel back across the track to be collected by the BMW 116i of RN driver Rich Phillips. The accident removed the front of the Locost and left the radiator and steering rack beyond repair for the 2nd race of the day, thankfully Shaun was able to walk away from what could have been a nasty crash. Further back Seb Unwin and Dan Blackett were locked in battle in the Navy BMW 116i cars with Simon in hot pursuit. The close racing saw a slight mistake from Dan send his BMW spinning across the infield at the fast Hamilton corner but he was able to recover to finish 33rd overall and 13th in class. Seb and Simon continued their battle to finish 29th and 30th respectively, 10th and 11th in class. Further ahead Gareth brought his MX5 home to finish 25th overall and 6th in class and 11th in the Performance Index system to collect 5 points towards the individual and teams competition. Adam Dewis (Peugeot 206) raced hard to finish 27th on track and 8th in class and 12th in PI. Mike drove a strong race to finish 21st and 3rd in class adding to his podium count for the year. Keith also made it to the rostrum with 3rd in class and 9th overall with his consistency rewarded with 11 championship points on PI. Steve found his way through the grid to finish 11th overall and 3rd in the smaller Class A. Mark drove a fine race to come home 2nd overall and easily win Class B.
Race 2 of the day closed out a fine day of racing with all drivers looking for a strong finish to the Armed Forces Race Challenge 2022 with the Royal Navy/ Royal Marine team holding a sizeable advantage in the teams championship over the other 2 forces but just behind the Veterans team. Race 2 started well with the MX5s again making good starts and finding heat in their tyres quickly to make up places on the 1st lap. However a large incident blocked the track after just 4 laps bringing out a red flag and after a short delay a 3 lap sprint would give the final action of the season and decide the PI results. Consistent driving from the team saw 5 drivers collect points in the battle for the teams championship. Keith finished the sprint 9th overall 2nd in Class and collecting 13 points to finish the season 5= in the individual standings, another fine season for the Mini racer. Seb, Dan, Gareth and Simon all finished together repeating their Race 1 results but picking up 9, 8, 7 and 4 points respectively towards both individual and the teams championship. Mike repeated his fine result from Race 1 with 22nd overall and 3rd in class. Mark ended his season with 3rd overall and 2nd in class. The absent Ben McLaughlin claimed the 2022 Novice Championship after some strong performances earlier in the year.
The final points total saw the RNRM team claim the forces trophy, just missing out on the overall prize just behind the combined Veterans team. The team will look to take this momentum into their final 2 races of the season at the Inter-Services Championship race at the Birkett Relay later this month and then the annual Race of Remembrance in November.