The 2017 AMOC Intermarque Championship and Aston Martin GT Challenge season kicked off in style with some superb racing in a combined grid at Donington Park this weekend.
Tom Andrew put in a faultless performance in his Morgan Aero 8GT racing solo in the GT Challenge and James Hilliard got a head start on his title defence – winning with co-driver James Guess – in the AMOC Intermarque Championship.
Sunday morning’s qualifying session suggested that Tony Jones was going to be the man to beat as he set the fastest time in his Ferrari 430 Challenge, but a wheel bearing failure put him out of the race.
Tom Andrew qualified 2nd with a 1m13s lap with Matt Wilton and Eddy Cowen third in the Ferrari 360 Challenge. In the AMOC Intermarque grid, a brace of Porsche 968CS headed up the grid, with James Hilliard and James Guess on pole, Steve Atkinson 2nd and the Miles/Piers Maserati brothers in 3rd with the family 911 Porsche Turbo.
At the start of this combined race – with Jones out – Tom Andrew had a clear run into Redgate and settled in, to lead the first half of the race. Behind the Morgan a fierce battle ensued between the Cooke/Dowd BMW M3 GT4, the Ferrari of Wilton/ Cowen, and the two Aston Martins of Tom Black and David Tinn and by lap five a charging Mike Dowd had picked his way up into 2nd place.
Further down the grid in the AMOC Intermarque battle a poor start by pole sitter James Hilliard allowed the Porsche 968 CS of Steve Atkinson to sneak through to lead in the early stages, with Piers Maserati in 2nd and Hilliard in 3rd caught up in a battle with the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge car of Robin Marriott.
At the pit stops everything changed, Jeremy Cooke took the lead in the Aston Martin GT Challenge when Tom Andrew pitted on lap 14. Meanwhile in the AMOC Intermarque race Piers Maserati took the lead on Lap 20 going for a late stop to hand over to brother Miles.
Once the pit stop reshuffle settled, Tom Andrew was on a charge to return to the lead, fending off challenges from the Aston Martin competitors of David Tinn and Tom Black – both chasing hard. The BMW M3 of Cooke/ Dowd was unable to sustain the pace dropping back in the final laps.
At the final flag it was Tom Andrew across the line first with his Multi-marque Challenge Morgan Aero 8GT, with Tom Black 2nd in the Aston Martin GT Challenge followed by the Aston Martin GT4 cars of David Tinn in 3rd and Robin Marriot in 4th with the BMW M3 GT4 of Jeremy Cooke rounding out the top 5.
In the AMOC Intermarque race, James Guess and James Hilliard eventually came through to lead the pack, beating the Maserati brothers by 19 seconds. Bob Searles and Tony Jardine drove a clean race to finish 3rd overall in their Porsche 944 Turbo. David Norton/Matthew Dietz were 4th in the Porsche 968 CS and Martin Melling and Jason Minshaw completed the top 5 in the stunning Aston Martin DB4 Lightweight.
Guy Colclough did well to finish 7th after recovering from a bad start which dropped him to the back of the pack on lap one and Steve Atkinson drove a superb race in his Porsche 968 CS but lost out in a late retirement with engine problems.
Round 2 of the AMOC Intermarque Championship and Aston Martin GT Challenge is to be held on the AMOC Racing event at Oulton Park on May 13th . There is still time to enter – for details visit: wwww.amocracing.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.