Brandon McCaughan has won the Janet Cesar Trophy for pre-’93 cars convincingly after favoured pre-final winner James Tucker faltered.
McCaughan, driving a Mondiale M89S, was a consistent part of the leading group with Tucker, in a 1992 Van Diemen, and Ben Tinkler’s Reynard 89FF, but he did not stamp his dominance on proceedings until quite late in the race. It was extremely tight between the lead trio until McCaughan got on the front of the pack, triggering a counter-attack from Tucker which only lasted until Jordan Harrison, also in an 89FF made a lunge from fourth and unsettled the leaders. He briefly led but it was a short-lived thing, and when the pack settled once more, McCaughan was leading and did not look back.
Tinkler looked extremely strong in the first half of the race and led several laps, as well as creating some major slipstreaming action with the other two chief protagonists. He did very well to fend off the attentions of Cam Jackson in the closing corners; Jackson nosed his Van Diemen RF90 past Tinkler but Tinkler retook his place just in time and closed the door.
Jackson had started from 19th on the grid after his coming-together with McCaughan in the pre-final. He quickly made progress into the top ten but it was only in the final laps that he added himself to the leading group, almost within attacking distance of the front on the last lap. He was the only driver to dip under the 1:03 mark in terms of lap times and McCaughan really had to pull it out of the bag to keep clear.
Tucker was fourth, nipping at Jackson’s heels as he passed. He actually led most of the race, but was shuffled to the back of the leading pack during Harrison’s attack and lost ground to his two main rivals. His battles with Tinkler were some of the early highlights of the race.
Dropping back after his late grab for the lead, Harrison was fifth. His pass at Brooklands drew gasps from the crowd, but he was not quite able to make it stick long-term. He was running in third until he was passed by Tinkler and Jackson in quick succession. In turn, Nathan Ward (Swift SC92) was a tenth behind Harrison, with a closing Benn Tilley, driving a Van Diemen RF86 for the first time this weekend, in seventh. Tilley had had a somewhat lonely race, but caught up the leaders at the end.
The second pack was very close together and Robert Wainwright’s Mondiale was only just behind Tilley. Richard Higgins (Van Diemen RF88) brought up the rear of that group, several full seconds ahead of tenth-placed Joe Watts’s 1992 Van Diemen.
Darwin Smith was expected to be a major factor in his RF90 but had to retire. Having recorded a DNF in the pre-final, he started at the back, but collided with Paul Tucker’s Swift on the first lap.
Full results at TSL Timing
Image copyright Karen Kissane