MOTORSPORT: Castle Bytham’s Richardson Racing rip it up in Ginetta series at Snetterton

Andrew Richardson drove at blistering pace around Snetterton. Photo: Jakob Ebrey
Andrew Richardson drove at blistering pace around Snetterton. Photo: Jakob Ebrey
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CASTLE Bytham-based Richardson Racing enjoyed arguably its best weekend to date in the 2012 Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup as the season resumed at Snetterton after the summer break.

The team secured no fewer than six podium finishes, with two coming in the G55 class and a further four in the G50 class – including a stunning triple win.

Louise Richardson cracks open the champagne at Snetterton. Photo: Jakob Ebrey

Louise Richardson cracks open the champagne at Snetterton. Photo: Jakob Ebrey

There was also lap-record breaking pace in both classes as the team showed its speed throughout the weekend.

In the premier G55 class, Andrew Richardson qualified in a solid fourth place and finished the opening race of the weekend in fifth, having lost a place on the opening lap when his tracking was knocked out of alignment after hitting a kerb.

Maintaining his position at the start of race two, Andrew made up one position when Tom Ingram retired with engine failure.

Andrew then battled ahead of points leader Tom Sharp to secure a place on the podium in third – only missing out on challenging for victory when he briefly went off the road having caught the top two on track. However, in a display of his pace, Andrew broke the lap record with a stunning lap, two-tenths of a second quicker than any of his rivals could manage.

Andrew Richardson on the podium at Snetterton. Photo: Jakob Ebrey

Andrew Richardson on the podium at Snetterton. Photo: Jakob Ebrey

Third on the grid for the final race, Andrew got ahead of Carl Breeze on the opening lap but looked like being forced to settle for second place as Sharp built an advantage in the early laps. However, Andrew stormed back into contention with a series of stunning qualifying-like laps that saw him close right on to the tail of the leader, despite being almost three seconds behind at one stage.

Giving his all on the final lap, Andrew made one last attempt to take the lead at the hairpin before ultimately settling for second place. He now sits joint sixth in the championship but is just 10 points away from fifth place.

Andrew said: “We had a solid weekend at Croft before the summer break and at Snetterton, we have just got quicker and quicker all weekend.

“The fact we haven’t had any of the problems we had earlier in the year has meant we could focus on improving the car, and now we need to keep the momentum going and try and fight for our first victory.

“Finally, I’ve got to thank the team for the work they have put in all season. I’ve also got to thank the sponsors who have stood by me during a difficult spell earlier in the year.

“Hopefully these results will help attract new backers for the remainder of the season and beyond.”

In the G50 class, the team’s Huddersfield racer Mark Davies continued his dominant campaign to further extend his already healthy championship lead to more than 120 points.

Having qualified on class pole by more than a second, Mark was on top form in the three races as he led each from start to finish – also picking up three overall top 10 finishes in the process.

Winning races one and two by nearly 10 seconds, Mark ended the final race of the weekend more than 15 seconds ahead of his closest rival and also picked up a hat trick of fastest laps from the weekend – including his own lap record.

Mark was partnered once again in the G50 class by Louise Richardson, who rejoined the grid after missing the rounds at Oulton Park and Croft following sponsorship issues.

Despite her lack of recent track time and that fact that she was forced to complete the entire race weekend on old tyres, Louise qualified third in class for the opening race of the weekend, although she lost places on the opening lap to slip to fifth in class and 16th overall.

From there, she fought her way back to finish 13th overall and fourth in class, just three-tenths of a second away from the podium places.

Going one better in race two, Louise secured her fifth podium finish of the season in third place and went into the final race hoping to at least repeat the feat, only to suffer a spin on lap one while avoiding an incident ahead.

Despite that dropping her to the rear of the field, impressive pace for the remainder of the race saw her climb back to fourth at the finish as she again finished just three-tenths of a second away from a place in the top three.

Louise said it had been a difficult weekend: “I was a bit rusty in the opening race, although I could have been on the podium without a mistake at Williams when I went off and lost places early on.

“Race two was much better and we got on to the podium but race three didn’t go to plan at all.

“Hopefully we can now get something sorted so I can be out at Knockhill.”

l Further information on sponsorship opportunities with the Richardson Racing team are available by e-mailing info@richardsonracing.co.uk