Cadwell Park Review – Thackeray, Alp-Williams and Bailey win in Cup as Jeakins leads in Production

2022 Milltek Sport Civic Cup
Rounds 1, 2 & 3
Cadwell Park – 1st & 2nd May 2022

Spectacular Milltek Sport Civic Cup season-opener sees Thackeray, Alp-Williams and Bailey score victories at Cadwell Park triple-header, whilst Jeakins makes perfect start with Production Class hattrick

The much anticipated first meeting of the 2022 Milltek Sport Civic Cup season lived up to its expectations, with three different winners taking Cup Class – and overall – honours at the Cadwell Park triple-header, whilst Alfie Jeakins got his Production Class campaign off to a perfect start with a hattrick of wins.

The first three of this year’s 16 rounds took place on Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May at the technically demanding and in some places, tight and twisty Cadwell Park circuit that nestles in the Lincolnshire Wolds, seeing 28 competitors comprising 22 Cup Class and six Production Class lining up on the grid.

Predictably, Sunday’s Qualifying session was a fiercely fought affair, with the rivalry between the top two drivers from 2021 – Alistair Camp and Matt Luff – reignited, albeit with the end-of-season positions reversed for the race-one grid. Significantly, Dan Thackeray claimed third, with Morgan Baily fourth, as Dave Marshall, Loui Hounsell, Alfie Jeakins and Simon Welch occupied the top-four Production Class places.

Round 1

As the lights went out, Thackeray made a great start and took the lead as others around him struggled to get off the line. As Bailey pulled into the pits with a puncture at the end of lap one, Thackeray consolidated his lead, pursued by Alfie Threlfall and then polesitter Luff in third with Ryan Bensley, Max Lewis and Will Redford in hot pursuit.

Uncharacteristically, Camp had suffered the worst of starts due to engine issues and at the end of the first lap found himself back in 13th place. Three laps later, Luff passed Threlfall to take second place, but as last year’s Production Class race-winner fought back, he lost his brakes going into Park corner and made contact with the tyre barrier.

The resulting red flag and time-out for barrier repairs meant that it was 30-minutes before the restart, with grid positions reflecting the running order when the race was stopped. With just six minutes remaining on the clock, part two was destined to be an intense sprint for the line.

Thackery repeated his lights-out performance, this time followed by Bensley who managed to get past Luff who was suffering from an understeering car. So much so, last year’s runner-up was also unable to hold-off the advances of Max Lewis, who claimed third place in the closing stages.

In the Production Class, Jeakins made a better start than Marshall and duly stayed ahead to win on his championship debut. With Hounsell unable to start the second half of the race following mechanical issues in the first, Rhys Lewis claimed an un-challenged third.

Round 2

With the top ten places from round one dictating the top ten places of the round two grid in reverse, Will Di Claudio made a good getaway from pole position, followed by Brad Lane and Harvey Caton, who were locked in battle for the opening lap. That was until Alp-Williams drew alongside at Coppice at the start of the second lap, a move that sent Lane onto the grass followed by Caton as he took evasive action.

The upshot of this activity saw Lane retire and Di Claudio extend his lead – but not for long as two laps later the chasing pack reduced the advantage and then passed Di Claudio on the downhill section through the Gooseneck; first by Alp-Williams, then Thackeray Camp and Luff, who now had cars that were working as they should.

Together Camp and Luff passed Thackeray as the cars crossed the start finish line to take second and third places respectively and whilst the regular AREA Motorsport sparring partners raced bumper-to-bumper for the second half of the race, they were unable to catch Alp Williams who went on to win by 2.2 seconds. Thackeray claimed a clear fourth, followed by William Redford, then Bailey and former leader Di Claudio seventh.

It was another Jeakins-Marshall one-two in the Production Class, with Hounsell rounding off the podium positions this time around.

Round 3

For three-race meetings, grid positions are established from the second-fastest times set in the qualifying sessions. Unfortunately, for fifth-placed Redford, the race was over before it started when he pulled of the track during the green flag lap.

Best starter for the last race of the day was Bailey, who elbowed past Luff and Camp on the run up to turn one. Despite race-long pressure from Luff, Bailey did enough to stay ahead, whereas Camp was passed by Alp-Williams on the final lap who snatched third place off the 2021 Champion.

Behind the top four, Caton took his best finish of the day with a well-earned fifth, as Max Lewis completed the top six.

In pole position for the Production Class, Marshall managed to hold off Hounsell and Jeakins at the start. But by lap three, the two-race winner assumed his former position at the front of the field and in doing so, went on to score three-out of three in the category for less-modified cars.

Having scored a fourth, third and second place during the day, Matt Luff emerged as championship leader and following the event commented:

“I’ve not been able to do quite enough to take a win today. But being quickest in qualifying followed by a second, third and a fourth – even with the handling issues in the first race – I’m very pleased to have scored a lot of points. So overall it’s been a pretty good weekend and an excellent start to the season.”

Following the three action packed races at Cadwell Park, teams and drivers now have seven weeks to re-group and prepare for rounds four, fine and six, which take place at Brands Hatch over the weekend of 18th and 19th June.

The Milltek Sport Civic Cup is supported by Milltek Sport, Goodyear, Maximum Networks, Liqui Moly, MaxiCloud Hosted Telephony, Co-ordSport, Berkshire Turbo, Joyce Design, Steel Seal, PRS braking systems and Maximum Performance. The Championship is administered by Club Time Attack.