Milltek Sport Civic Cup
Rounds 15 & 16
Snetterton 200 Finale – 23rd October 2022
Matt Luff becomes Milltek Sport Civic Cup Champion following thrilling Snetterton finale
After winning the first of the two races and then going on to finish fourth in a dramatic and incident-packed final round of the season, Matt Luff was crowned 2022 Milltek Sport Civic Cup Champion on Sunday at Snetterton. Morgan Bailey claimed victory in race two and in doing so, became this year’s runner up, with last year’s Champion Alistair Camp finishing third in the drivers’ standings, following an incident that saw him retire early in the second race.
In the Production Class, two second places at Snetterton behind his teammate Loui Hounsell, was enough for Alfie Jeakins to become Champion in the category for cars with fewer modifications.
Following the season’s 14 previous outings, the shoot-out for the Cup Class and overall honours came down to four drivers: Alistair Camp (236 points), Matt Luff (227 points), Morgan Bailey (225 points) and Dan Thackeray (217 points). In the Production Class it was down to two: Alfie Jeakins (278 points) and Loui Hounsell (252 Points).
Whilst drivers could drop their two lowest scores up to and including the previous two rounds at Brands Hatch in September, regulations dictate that this option does not apply for the final meeting. Therefore, it was a straight fight for the share of the 52 points on offer: 25 for a win and one for setting the fastest lap in each race.
With just 15 minutes on a soaking wet track to decide the all-important grid positions for the first of the season’s final two races, Qualifying was always going to be an intense and frantic affair. It was clear from the outset that grip levels were somewhat of a lottery, a factor that saw the red flag emerge during the session.
Mastering the conditions better than everyone else was Thackeray – but only just – as Luff stopped the clock a miniscule 0.009 seconds behind. Camp in P4, Harvey Caton P5 and the fourth and final title aspirant Bailey in sixth, just 0.866 behind the Pole sitter. In the Production Class, the top three positions read: Hounsell, Jeakins and Mark Hughes.
Round 15 – Race 1
As if predicting the results of the first of the day’s two 15-minute races around Snetterton’s 2-mile 200 Circuit wasn’t hard enough, heavy rain just before the start increased the odds even further. When the red lights went out, Luff took advantage of Thackeray’s slower getaway, the inside of the track proving less grippy than the outside.
For championship leader Camp, slid wide at Wilsons and drop back to fifth place. By the end of the first lap, Luff and Thackeray had put three seconds between themselves and Bailey, followed by Jack Harding, then Camp, Bradley Lane, Harvey Caton, Will Redford with Max Edmundson rounding off the top ten.
Dave Buky, on his return to the Championship, got ahead of Edmundson to claim the all-important tenth place that, with the top ten finishing positions of race one reversed for race two, would result in pole position for the final race of the season.
Even with steamed-up windows, Jack Harding managed to pass Camp with five minutes to go, their battle seeing Harvey Caton and Bradley Lane join the now four-car battle for fourth.
Knowing he had to finish fourth to retain his championship advantage, Camp pushed on the final lap, only to slide wide at the Bomb Hole, momentarily taking to the grass and losing another place in the process. Meanwhile, further up the road, Matt Luff claimed his second win of the year to take the championship lead, ahead of the other championship contenders Thackeray and Bailey.
Harvey Caton finished sixth ahead of Lane, with Buky and Will Redford completing the top ten places. Hounsell claimed the Production class win for the fourth time this season, closing the points gap on his teammate Alfie Jeakins.
Round 16 – Race 2
In contrast to the first race, the track was now all but dry for the start of the second, albeit the late afternoon temperatures meant that grip would be an invaluable commodity. As for the race for the title, Luff started one point ahead of Camp, eight points ahead of Bailey and Dan Thackeray, all four still holding a mathematical chance for honours.
Redford made the most of his pole position and led the field away ahead of Buky, Lane and Bailey, as they sandwiched Camp on the exit of the first corner. Moments later, Camp spun into the barrier and, although the 2021 Champion tried to continue, his Civic was far too damaged to go any further than the pit lane.
There were more spins later in the lap, with Buky going off at Nelsons shortly followed by Caton. Meanwhile, with all this activity behind him, Redford was consolidating his lead ahead of Bailey, Lane, Thackeray, Harding and Luff who was now in seventh place.
A lap later and Luff managed to pull off one of the moves of the season, passing four cars between Brundle and Murrays, elevating himself up to third in one fell swoop! He then set his sights on Bailey but in true motorsport fashion, it’s not over until it’s over.
With six minutes of the race remaining and Bailey needing to put cars between him and Luff to be in with a chance of generating a difference in points to secure the title, he slowed just enough to back Luff into the chasing pack of Thackeray Lane and Harding.
Whilst Luff was in a position to make a move on Bailey, at the same time he had to defend his place. Then with just two laps to go, on the run up to Wilsons Hairpin there was contact, Luff leaving the track and clipping the same barrier as Camp had done earlier, the impact removing the car’s front bumper and a number of other ancillary items. To everyone’s surprise, he was able to continue, albeit now in eighth place and with the front of his car looking worse for wear.
Needing to finish fifth or higher to secure the title, Luff went into fight-back mode and passing Caton to take sixth place at Brundle with just over a lap to go. A few seconds later, Redford slowed and then momentarily went off the track, dropping him to sixth and significantly behind Luff.
Out front, it was now a three-way battle for the race, the trio initially led by Thackeray, then Lane and then Bailey, who went on to take his fourth victory of the season. Amazingly, with steam coming out of the front of his car, Luff made it across the line in fourth place, a result that rewarded him with the 2022 Milltek Sport Civic Cup Championship title by just three points.
Following the race, Luff was elevated to third with Thackeray relegated to fourth having been penalised two places for causing a collision. Early race leader Redford came home in fifth, ahead of Harding, Caton, Jordan Brennan and Edmundson.
Whilst his teammate Hounsell recorded his second Production Cup victory of the day and fifth win of the year, Jeakins’ second place was all he needed to secure the class title. Hounsell ended the season second in the standings, with Hughes third.
Matt Luff – 2022 Milltek Sport Civic Cup Champion
“Today has been a rollercoaster of emotions. I was quite nervous this morning, especially with the weather the way it’s been, so it was a relief to win the first race.
“As for the second! After a good start and after I saw Alistair go off – which was a huge surprise – I knew I was in with a chance. But then when I was turned into the barrier, I thought it was all over. The car didn’t handle straight from then on, but I just kept going and with a little help from Rob my teammate and then a bit more luck, I managed to make it to the line.
“It’s been a fantastic championship and I’ve really enjoyed the racing, especially against Alistair. I hope we’ll be competing against each other next year”
Alfie Jeakins – 2022 Milltek Sport Civic Cup Production Class Champion
“This has been an awesome year. I’ve really enjoyed it and the racing has been so close. It’s also been great to compete against my teammate Loui. He’s helped me out a lot during the season and it’s great to come away as the class champion!”