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Bumpy finish to campaign for Randon at Donington

Story by Ashbourne News Telegraph

Pictures as shown

IT WAS a frustrating finish to the British Endurance Championship for Ashbourne’s Sam Randon at Donington Park. Despite having multiple drivers through the season, the Team HARD Ginetta G55 car was second in its class for the championship going into the decider but a win was needed to finish on a high.

Randon was teamed up with Team HARD graduate Will Orton, the pairing making a formidable and fast partnership according to boss Tony Gilham.

The team qualified well in front of over 20 guests on the Randon side of the garage

Donington is our local so many of our supporters and sponsors made the trip and the atmosphere in the garage was great,” said Randon.

We were hosting local charity me&dee, who had brought along a young family for a special day out.

Bottom picture by Dave Stockley – F-Stop Photography

The two-hour endurance race started well enough, with Randon in the driving seat.

I made a mega start and kept right up with the faster cars as we turned into the first turn, Redgate corner,” Randon added.

But on cold tyres there was a spinner ahead of me and in the melee I got tangled up with a Porsche and we both came to a halt.

There wasn’t much contact at this point but as I was stationary, I was then hit from behind, which created a second accident and damaged my car, front and rear.

It was game over from there on really.”

The car limped back to the garage and hasty repairs were made with duct tape and cable ties.

Endurance racing gives you the chance to repair and get back in the race,” said Randon. “And the boys at Team HARD were incredible, as always.”

Despite losing the bonnet of the car at the site of the accident, the team retrieved it and refitted it to the car – in a fashion.

Randon and Orton not only finished the race, incredibly they also claimed a podium spot as third in class.

It wasn’t what we came to achieve but it was Will’s first time in the car and he drove brilliantly to get us back in the race,” said Randon, who is now focused on building a race budget for next season.

More Trophies in the Snet Sunshine

SAM Randon was a class winner again as he completed his curtailed GT Cup Championship season with a second guest appearance for Topcats Racing at Snetterton.

Story by Ashbourne News Telegraph

Photos by I & L Photography

Partnered with – and helping to coach – rising star Charlotte Birch, he was racing in a familiar Ginetta G55 in the GTA class – although in the absence of too many GTA entries, they were mixing it with the more powerful GT4 cars for much of the weekend,

It was disappointing that there weren’t more cars in our class but the racing was no less intense and we fought hard with the faster GT4 class,” said Randon.

Sam coaches rising start Charlotte Birch as part of his ro

The pair even started Sunday’s endurance race ahead of all but one of the GT4 competition thanks to Randon’s fastest lap in the shorter morning race.

They were tough cars to overtake as they had more power and would just drive past on the straights,” he said.

But we had very effective aerodynamics, which meant I had the advantage through the faster corners and Snetterton lent itself to that nicely.

It was a great weekend’s racing and I’m very grateful to Topcat Racing’s Warren Gilbert and Jensen Lunn for the opportunity to race with them.”

Randon has one last race this year at Donington Part in the last round of the British Endurance Championship, in which he will join Team Hard on October 22.

Sam Back In Winning Ways

SAM Randon and Charlotte Birch in Donington clean sweep at GT Cup event

Pictures by I&C Photography

In a complete turn of fortunes from the previous outing, Derby racer Sam Randon and partner Charlotte Birch took class top podium all weekend even adding the fastest class lap to their tally though the class entry was disappointly small.

It’s a shame there werent more mores to race against in the GTA class, but it was a busy grid so there was no shortage of action and overtaking.”

That said it was by no means easy, as Sam’s individual sprint race was interrupted by unexpected rain which doesn’t work well with hundreds of horsepower and slick tyres.

I did have a short trip into the gravel when I stupidly braked on the rubber deposits on the racing line” but he was able to recover and even posted the fastest last lap of the race despite the impressive array of much faster machinery in front of him.

Horsepower is actually a disadvantage in the wet on slick tyres” said Sam. “And my karting experience really helps as we raced in the wet so many times“.

Racing with a new team Topcats Racing this outing was a surprise addition to Randon’s season.

I’m very grateful to Warren Gilbert and Jensen Lunn for giving me this opportunity” he said. Team Boss Gilbert had not fully recovered from an unfortunate accident in a previous round and drafted the 27 year old Derby driver to fill the vacant seat and help the team setup their new car.

Last minute instructions from team boss, Warren Gilbert

As much as I love racing, this weekend wasn’t about me, it was very much focussed on getting Charlotte up to speed in what was, to her at least, a very different car to the Lamborghini that Gilbert crashed“. Randon’s knowledge of the Ginetta G55 Supercup car helped then quickly become competitive.

This car has aero that helps grip and therefore speed through the corners but that needs confidence to get the best out of the Ginetta.” Sam explained. “Charlotte quickly mastered it and we pretty much swept the board betweeen us, though an endurance race without wing mirros was an interesting challenge!“.

Sam has been invited back to drive the car at the final GT Cup round at Snetterton in Norfolk, 8/9 October.

Problems for Sam in his racing return

SAM Randon’s return to action in the British Endurance Championship did not go to plan at Donington Park.

Ashbourne News Telegraph – 24 Aug 2022

Pictures by Dave@F-Stop Photography

Randon was called in to take a vacant seat in a Ginetta G55 in the GT4 category for Team Hard – it is a car he has driven before and a team he is well known to but this was his first drive of a season curtailed by budgetary issues.

The format included a 30-minute qualifying session and a two-hour race with two mandatory pit stops.

We had electrical problems with the car from the moment we turned up for the Thursday test and were chasing the gremlins all day, barely turning a wheel in the process,” said Randon.

Problems continued through the second test day on the Friday and on into qualifying.

Having not driven a race car since the middle of last year I was rusty” said Randon.

So this was not ideal and felt like we were on the back foot before race day had even started.

In the race, gearbox problems saw the car often stuck in fourth and the inevitable result was last place.

Randon will hope for better in the final round in October, also at Donington.

We’re back!!!

Just when it looked all over, Sam Randon is back on the track with Team HARD for the last 2 rounds of the British Endurance Championship.

Season over but Sam already looks ahead

Sam Randon is already looking ahead to next season after a premature end to his GT Cup campaign. A combination of a crash damaged Porsche and an injured co-driver in Richard Marsh meant that they had to pull out of the Donington round of the competition in September.

Story by Colston Crawford, Ashbourne News Telegraph
Pictures as per watermark

IHIL5322Marsh crashed unfortunately at Silverstone, spinning the car when he touched a kerb in the first endurance race of the weekend. That came after Randon had added maximum points in class in the sprint race on the day and the pair had gone to Silverstone leading their GTB class and fourth overall, ahead of many much more powerful cars, in the championship.

Missing the Sunday races at Silverstone hurt their points tally. Missing the four races at Donington effectively finished their bid for the class title and the overall championship was already long gone due to the poor finishes at Snetterton and Silverstone. So, with one round to go at Snetterton in Norfolk, the Ashbourne pairing chose not to compete.


They had been able to welcome sponsors and guests back to the garage for the first time since the pandemic struck for the ill-fated Silverstone round.

“Then there was a double whammy missing Donington as, being our local round, we had already arranged to host a couple of large groups of guests, so we had no option but to cancel them too,” said Randon’s father, Neil.

Sam added: “It was a tough decision to finish the season early and while the Porsche was still in pieces I did have a few opportunities elsewhere with other drivers and teams.

“We love to race but it made no financial sense to race for the hell of it.

“We couldn’t use the points in our championship bid so it would have been just for fun.”


On a more positive note Sam’s links with Team Hard, whose Porsche he and Marsh had been driving, enabled him to fulfill sponsor commitments by hosting a group at the Donington round of the British Touring Car Championship at the weekend.

“I think they enjoyed it,” said Sam.

“We weren’t racing but had more time to show them around.”

A positive to come out of the season is that Randon has enhanced his name in the GT paddock with some superb drives and results and he says next year is already looking positive.

“We are exploring quite a few opportunities for next year already,” he said.

“We have some work to do to find new partners and sponsors, as the pandemic changed everything for us.

“But things are looking up. It’s going to be a long winter though, waiting to get back out there.

Tribute to our fabulous marshals

During the Silverstone weekend most of the cars ran an orange heart on the windscreen in tribute following the death of volunteer marshal Robert Foote at Brands Hatch recently. The marshals do a fabulous job and keep us safe every race weekend.


Crash ends weekend for local racing pair

A CRASH ended Sam Randon and Richard Marsh’s weekend early when they returned to the GT Cup Championship at Silverstone over the weekend.

Story by Ashbourne News Telegraph / Colston Crawford
Pictures by Ian Cutting Photography / GT Cup / AVIT media

The unfortunate event came in the first endurance race on the Saturday when Marsh, taking the first part of the race, put a wheel over the kerb as he was accelerating through the Woodcote turn on to the start/finish straight. The small mistake spun the Team Hard Porsche and Marsh could do nothing as the back end of the car ended up hitting the pit wall.


There was damage to the front as well and it did not take too much of an inspection to know that it could not be put right in time for the Sunday races.

Well, that wasn’t part of the plan,” said Randon, with some degree of irony, afterwards.
A literal car crash of a day, gutted is an understatement.
Unfortunately, Richard sustained heavy damage during the latter part of his stint which was unrepairable for Sunday’s racing.
It’s the first time we’ve left a weekend halfway through due to damage and let’s hope it’s the last.
We have lots of work to do behind the scenes to make the rest of the season possible.”

Randon and Marsh went into the weekend in fourth place in the overall standings, an excellent position given the extra power some of the other cars have, and leading the GTB class.


An entry of 40 cars made for a spectacular-looking grid and the Ashbourne drivers went into the weekend feeling positive after a good test day in which they felt they had made progress with the set-up of their 911.
Sponsors from Evolve ERP and Derby-based Greystone Advisory were also able to join them in the garages for the first time this season as Covid precautions were eased.


Randon was in good form in a wet qualifying session on Saturday morning, placing 11th overall. He was unable to improve on the position during the morning sprint race but was still the main points scorer in class and avoided an accident when, coming around the first turn, he was faced by a stationary Brabham BT62 – £1.2m worth of car – which had spun on cold tyres.

He came out of that unscathed but Marsh was not so lucky later and now they look to Donington Park on September 18-19.

Credit AVIT media

Class lead kept but Sam still frustrated

SAM Randon and Richard Marsh extended their GTB class lead in the latest round of the GT Cup at Oulton Park at the weekend.

Story by Asbourne News Telegraph / Colston Crawford
Pictures by Ian Cutting Photography / GT Cup

In a one-day event featuring only two races, both the longer endurance events, the Ashbourne drivers, racing their Team Hard Porsche, delivered a class win and then were made to battle for third place (albeit second place points) in their class in the second race. But they found things tricky at the narrow Oulton track, where overtaking proved difficult.


Randon took qualifying in the wet and delivered an excellent fourth place overall from the 31 cars on the grid, many of them in the much more powerful GT3 class. At one point, he was the fastest on the track but admitted he had been a bit fortunate.

“I remember that lap vividly,” he said. “I thought I was going off at turn one as I took just a little too much speed in for the conditions but she gripped up just in time and we survived to post a great lap.

Sam said, “The rain is a great leveller and visibility is almost non-existent. Too much horsepower can be a hindrance in the rain.


Marsh, as the sporting driver, had to take the first slot in the races but had the advantage that, in fourth on the grid, most of the spray was behind him. Marsh was expecting to lose a few places as the faster cars came through but he was helped somewhat by the narrowness of the track. He was not thrilled when, eventually, a little contact from other cars saw him bundled out of the way and losing places. However, their main rival in the GTB class, Nick Phelps, had already hit the wall and been forced to retire before halfway. The Derbyshire duo were able to change from wet to slick tyres at the driver swap and Randon went on to consolidate the class lead and grab an extra point for the fastest lap of the race.

GTCUP-CE-7278 copy

It was dry for race two but with starting positions now dictated by fastest lap of the amateur driver, Team Hard were back in 17th on the grid, giving them little chance of working their way through the field. Within the first lap, Marsh was hit from behind and spun across the grass, which did not help. Another accident brought out the safety car, so he was able to catch up with the tailenders but was battling from last place from then on.

There were too many cars between us and the competition, so catching them was impossible,” said Marsh.


After the change, Randon continued the chase to finish third in class but the points were for second as one driver was invitational and not in the championship chase. That was satisfactory in terms of the overall situation but Randon said: “It’s not the way we like to do it. “We were racing at the back and way behind our competition on track and there was nothing we could do.

They are back in action at Silverstone in August and hoping lockdown restrictions will have been lifted.

We are really missing our guests and supporters,” added Randon.

The closed paddock lacks the usual atmosphere and makes it hard to gain new sponsors when they cannot get to the car or the garage.”

It’s mixed fortunes in latest GT Cup meeting

MAXIMUM points from two class wins on the Saturday – but a crash on the Sunday to end their race – it was a mixed weekend in the GT Cup for Ashbourne drivers Sam Randon and Richard Marsh in their Team Hard Porsche at Snetterton.

Story by Asbourne News Telegraph / Colston Crawford
Pictures by Ian Cutting Photography / GT Cup and Lisa Lynch Photography unless otherwise watermarked

They got off to a perfect start when Randon qualified the car in class pole by a distance, despite a busy field of 36 cars. Randon then took the first sprint race and led his class from lights to flag with little drama, passing some of the cars from more powerful classes for good measure to finish fifth overall.

Marsh took the first stint in the afternoon’s endurance race and consolidated the class pole position in the opening laps but soon had the fast-charging Nick Phelps filling his mirrors with another Porsche, James Hillery’s, also close behind. Phelps sneaked past but Marsh stayed with him and after a slick driver swap, Randon regained the place and built a healthy lead to finish comfortably ahead.


That was another great result and Richard kept us in the race, saving the tyres for me by not battling too hard with Nick at the end. GT racing is all about strategy,“ said Randon.

I knew I had the pace. That was ideally how how we wanted the race to go.”

Marsh added: “Early in the race it was clear that Nick Phelps was a bit quicker than me, at least at the start of the race, so I was having to be very defensive but eventually he did get past. It was an aggressive move but fair, so I refocused and just tried hanging on to the back of him, which I was able to do.
My motive was knowing that Sam was in the car next and he would be able to chase Nick down – Phelps was doing the entire race by himself.


Marsh took qualifying and the sprint race the next day and landed his first career class pole in qualifying. In the 25-minute sprint race, he battled to stay ahead of the class rivals but a Lamborghini in front, slower through the corners, held him up. Phelps and Hillery were eventually able to slip by and Marsh had to settle for third in class.

I had to drive defensively to keep Nick behind me, which takes you offline and slows you down, so makes you even more vulnerable,” said Marsh.

I didn’t drive well when I was defending, constantly checking my mirrors but also watching I didn’t run into the back of the Lambo in the slower corners.”


The endurance race brought a bigger problem from Phelps, who had recruited a pro, Sean Doyle, to share his driving. Marsh took the first stint and was able to pass the Frankland/Hillery’s car on the first lap.

He was able to keep Phelps in view approaching the change, with the prospect of Randon and Doyle dicing for the win.
But as Marsh approached the handover point and on his fastest lap of the weekend, he lost the rear of the car at Wilkins corner and could not get it back. The Porsche kissed the barrier and although the damage looked worse than it was, it was race over for the duo.

I’m finding the rear very twitchy when the tyres are past their best,” said Marsh.
I’m just gutted. I glanced the wall and knew immediately it was race over.”


Not the end to the weekend we had hoped for,” added a rueful Randon.
It was only a little kiss to the barrier. It’s a shame, as we were ready for a fight but we will be back stronger for Oulton Park in a few weeks’ time.”

Derby due on top form at Brands

A CLASS win and a class second place made it another good weekend overall for Ashbourne drivers Sam Randon and Richard Marsh in the GT Cup Championship at Brands Hatch.

Story by Asbourne News Telegraph
Pictures by Ian Cutting Photography / GT Cup

For the second round of this year’s championship, racing was condensed into one day featuring two endurance races but not the usual shorter sprint races. Randon got the day off to a great start by posting pole in qualifying with the first and only lap he did.

It wasn’t a totally clear lap but it was good enough,” he said.
I knew what I did last year for class pole so once I saw it was faster we just parked it and saved the tyres.”


A record grid of 46 cars made for a busy day’s racing, although there was a hiccup for the local duo in race one when they lost a strong position owing to a series of time penalties. However, second place in class still brought the Team Hard pair, in their Porsche, maximum championship points as the winner, Sam Allpass, in a BMW Evolution, was competing as an invitational and not part of the championship.


In race one, Marsh took the rolling start and was ahead of the BMW until incurring a five-second penalty for a safety car infringement. When Randon took over at halfway, he was able to build a five-second lead until it was cancelled out by the appearance of the safety car again, then the team were hit by another penalty, for a miscalculated short pit stop.
The complex rules of GT racing take some understanding, even for the competitors and the pair had to settle for second in class.

Richard did a great job leading the class for so long despite the power of that BMW,” said Randon.
It’s the points we need but it just doesn’t feel as sweet, we like to win on track”.
We need to tighten up the pit stop and driver change – not to mention our maths!” added Marsh.

Race two went better. Marsh made up several places, even leaping past the queue of faster GT3 cars at Druids at the start and, as the race settled, was in 12th overall, the best of the rest behind the big GT3/GTO class cars. However, a slip allowed a few others through and when Randon took over, he was 17 seconds behind Allpass’s BMW.


That proved a gap the 26-year-old could close with a series of consistent lap times and he eventually not only passed the BMW but pulled out a 16-second lead of his own to claim an emphatic class victory.
We were then hungry for race two,” he said.
We needed to have that win on the track and we’ve managed it. It was tough, the BMW brought the race to us, but it worked in our favour in the end.
It was a really busy one out there. What a grid of cars, it’s made for some great racing.

The BMW was very quick in a straight line, we didn’t have it easy, so it was a great battle to get past him.
There was no clear air, you’d get through one group of cars and then you’d be on the next group, and then the next group. The traffic from behind as well, it was just full-on.


Marsh is certainly enjoying being part of Team Hard for the first time.
It was a great day – 46 cars on the grid is always going to be fun,” he said.
We’ve taken home full points, we’re happy, the car is in one piece apart from me taking the wing mirror off but that’s what happens.
It couldn’t have gone any better for us really. I’ve got quicker, as this is my second time in the car.
I’m a bit closer to Sam this time, which is part of my objective because he is the constant in the car.”

The GT Cup continues at Snetterton on June 5 and 6.

Marsh defending against the Ginettas

Donington GT Cup triple tonic for duo

SAM Randon and Richard Marsh began their partnership in the GT Cup championship with three class wins from four attempts at Donington Park at the weekend.

Story by Asbourne News Telegraph – April 2021
Pictures by Ian Cutting Photography and Lisa Lynch

The only race to burst their bubble was the opener, when Randon spun off with the class win already in the bag.

The competition looks hotter than ever this season with 38 cars taking to the grid and 11 manufacturers represented. Randon, from Ashbourne, and Marsh, from Kniveton, in their Team Hard Porsche 911, are competing in the GTB class, meaning they are up against a fair few quicker cars competing in different classes, amidst an array of Aston Martins, Lamborghinis and others.


In regular GT Cup weekends, there is a morning sprint race on each of the two days, then an afternoon endurance race in which the drivers have to swap over mid-race. A new driver classification – sport-pro – limits the time drivers classed as pro, including Randon, can spend in the car, meaning Marsh has to start every endurance race.

Randon is familiar with the Porsche after last season but, experienced as Marsh is, the car represents a learning curve for him.

“I’ve not driven a Porsche for a long time, so it was quite the experience getting back into the swing of things at the test day on Thursday,” said Marsh.


“It was the first time in the car. But the new tyres transformed the car at the weekend and I was much more comfortable on the brakes and looking forward to the racing.”

Randon started by taking pole position in class in qualifying before things went wrong in the race.

“Qualifying was busy and I think my fastest lap was actually my first,” he said.

“It was always going to be tricky to get a clean lap in. Thankfully, I was able to early on and secure the pole. To be honest I wasn’t happy with the lap time and I was determined to better it in the race.”


After five laps, he was nine seconds in front of chasing GTB competition with the class victory in the bag. Then, inexplicably, coming out of the Hollywood bend into the fast Craner Curve section, Randon put a wheel on the grass and spun 360 degrees into the gravel, ending his race. It was, he said, no-one’s fault but his own.

“The sprint race was going pretty swimmingly, out in the lead and battling some of the faster GTC and GTO class cars,” he said.

“I even got the time I wanted before I dropped a wheel on to the grass. I was so gutted for the team and I can only apologise.

“I hold my hands up, it was my error.


“I just felt so bad spinning out in front of Richard in our first race weekend.”

At least the format gives drivers a chance to put things right. Marsh made a great start to the endurance race and came in at halfway with the class lead. Bizarrely, they then hit trouble as the course computer suggested they were a whole lap down and in last place.

Randon went out to drive and kept them in the lead on the track before they made a series of appeals after the race. Finally, the glitch was sorted out. It appeared the computer had missed Marsh’s arrival in the pit and, eventually, the class win was confirmed.


“It was a good stint and when I handed over to Sam, I thought we were in the lead,” said Marsh.

“Then the timings said otherwise and we were actually fourth in class and 33rd overall. I couldn’t believe it! “Fortunately, there was a timing issue and Team Hard spoke to the officials and got it sorted, meaning that we took home our first win of the season and I’m delighted.”

The next day saw Marsh take on the sprint race, starting off by posting his best lap of the weekend in qualifying. It put him in P2 for the race but he soon got in front, before being chased all the way in the 30-minute race by Nick Phelps in another Porsche.

“That was hectic. One mistake and a train of four or five cars would came past,” said Marsh.


“The GTC cars were faster in a straight line but held me up in the corners.

“It was so much fun and so competitive.”

When Marsh started the endurance race later, he was behind Phelps but, with his confidence in the car growing, he was able to out-brake the other Porsche into the chicane and get past. At halfway, Marsh arrived at the pit entry four seconds before the pit window opened, forcing him to follow the safety car for another lap. It meant Randon had to take over with the others having gained an advantage – but he was up to the challenge of regaining the lead and brought home their third class win.

“Missing the pit window cost us dearly but it is part of the strategy in GT racing,” said Randon.


“Richard was forced to do a very slow lap behind the safety car, while most of our competition swapped drivers.

“When we finally got to swap places, they were all at race speed so jumped in front of us in track position.”

Marsh was impressed with Randon’s efforts to sort out the problem.

“They were impressive times that Sam did to recover the position” he said.

“What a great start to our season,” Randon added.


“Richard and I worked well together and he was fast from the off despite very little time in the car.

“I hope he has enjoyed his first weekend, that qualifying lap was brilliant.”

The next round will be at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix layout in a one-day shoot-out format on May 1, with with 42 cars registered this time.

Not a bad season then ..

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