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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.

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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

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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.

IMG_7410There 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.

IHIL5322An 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.

IMG_7395Randon 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

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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.

GTCUP-CE-2399Randon 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.

GTCUP-CE-7717Marsh, 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 copyIt 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.

GTCUP-CE-4892After 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.

IC-9254That 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.

IC-9181Marsh 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.”

IC-9303The 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.”

IMG_6877Not 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.”

IMG_6641A 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.
IMG_6660The 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.

IMG_6613That 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.

IMG_6596Marsh 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

GTCUP-IC-GTCUP-IC-DSC_4561The 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.

171854731_199402725049480_8026259000679587556_nIn 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.

171561266_359995328719664_4084233193995431553_n“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.”

171817578_930118897758110_3950055233428031286_nAfter 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.

IMG_6502“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.

IMG_6474“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.

IMG_6503“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.

IMG_6477“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.

IMG_6505“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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