There are always some dramas in the annual Classic 2CV 24hr race and this years 31st event was no exception.

Pete Sparrow had the lead from the start for 2CV Lion and was soon breaking clear with Crisis @ Tete Rouge’s Alec Graham, but the dramas had already begun, with DD Racing’s Patrick Mason starting from the pitlane.

“We had brake problems right through practice and qualifying and we had no brakes just before the race. We sent Patrick out and he gave the thumbs up after one lap and then went for it,” said Nick Crispin, who needed to finish 13th or above to become the Champion.

Car Caryl became an early stopper with Kris Tovey. “It was fuel starvation when a one-way valve broke and blocked the breather, but it cost us 12 laps,” said team mate Louis Tyson after vacating an early third.

Tovey’s demise made it a duel for third, between Rally Racers Freddie Martin-Dye and Pork Pie Racing’s Jonathan Harmer, until they headed pitwards too.

“I was watching the cylinder temperature rise and the other one blew going into the Wilson hairpin,” said Harmer.
Martin -Dye was still in third at the first hour, but soon followed. “The front arm broke but I got it back to the pits,” said Martin-Dye.

The first driver changes had taken place at around the 90 minute mark, but two hours in and it was still Tete Rouge and 2CV Lion out in front, with Nick Roads and David O’Keeffe at the wheel.

“That was a good stint racing against Alec and I was happy just to sit back on occasions while he attacked the Minis,” said Sparrow.

“Just love racing with Pete, toe to toe in a proper duel,” Graham added.

Twin Snails were up to third with Paul Rowland having taken over from James Northfield, while in fourth was DD Racing with James Dartiailh in for Mason, from Iceni’s James Bromley and Hollis Motorsport’s Matthew Hollis.

By the five-hour mark the skies were starting to darken, but Tete Rouge had gone a lap up on 2CV Lion, while third was now Team Gadget, from Iceni, Hollis and DD.

DD’s Dartiailh had been lucky though to make it back to the pits with just a hairs thickness of throttle cable connected.

Twins Snails lost ground with a broken throttle cable clip and the Orange Frog squad had a tow back after running out of fuel, as well as an electrical problem. “Bad strategy,” they reckoned.

Both Sparrow and Adnitt did longer stints during the night for 2CV Lion “We did two three-hour stints each,” Adnitt confirmed, after they began to take charge from midnight.

By half distance it Tete Rouge had lost 10 laps on the leaders, but were still in second, but only 24 seconds clear of Team Gadget, with Car Caryl closing in.

As the morning dawned on another sunny and warm day, many teams were reflecting on their dramas so far, but into the final quarter it was 2CV Lion all the way.

“The stops worked well but when Pete came in about 11am we found a puncture,” said Adnitt. Sparrow finally ended his weekend at 1pm, handing to O’Keeffe to finish. “We had one engine mount gone, the engine lifted a bit but we managed,” said Sparrow.

From the end of the 19th hour though Car Caryl had ousted Crisis @ Tete Rouge from second. “Well I was stalking the Frogettes under the bridge and couldn’t resist their rear end. The next thing I was in there, a schoolboy error but I damaged our fan. The car then overheated and I had to pit,” Graham explained.

Team Gadget had also suffered in the early darkness hours. “We had a tow back after stopping at the end of the pitlane, It was a blocked jet and we also had contact with a Mini after it spun,” Ainslie Bousfield explained.

So Peter Rundle took over the Car Caryl seat for the final stint to seal second, eight laps off the lead, but nine clear of Crisis @ Tete Rouge.

Some sterling work from the Twin Snails crew saw Martin Riman take the flag in fourth, after a dramatic final four hours for hopeful champion DD Racing.

With three hours to go Dartiailh was fourth, despite having been towed back when a coil connection failed during the night. Crispin had pitted with a broken wheel around dawn, but when the final stop was made a change of gearbox was required due to an exploding flywheel which destroyed the gearbox casing.

The whole of the pitlane came together to make sure the car got out and with 34 minutes left on the clock, Crispin rejoined. But that wasn’t the end, as the brake problem was back and he was off at Murrays on his out lap.
Into the pitlane with no brakes on three wheels, he struggled to stop the car in the pit garage. But the helpers got to work, as they need to take the flag still for the title. Mason jumped in, made it to the flag for the final lap, only for them to be excluded. “Car 89, Disqualified from race result – Clerk’s Decision, C.1.1.5 applies – Driving in a manner incompatible with general safety.”

Lion Hangrohe finally took fifth, after a number of exchanges with the Hollis car during the closing hours.

“We did most of the race with three shock absorbers and a misfire,” Matthew Hollis confirmed.

Nico Breaux finally brought the Orange Frog’s home in seventh too, with Team ECAS, Team Gadget and Blueberry Tarts the rest of the top 10.

After 24 hrs and 714 laps of the Snetterton Circuit, we are usually talking laps apart in the final classification, not so in the Mini Grands this year!

The Toyshed trio of Andy and Chris Slade with Michael Dryden had been in contention from the start, but after APO and Not Fast But Furious had lost ground, it became a personal duel from 1am to the chequered flag some 14hrs later, with Slarky Malaky’s Neil and Ian Slark, with Tom Grindall and Ryan Taylor.

At half distance Slarky had a six-seconds lead, with Misfits six laps down in third, followed Not Fast But Furious and Mini-Uns, with APO sixth and 28 laps adrift, having led at midnight.

“We had distributor problem and headgasket, so lost 45 minutes,” said APO’s James May.

“Apart from a couple of front tyres breaking up, it was going well for us,” added Toyshed’s Chris Slade.

“We had some front tyre wear too and split a CV,” confirmed Slarky’s Neil Slark.

There was just no splitting the lead duo throughout the morning and with two hours to go the gap was just 0.210 secs in Toyshed’s favour.

The gap had been around eight seconds, but it came down and down in the final minutes and they started the last lap 1.520 secs apart.

“For the last 25 minutes I had the fuel light on too, but we made it,” said Chris Slade, as he sealed the win for Toyshed with just 1.148 secs to spare. “I tried my best, but I was on three cylinders at the end,” Slarky Malarky’s Neil Slark replied.

Neven Kirkpatrick handed to Stephen Rideout to bring the Misfits car home, after Dave Rees and Paul Ogborn shared.

It almost went unnoticed that that they too finished third, but still on the lead lap too.

Mini-Uns, Not Fast But Furious and APO completed the top six, in a remarkable race.

Full result sheet: