There were the usual dramas, the usual surprises and even the weather turned for the final half hour. But the KT Racing trio of Kris Tovey, Louis Tyson and Peter Rundle proved to be the dominant force, having led the hourly round up from the third to the chequered flag.

Twin Snails had problems before taking the start, which left James Northfield playing catch up from a pitlane start.

It was Minis to the fore from lights out, with Pete Sparrow heading the 2CV’s for 2CV Lion after the first lap, with Tovey already in second.

Misfits and Team Toyshed soon made a break for the overall lead, with Not Fast but Furious joining them, while Sparrow, Tovey, Team Gadget’s Tom Perry and Pork Pie Racing’s Jon Harmer were line astern at the head of the 2CV field.

But Sparrow was soon heading pitwards for a very early engine change and as the first hour was completed Not Fast but Furious’s Alice Hughes led a Mini filled top seven, from Toyshed, Mini Frog and APO, while Crisis at Tete Rouge’s Ian Gibbon, Harmer and Perry were line astern for the 2CV’s before a 3.4 secs gap to Tovey.

Sparrow had lost 11 laps, after the crankshaft had broken, but two more shortstops were required for jet adjustments.

Super Scheneke with Jelly Snake were early stoppers too when Ian Pearson came in for an engine change, followed soon afterwards by Team Gadget and Giles Owen in the Lion-Hansgrohe car.

Twins Snails came in with a plug lead off as they swapped Northfield for Paul Rowland, but at the front APO, Not Fast but Furious, Slarky Malarky and Toyshed led the way for Mini Grands, after both Mini-Uns and Mini Frog had gone a lap down at the two-hour mark.

It was into the third hour and into the night that KT really came to the fore, with Tyson and Rundle keeping Tovey’s title aspirations on track too.

But the Crisis at Tete Rouge quartet of Gibbon, Brian Heerey, Nick Roads and Andrew Bull continued to head the pursuit, but by midnight they were a lap apart, but still fifth and sixth behind the leading Mini quartet.

Misfits and Slarky Malarky had escaped the rest of the Minis, with APO and Not Fast but Furious both a lap down.
Crisis at Tete Rouge and Pork Pie had managed to pull a gap too, duelling for fifth overall as well as the 2CV advantage, but KT were waiting in the wings in third.

Pork Pie Racing had slipped down the order to 12th in the 2CV’s and Team Gadget were trying to fight back in eighth, behind SL, Twin Snails, 2CV Lion, Blueberry Muffins and Rosie/Walford Racing.

Through the night and as dawn broke the pitlane was full of dramas with few teams escaping some sort of catastrophe.

“Our first stop was when the lumenition broke and at about 11.30pm we were sixth, then I got up at 3am and we were nearly last, having lost two engines. Tom, Sandro Proietti and Nick Home all had problems and we rebuilt one engine in the car. Just before 9am another one went, but we saved 12 laps by not having tow back, but lost 80 and finally threw the towel in,” explained Team Gadget’s Simon Clarke.

Second placed Crisis at Tete Rouge hadn’t escaped either. “The engine went after the flywheel had exploded, so it was hard getting the engine out and we continued with only half a bell housing too,” said Heerey. “When it went I thought everything had gone,” said Roads, who was driving at the time.

Rosie/Walford Racing had briefly been in second too during the night, “Steve Walford was in the car when the rear suspension broke about 5am and pitched him into the air, so we had to be dragged back to the pits,” said Mick Storey.

But it was still plain sailing at the front for KT, who were third overall too at the completion of 15 hours, “I had done the start for about 2 1/2hrs and then got in again at 10pm and 3am. I think we had the least number of stops, no crisis but just a brief concern over a possible oil leak, which came to nothing,” said Tovey.

2CV Lion had started to make a comeback, “we lost 3 ½ engines as we managed to make one good one from two, “ said David O’Keeffe, who had forecast the traumas ahead before the race had started.

Dilligaf Racing had also fought back after a number of crises. “Sean Sidley broke the fan, the clutch pedal broke when James Dartiailh was in the car, then it was the offside shocker, followed by the nearside one, but I did hit a Mini, when it spun in front of me,” Nick Crispin explained.

Slarky Malarky had taken charge at the head of the field through the night, with Ian and Neil Slark joined by Ryan Taylor and former 24hr race winner and 2CV Alec Graham, making his Mini debut.

After a torrential rainstorm, including hail stones and a couple of very late safety car interventions, Neil Slark finally took the flag four laps clear of the Misfits quartet of Neven Kirkpatrick, Dave Rees, Stephen Rideout and Paul Ogborn.

Not Fast but Furious had been in contention until about 8am ish, with Alice and Bethany Hughes, sharing with Robyn English and Sam Bowler, but after English had an off it was race over.

So third overall was the KT Racing trio, 12 laps clear of the Toyshed Mini and 17 clear of Crisis at Tete Rouge, were took second best 2CV.

The APO Mini of Alex Osborne, James May and Tom Matton was brought home to the flag by Lee Poolman, sounding very flat, while completing the 2CV podium in seventh overall were Twin Snails, with Martin Riman, Luca Proietti, Rowland and Northfield.

Next up were the Rosie/Walford Racing car of Steve and Julie Walford, with Mick Storey and Ethan Sparrow, followed by Lion Hansgrohe’s Owen, Roy Eastwood and Max Wyer, from ECAS Glenn Oswin, Howard Wright, Martin Sunderland and Matthew Arrowsmith-Brown, after Dilligaf slipped from the top six, after stopping out on track.

So, the Champion is crowned and the season is over, as we look forward to 2024.

Full result sheet: https://www.tsl-timing.com/file/?f=BARC/2023/2334212cv.pdf