For the second round of the JDM Allstars series, the circus arrived at Donington Park. Now if you have been watching the news surrounding Donington, you'll know the circuit is virtually unusable after a failed attempt to host British F1 GP. However, using the "under reconstruction" Donington track for a round of JDM Allstars would be far too straight forward. So the event was held on the little known and truly awesome Old Melbourne loop.
Not used for competition since 1938, the Melbourne Loop is now used as a link road that serves a Sunday market. Even though this mundane purpose shows none of its former glory the track is still intact. And this provided a perfect venue for the second round of the JDM Allstars series.
Turn 1 was A fast left hand flick over the Melbourne rise… And then a plunge into fast sweeping tree-lined turns 2 and 3..
Through to a long right hand hairpin to finish the course..
The unique nature of the track and the total lack of run-off, made shooting conditions more akin to wildlife photography than event coverage -as demonstrated by Paddy McGrath.
It didn't take long for the sleeping track to come back to life. Though not with the thundering sound of Auto Unions and Silver Arrows, but screaming SR20s and 2JZs.
Making the long trip over from Poland, Pawel Trela and Maciej Bochenek were impressive from the start. Huge angle and speed through the whole track instantly identified them as forces to be reckoned with.
Matt 'Mitto' Steele made his return to competition in a freshly built and very trick S14.
As qualifying started the track started taking its toll on a few drivers. Round 1 winner Jon Calvert was suffered a very heavy impact at the hairpin. Although the damage doesn't look too bad in this photo…
… A look at the other side of the car reviles the extent of the damage.
Tom Yates lightly clipped the armco, destroying a remote camera hidden in the bushes and qualified 16th.
George Tilling put in a superb performance in a underpowered car to qualify 13th.
Luke Fink put in a shrubbery clipping run to get 2nd spot..
But it was JDM rookie Marciej Bochenek that took the top qualifying spot with 90 point run.
First up in the top 16, Bochenek beat Tom Yates.
14 year old Dwaine McKeever tapped the wall in his battle with Robin Neeson giving Neeson the win.
Dan Chapman won against George Tilling.
Trela beat Esperanga to get through to the next round..
Mitto span and hit the wall, Phil Morrison progressed through to the top 8.
Steve Will won against Alan McCord.
I'm not entirely sure what happened to Luke Fink on his warm up run against Brad McQueen. He appeared at the hairpin with his car looking distinctly second hand.
In the tandem run, Fink aggressively went for the over-take on McQueen making contact. The battle went OMT.
Fink then put in a awesome run, taking the win.
In the last battle of the top 16, Vince Noott span against Ben Broke-Smith and Ben took the final top 8 place.
Into the Top 8 and a quick 'Ray Mears' moment for me hacking through the bushes to get back to the Melbourne Rise. Chapman met Trela with Chapman progressing through to the semi finals.
A small engine fire put a end to Robin Neeson's day and Bochenek got a place in the semis.
Phil Morrison won against Steve Will…
… As did Luke Fink against Bon.
In the Semi finals Dan Chapman, won against Bochenek.
Too close to call; Luke Fink and Phil Morrison went OMT…
…With Phil narrowly taking the win in the re-run…
…Leaving Fink to fight it out for 3rd place with Bochenek. Fink took the win.
So we had an all Team Driftworks final..
Judged 5-5 on the first run it looked like it would have to run OMT. but with Chapman taking a slight advantage on the second run he took the overall win.
So the final standings were Dan Chapman 1st, Phil Morrison 2nd and Luke Fink 3rd. Thus ends a superb JDM Allstars round from a truly unique track. Paddy will be along soon with some more action from Donington and the next round of JDM Allstars is next week from Newcastle.