Neary and Short do the double but Mason and Lockie are MSA Endurance champions

Race one start (Photo by Marc Waller)

Race one start (Photo by Marc Waller)The MSA British Dunlop endurance championship came to a conclusion last weekend at a windy and wet Donington Park with it’s biggest grids of the season.

The withdrawal of the Holden Motorsport Aerial Atom meant the championship became a one horse race with the FF Crse Ferrari of David Mason and Callum Lockie just having to start the races to become champions again after taking the title in 2014.

But the increased opposition meant they would have a harder time taking up their usual position at the front of the field. The TMS run Audi R8 GT3 of Nigel Moore and Phil Hansen took pole ahead of a second FF Corse Ferrari driven by Ivor Dunbar and Johnny Mowlem. Slightly further back on the grid were two cars from Rollcentre racing. First up was the BMW M3 GTR which had raced earlier in the season. This time Richard Neary was joined by Mark Lemmer but at the same time, he was also in another BMW, a Z4 GT3 alongside team boss Martin Short. This was the first run for the Ex Barwell car that Roll centre have bought to run in British GT next year.

Louise Richardson joined the field for the final weekend, sharing A Chevrolet CR8 with Giles Dawson in the Trophy class racing as a non-championship event for half of the main race timespan.

As the first race got underway the two front row starters both had poor getaways leaving the Rollcentre Z4 to lead ahead of the Lockie/Mason FF Corse Ferrari. The track was still wet and slippery from rain earlier in the day and the decision on when to switch to slicks was important in the battle for victory.

As usual, the Ferrari with Lockie at the wheel was almost unbeatable with only the Rollcentre Z4 staying ahead until a mistake by Neary in the Craner curves left Lockie to lead once more. However once he handed over to team mate Mason, the Ferrari would lap at a far slow pace enabling the Rollcentre Z4 to once again catch and passthe Ferrari. The second FF Corse Ferrari 458 Challenge of Ivor Dunbar and Johnny Mowlem also got and passed their team mates leaving the red FF Corse to a finish of third or so they thought. Nigel Moore was now in the TMS Audi and on slicks he was the quickest driver on track. He quickly caught and passed the Ferrari leaving Mason to finish fourth. But with the no show from Nick Holden, fourth was enough to give Lockie and Mason the 2015 title.

The TMS Audi was rapid in the hands of Moore (Photo by Marc Waller)Louise in the Chevrolet (Photo by Marc Waller)The championship winning car (Photo by Marc Waller)The sports and touring champions (Photo by Marc Waller)The Rollcentre Z4 took two wins (Photo by Marc Waller)2015 Champions (Photo by Marc Waller)The Mike Moss and Tom Howard BMW M3 claimed the class four victory with the duo joined for this race in the car by Rob Gillham. (No relation to BTCC driver Tony!) This gave them the Dunlop Sports and Touring car title for 2015.

In the invitational Trophy class, Jono Brown took the win from Peter Challis’s Porsche 997 and the Chevrolet CR8 of Dawson and Richardson completing the podium there.

The second race was similar with the Short/Neary BMW Z4 taking an early lead from the Lockie/Mason Ferrari. The BMW again went off once again they caught the Ferrari when Mason, the slower of the pairing took the wheel. Dunbar and Mowlem took another second with Moore and Hansen again in third. Mason held onto fourth, a task made easier by the retirement this time of the BMW M3 GTR of Neary and Lemmer. The Moss/Howard/Gillham took fifth this time along with their class win. The 2015 GT academy wiiners Sarazin and Simmons completed the top six.

The trophy win was again taken by Brown’s Chevron ahead of the Challis Porsche but a penalty for the Dawson/Richardson Chevrolet gave third place to Alex Sidwell in his Aussie V8 Holden.

It’s been no secret this season that at time the championship has struggled for grid numbers but the increased grid size at the final race along with reports of a lot of interest in 2016 entries should see the championship increase in size next year. The future looks bright.

Full results from this race are available from TSL timing.  By Marc Waller

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