BRSCC National News

Maclennan edges out Cooper in dramatic Knockhill finale

Neil Maclennan was in imperious form as he swept to victory in the delayed final Avon Tyres BRSCC National FF1600 Championship race of the Knockhill weekend.

Luke Cooper started from pole position and got a lightning start to take the early lead, with Michael Eastwell slotting into second ahead of the equally fast starting Maclennan.

But Eastwell soon had to defend from his Scottish rival. Maclennan, who started fifth, pulled off an outrageous move around the outside heading into the chicane to grab second place from Eastwell on the opening lap.

Maclennan then turned his attentions to Cooper, and it wasn’t long before the Cliff Dempsey Racing driver had taken the lead – using the outside line out of the hairpin and outdragging his rival into Clark’s.

His lead initially only lasted a lap before Cooper executed his revenge, outbraking Maclennan on the inside of the hairpin.

Maclennan was a man possessed and was all over the back of Cooper, but lost ground after running wide into Clark’s on lap four. It took a few laps for him to be back on Cooper’s tail, even trying to go round the outside of the chicane only to slip onto the grass and emerge just ahead of Eastwell who was defending third from Jamie Thorburn.

Thorburn would steal that position away from Eastwell with a textbook manoeuvre around the outside of the hairpin after Eastwell got caught behind MacLennan on the apex.

MacLennan’s relentless pressure of Cooper eventually paid dividends on what became the penultimate lap, with Cooper battling with a bout of oversteer on the exit of Clark’s to hand MacLennan a gift he wasn’t about to refuse.

From there, he set about controlling the race and began to create a gap to Cooper, who was busy protecting his position from the clutches of Thorburn.

The race was denied its grandstand finish after an accident for Davide Meloni brought out the red flag with 20 seconds left on the clock. The Oldfield Motorsport driver speared out of control on the run down to the hairpin, rolling over multiple times but thankfully emerging unharmed.

Behind Maclennan, Cooper, Thorburn and Eastwell was Matt Round-Garrido, who drove a brilliant race to grab fifth after starting at the back of the grid. The Team Dolan driver had been following Ross Martin through the field for much of the race before getting the better of him when the Scottish champion ran wide at the hairpin.

Championship leader Niall Murray failed to finish after he pulled into the pits on lap three, feeling a wheel bearing issue aboard his Van Diemen. Despite his non-finish, he continues to lead the championship after six rounds.

Martin recovered to claim sixth, ahead of Joshua Smith and American racer Carter Williams.

Nico Gruber struggled and fell back to ninth after a grid position of third, with Joey Foster also fighting from the back to salvage 10th after being disqualified from the previous race.

Richard Morris was the only Clubman Post89 entrant in 17th, and takes the class points lead as a result.

Race results

Pos Class Driver Car Gap
1 Pro Neil Maclennan Ray 15 laps
2 Pro Luke Cooper Swift +0.223
3 Pro Jamie Thorburn Ray +0.500
4 Pro Michael Eastwell Spectrum +0.613
5 Pro Matt Round-Garrido Medina Sport +0.950
6 Pro Ross Martin Ray +1.349
7 Pro Joshua Smith Van Diemen +1.487
8 Pro Carter Williams Ray +1.636
9 Pro Nico Gruber Ray +1.934
10 Pro Joey Foster Ray +2.598
11 Pro Rory Smith Medina +5.768
12 Pro Sebastian Melrose Ray +6.031
13 Pro James Clarke Mygale +8.241
14 Pro Jack Wolfenden Firman +14.920
15 Pro Sebastian Job Van Diemen +15.171
16 Pro Jonathan Browne Ray +15.250
17 CM89 Richard Morris Swift +48.225
18 Pro Fergus Paton Van Diemen +1 lap
19 Pro Fraser Gray Ray +1 lap
DNF Pro Davide Meloni Van Diemen
DNF Pro Niall Murray Van Diemen
Fastest lap: Round-Garrido, 53.045

Championship standings

Murray 148   2 Cooper 131   Round-Garrido 115   4 Thorburn 111   5 Eastwell 90   6 Foster 89   7 Maclennan 83   8 R Smith 84   Gruber 82   10 Michael Moyers 53
Clubman Post89
1 Morris 150   2 Vincent Jay 123   3 John Ferguson 94   Daniel O’Beirne 78   5 John Svensson 34   6 George McDonald 28   7 Sam Street 26

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