Team Northbrook Racing, with its #65 Peugeot 107 driven by Richard Jepp, took the class win in the second race in the 2023 Student Motorsport Challenge Opening Weekend Presented by Acorn Printing Services. Jepp crossed the line in fourth place overall, just over half a second behind the overall third place finisher Andrew Dyer in the #1 Toyota Aygo.
As class winner of the first race, pole-sitter Richard Jepp led the Student Motorsport away from the grid followed by Ben Creanor in the #38 West Suffolk College Toyota Aygo. Jepp made an excellent start, moving into third place overall and was starting to pull a gap to Andrew Dyer in the #1 Toyota.
There was drama for James Smith in the #49 Barracksport GSR Citroen after a drive shaft failure on the formation lap led to the car having to be brought back to the pits and into retirement.
Ben Creanor, meanwhile, had fallen back to ninth overall with Duncan Horlor in the #11 Barracksport Citroen sitting in 13th overall.
With the leaders dicing, Jepp bided his time, defending sensibly from Andrew Dyer,
As the race approached the final third, Richard Jepp, still leading the Student Motorsport Challenge class, was holding on to third but was briefly passed by Andrew Dyer in the #1 Toyota. Dyer fell back but was tenacious and finally passed Richard Jepp decisively on the fourth lap. Jepp had not given up on an overall podium, however, and with 90 seconds remaining was just over a quarter of a second behind Dyer’s Toyota and pushing the #1 driver hard.
Duncan Horlor had a dramatic off-track moment as the innocent party of contact from another car. Series debutant Jack Wheeler was promoted into a class podium position in only his second race in the #57 East Surrey College Citroen C1.
At the chequered flag it was Richard Jepp in the #65 Team Northbrook Racing Peugeot 107 who took his second victory of the weekend with a fourth-place finish overall. Ben Creanor, driving the #38 West Suffolk College Toyota, finished second in class and ninth overall with Jack Wheeler, piloting the #57 East Surrey College Citroen, provisionally taking the final podium position.
Team Northbrook Racing’s Team Principal Emma Norton was delighted at how the team’s season has started, in contrast to the disappointments that MET Motorsport, the previous name of team, had encountered at the opening round of the SMo Challenge in 2022.
“We’re absolutely thrilled and couldn’t be happier apart from it would have been quite nice to have got that overall third position in the Championship,” said Emma Norton. “We were so close to it but it was just one of those things but hopefully in race three we have another chance.
“All credit to Richard Jepp and the team that we’re fighting for overall podiums. The students have worked really hard through the close season to make sure everything is in place and along with the staff that back them up and support them. They’ve got something that they deserve for their efforts and Richard for all his talent.”
For Ben Creanor, a second-place finish in the Student Motorsport Challenge field hid some frustration that the all the ultimate potential of the #38 West Suffolk College Toyota had yet be unlocked.
“We’ve got a bit of work to do yet, especially after that race where our car is feeling a bit sorry for itself,” said Creanor in a post-race interview. “We got boxed in at the start and everyone came flying past. I also had a car make contact at 90 degrees to our car so I’m quite surprised it made it to the end. But credit to the car – it’s nice and strong and it held up but we’ve got quite a job to do before Race Three.”
Duncan Horlor finished fourth in class after recovering from his off-track moment. James Smith was unable to finish the race.
The final 15-minute contest of the weekend gets underway at 2.00pm this afternoon.