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Round 5 Report: Sunny SuperSpa Spectacular Success 2023

After running the wallet lightening gauntlet of a somewhat inconsistent French Customs system, 20 UK Porsches arrived at the spectacular Spa Francorchamps circuit for the SuperSpa meeting, which was the CALM All Porsche Trophy’s (CAP) first ever race in mainland Europe.

The CAP teams were invited to join 30 Dutch Porsches entries for the latest round of the Netherlands based Porsche Club Racing series. This runs to a different structure to CAP, with classes for slick shod RS Cup, GT4 Cup and Cayman cars running at the front, with older GT Cup, 944 Cup and Boxster Cup classes making up the balance of the field.

Most of the CAP entries featured in the GT Cup class, but there was no official class for the 4 924s present, which had to be content with an unofficial competition between themselves.

Nine of the CAP Porsche entries featured shared driving duties, including series newcomers Kevin Bird and Charles Hyde in their rapid 991 GT3 Cup, one of two UK based cars entered in the RS Cup class.

The format of two 1 hour long races bathed in unseasonably sunny weather promised to be a real test of endurance for all cars and drivers at Spa. There was plenty of free practice time, allowing the drivers to familiarize themselves with the 19 corners and major elevation changes of the spectacular 7Km circuit, which the majority of drivers took advantage of.

The first casualty of the weekend was Tom McHugh who’s 944S2 expired with a broken engine in free practice, but he was able to transfer across to son Jamie’s Boxster and share the drive. Paul Hicks suffered a broken windscreen when his Cayman’s bonnet flipped up, but this was rapidly replaced by the highly efficient RFF organisation who support most of the Porsche Club Racing entries.

Final practice was hampered by unflagged oil from a previous race which claimed the unfortunate #72 Boxster of William and Mike Curtler, and the resultant damage meant that they took no further part in the weekend.

Qualifying made for spectacular viewing as 50 cars circulated looking for a clear bit of track, but by the end of a fast and frantic half hour, the Bird/Hyde 991 Cup sat on pole ahead of a gaggle of Dutch RS Cup, Cayman and GT4 Cup cars which made up the next 20 fastest cars.

Quickest GT Cup car was Christian Walker ahead of the Patrick Scharfegger/Matt Spark Boxster followed by a closely matched mix of CAP and Dutch Boxsters, 944s and 968s. Remarkably the 4 924s were separated by just 0.7 sec, with Steve Potts in the car shared with Hugh Peart leading the class with a fine last lap effort.

The pace and track were taking a toll on the cars, and there was plenty of Saturday night action in the garages to make cars fit for Sunday’s races.

Race 1

Race 1 was initially led by the Bird / Hyde 991Cup car, battling with two similar Dutch 911s. After the compulsory pit stops, the pair found themselves in P3, holding this to the end and earning a well deserved trip to the Podium.

The GT Cup class was dominated by CAP runners and the Walker family Boxsters, Christian leading dad Jon home in P1 and2, with the Scharfegger / Spark Boxster in a strong P3 and then Dan Crego in his 968 just pipping the McHugh Boxster. This car made remarkable progress through the field after starting at the back of the heavily spaced out rolling start following qualifying transponder problems.

The 924 “class” was won by Karl Rossin in P38 overall with the only other 924 finisher being John Jones a lap down.

There were a few non finishers from the CAP contingent. Philip Waters’ was forced to retire from the lead after setting the fastest lap, following an alternator issue and the Peart / Potts 924s recorded a DNF, The remaining Ashwood Porsche driven by Ben Rainock retired with steering damage after an off at Radillon. Several cars were also sporting body damage and some mechanical issues by the end of the gruelling hour race. The Clayton/Ed Sampson 968 was suffering from gearbox problems that would make it a 2nd race non starter and the John Jones 924 was on the trailer before the final race.

Race 2

The second 1 hour Porsche race closed the SuperSpa programme, and was another high speed spectacular dominated by the Porsche Club Racing contingent. This time the Jon Walker Boxster was first CAP car in 14th overall after Christian Walker stopped with engine problems. The Bird/Hyde 991 Cup initially ran in P2, but dropped down the order after an early trip into the gravel, pitting and finally retiring in the second half of the race. The Peart/Potts 924 ended a difficult weekend with two separate trips back to the pits with the recovery crew and the remaining 924s of Philip Waters and Karl Rossin both retired before the end with electrical and steering problems respectively.

The GT Cup class was again dominated by CAP runners, Jon Walker winning the class from the McHugh Boxster with the consistent and rapid Scharfegger/Spark taking the final podium position. Other notable finishers were Dan Crego and Graham Heard who both finished in the top 20 with unmarked cars after very tidy races and Gary and Michael Goodwin running competitively all weekend, supported by 3 family generations and finishing ahead of a number of potentially quicker Caymans.

Overall the weekend was judged a great success with a very warm welcome and terrific hospitality from our Dutch hosts, some excellent racing and many happy memories from the magnificent Spa circuit.

Words: John Broadley, photos: Sean Mulcahy. Sean’s full gallery of photos is on Flickr.

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