A maximum score in Cadwell Park’s bank holiday Monday double-header fixture, plus problems for a number of the early season title challengers, means Class C leader Ryan Cunningham has moved into the lead of the outright championship standings.

Against a backdrop of Club Time Attack’s Modified Live show and under warm blue skies, the Racing Hondas Championship’s near capacity grid did not fail to impress the thousands of spectators who had gathered at the spectacular Lincolnshire circuit.

There was immediate drama in qualifying as Dan Brown and Alfie Jeakins, the runaway class A and B leaders in Anglesey’s opening four rounds, both hit trouble.

Clutch problems on his Civic Bali meant Brown failed to set a lap time so was relegated to the back of the 31-car field for the start of Race 1. Jeakins managed the third fastest time in his class before stopping out on track. Worse was to follow in the opening race…

Race 1
Liam Collins achieved his first race win, leading every lap from pole position – his supercharged Integra DC2 enjoying Cadwell’s long fast bends.

Behind, Ryan Jenkinson (Civic FN2) clung on to second just ahead of Kevin Talbot (Integra DC5) and James Allen (Civic EP3). Talbot was later disqualified when his car failed a ride height check, promoting Allen to the final podium position. Brown meanwhile surged through to finish sixth outright (fifth in class) for some valuable points and his fastest race lap – the second best of anyone – would put him alongside Collins on the front row of Race 2’s grid.

2023 Champion Philip Wright’s wretched start to the season continued. A lap after wrestling second spot away from Jenkinson in a stunning move that lasted four corners (Charlie’s to Park), his EP3’s front suspension/steering failed, sending him into retirement. Another suspension failure would later put him out of Race 2 when he was again fighting for a podium result…

Tommy Knight took his first Class B win of 2024 in a fine fifth outright but only after Loui Hounsell (also in an EP3) cruelly retired from the lead on the final lap with a mechanical problem whilst out in front.

The final lap would also see Nick Charlier (EP3), who should have inherited second in class, suddenly slow with gearbox issues. His Kinetic team-mates Simon Waite and Branco Kiprovski (both in EP3s) therefore went from fourth and fifth in class starting the final lap to second and third! By contrast, class points leader Jeakins struggled with a down-on-power EP3 and could only manage ninth in class.

Cunningham had no such issues, however, adding a fourth Class C win from five races in 13th outright aboard his Motion Motorsport’s Civic EP3. Spencer Fortag (FN2) and Sam Linssner (EP3) completed the podium, although one had to feel for David Lawrence who’d qualified a strong second in class to Jenkinson only for his FN2’s engine to let go after just one lap.

Race 2
The outcome came down to a nail-biting final lap duel between Brown, who’d led from the start, and Collins, who’d closed in rapidly after making it back up to second having bogged down badly from pole at the start.

Collins made up some five seconds to be right with Brown and, entering Park corner for the final time, he dived to the inside in a bid for the win. There was contact between their two cars and Brown was forced onto the grass before rejoining the circuit.

Collins, though, had already swept by to go on and cross the line in first ahead of the delayed Brown until officials later judged he had gained an unfair advantage and handed him a 0.7 second time penalty. This promoted Brown, who’d crossed the line in second, back into first place in the result ahead of Collins.

There was more excitement in the race for third, initially between Jenkinson and Allen until the latter’s car stopped with a dead engine. Then, in the closing laps, Jenkinson ran wide and was passed by Luke Harvey and Rich Hockley (their Civic EKs showing the form they had threatened at Anglesey) before finding a way back past them to reclaim the position on the final lap.

Set to start first and second in Class B (sixth and seventh overall), Hounsell’s and Knight’s respective hopes of a win in the division were over before the race even started – their cars sidelined by mechanical problems. This left the way open for Charlier to take his first class victory of the season, ahead of Waite and Jeakins.

The result marked a turnaround in fortunes for Charlier who, in addition to his Race 1 woes, had also suffered damage to his car in Sunday testing and again in Monday morning’s qualifying session.

Once more, Cunningham was untouchable in Class C as Callum Houchen (FN2) and Ed Sibbald (EP3) completed the podium.

It all means that, leaving Cadwell, Cunningham’s greater points haul (121) in Class C has moved him into the lead of the outright championship ahead of Brown (107) and, in joint third, Collins and Jeakins (92 apiece).

Linssner is fourth ahead of five drivers – Hounsell, Charlier, Fortag, Knight and Jenkinson – vying four fifth and separated by just 10 points.

CLICK HERE for the latest points table.