HSCC Super Touring CarsBack to August 2018
A double for the legend – John Cleland, who won twice in his Vectra. The double BTC champion was in fine form. As the commentators reminded us, John Cleland uttered the immortal line on TV ‘ the man’s an animal’ after racing in BTC against Steven Soper’s BMW M3 back in 1992, and finishing the race with a very battered Cavalier.
John Cleland took Saturday’s race as a few cars retired. Jason Hughes took 2nd in his MG ZF with Ian Flux 3rd with the Mazda 323F. Of the 6 retirements Stewart Whyte stopped on lap 16 in his Honda Accord, a car that has won Super Touring races. Whyte sat on pole and led until lap 16, with a gap that yoyoed from 4 seconds early on from Cleland who ran 2nd from lap 3 and slowly close down Whyte to be on his tail from lap 10. John Cleland then passed him at MacIntyres to lead on lap 16. John had been hassled by Allister McMillan‘s Nissan Primera which ran 2nd over the opening two laps before Cleland go past. McMillan then went wide exiting the chicane and fell to 4th behind Jason Hughes MG ZF. McMillan regained 3rd on lap 7 but was under non-stop pressure from Hughes who retook 3rd on lap 15 just after the chicane. Then Hughes slowed on the back straight, and retired a lap before Whyte stopped with a puncture. John Cleland raced away for the win. Jason Hughes who was 2nd said, ‘good race, I enjoyed that in the end. Some cars are quicker on the straight, but we’ll live with that’ Jane Leslie widow of David Leslie presented the trophies after the race. John Cleland said, ‘I thought he (Whyte) was trying to make a race of it’.
John Cleland won on Sunday by quite a margin from Alister McMillan’s Primera and Scott Tollan in a Ford Focus. Stewart Whyte was a non starter. Interviewed on the grid walk about John Cleland said, ‘ Unfortunately it’s a depleted grid, Stewart Whyte has gone home. I first drove this car (Vectra) here in August 1997 (Chassis 001 Triple 8). Since we’ve raced it in HSCC it’s won more trophies than when it was new.’ There was a delayed start so the race was over 12 laps. John also reminisced about racing against David Leslie. ‘Good memory of David Leslie at the Niger Mansell race at Donington Park, were I won and David was 2nd. We had a race long battle, banging door handles’.
On the warm up lap Jason Hughes MG stopped with engine problems. Allister McMillan led lap 1 in his Primera but then John Cleland took over at the front and raced well clear for a dominant win. Scott Tollan kept his Focus in 3rd despite no rear brakes and he had late pressure from Conrad Murray’s Focus though both were well back on McMillan.
Allan Scott who was to drive his Mazda 323F which Ian Flux raced the previous day, but he did not start reminisced about David Leslie as well. Allan had been a TWR engine builder and became TWR Silk Cut Jaguar team manager. He said, ‘David was a lovely guy who never put himself forward but was very talented’.