DOUBLE TOP TEN DURING TOUGH WEEKEND FOR CAR GODS WITH CICELEY MOTORSPORT
It was a frustrating weekend for Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport during the latest outing on the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship calendar at Croft little under two weeks ago (25/26 June) with drivers Adam Morgan and George Gamble left feeling prevented from showing their true pace.
The squad headed to the North Yorkshire circuit in confident mood as Croft is often regarded as a circuit that plays to the strengths of rear-wheel drive machinery. After two productive free practice sessions, the pair went into qualifying ready to shoot for the front of the grid. However, there was instant drama when Morgan’s BMW 330e M Sport slid off the track and stopped the session, his car beached in the turn one gravel.
That condemned the 33-year-old to 17th on the grid, while teammate Gamble impressed on his first race at Croft for three years by qualifying ninth.
In blustery conditions on race day, the Car Gods-backed machines charged into battle with Gamble running comfortably in the top ten. There was strife early on for Morgan, however, when a move from a rival at the Esses resulted in the #33 car dropping down the order.
Morgan would recover impressively to a top 20 finish with 19th, while Gamble held ninth place throughout the contest, securing his fifth top ten finish so far in his maiden campaign.
Bad luck would strike for the rookie in the second encounter, however, when he was forced to retire with mechanical gremlins.
Morgan improved throughout the 18-lap race, taking 15th from the Honda of Jason Plato to finish inside the points-paying positions.
With Morgan in P15 for the final contest and his team-mate starting from the back of the pack, the duo picked off their rivals ahead to conclude Round 15 in tenth and 19th respectively.
“[The off in qualifying] was entirely my fault,” admitted Morgan. “I left-foot braked and was a bit keen. I was able to carry on in qualifying but the penalty for causing the stoppage was that I lost my best lap time.
“Race one was gutting, that’s the second weekend in a row where the day has been ruined by contact in the first race. And it made race two really hard work. It was so hard to make progress because I got stuck behind Jason [Plato] who was defending heavily. Once I was clear of him, I caught people, but the cars are so evenly matched now, it just shows how important qualifying is.
“It’s been a character-building weekend. I hate myself for the mistake in qualifying because that affects the whole day, but we will bounce back at Knockhill.”
“I’d been looking for a good result in race three,” added Gamble, “running in the top group [in the opener,] then trying to benefit on the reverse grid draw which we were well on course for, but it wasn’t to be. My pace was really strong before the gremlins struck so that is something positive to take away from the weekend at least.”
“You get these weekends occasionally, but it doesn’t make them any less hard to take,” concluded Commercial Director Ash Gallagher. “Everyone worked so hard on George’s car, but it just wasn’t his day and Adam has been beating himself up since qualifying.
“All of our hospitality guests saw first-hand the ups and downs of motor racing, but really got behind Adam and George and cheered them on. Two top tens isn’t what we set out to achieve but proves that we have the pace to challenge.”
The championship now takes its annual summer break before heading to Knockhill, Scotland, later this month (30/31 July), with Morgan ninth in the Drivers’ Championship and Gamble 14th, whilst the pair are second and fourth in the Independent Drivers’ Standings.
Gamble also holds second in the Jack Sears Trophy hunt, and Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport sits sixth and second in the Teams’ and Independent Teams’ battle at the halfway point of the season.