Simon Belcher took his eighth Masters Cup podium of the year in the latest rounds at Croft to edge fifteen points clear in the class standings heading into the Renault UK Clio Cup’s summer break.
The Swindon-based racer had a frustrating qualifying session, qualifying nineteenth on the grid for both races. The opening race saw Belcher make some strong early progress, climbing into fifteenth place by lap four, before getting stuck into an entertaining multi-car battle in the midfield, eventually moving his Handy Motorsport with Pyro-prepared Clip up to thirteenth at the finish, grabbing second in class.
Sunday’s live televised race saw Belcher make a tyre gamble at the start of the race, the KARCHER-backed racer diving into the pitlane at the end of the formation lap to change onto wet tyres, with weather forecasts hinting at a large rain shower during the race.
Unfortunately for Belcher, the rain didn’t come as expected, leaving him struggling to maintain the pace of the main pack. The 39 year old ended up a lap down in eighteenth overall, fourth in class, with added insult to injury coming as the heavens finally opening shortly after the race ended.
“Race one was really good, to come through form 19th to 13th was great, I was really pleased with it,” commented Belcher. “The car felt good and the only reason we qualified where we did was because I didn’t hook my lap up when I needed to.
“I’m totally happy with the decision we made in race two, no regrets. It was a gamble, a big gamble which could have worked if the rain came as it was forecast to do. We were on the green flag lap, it started raining to the point you needed your wipers on and when I got level with the pit entry, like the words of the song go, it was now or never!
“So I pitted, we had six or seven guys working on the car to change the wheels to get me out there as quick as possible on wets, and we joined the race about half a lap behind. At that point, it stopped raining. It did start again part way through but, by that time, it was too late for me. The forecast was for it to be raining cats and dogs at four o’clock, it didn’t happen. You win some, you lose some.
“It’s been a mixed weekend, but we’ve increased our lead in the Masters slightly which is what we needed.”