Ryan & Seb star in Race 1 but it was points rather than podiums for both teams in race 2 at Snetterton. (by Rob Allender) (Photos courtsey of britishgt.com)
Bentley boys Ryan Ratcliffe from Llanelli and his teammate Glynn Geddie (Silver Class) and Seb Morris (Wrexham) & Rick Parfitt Jnr (Pro-Am class) were the stars of the first 1 hour race on the Snetterton 300 circuit. Traditionally the Norfolk circuit did not suit the original Bentley Continental GT3 car, but the New Generation car was a revelation! Glynn Geddie qualified 4th in the first session; but Rick Parfitt Jnr was down in 10th. Rhyming Rick, summed it up ‘I missed a gear, which cost me dear!’
At the start Geddie moved up into 3rd place, and took the lead when the first 2 cars touched at the first major corner, and he gleefully swept by! Geddie drew away and had a 6 second lead when he made the pit stop to hand over Ryan Ratcliffe! Meanwhile Rick Parfitt Jnr had made it up to 5th place before handing over to Seb Morris!
As the race settled down after the stops, Ryan was in 4th place and Seb Morris was 7th. However there was once again a battle for the lead, but it fell Ratclifes’ & Sebs way, as first the leading BMW slowed and then the second car had to pull in for a Stop & Go penalty for a pit lane infringement! This left the Lamborghini of Phil Keen in the race lead, and Ratcliffe in 2nd place, and also in the Silver Class lead! Meanwhile Morris had passed Rob Bells Mclaren, and then applied maximum pressure on John Adam in an Aston Martin who was in 3rd place! However Adam had his eyes on Ratcliffe, and when Adam tried to overtake the Llanelli lads’ Bentley, Morris saw his chance and out-jockeyed Adam to claim 3rd place, going on the final lap!
This was all stirring stuff, however on the very last lap, virtually in sight of the finish line, it all went wrong for Morris and the JMR Bentley! Going into the ‘Bomb Hole’ corner a GT 4 car got in the way, and whilst Ratcliffe was able to pass, the GT4 car slammed on the brakes which put Seb Morris car into a concertina. After a heavy contact from behind, his
engine lost power and Adam and Jonny Cocker (Lamborghini Hurrican) swept by, leaving Morris to trail into 5th place. So whilst an ecstatic Ratcliffe and his teammate Glynn Geddie got to spray the champagne, with the Team Parker Racing team. ‘This is what it’s all about!
Morris could only ponder on what might have been! “We really deserved a podium from race one, it was a tough battle with Jonny Adam but we both raced hard and fairtic Ratcliffe and his teammate Glynn Geddie got to spray the champagne, with the Team Parker Racing team. ‘This is what it’s all about!
Morris could only ponder on what might have been! “We really deserved a podium from race one, it was a tough battle with Jonny Adam but we both raced hard and fairMorris could only ponder on what might have been! “We really deserved a podium from race one, it was a tough battle with Jonny Adam but we both raced hard and fair”, reflected Morris, “Third was in the bag but out of the Bomb Hole on the last lap, Ryan went off and then came back on, which made a GT4 car slam on the brakes. I had to come to a standstill and a car smashed into the back of me, the contact was so heavy it ripped away the intercooler pipe and that’s why I had no power at all coming out of the chicane. It’s a shame to miss the podium as everyone at the team had done a great job.”
In race 2 (round 4 of the championship) later in the day, Morris took the opening stint and lapped impressively to maintain position throughout the first half hour of action. With little to choose between the lead contenders, Morris performed well to move over three seconds clear of the McLaren of Rob Bell before pitting at the end of lap 16 to hand the car over to Parfitt Jnr. Joining the track with around 25 minutes to go, Parfitt Jnr was in fifth initially and then took fourth on lap 20 before closing up behind the top three.
Into the chicane on lap 23, though, an uncharacteristic spin into the braking zone pitched the Bentley off the track and into the barriers. Although continuing, a left rear puncture late-on dropped Parfitt Jnr to 12th overall and 10th in the Pro-Am class. (A rear tyre deflating, may have had an impact on Ricks accident)
Meanwhile Ratcliffe and his teammate Glynn Geddie were stuck in 13th place overall, but more importantly 3rd in the Silver Class, and although Rick Parfitt Jnr dropped back and finish 12th overall, Seb & Rick got a point as t hey were 10th in The Pro-Am class.
All this means that Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr are 3rd Overall and also 3rd in the very crowded Pro-Am Class, and Ryan Ratcliffe and his teammate Glynn Geddie are 2nd in the less crowded Silver Class, and 8th Overall
Round five of the British GT season, the three-hour ‘Silverstone 500’ at the home of the British Grand Prix, will take place on Sunday, 9th June
Preview – The action shifts to Snetterton or Rounds 3 & 4 of the British GT Championship and although the Snetterton 300 circuit does not favour the Bentley, both Welsh lads Ryan Ratcliffe and Seb Morris are hopeful of scoring some points for their different teams at the Norfolk track.
In the Blancpain Endro round at Silverstone Matt Parry finished a creditable 17th overall in the R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vanatge although Seb Morris saw his chances of a win in the Pro-am class disappear when the car failed to start after the last pit stop! When he did get on the track, Seb passed car after car and eventually finished in 5th place in Class, but claimed the extra point for the fastest lap, and racked up 10 points for the team.
Strong Pace & Championship Points for Meyrick And Bullitt Racing (edited by Rob Allender)
Andy Meyrick and the Bullitt Racing team showed tremendous speed and performance at the European GT4’s, second-round at Brands Hatch last weekend. Meyrick and co-driver Stephen Pattrick were at the top of the charts during practice but narrowly missed out on a podium during the races, bringing home a fourth, and an eighth-place result.
In Race 1, Pattrick did a fantastic job keeping the #33 Mercedes AMG GT4 out of trouble, and after a brilliant pit-stop by both drivers and crew, Meyrick went back out into the battle. Navigating his way through traffic, Meyrick made up ground crossing the finish line, fourth in class.
In Race 2, Meyrick was up to second on the first lap and was leading the class by lap 12, five-minutes before the pit window. Passing pit entry he suffered a puncture ‘and had to do a whole lap to back to the pits! Unfortunately, a lot of time was lost and Pattrick returned to the track further down the field. Pattrick put on a professional performance, bringing the car home in eighth.
Despite not bringing home the medals, we had a very good weekend”, said Meyrick. “We showed a strong pace throughout, the team and Stephen put on a fantastic performance, and we brought home Championship points. In both races we were so close and that makes us confident that next time we will be celebrating a podium at Paul Ricard in a month’s time.”
Matt Parry& Seb Morris hoping to kick- start their Blancpain Challenge at Silverstone this weekend
Neither Welsh drivers scored in the first round of the European series at Monza. Seb missed out due to accidents and didn’t even get to turn a lap in qualifying or the race in the Bentley Continental. However he is confident he can come good at Silverstone.
Matt Parry at least got to race but had such bad luck in the JMR Aston Martin finishing a frustrated 37th at the chequered flag.
“It just wasn’t meant to be our day,” Parry sighed, “The weather made it difficult for everyone out there, but Matthieu and I did what we could to keep the car in contention for points. Unfortunately, things conspired against us in the final hour, with the delay in the pits and then the puncture meaning that Maxime was unable to chase a top ten finish. Finishing 37th is definitely not representative of our potential as I definitely think the team was capable of scoring points here, but we’ll regroup and look to put things right at Silverstone.”
Saturday, 11th May, with the 90-minute Pre-Qualifying period getting underway at 15.40. On Sunday, 12th May, final qualifying will begin at 09.40 with the three-hour race itself beginning at 15.00.
Television coverage of the race in the UK is expected to be screened on digital satellite and cable channel British Eurosport.
Live online streaming of both of Sunday’s sessions will be carried at SRO’s ‘GT World’ You Tube channel, on Motorsport.TV and also at the official Blancpain GT Series website HERE
British GT Championship Oulton Park. (Report by Rob Allender and Marion Allender). Welsh drivers had a big hand in the first round of the 2019 British GT Championship bid at Oulton Park. After qualifying Ian Loggie was on pole position with his new Mercedes (he had driven a Bentley with Team Parker Racing) and 2nd was Ryan Ratcliffe with a new gen Bentley run by Team Parker Racing. 3rd was the Lamborghini Hurracan of Sam De Haan and 4th fastest was the Bentley of Rick Parfiit Jnr and Seb Morris, run by the new JRM team. Pariftt Jnr took the opening stint from fourth on the grid and maintained position through the first corner off the rolling start before then taking third place from the Lamborghini of Sam De Haan on the run out of Cascades. Then, on lap two, after a dramatic incident at Hislop’s Chicane, when second placed Ryan Ratcliffe collided with the leading Mercedes of Ian Loggie, Parfitt Jnr sliced past into the lead of the race, before officials then deployed the Safety Car to enable recovery both the stricken cars.
Racing resumed on lap seven and Parfitt Jnr did a good job to lead by 0.7 seconds over the line, before then proceeding to pump in a series of fastest laps until, by the time the pit stop window opened the JRM driver was almost 10 seconds clear.
Staying on track until the end of lap 13, he then pitted to hand the Bentley over to Morris with 35 minutes of the race to run. Getting out onto track firmly in the lead of the race, the early part of the Welshman’s stint wasn’t without drama with a number of GT4 class cars proving a hinderance – an errant Ford Mustang even making contact with the Bentley at one stage at Druids.
Threading his way through the traffic professionally and quickly, Morris held an advantage of over seven seconds from the Lamborghini of Phil Keen as the race reached the halfway point but the Huracan driver – on new tyres – did then begin to take time out of the leader.
Pushing as hard as possible, Morris continued to pick up his own pace and with 20 laps completed the gap stabilised at around six seconds. Through lapped traffic the lead did fluctuate, but Morris made no mistakes and into the final 10 minutes he’d opened the lead back up to eight seconds. Over the last few laps things did close up through more traffic, but Morris had it all under control to win the first race for the new gen Bentley and the new JRM team! It was now time for dream team of Rick & Seb to pick up the winners trophies and spray the champagne! Afterwards Morris confirmed “I really happy with race one and the whole weekend so far. In qualifying we were given a slow BOP [Balance of Performance], so we thought it would be a tough weekend, but the race went better than we could’ve dreamt – it’s amazing to have won our first race with JRM who did an incredible job!
In Race 2 two later in the day Morris started in 4th place, behind the wheel of the No.31 Bentley for the first stint (while Ryan Ratcilffes teammate started in 7th place) and after holding his starting place of fourth through Old Hall, he then climbed into third at Cascades as he eyed another podium finish. Following the deployment of the Safety Car in time for lap three, racing resumed on the seventh tour and Morris started to pile significant pressure onto the Mercedes of Adam Christodoulou. Swarming all over his rival, the JRM driver was relentless in attempting to find a way past and into lap 14 he was just 0.275 seconds behind.
Choosing to make an earlier pit-stop than would otherwise have been the case, to try and mitigate the time being lost and also bearing in mind the 10 second ‘success’ penalty from race one which meant the Bentley had to remain in the pits longer than rival cars, Morris handed over to Parfitt Jnr at the end of lap 15. (Ryan Ratcilffe had to serve a 10 second penalty for causing the accident in race 1)
When the race order settled after all stops had been completed, Parfitt Jnr held seventh position but a moment for one of the Aston Martins soon after enabled him to climb into sixth. With the incident triggering another Safety Car period, racing resumed on lap 23 with just 15 minutes to go and Parfitt Jnr immediately looked to challenge Andrew Howard.
Producing a superb cut-back at Lodge at the end of the lap to grab fifth from the Aston Martin driver, Pariftt Jnr’s next target was the Lamborghini of Adam Balon but a dramatic excursion at Brittens Chicane pitched the Bentley into the barriers. Although the car did eventually fire back up, Parfitt Jnr dropped down the order and ultimately ended the race ninth in GT3 and eighth in Pro-Am. In round two later in the afternoon, the 23-year-old Welshman and his team-mate unfortunately rued what might have been when a late race excursion for Parfitt Jnr – while running fifth – meant an eventual finish of ninth in GT3 and eighth in the Pro-Am class.
“At the end of the day Rick just made a small mistake in race two, it was unfortunate but we still came away with points”, added Morris, “If you’d have said to me at the beginning of the weekend we’d have a win and an eighth in Pro-Am, I’d have bitten your arm off. With how strong we’ve been this weekend, I’m really looking forward to the next round.”
Ryan Ratcliffe brought the Team Parker Bentley home in 17th place. Ryan apologised to his team and team-mate Glen Geddie for
Rounds three and four of the British GT season will take place over the weekend 18th/19th May at Snetterton 300 Circuit in Norfolk. One week earlier, Morris will return to action in the Blancpain Endurance Cup for round two of its season on Sunday, 12th May, at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit.
2019 British GT Championship Standings (after Rd2)
3rd Seb Morris/Rick Parfitt Jnr, 27pts
2019 British GT Championship ‘Pro-Am’ Standings (after Rd2)
3rd Seb Morris/Rick Parfitt Jnr, 29pts
The 2019 Brit GT series starts on Easter Monday & Welsh drivers will be driving hard for top honours! Report by Marion Allender (fotos by Rob Allender)
The British 2019 GT Championship starts at Oulton Park on Easter Monday and Llanelli racer Ryan Ratcliffe will be back with Team Parker Racing and with a new team-mate Glynn Geddie as part of the Bentley assault on the 2019 British GT3 Championship with the next generation of the Bentley Continental GT3 car. Ratcliffe won the GT4 class in British GT Championship in 2014 with Rick Parfitt Jnr as his team mate, and in 2018 raced the 1st Generation Bentley Continental GT3, known as ‘The Beast’ (The MK2 car should be easier to drive than last years’ car ). The best result in 2018 was finishing 2nd at Spa Francorhamps, having lead the 2 hour race for most of the distance!
Meanwhile Seb Morris is about to embark on his biggest and most high-profile season of motorsport, after confirming a huge deal to return to the British GT Championship with brand new Bentley customer team JRM from Daventry. Morris– will reunite with rock star Rick Parfitt Jnr to reform the ‘dream team’ pairing which made history for Bentley by winning the 2017 title. Morris says the deal to join JRM was ‘too good to refuse’ and especially with the opportunity of teaming again with Parfitt Jnr, who had previously announced his retirement from racing.
“I’m coming back to British GT as a proper ‘Pro’, JRM want my services as a driver and that’s an incredible feeling. Rick [Parfitt Jnr] had obviously announced his retirement, which was serious, and when the team talked with him he said he wouldn’t come back unless he was with me – that’s such a fantastic thing for him to have said, it’s very special and I feel honoured and humbled.”
Morris added: “I’m also, obviously, extremely proud to have been asked to continue as a BRDC Superstar and to remain part of Team UK as well. It really is an honour to be invited to remain part of both programmes which offer so much, and which have played a huge part in my career so far.” With a brand new Bentley Continental GT3, , Morris is confident the new JRM entry will shake-up the established order.
“Obviously, I’ve been away in Blancpain Endurance for a year where I was often the fastest Bentley and we took podiums in the first season which was fantastic. I’m aiming to put into practice what I learnt there, becoming a much more rounded driver, on my return to British GT with JRM. We’ve also got more exciting announcements about this year’s racing to come as well…!”
The announcement regarding the British GT deal comes just a couple of weeks after Morris was promoted by Bentley into its ‘factory’ team for this year’s Total 24 Hours of Spa, where he will race as a fully-fledged ‘Bentley Boy’ as part of a four-car assault on the biggest GT3 race in the world.