Welsh Bentley drivers Ryan Ratcliffe from Llanelli, teamed with Glen Geddie, and Seb Morris from Wrexham, teamed with Rick Parfitt Jnr, were at Donington Park on Saturday & Sunday 22/23 June for the 6th Round of the 2019 British GT Championship! The Donington Park track with 2 hairpin bends, is traditionally not a happy place for the Bentley Continental GT3 car, and so it proved but following some hard driving from both pairs of drivers, they salvaged as much as they could.
In the qualifying sessions, there was a surprise as the Silverstone race winners, Ian Loggie and Callum Macleod, would start as the last GT3 car, after MacLeod spun into the gravel trap at the Esses on his very first lap!
Although both Seb and Rick set some good laps early in the session, but at the end of Qualifying their combined times were only good enough for 10th fastest time. However, JRM team Engineer Julian Westwood summed up ‘Although the lads are pretty gloomy, I think we are not too bad’ Actually he had a point as the next 6 cars were less than 1 second quicker than Morris & Parfitt Jnr, including the current Points leaders! The Pole Position car, the Aston Martin of Davidson & Adam was only 1.5 seconds faster!
Ryan Ratcliffe/Glen Geddie, would start 13th out of 15 GT3 cars! Glen was concerned with the balance of the car under braking and Ryan confirmed ‘We’ve been chasing our tails since the 1st free practice’ The Team Parker Racing engineers had some ideas that might cure the problem.
Racing is of course, different than qualifying, with a full fuel load, backmarkers, pit-stops, not to mention the slower GT4 cars that were all in the mix, making a massive 40 cars on the track! (Actually 35 cars finished and there were no safety car incidents)
In the usual fashion Rick & Glen would do the first hour of the 2 hour race, and as the race started both sets of drivers made quick starts! Rick eventually made his way up to 6th place before handing over to Morris. In contrast while Glen, who is from Aberdeen, also made a quick start, but he was involved in an incident with Ian Loggie, which delayed him. Loggie was handed a ‘Drive through’ penalty. Later however, Glen was judged to have ‘Exceeded track limits’ by inadvertently running over a kerb, and he too was handed a ‘Drive through’ penalty!By the time of the pit-stops he was able to hand over to Ryan Ratcliffe with the car in 10th place. However in all the pit-stops, a drama unfolded, as their main rivals in the Silver Class, the Class leaders Ollie Wilkinson & Bradley Ellis, were eliminated, when their car caught fire as it left its pits-box! With their main rivals now eliminated, all Ratcliffe had to do was to bring the car home, which he duly did, bringing the car home safely in 11th place, and the Scottish/Welsh duo are now only 5.5 points away from the Class Leaders! Ryan confirmed ‘I’ve got with mixed feelings about this weekend! Keeping my sights on Spa!
This fire drama also affected the hand-over between Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris! Morris was due to leave the pits as the Wilkinson & Ellis Aston Martin passed by, streaming a cloud of smoke, pursued by 2 team mechanics in ‘hot’ pursuit carrying an extinguisher! Morris was held, whilst the mechanics passed the JRM pits, and was then able to drive away, followed by the Fire Tender! Bizarrely, both of them going at the 30 mph pit-lane speed limit! Fortunately the prospect of a dangerous fire in a pit-lane full of highly inflammable petrol was avoided!
Morris joined the track now in 7th place but with two GT3 cars yet to stop. Once the pit-stops had ended, Morris was fifth, but he had Phil Keen’s Lamborghini Huracan Evo 3, right behind and pressuring him heavily! Seb resisted for several laps, despite giving away significant straight-line speed to the Lamborghini but Morris was eventually passed by Keen, and he then fell into the clutches of the next sports-car challenger. Driving inch-perfect lines, and trying to make the Bentley as wide as possible, Morris continued in sixth but with 20 minutes to go he was edged back to seventh position by the Aston Martin to finish in 7th place, but finished earning, themselves and the team another 9 points!
Even though he was the first *Saloon car, and the best Bentley, that was no solace at all to the Wrexham based charger,whose perspiring and exhausted appearance paid testament to the effort he had put in! ‘I tried my best, but in end that’s all we could do!’ However the points scored, put Rick & Seb only 4 points behind 4th and 3rd is still possible! Meanwhile Glen & Ryan, the Scottish/Welsh duo are now only 5.5 points away from the Silver Class Leaders! The next round in the 2019 British GT Championship is at Spa-Francorchamps, the classic Belgian track, that may be more likely to suit the Bentley.
*The Donington Park GT race was won by Graham Davidson and Jonny Adam driving one of two of the new Aston Martin V8 Vantage sports cars , followed closely by the rapid McLaren of Balfe and Bell, and then three Lamborghini Huracan Evo 3’s and second new Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
British GT Championship https://www.britishgt.com/
Donington Preview- Rob & Marion Allender. Images courtesy Ben Green/IHI Photo and British GT championship
Welsh drivers Ryan Ratcliffe, (teamed with Glen Geddie), and Seb Morris, (teamed with Rick Parfitt Jnr), are gearing up for the 6th Round of the British GT Championship at Donington Park on Sunday 23rd June!
The Donington Park track with 2 hairpin bends, was traditionally not a happy place for the original Bentley Continental GT3 car. However the new generation Bentley seems to be better at handling this type of track, as Ratcliffe and Morris were nose to tail, disputing 2nd place at Snetterton, which also has 2 hairpins!
Silverstone Joy & Woe However at Silverstone in mixed weather conditions, both cars qualified poorly, Morris/Parfitt started in 11th place and Ryan Ratcliffe/Glen Geddie, the last GT3 car in 13th place! However in the race itself both Bentleys began to climb the order, and with the cars well set, Ryan& Glen had penalty for ‘exceeding the track limits’ and Rick Parfitt Jnr had a ‘drive-through’ penalty for a pit-stop infringement, bizarrely for going too slow! This put the cars back down the order but stirring drives by both teams meant that Ryan & Glengettie pulled up to finish 7th overall, and 2nd in the Silver class, and are now only 20 points from the Class leaders Ollie Wilkinson & Bradley Ellis.
Meanwhile Seb Morris was really flying, setting the fastest lap of the race and was up to 3rd place overall and had the 2nd place car under pressure! However they were denied their just reward after JRM teams run Bentley car was disqualified from the results, as it was judged at post -race scrutineering to be underweight without fuel on-board. The team immediately appealed against the decision, but then withdrew the appeal! . Having risen from an 11th place start and over-come a penalty to finished 3rd ‘On the Road’ Morris commented: “We’re all unbelievably disappointed. In terms of the race performance, I was very happy with my pace and to come through from a tough qualifying and a mid-race penalty to take third was a fantastic effort!”
The race was run by Morris and Parfitts former team-mates. Ian Loggie and Callum McLeod driving a Mercedes.
The results now leave Seb & Rick 6th in the overall and 3rd place in the championship is a possibility.
Now the scene switches to Donington Park this weekend, which is a track with happy memories for Seb & Rick, following their Championship win there 2 years ago!
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.