COVID Cup Round 12: Cleland Wraps Up The COVID Championship At Spectacular Silverstone

Updated: Apr 28

30 Minutes. 26 Points. 2 Drivers. 1 Race. This Is Silverstone.


Things would go appallingly for Truswell as in practice, his Skippy would not start, despite their best efforts no solution could be found. His team lorry was spotted leaving Silverstone shortly after.

It'd be an incredibly bitter way to end the season - especially after such a strong start.

Drivers Outside 107% Rule (1:41.561)

Wood - No Time Set

W. Money - No Time Set

Werrell - No Time Set

Conway - No Time Set

Jm L - No Time Set

J. Money - No Time Set

Christodoulou - No Time Set D. Vaughn - No Time Set

Teymourian -No Time Set

Caroline - No Time Set


Race

The five minutes of qualifying happened in the blink of an eye. And with a 25-26 point deficit, Cleland needed a good lap...Bailes would line up on pole. Cleland would be alongside for the last time this season.


Sibbald was next with Roodenberg just behind. Behind him Rowbottom would round out the top 5. Special guest F4 driver Billy Monger would qualify 15th, and Jamie Caroline (another racing driver) starting in The engine notes would rise for the last time before they would disappear,


All 27 cars would get cleanly away - into turn one, the top 21 cars would all cleanly get through, but those at the rear would slide, Caroline would collect into Dan Vaughn after getting into a Heim-Lien sized slide, this would send Vaughn spinning across the track, and unfortunately would be collected by Jm L... Up ahead, there was more drama - Christodoulou would swip past Monger's nose before the braking zone for Becketts. Honeyman would be side-by-side with both, but luckily escape with just a spin. Monger would brake just a little bit too late for Becketts and tag the back of Christodoulou, spinning him. Both would slide back across the track...Daman would be a passenger.


After recovering from his earlier accident, Caroline would come hot into Maggotts/Becketts. Despite avoiding all three stranded cars, he'd hit a rear wing and snap his suspension arm, sliding across the outside of the circuit, grass debris and gravel filling up his airbox.



As the rear of the field limped back to the pits, the battle for the lead was already on - Cleland pulling alongside Bailes and passing him as they rejoined the national circuit, Sibbald and Rowbottom being right on their tails.


Further back, at the same corner, Arceluz would be caught out by Max Vaughn braking early, and just tag him under braking, allowing Werrell and Wood to gain two places as Vaughn would hit the wall outside wall as he came to a stop. The most impressive start was made by Teymourian, launching into 13th from 18th on the grid as a result of all the crashes.


By the end of the first lap, five cars were sat in the pit-lane - these were: Daman, Caroline, M. Vaughn, Christodoulou (who was the first of two who didn't have their car towed), the other Vaughn, Dan and finally Monger.

As the second lap started, the field would splinter off into small groups - the top 4 being tightly packed, Constanduros and Roodenberg battling for 5th and 6th, before it was the large battle including Bradley, Heim Lien, Cleaver, Riddles and a little further behind. Herring and Littlewood would watch not far behind from outside the top 10. Teymourian would observe this gaggle from a distance, with the rest of the field nicely seperated. But more action would take place just moments later.


Heim Lien would try to get up the inside of Bradley at Maggots, but would get intimated as his rival drifted over, his back end slightly drifting over.


He would momentarily catch the slide, before getting on the marbles and sliding the other way. In avoidance Littlewood would hit the back of Cleaver - leaving both with damage as Teymourian nipped past Wood, Herring, Littlewood and Cleaver. Herring would lose another position to W. Money just after.


Werrell would also spin through the aftermath of this crash, losing the progress he made.

Teymourian (far left) picks up multiple positions as Heim Lien (centre, grass) and Cleaver spin and Arceluz (far right) fires off wide.

Sibbald would also get into massive trouble by out-braking himself at the re-entry to the National circuit...firing off wide, dropping from 3rd to 6th.

By the next lap, the top 3 had broken away from Roodenberg and Constanduros - Constanduros finding his way past Roodenberg shortly after before Rowbottom would look at getting past Bailes but would have no luck.


But at the very corner that Sibbald went off at the previous lap, Bailes championship hopes disappeared into thin air. Rowbottom would try into the infamous turn, but would go in too deep, just as Bailes was going to kiss the apex. Rowbottom's left rear hit Bailes' front right, causing slight damage to both cars - Bailes would come off better, and pass Rowbottom as he rejoined. Cleland had driven off into the distance.


Just behind, Sibbald was in a battle for 4th, and was on a come-back up the field - first passing his Positively Racing Team-Mate Roodenberg, before passing Constanduros. After a very tight one-lap tussle for 5th, Roodenberg eventually held off Constanduros to start the 5th lap. Bailes' day would get worse however...Rowbottom would pass him on lap 5, dropping the championship contender down to third.


As they went onto the 7th lap, Bailes finally made a move stick on Rowbottom. Sibbald behind was also able to get by.


During this time, the mid-field battle remained a tightly fought battle.


Bradley would lead the battle away on lap 8, followed by Roodenberg, Teymourian a little further back and then Constanduros.


But Bradley's flawless race was about to be undone. On the exit of Maggots, the rear of his Skippy would step out, putting him into a slide....despite a good attempt at recovery...he would eventually spin out and be collected head-on by Teymourian.


Both drivers' races were ruined...

As the laps went on Bailes fought hard to fend off Sibbald and Rowbottom, corner by corner each driver getting feister and feistier.


two laps before the onboard footage ends, Wood would finally get past Constanduros after spending several laps looking to get past.


The only other change of position would be on lap 8, when Littlewood would out-brake themselves at the infamous corner and lose a couple of positions to Wood, W. Money and Riddles, before passing Riddles a record three times before making the move stick.


Rounding out the top ten would be Heim Lein. Littlewood would pit at the end of lap 11, promoting Cleaver to the top 10.


On lap 12, (the following lap) W. Money would receive a small tap from Constanduros, which would spin him. This would put Constanduros back in 7th, behind Roodenberg.


Following the spin, Heim Lein and Cleaver would round out the top 10.


Just half the race remained as Cleland started the 13th lap with a comfortable lead. As he crossed the line, Bailes was only just coming out of the final corner.


As lap 13 went on the battle between Bailes, Rowbottom and Sibbald continued until the very last corner when Sibbald and Bailes would touch...bringing an end to a truly great battle....




Cleland crossed the line to start his 14th lap...less than 10 laps remained and Bailes wasn't even within 10 seconds of the leader. As both had base-line setups, doing anything from this far back would be near impossible. In his current position, Bailes would still win the championship due to being in the points...but all of that was about to change...


Rowbottom would be the next to cross the line in 2nd, with Sibbald in 3rd and Bailes a frustrating 4th.


Roodenberg in 5th would finish the Positively-Racing train, Wood following on and Constanduros not far behind Wood.


Rounding out the top 10 were Heim Lien, Werrell and Cleaver - Werrell overtaking Cleaver at the end of the 13th lap. But the 16th lap would put an end to any hope of Bailes of securing the championship. Bailes would have a drive-through for reaching the incident limit in the race. He devastatingly dawdled into the pit-lane.

Roodenbeg would take the place from Bailes. A little further back, Werrell would try and go up the inside of Heim Lien at the first corner, but Heim Lien would chop across the front of Werrell, Heim Lien spinning and Werrell jut escaping


Cleaver would shortly be in the top 10, before W. Money had the momentum out of the first corner.


Bailes would only emerge in 17th - not even enough for a single point. Only J. Money, Christoodoulou and Daman (the latter two a lap behind) separated Bailes from Cleland, who had already started the penultimate lap.


Other than Cleaver overtaking Werrell (who had gone off) the standings remained the same as the finishing order - meaning that with the fastest lap Cleland became the first ever MOFO COVID Cup Champion - at the one to beat for the second season.


Behind Cleland, Rowbottom would secure his debut podium with Sibbald taking third. Behind them were: 4th: Derek Roodenberg 5th: Darren Wood

6th: Ben Constanduros

7th: Will Money

8th: Jack Werrell 9th: Richard Cleaver 10th: Kristian Heim Lien

11th: Matthew Riddles

12th: Jake Conway

13th: Ewen Honeyman

14th: Joe Bradley

15th: Jm L 16th: Robin Bailes 17th: Simon Herring 18th: Jacob Money

19th: Adam Christodoulou (-1 Lap)

20th: Nick Daman (-1 Lap) 21st: Naser Teymourian (-9 Laps) Billy Monger: DNF

Ellen Littlewood: DNF

Max Vaughn: DNF James Caroline: DNF

Dan Vaughn: DNF Santos Arceluz: DNF

Robin Truswell: DNQ

Ronald Verweij: DNQ Gunnar Pio: DNQ



As I wrap up this blog, I must say - first of all, a huge congratulations to Chaz Cleland for winning the championship, it was truly deserved and he raced flawlessly all season, but also a huge thanks to all of our drivers - from Robin Bailes who chased Cleland down to the wire, to those who made a guest appearance for one race for having an awesome season.


My thanks continue on to all the photographers, media people, marshals and team members - running a race is not a one-man job and we could not have done it without you. Podiums

L. Fernandez - x1 (1st Summit Point)

D. Wood - x3 (2nd Summit Point | 3rd Virginia | 3rd Tsukuba) N. Teymourian x2 (3rd Summit Point | 3rd Laguna Seca)

R. Bailes: Wins:(x6) Silverstone National (R2), Lime Rock Park (R4), Spa (R7), Tsukuba (R8), Brands Hatch (R9), Philip Island (R11) Podiums: (x2) 3rd Okayama |2nd Laguna Seca C. Cleland: Wins: (x3) Brands Hatch Indy (R5), Laguna Seca (R10), Silverstone 2008 INTL. (R12)

Podiums: (x6) 2nd Silverstone National | 2nd Lime Rock Park | 2nd Okayama | 3rd Spa | 2nd Tsukuba | 2nd Brands Hatch GP | E. Sibbald x3 (3rd Silverstone National | 2nd Spa | 3rd Philip Island | 3rd Silverstone 2008 INTL.

Z. Burke x1 (1st Virginia) D. Christie x1 (2nd Virginia) J. Bradley x1 (2nd Brands Hatch Indy) R. Verweij 1x (3rd Lime Rock Park) S. Gaffney x1 (3rd Brands Hatch Indy)

O. C. Maza x1 (1st Okayama) A. Canzobre (3rd Brands Hatch GP)

D. Roodenberg (2nd Philip Island)

D. Rowbottom (2nd Silverstone 2008 INTL.)

Finally, from the perspective of both a driver and a blogger, I am absolutely thrilled to be racing with the MOFO drivers for a second season, and with the rule-changes planned, it's going to be an absolute blast, so, without further ado, the final championship standings for the MOFO COVID Cup: Best Of 8


Total Standings After 12 Weeks

After discussing with officials, it was agreed that Cleland would keep the title, Despite Bailes having more points.


Another battle that concluded was the season long fight between Daman and Truswell. Unfortunately not ending in the best way, however Truswell managed to beat Daman 8 times in 12 races, next season will only be a continuation of this intense battle.



The paddock post-race.


And with that, I bid you farewell, thank you for reading, I hope you have enjoyed these blogs, and I will see you for fresh new season of the COVID Cup...or will it be called something different?




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