Event report by Adam Weller – Motorsport Journalist & Commentator
For the second year in a row the Isle of Wight Car Club competitors took over the Ventnor Botanic Garden last Sunday. For one weekend every year, the often quiet and relaxing crown jewel of Ventnor plays home to one of the most challenging and picturesque Autotest venues in Britain.
History often repeats itself in motorsport, and this event was no different, with Ryan Munt scoring his second consecutive overall and class five win at this wonderful venue with a time of 67.00 seconds behind the wheel of his Locost. The former 750MC Locost Championship competitor and 2015 Isle of Wight Car Club champion only completed three runs over the course of the day, showing pace and confidence that could be tough to beat in 2016.
Ricky Shepard was second overall in his Locost, over three seconds behind Ryan with a time of 70.61 seconds. Expect to see Ricky challenge for wins throughout 2016 as he learns the ins and outs of his relatively new machine.
Matthew Price, the winner in Class Four, took third overall in his Mazda MX5 with an impressive time of 71.31. He was followed by Chris Greenen, who took fourth overall and Class Three honours in his Mini with a 72.89.
Daryl Turner rounded out the overall top five and took Class Two honours in his spare Mazda MX5 after the car he regularly shares with Dean and Tony Long blew a differential early in the day. His time was a 73.49, an incredibly strong performance for a standard car.
Nick Morter took the Class One victory in his Mini, while Vicky Cox beat Sue Mitchell to the honours for fastest lady of the day.
A venue as challenging as Ventnor Botanic Garden often creates drama for even the most experienced competitors. Dan Morgan learnt this after a mistake left his Sub Zero kit car damaged beyond repair after the second run, and Steve Wells also ended his day early after his Locost began to leak oil.
The team of Charlie and Kevin Lower from Brighton wowed spectators and fellow competitors by threading their R33 Nissan Skyline around the narrow course. As this event grows in prestige, we can expect more competitors from further afield to take on the unique venue.
The Isle of Wight Car Club’s second round of the season, also the first Unsealed Surface event of 2016, takes place at Knighton Sandpit on the 3rd of April. To learn more, go to our events page.