VTEC Challenge does Anglesey

Jonathan F

Nov 29, 2010
Anglesey Coastal: August 6th/7th 2016

(Rounds 9 and 10 of BRSCC Honda VTEC Challenge)

For rounds 9 & 10 of the Honda “VTEC Challenge”, the series and drivers headed to the picturesque circuit of Anglesey.


The series last visited here in 2011, so it would be good to see how lap times have fallen as cars have been developed over the years.

With only a handful of drivers having driven the track, it would be an interesting weekend.

With everyone making the journey and arriving safely, teams were was soon set up and a holiday vibe ran through the paddock. Those stopping at the circuit took the opportunity to take in the views and walk the track ahead of the activities.

Once again the drivers had the option to test first thing on Saturday and the majority of entrants had taken up this option.

It was great to see the “Red Arrows” (as they have affectionately become known as) return, in the shape of Peter Dixon’s and Jeff Cooper’s K20 CRX’s, both cars now sporting ITB’s and sounding even more aggressive than before!


Martyn Kemp was back behind the wheel of his own car this weekend, having again rebuilt his engine after a spun shell side-lined him hours before the Snetterton race weekend.


Neil Holden was again back at the helm of the TDi North prepared EP3 in “Production” class. Having took part in Time Attack a few years ago at the circuit, Neil was one of the few to have driven the track in anger and would be looking to use his knowledge of the circuit to his advantage.

Neil Wrenn was back in his “Super Tuner” Civic, having taken part in Time Attack since his last outing at Silverstone.


15 – Tony Markham – EP3 Civic Type R – Production

25 – Adam Jones – EP3 Civic Type R – Super Tuner

27 – Neil Wrenn – Civic – Super Tuner

39 – Rob Burkinshaw – DC5 Integra – Tuner

49 – Jeff Cooper – CRX – Super Tuner

58 – Martyn Kemp – EP3 Civic Type R – Super Tuner

67 – Peter Dixon – CRX – Super Tuner

73 – Stu King – DC2 Integra - Tuner

666 – Neil Holden – EP3 Civic Type R – Production

With the closed wheel test session taking place first thing, those that were taking advantage of the extra track time were up bright and early to prepare their cars and themselves.

Unfortunately for Peter Dixon, a problem with the CRX’s ECU meant he was unable to make it out and required the services of Paul West from TDi North to upload a new map to allow the car to operate as it should.

With everyone else back from the session, it was a matter of waiting the couple of hours before qualifying.


With glorious weather, all drivers headed to the assembly area in preparation for the session.

After already having spent some time on track during testing, drivers were soon up to speed and looking to set their fastest lap times.


Early issues for Peter Dixon saw him returning to the pits with broken rear suspension and unable to exploit the CRX’s true potential, qualifying near the back of the grid.

Burkinshaw, Jones and Cooper were all really motoring, and setting lap times so close that there was hardly anything to separate them! However it was Neil Wrenn who posted the fastest time of the session to take pole by a little over half a second.

Pole: Neil Wrenn

2nd: Rob Burkinshaw

3rd: Adam Jones

Back in the paddock and attention turned to Peters CRX and understand what the issue was.

Judging by the angle of the passenger side rear wheel, all was not well and upon inspection it was found that the aftermarket rear camber arm had snapped clean in two!

Thankfully the spares carried in the VTC “box-o-spares” ran to a set of standard arms, and both were fitted to get the rear wheels pointing in the same direction.

Race 1:

With race time upon us, drivers suited up and headed to the assembly area whilst the previous race drew to a close. With the track cleared for use, the cars were released to head out onto the green flag lap.

After a lap of the 1.55 mile circuit, everyone took up their grid slot in preparation for the race ahead.

Wrenn sat on pole, with Burkinshaw alongside and Jones in 3rd. Cooper took the remaining slot on row 2, whilst his running mate (Dixon) sat back in 8th after his short-lived qualifying session.

With all eyes on the lighting gantry, the red lights came on and the countdown began.

With lights out, Burkinshaw got the better start to take the lead from Wrenn and with Cooper also benefitting into 2nd the race was on!

With everyone around the hairpin cleanly, the long run through “Church” and “School” could begin, with the brave taking this fast section flat out without lifting. However Kemp was unfortunate to find himself spinning off after running wide coming out of “Church”, which meant re-joining the field at the back.

Over the opening couple of laps, the action was thick and fast, with no margin for error as all cars kept close formation the tight and twisty circuit.

Dixon charged through the pack and was soon making up places, as the opening laps counted down. Up into 4th after only a couple of laps and the CRX was soon on the boot lid of Wrenn’s Civic.

Using the nibble nature of the little “rex”, Dixon squeezed by Wrenn and began to chase down Cooper and Burkinshaw. However the gap to the leading pair was just too great to overcome during the remainder of the 15 minute race, so Dixon had to settle for 3rd, but in doing so would line him up for a great starting position for race 2.

Burkinshaw and Cooper held 1st and 2nd place respectively for race distance and with both evenly matched, there was little over a second between them at the chequered flag.

Jones and Wrenn battled for turbo honours as the pair traded places, with Jones emerging the victor for position.


King was taking the fight to the top running “Super Tuners” and showing old fashioned engineering can mix it with the turbo and supercharged running Civic’s. All was going well until an off on lap 5 put him out of contention. Back on the track, Stuart got back into the groove to take 6th place.


Although unable to hold off the advances of the higher powered cars, Holden in the “Production” class Civic, along with Markham in a similar Civic, both drove a trouble free race to bring them both home.

Following his off, Kemp recovered well and managed to make up places and take the flag to cement his return to the track in his own car.

1st: Rob Burkinshaw

2nd Jeff Cooper

3rd Peter Dixon

Class wins were awarded to:

(P) – Neil Holden

(T) – Rob Burkinshaw

(ST) – Jeff Cooper

Fastest lap: Peter Dixon 1.18.026 on lap 5 of 12

With everyone safely back in the paddock, drivers began to dissect their race and swap stories of how the day had played out.

Neil Holden found that one of the front discs on his Civic had cracked clean through. Living only a couple of hours away, he planned to head back to pick up the spares and then return on Sunday to replace them before the race.

With the weather now changing, the paddock was subjecting to gale force winds and a number of other racers gazebo’s and the odd tent didn’t survive the night, but thankfully Sunday morning dawned with minimal damage for the VTC teams.

Race 2:

The second race was to take place just before lunchtime on Sunday, which allowed any necessary work to be carried out.

Neil fitted his new discs and Stuart/Rich spent a bit of time on the Integra to try and iron out some issues seen in the previous race.

With a lot of drivers commenting on the understeering nature of the circuit, trying to counteract this was the order of the day for most.

With race time upon us once more, all drivers headed to the assembly area and lined up in order.

With the mandatory green flag lap completed, grid slots were taken in readiness for the start of race 2.

Once again, off the line and it was Burkinshaw who commanded the lead of the pack, however the CRX’s of Cooper and Dixon were close to hand, chomping at the bit and looking like a pair of “dog fighting” fighter jets after their prey!


King got the jump on the turbo’d cars of Jones and Wrenn off of the line to take 4th place, but as the race unfolded found he was unable to hold them off (but not without a fight!)

Pushing on to close up on Burkinshaw and Cooper ran wide at the hairpin on lap 2, which allowed Dixon to take 2nd place. Cooper was not letting any distance grow between himself and Dixon and was straight back on to challenging for position.

The reward was to come soon, as Dixon out braked himself at “Rocket” and Cooper relieved Dixon of 2nd place.


Both drivers continued to battle for position, all the time keeping Burkinshaw in sight. After backing out of several attempts, Dixon finally lined up Cooper and made the move to pass on the run down to the “Corkscrew” as Cooper began to struggle for grip on his overworked tyres.

After struggling at the start, Wrenn mounted his comeback and joined by Jones the pair began to head back towards the top and soon were into 4th and 5th and closing in on the top 3.

After only a handful of laps, it was sickening to see the Civic of Kemp expire in a huge cloud of smoke as he rounded “Rocket” and pulled off the circuit out of harm’s way.

Later a holed piston and valve damage were found to be the cause of the retirement and a bitter blow considering Martyn’s recent run of bad luck.

Kemp wasn’t the only driver to suffer in race 2, as a boost leak and a failing coil pack on Jones’s Civic left him down on power and a target for the consistent driving of King, as his DC2 closed the deficit and took 5th overall.

With the tyres struggling for grip on Coopers CRX, the straight line performance of Wrenn’s Civic saw him take 3rd place in the closing minutes to take his first podium of the series.

Holden maintained his “Production” class lead over Markham, both continuing to drive a faultless race rewarded accordingly.

1st Rob Burkinshaw

2nd Peter Dixon

3rd Neil Wrenn

Class wins were awarded to:

(P) – Neil Holden

(T) – Rob Burkinshaw

(ST) – Peter Dixon

Fastest lap: Neil Wrenn 1.17.160 on lap 7 of 16 (New Lap Record)


With fantastic racing at one of, if not the most picturesque circuit in the UK, it was great to see the continued close racing the series is renowned for.

Once again, a huge thanks goes out to every single person that took the time and effort to attend the race meet, as your support is very much appreciated.

In recognition of his continuous help throughout the paddock, as well as ensuring the VTC gazebo remained on terra firma during the gales, the “Spirit of VTEC” award went to Andrew Burkinshaw.

Thanks go out to the series sponsors: Toyo Tires, Competition Clutch, Dream Automotive, Performance Autoworks, Eurospec, TDi North, Simulator Racing, Honda Nation and MOTORV8 MEDIA for their continued support.

The series heads to Croft next on the 10th & 11th of September and we hope to see you there.

Words: Jonathan Fletcher

Pictures: Lindsey Fletcher & Jonathan Fletcher