TREMENDOUS WEEKEND FOR DEVON ACE RIDLEY-HOLLOWAY Competing in three races in the space of a 24 hour period was always going to be a huge challenge for North Devon racer Jonathan Ridley-Holloway; but what a weekend it turned out to be as he ...
TREMENDOUS WEEKEND FOR DEVON ACE RIDLEY-HOLLOWAY
Competing in three races in the space of a 24 hour period was always going to be a huge challenge for North Devon racer Jonathan Ridley-Holloway; but what a weekend it turned out to be as he equalled his best ever ELF Renault Clio Cup finish and won his class for the third year in succession in the Silverstone 24 Hour Race!
Undoubtedly providing the highlight of his short racing career to date, the 24-year-old from Barnstaple achieved a superb top seven result during the final round of the ELF Renault Clio Cup season at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent this afternoon, Sunday, 21st September, to add to a terrific ninth place finish during round 19 on Saturday.
In between his commitments with the Total Control Racing team at Brands Hatch, the West Country sensation also drove two lengthy night stints at the wheel of Devon based TJH Motorsport's Honda Civic Type R in the fourth annual instalment of the Britcar 24 Hour Race at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit in Northamptonshire.
Joining Paul Collis and Simon Mason as part of a three-driver entry in the burgeoning endurance encounter, Jonathan helped the squad achieve a superb top six finish overall against the might of Mosler GT3 cars, Porsches, Aston Martins and BMWs. The result also saw TJH conclude the event first in Class 4, some 41 laps ahead of the next car.
Since its inauguration in 2005, Jonathan has been a regular fixture of the Silverstone 24 Hour Race and having enjoyed class wins with TJH for the past two years, this 2008 instalment of the event saw the squad taste the champagne of success once more.
"It's been a mega weekend, I'm buzzing after having such a good run in the Clio today and yesterday and also winning our class in the 24 Hour race and finishing sixth overall, it's been absolutely fantastic", said a delighted Jonathan, "It's my best weekend ever, a really special set of results and a cracking way to end the season.
"The 24 Hour race was great, we really could have won it overall which would have been amazing but we had one or two problems which cost us a lot of time. To finish sixth though and first in class is a fantastic result and I want to say a huge thank you to Paul Collis and everyone at TJH Motorsport for the opportunity."
Starting Saturday afternoon's 19th round of the ELF Renault Clio Cup in 10th position on the grid after a solid performance in qualifying, Jonathan made a great start and climbed into eighth place on the opening lap.
Slipping behind TCR team-mate Alex MacDowall on lap four, Jonathan remained in ninth all the way to the chequered flag. His best lap of the race, 53.685 seconds was just three 10ths of a second shy of the fastest lap of all, posted by MacDowall.
Immediately after the first Clio encounter on Saturday, Jonathan travelled back to Silverstone to take part in two night stints at the wheel of the Honda Civic Type R, a totally different discipline to the sprint race he completed in his TCR-run Clio, before returning to Brands Hatch on Sunday morning.
For round 20, the Bond Oxborough Phillips, A4 Apparel and PicoPC.co.uk backed racer started 12th on the grid courtesy of his second best lap in qualifying. On the opening lap, another great start saw him gain four positions to move into the top eight before slipping to ninth just before the Safety Car was deployed due to a couple of cars off the circuit.
At the re-start on lap five, Jonathan tried to challenge eighth placed Lee Pattison into Graham Hill Bend as the cars from second to ninth were all in very close proximity. On lap 14 though a spin for Gavin Pyper at Druids Hairpin, in which Pattison also became caught-up, enabled Jonathan to move into seventh place.
As the race neared its conclusion, Jonathan was almost pitched into a spin at Graham Hill Bend under braking but he recovered nicely and managed to hold on to seventh place even though he received contact to the rear from Max Hunter's car. Jonathan concludes his maiden season of Clio Cup action 15th in the driver standings.
Covering hundreds of miles over the course of the weekend travelling back and forth between venues, and having very little rest in between, proved no problem for Jonathan as he capped off his season in the best possible style and he's now looking ahead to 2009 confidently.
He said: "I definitely want to be back racing in Clios next year but we have to attract some more sponsors to make that happen so if anybody is reading this and wants to get involved, please do contact us! The guys at TCR have done a fantastic job, they're an incredible team to work with and I've really enjoyed the year.
"The car felt really good and if I had been a little bit quicker through Paddock Hill Bend and Druids we could have finished even higher as the rest of the lap was sorted. I've shown I've improved as the year has gone on, especially during the second half of the season. If I'm back in Clios in 2009, I'm confident we can go well."