2004-5 Mara E '65 Mod

In a season which saw seven different race winners it culminated in a fierce battle between Lawrie and Rickard which went all the way to the last race at Silverstone.

It was all change for the MARA crews as the 65 mod was run as a single class for all drivers. The change to 1.5 litre cars with more grip put a few drivers down the pack compared with the 67 cars of the previous season and took a few races to get up to speed.

The difference between marques took some adjusting to as the years of experience with the '67 cars counted for nothing with the '65 mod in use.

The 1965 mod

The first mod for GPL to alter more than the appearance or sound of the cars, the 65 mod provided us with some excellent new car models and a performance reduction with the 1500cc cars from 1965. Not only that but the physics were updated to improve the tyre models such that the cars are much more stable. The result is greater consistency and closer racing. This was borne out on the track

Rickard leads Lawrie, West & Verschueren into T1 at Road Atlanta on the away to a perfect start with back to back victories in the first two races

Defending champion Rickard seemed to enjoy the new cars and took pole at Oulton which he kept all the way to the chequered flag from West and Chapman. Lawrie and Policardi both retired early which would have a bearing later on.

The following race Rickard switched to the Cooper and repeated the flag to flag performance at Road Atlanta, although any more laps and the hard charging Policardi would surely have taken top spot. Lawrie finished on the remaining podium spot.


Aintree was rained off, so the MARA drivers headed off to Brands Hatch. Policardi took the pole and win, leading Lawrie to the flag with Rickard in third.

The Nurburgring saw the first of many wins for Pampagnin. Policardi took pole but ended up fourth. Lawrie and West took second and third respectively whilst Rickard finished a miserable 10 th and admitted to being a mobile chicane at the dreaded place.

Rickard held the lead in the championship with Lawrie and Policardi close behind.


Policardi takes the win at Brands

Policardi puts the squeeze on Rickard. The resulting touch put Fulvio over the barrier and Rickard recovered to take the win

One name not mentioned so far is Verschueren, the champion from 2002-3 having the worst start of his MARA career.

Clermont Ferand saw a battle for pole between Rickard and Policardi, with Rickard just pipping the Italian. The battle extended to the race with contact between the two leading to Policardi's retirement and left Rickard to take the win from Lawrie.

Leighton got his first podium of the year whilst Verschueren got his best result so far to take fourth, taking the fastest lap of the race in his quest to catch Leighton.

Fortunes changed for Policardi as an incident between the leaders Lawrie and Pampagnin eliminated the following Rickard and left the door open for Casedei and Policardi to take the lead. Casedei went off to leave Policardi uncontested to the flag from Lerouge and West. Lawrie recovered to 4th whilst Pampagnin retired.

Nil points for Rickard at Laguna either as he was disconnected on the grid from 4th at the race start. Pampagnin took his second win from Lawrie and Chapman. Policardi retired early moving Lawrie up in the championship.


Pampagnin (12) takes Lawrie at Redgate to take the lead

Donington saw a cracking race and one of the performances of the season by Pampagnin. Starting from third on the grid he managed to pass Rickard (who had lost 1 st place at the start) and the took the lead from Lawrie. Policardi also got passed Rickard after the remaining podium spot on lap 14 only for Rickard to regain the place some 8 laps later.

Back to back victories for Pampagnin and had it not been for missing some races and some early retirements would have been a championship contender for sure.

Rickard struggled to find pace in his Cooper at Crystal Palace only managing 6 th on the grid. Leighton took pole from Lawrie. Rickard managed to get to 4 th early in the race only to entertain the following West by pinballing through the trees, remarkably ending up on all four wheels and continued to the end.

A four way dice ensued between West, Policardi, Rickard and Verschueren in the closing stages. Policardi got squeezed out and ended up in the Armco narrowly missed by the following pair of Rickard and Verschueren.

Up front Leighton and Lawrie swapped places with Leighton taking the flag. However, a shift-r infringement (which was not needed) relegated Leighton down the order giving the win to Lawrie from West and Rickard.

Rickard takes an unconventional line at Crystal Palace. West can only pray. Remarkably both survived to share the podium...

West & Lawrie at the Glen. Contact half a lap later eliminated Lawrie and gave Rickard the lead to the flag

The first half season was looking good for Lawrie, leading from Rickard and Policardi.

Rickard's gamble of switching to the Cooper wasn't looking so good. The early victories had given way to a podium at best and the first choice Ferrari was dusted down for the remainder of the season. Lawrie had a decent lead and was clear favourite to take his first MARA title having come so close in 2003-3.

The second half started off at the Glen, one of Rickard's favourite and certainly his most familiar having adopted it as his test track. However, the Lotuses of West and Lawrie locked out the front row with Rickard's Ferrari in third. An exciting drafting duel took place between the two Lotus drivers only for contact to eliminate Lawrie and drop West way down the order. Rickard inherited the lead which he held until the flag kept honest by Chapman in second. Policardi took the final podium spot.

At Mallory Park West took pole from Rickard by just 0.011s. However, the hard charger was Leighton who started in third to pass Rickard on lap 15 and West on lap 22. This time the win stood and Leighton became the fifth winner of the season. West and Rickard finished in that order.

Lime Rock saw a Lotus 1-2-3 on the grid, Lawrie heading the rejuvenated Leighton and West. Yet it was a Ferrari driver on the top step of the podium at the end of the race. The sixth winner of the season saw Casedei take the win from the Cooper of Pampagnin. Lawrie restored his championship hopes by taking third ahead of chief rival Rickard.

Leighton takes Rickard for 2nd at Mallory on his way for the win

Pampagnin slipstreams past Rickard to take the lead at Wiesbaden which he would hold to the flag

Pampagnin had another inspired race at Wiesbaden . Taking pole from Rickard it all appeared to go wrong on the first lap spinning and dropping down to 4 th . He was soon back up to 2 nd and pulled off a great pass to lead the race, finishing 2s ahead of Rickard.

Casedei followed his Lime Rock win with a podium. Lawrie suffered a first lap incident starting third and dropped right down the order recovering to 4 th by the end after a gritty drive.

Lawrie's run didn't get any better at Zeltweg. Having taken pole from Policardi the race shape changed dramatically as Policardi went off and then Casedei took 2 nd from Rickard only to lose control under brakes and take off the leader, eliminating him immediately.

This gifted the win to Rickard with Verschueren recording his best result in a muted season so far with second. Skingley took third.

Rickard benefits once again form Lawrie's misfortune as Casedei & Lawrie disappear off the road. Rickard took the win and Lawrie retired.

Pampagnin & Rickard battle for the lead at Jarama

This time Rickard comes off worst allowing Lawrie to slip by and take 2nd as Pampagnin takes the win with Rickard dropped to 3rd

The championship had now swung in Rickard's favour and it was clearly turning into a two driver battle to the end. However, Lawrie had a couple on non scores whilst Rickard had to drop two scores at some stage. Rickard had always said he would not run the IOM so Lawrie had a clear chance to regain his position. He was rewarded with 2nd to the final new winner of the season Skingley, the first two being the only finishers in a race of attrition. Policardi was third having retired.

Rickard was back at Monaco although debating to race following flu. Pole position at Monaco really should be converted to a win but Rickard faded midway through the race and after running wide and dropping to third was unable to maintain the pace finishing some 21s behind Pampagnin. Verschueren was second.

Rickard got pole again at Jarama from Nesoen and Lawrie. Yet the challenge to Rickard late in the race came from Pampagnin who had started in seventh. When Pampagnin appeared to have won the corner to gain the lead he lost control and took Rickard off. Both rejoined but Lawrie snapped up second as Rickard got back on. Pampagnin took his sixth win of the season.

Fortunes continued to shift and Lawrie was now on top form. Pole and a race win at Solitude ahead of Verschueren and Rickard (who picked up third after the unfortunate Policardi retired) put Lawrie back in contention for the championship.


This was followed by a dominating performance at Adelaide , lapping Rickard who could only finish eighth (and would drop this score). Skingley and Policardi grabbed the podium places

. Lawrie was on form and now leading the championship coming into the last race at Silverstone. With dropped scores taken into account Lawrie could afford to finish second to Rickard and be crowned champion.

The scene was set with Rickard on pole and Lawrie in second, the only two drivers in the 1:32s. Rickard could do no more than win the race and rely on the misfortune of Lawrie to fail to finish second.

The finale ended for Lawrie at T2 with a blown engine. Despite being able to reset on lap 1 he could only recover to fourth giving the championship to Rickard by just 2 points.

Policardi and West took the podium places.

Rickard leads Lawrie into turn two...

...only for Lawrie's engine to expire

Rickard takes the chequered flag and the Championship as Lawrie can only manage 4th

1 Rickard, Tony 265
2 Lawrie, Keith 263
3 Policardi, Fulvio 208
4 West, Barry 190
5 Pampagnin, Denis 168
6 Verschueren, Jan 157
7 Chapman, Richard 154
8 Leighton, Tim 121
9 Westra, Bart 85
10 Palfreyman, Graham 76

Race wins

Rickard 6
Pampagnin 6
Lawrie 3
Policardi 3
Leighton 1
Casedei 1
Skingley 1

After 22 races the final score was 265-263 in favour of Rickard over Lawrie. Rickard has now won back to back championships on the last race of the season. It had been an amazing tussle with Lawrie gaining the upper hand in the build up to Silverstone only for it to have been lost with a rare engine problem. Policardi was third with 208 points, West fourth with 190 and Pampagnin, who scored as many victories as Rickard (6) fifth on 168. Verschueren recovered from his dreadful start to finish sixth, just pipping Chapman by three points.