Piper at dates of brawn

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Orwell International Supersports Cup

It was an excellent season for the Orwell International Supersports Cup, headlined by a welcome return of a representative field of the ground-shaking Can-Am cars. After several seasons of limited support from the big-banger contingent, grids in 2005 regularly featured half a dozen or more of the Chevrolet-powered monsters for the sevenweekend, 14-race schedule.

Right at the forefront of the V8 onslaught was Vim Malkie Racing, demonstrating that the team is more than just a Chevron exponent. With a pair of M8 McLarens for Richard Piper (M8F) and John Grant (M8C/D), Malkie’s squad was right at the front of the action.

Piper had a fabulous season and ran out a convincing champion, winning seven times and only failing to finish when a clash with Martin O’Connell’s Chevron B19 pitched the McLaren into the Brands Hatch gravel.

But Piper never had it easy, as Grant, Peter Hoffinann’s McLaren M8F and Frank Bradley (March 707/717) all won in V8 machinery. The strength of the big classes was further proven when only three races fell to 2-litre cars. Sven Barth powerboated his Lola T294 to victory in the rain of the Nürburgring and then added a double win at Magny-Cours in September.

The big rival to Piper in points terms was Kiwi Ross Maxwell in his Chevron B19, who scooped a maximum score seven times. He went to the Dijon final challenging Piper for the title, but faced massive class opposition that included Piper’s mate Mike Catlow and Sandy Watson in B19s. While Piper won twice to seal the crown, Maxwell was dumped down the class order.