BRILLIANT BRANDS HATCH STUNS THE CROWDS


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The Caterham Supersports promised unprecedented action and duly delivered – Photo: SnappyRacers

The BRSCC South Eastern Centre's first race meeting of the season – which in recent years has been well into summer – took place over the weekend of April 9-10, a 15-race programme dubbed the Caterham and Fun Cup Season Opener Race Weekend, as usual over Brands Hatch's 1.208 mile Indy Circuit. Saturday’s early track action suffered from unwelcome rain, with the afternoon dryer but nippy. Sunday stayed fine all day, but still on the cold side.

Doing what it said on the can, Saturday’s track action was dominated by Caterhams and Fun Cup, with a 30-minute ITC Compliance Caterham Supersport Championship race for A- Red Runners kicking off proceedings.
A 2.5s gap between Leeds’ Henry Heaton and Londoner Christian Szaruta at the flag gave lie to what had been a titanic battle. Radlett’s Philip Jenkins took third.

The later B-Blue 30-minute race saw Newton Solney’s Jack Brown exert his authority over Pulborough’s Chris Hutchinson. Preston’s Richard Ainscough was third on the road, but was excluded for a technical infringement (missing Hood Stick anyone?) promoting Brighton’s Max McDonagh to third.

Another 30-minute qualifier for C-odds opened Sunday’s pre-lunch track action saw Brown take a repeat victory ahead of Heaton, with Ainscough starring with his drive from the back of the grid to third. The C- Evens race was claimed by Leiston’s William Smith, ahead of Szaruta and Birmingham’s Mike Evans.

A 20-minute qualifier for Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport Championship competitors followed the lunch break. A mid-race Safety Car intervention bunched up an already close battle, which saw London’s Daniel Quintero emerge victorious ahead of Rickmansworth’s Russ Olivant and Winchester’s David Bevan. Sunday’s second race saw a narrow, photo finish victory for Lisbon’s Rui Ferreira, denying Quintero a double. Olivant took third.

The Avon Tyres Caterham Tracksport race was another half-hour battle, with the top three much more strung out, Rhyall’s Anthony Barnes over seven seconds clear of Billingshurst’s Alistair Calvert. Horsham’s Damian Milkins was a further 10s adrift. Barnes doubled up on Sunday with the narrowest of margins from Calvert, with Winchester’s Joe Draper third.

The annual visit of the Fun Cup for its four-hour mini-enduro completed Saturday’s action. Although the 45-minute qualification session had established the likely front-runners, the grid draw format means that there are always likely to be faster cars seeking to move up the order at an early stage. The #101 PW Racing car with Anthony Reid at the wheel was charging through the field from the sixth row, taking no prisoners as he did so!

At quarter duration, #209 Eco Racing led from #101 and #125 Team Honeywell with four cars on the lead lap. Surprisingly, there were no Safety Car interventions during the first two hours, which saw #225 JPR Uvio leading from #208 and #61 Alan Brown. A brief intervention bunched the field up a little, followed by a second Safety Car to retrieve #1 Racelogic and #110 Team Viking Self Storage. Hour three ended up with eight cars on the lead lap, headed by #209, #220 Apollo Motorsport and #225.

The aforementioned Reid was double-stinting at the wheel of #101, and was picked up by the Safety Car for another Safety Car with less than 15 minutes to run. However, as the Safety Car peeled into the pits, it was followed by the leader. Reid’s double-stinting had taken him above the maximum driving percentage, calling for a Stop-Go penalty. With less than 10 minutes to run a dash to the flag was guaranteed, with the #’98 Track Torque/2 Rent Dominoes car taking the flag a mere 0.187s ahead of #209 with #220 third.

We were delighted to welcome the BMW Race Days Compact Cup runners to Brands Hatch for their first season under the wing of the BRSCC. Entry numbers entailed three races for A, B and C groups. A late Safety Car meant a five-minute shootout in the B&A 15-minute opener, claimed by Ham’s Richard Miles from Edinburgh’s Steven Dailly, with Hunsdon’s Declan McDonnell third.

The B&C race saw McDonnell rise to podium top spot, with Romsey’s Ian Jones runner-up, and Joe Wiggin, the winner’s team-mate, third. Victory in the C&A outing, which closed the weekend’s programme, was taken by Dailly, from Miles, with former British GT champion James ‘Jiggy’
Gornall third.

A mixed grid of HRDC Academy runners and A-Series had a thirty-minute race, which saw a couple of the latter end their races following inversions. Steve Jones’ Cooper S took overall and Academy honours, with James Dorlin top A-Series.

Race 10 saw the BRSCC going back to its 1950s roots, with a 15-minute race for the 500 Owners Association. The race was cut short following a nasty looking roll for erstwhile third-place man Andrew Turner, who was thrown from his Cooper Mk VI into the Paddock Hill gravel trap, who thankfully emerged unscathed. Steve Jones’ Mk XII took the win on countback, from Xavier Kingsland’s Saride Mk 3 and Darrell Woods’ Mk XII.

Another HRDC guest category was the Touring Greats, a 45-minute, pit stop race giving plenty of opportunity to admire the period cars. Gavin Watson’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta Ti finished well clear of the Nick and Harry Naismith Austin A95 Westminster, with John Yea’s Austin A40 an even more distant third.

Thanks to all who volunteered for the weekend’s action, especially our new recruits, who were getting their first taste of race meeting activities.

The BRSCC SE Centre returns to Brands Hatch over the weekend of July
9-10 for a Club Car Championship meeting, featuring assorted Mazdas, Minis, Avon Tyres FF1600, Formula Jedis, Excool OSS and Teekay Couplings Production GTis.

Click here for the BRANDS HATCH RESULTS – http://www.tsl-timing.com/event/161431

Colin Mann