BRSCC BRAVES MIXED CONDITIONS FOR BRANDS HATCH THRILLER WITH TCR UK & CO


The BRSCC South Eastern Centre’s third race meeting of the season, the TCR/TCT Race Weekend, took place over the weekend of  July 27-28 with a 21-race programme, as usual over Brands Hatch’s 1.208 mile Indy Circuit. Saturday was pretty damp and dismal throughout, the track drying as the day progressed with Sunday starting overcast but dry, the sun eventually burning through.

The first of three pre-lunch races on the Saturday was a 20m round of the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Supercup. Bognor Regis’s Luke Herbert made the best start from the outside of the front row to lead pole man Jack Harding (Wakefield) in the early stages. Contact between the pair saw Leighton Bromswold’s Steve Roberts take the lead briefly, but it was Herbert who took the Chequered Flag ahead of Harding and Farnham’s James Blake-Baldwin. Sunday morning’s second qualifier produced the same top three.

Patrick Fletcher (Reading) pitted at the end of the Green Flag lap, wasting his Pole Position advantage following the customary grid reverse for the third race, but managed to re-join the race. Harding claimed victory from Worthing’s Aidan Hills, with Herbert third.

Next up was a 20m qualifier for the BRSCC OSS Championship. The track had dried somewhat between qualifying and the race, and certainly Ascot’s Patrick Sherrington (MCR Sport) coped better in the dry, taking a comfortable victory ahead of Walsall’s Nicolaj Lindberg (RadicalSR8) and Eastleigh’s Scott Mittell (Mittell MC41R).

With the grid for Sunday’s second 20m outing based on second fastest qualifying times, Sherrington was further back on the grid than he would have liked, and it took him until two-thirds through the race to take the lead from Lindberg. Mittell claimed the final podium spot.

Their third and final race – just the 15m – saw another win for Sherrington, butt again he had to bide his time before passing Lindberg. Mittell claimed another third place, hot on Lindberg’s heels.

The final pre-lunch race was a 15m round of the Avon Tyres National Formula Ford Championship.

Inverness’s Neil MacLennan (Spectrum KMR) sped into the lead from the outside of the front row but as with all FF1600 racing, had a whole train of cars to contend with. St Louis’s Spike Kohlbecker (Ray GR18) and Hampton’s Rory Smith (Medina JL18) both had spells at the front, with Kohlbecker leading at the Chequered Flag ahead of MacLennan, with Louisiana’s Aaron Jeansonne (Van Diemen JL13) snatching third right at the end.

Sunday’s second qualifier was another cracker, with Kohlbecker making a clean start from pole to lead the early stages, before being passed by MacLennan at Druids on lap 3. The American was joined in a four-way battle for first by Cliff Dempsey Racing teammates Jonathan Browne (Ray GR18) and James Clarke (Ray GR15), with Ratoath-man Browne taking second and Kohlbecker third.

And guess what, the reversed grid third race was another classic. Scheduled for 15m, but running an extra five with Safety Car intervention additions, Gartocharn’s Ross Martin made the most of his front row start to lead away in his Van Diemen, but MacLennan, Browne, Clarke, Kohlbecker and Smith were part of the chasing train. Martin fended off their challenges, taking the flag ahead of MacLennan and Clarke.

Kicking off the Saturday afternoon schedule was a 20m Toyo Tires Porsche Championship Round, which saw Knaresborough’s Andrew Porter (Supersport Boxster) converting Pole Position into a race win ahead of a closing Garry Lawrence’s similar car, with Leigh Bowden a little further back.

Porter and Lawrence claimed the first two podium spots in Sunday’s second qualifier, with East Guldeforde’s Anthon Hutchins’ Supersport Boxster third.

The subsequent BRSCC Fiesta Championship racing with MRF Tyres race was scheduled for 20m, but was Red Flagged with four cars involved in an incident up Hailwood Hill. A deleted field took the 15m rerun, with Barking’s James Waite (ST) heading home Horsham’s David Nye and Rochester’s Zachary Lucas (both STs).

Fortunately sterling work by team engineers and mechanics saw all stricken cars reappear for Sunday’s second race, which saw an early and lengthy Safety Car intervention to retrieve two stricken cars. This helped Ottley’s Isaac Smith, who started from the back of the grid, but was able to make his way through the field once the race went green, finishing third behind Waite, with Nye taking the victory.

Their third outing closed the weekend’s racing in fine style, with multiple lead and position changes. Smith was in the thick of the action, but a 5s track limits penalty dropped him to sixth. Northampton’s Jamie Going took the win, from Nye and Waite.

Closing Saturday’s track action was the inaugural BRSCC ClubSport Trophy, effectively an ‘Allcomers’ event. The 45m, pit stop event attracted a capacity field, and with a couple of Safety Car interruptions, was excellent entertainment, with the result being decided on the last corner of the last lap, with the Sheard/Hills pairing (MX-5 Mk3) snatching the lead from Bruce Winfield’s Honda Civic EP3. Jason Ballantyne’s EP3 trailed in third.

Having had their practice and qualifying on Saturday, the BRSCC Fiesta Junior Championship racing with MRF Tyres runners had their first of two 15m races on Sunday morning. A thin field was further depleted when Alfie Glenie’s car expired on the Green Flag lap, leading to a delayed start, which confused the rookie runners!

Once the cars got under way, Evesham’s Olly Turner hounded polesitter Joel Wren (Loughton), eventually taking the lead on lap six, but succumbing to mechanical gremlins a couple of laps later. Macclesfield’s Joseph Loake – starting from the back of the grid having had to change his car overnight following a qualifying crash – took second ahead of Heathfield’s Ted Potts. Turner had better luck in the second qualifier, taking a narrow win from Loake and Potts.

Qualifying and racing just on the Sunday were the Disklok Civic Cup runners who had two 15m races. Cambridge man Lee Deegan’s Honda Civic EP3 was the class of the field, finishing ahead of a battling Daniel Reason (Whitehaven) and Paul Taylor (Leighton Buzzard).

The second race featured a reversed grid, with Deegan only able to finish fourth. Chorley’s David Buky took the victory ahead of Winfield, claiming his second runner-up spot following his ClubSports success the previous day, with Ballantyne doing similar in third .

The meeting’s headlining category – the TCR UK Championship/Dunlop Tyres Touring Car Trophy – was first up after lunch on Sunday, with a 23m+1 lap race. Hook’s Nick Halstead led away from pole in his Honda Civic TCR but was passed for the lead on lap 3 following a cleverly worked manoeuvre from Portadown’s James Turkington in his Cupra TCR, and also fell behind  Henry Neal, (Droitwich) in his Honda Civic Type R, who set about reeling in Turkington, passing him at Clearways on lap 10, holding the advantage until the Chequered Flag. Halstead took third.

Turkington made the better start in race 2 to head Neal and the chasing pack, with Lewis Kent making a slow getaway and compounding his woes by running wide at Paddock Hill Bend, dropping to the rear of the field in his Hyundai i30 N TCR. Neal provided the closest challenge for the lead, but incurred a 5s track limits penalty, dropping him behind Kent, whose progress through the pack netted him second place.

The meeting featured two 15m BRSCC Fiesta Junior Sampler Sessions on the Saturday, where prospective competitors had the chance to try out cars with a view to later participation. Club executives and coordinators hosted interested parties in the BRSCC Hospitality Suite, and also conducted ‘behind the scenes’ tours.

The BRSCC SE Centre returns to Brands Hatch over the weekend of September 28-29 for the Caterham Finals Race Weekend, where the marque’s many championships will be supported by the Avon Tyres National Formula Ford Championship; Teekay Couplings Production GTi Championship; Classic and Modern Saloons and Classic and Modern Modified Saloons.

Click here for the BRANDS HATCH RESULTS.

COLIN MANN