GARY BRITNELL REMEMBERED AT AN EVENTFUL BRANDS HATCH MEETING


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Tim Davis won the first TVR race in memory of Gary Britnell and was presented with the trophy by Gary's mum and brother Andy. Photo: George Carter – clickmotorsport.com

The BRSCC South Eastern Centre's first race meeting of the season took place June 14 and 15 with the BRSCC Race Weekend on Brands Hatch's 1.199 mile Indy Circuit featuring a 15-race programme. An overcast Saturday morning presaged intermittent showers with a largely dry afternoon. The sun only rarely shone through during a similarly overcast Sunday.

Kicking off the race action on Saturday morning was a 20-minute Avon Tyres Formula Ford 1600 championship round, and what a belter it was! With up to five cars squabbling for the lead, it was Sowerby's Luke Williams who took the flag in his Ray GR13, ahead of Portsmouth's James Raven's similar car, and David McArthur's Van Diemen LA10. Williams threw away any chances of a double with an over-optimistic move in the second encounter dropping him down the field. Raven was the main beneficiary, taking a comfortable win ahead of Stuart Gough's Van Diemen RF92 and McArthur.

Saturday's track action was dominated by the Fun Cup Championship, with a four-hour enduro – not that you would have guessed from the frantic early action, which brought about three Safety Cars in the first 40 minutes. Things calmed down mid-race with pit stops and driver changes changing the lead runners. Hour One leaders JPR Uvio were forced into retirement during the second hour, with the Eco Racing entry ahead at the two-hour mark.

Team Honeywell enjoyed a narrow lead over Eco Racing as the race entered its final hour, but a bizarre incident with 20 minutes left to run changed the character of the race, as an unauthorised vehicle gained access to the track, prompting race officials to Red Flag the race. Cars were lined up in race order for a 10-minute top-up to the Chequered Flag with the Eco Racing at the front of the queue, but a second Red Flag caused by an immobile car at Druids within moments of the restart brought about a definitive conclusion, with the Paul Abraham/Tom Mills/Daimian Hudes Eco Racing entry clocked at 3.252s clear of JPR – Evolution in second, and Holden Hawthorns Racing a further 25.272s adrift.

The Formula Jedi Saturday 20-minute outing was claimed by Evanton's Andrew Dunn, who always had the measure of Cambridge's Paul Butcher and Thetford's Jack Lang. The same trio claimed Sunday's podium steps after a more keenly fought battle, with Lang and Butcher swapping places.

Pole-sitter Richard Skinner's Marcos 1800 GT dominated the 30-minute HRDC Allstars race, romping home some 23s clear of Kerry Michael's Lotus Cortina and Neil Merry's Sunbeam Tiger. Peter Alexander's Ford Anglia 105E battled mightily with Michael, but bit off more than he could chew at Graham Hill Bend and consigned himself to fourth.

Sunday's race action commenced with a 20-minute outing for the Arrowpak Saloon & Sportscar Championship. Pole-man Wayne Schofield's Suzuki Cappucino was missing when the cars set off on their Green Flag lap, effectively joining in a lap down, but closing to within 39s of eventual winner Kevin Wendt's BMW M3. Mark Todd's Seat Leon Cupra look third, with both Wendt and Todd benefiting from Chris Whiteley's late beaching of his Ginetta G50. Wendt appeared to be well ahead of the pack as the lights went green for the start of Race Two, and it took Rochdale runner Schofield a few laps to hunt his opponent down and claim the lead. Whitely kept it on the tarmac second time around to take third.

The first post-lunch race was preceded by a One-Minute silence in memory of former TVR racer Gary Britnell, sadly taken away from us earlier this year. The Dunlop TVR Challenge runners were competing for trophies presented by brother Andy in his honour. Tim Davis's Tuscan enjoyed a mighty scrap with Dean Cook's Sagiris, the Londoner edging just clear of his Battlebridge adversary after 20 minutes. Jason Clegg's Tuscan Speed 6 was left trailing in third. Cook gained revenge in the second race following another titanic battle enlivened in the closing stages by lapping slower cars. Londoner Christian Douglas's Tuscan took third.

A mouth-watering and eclectic grid of HRDC Touring Greats lined up for a 45-minute two-driver/pitstop race. Mike Jordan, driving the Austin A40 solo with BTCC Champion son Andrew away in Hell (on World Rallycross media duties in Norway) snatched the lead from Mark Dainell's similar car on Lap 9, but lasted barely a couple of laps more before pitting and driving straight back to the Outer Paddock and retirement. Dainell finished the best part of a lap clear of Malcolm Harrison's Volvo Amazon, with the Austin A35-mounted pairing of tuning wizard Neil Brown and Fortec Racing supremo Richard Dutton just behind.

Championship leader Simon Hill fought back from a lowly grid position to move up to second in the first 15-minute Teekay Couplings Production GTi Championship race, but the Knutsford racer couldn't dislodge Cambridge's Simon Gusterson from the race lead. Martin Walsh took third. Gusterson made it a double in the second encounter, with Hill unable to find a way past. Nick Porter took third. Guest driver Tom Onslow-Cole acquitted himself well coming home fifth in each race.

A full field of Carbon8 & Activa Consultants Coupe Cup & YourIrishShop.com MR2 Racing Series cars had two 15-lap outings. Clifton's Arron Pullan claimed overall and MR2 honours in the first from Grimsby's Paul Corbridge and Littleover's Nathan Harrison. Milton Keynes's Jon Winter was top Hyundai Coupe runner. Their second race closed the weekend's proceedings, with Pullan hopes of securing a double being scuppered by a 5s Track Limits penalty. Corbridge won ahead of Portsmouth's Adam Lockwood and Harrison making it a brace of thirds, Winter was once again top Coupe car in fourth.

SE Centre Committee member Andy Lyle arranged an in-season training session on the Sunday morning concentrating on telehandlers – live snatch – recovery and safety. Held at Paddock Hill Bend before qualifying got under way, it proved a worthwhile initiative, and no doubt helped later in the day as errant cars required expert extrication!

Click here for the BRANDS HATCH RESULTS

The BRSCC SE Centre returns to Brands Hatch over the weekend of August 2-3 with a range of Caterham and Mazda races.

COLIN MANN