HIGH SPEED ACTION AT THE HATCH
The Teekay Couplings Production GTi Mk5 Series continues to grow its numbers – Photo: Jon Elsey
As one of the UK’s best loved circuits, there’s just something enigmatic about Brands Hatch every time competitors take to the track. It’s the echoes of racing greats and their past glories with those taking part wanting to emulate their racing heroes. There’s plenty of them here this weekend as we make our second visit to the BRSCC’s “local” venue for two days of motorsport full of variety and bursting with talented drivers.
Beginning with our pair of Mazda MX-5 championships, both will be set to provides grids that boast both quality and quantity in relatively equal measure. With the Mk1 Championship, there really doesn’t seem to be any stopping Tom Roche as so far he’s won all but one race this season. That one race was won by Oliver Allwood, who will be fresh from his hard-earned excursion to Barcelona for the European MX-5 Cup Final. Oliver struggled somewhat previously at Oulton Park, leaving his AB Motorsport teammate Michael Fisk to take up the role of Roche’s pursuer last time. Other men set to cause headaches at the front will be Clive Powles, Brian Trott, Simon Baldwin and Martin Tolley amongst an expected entry of over 40 cars.
Across the way in the Mk3 SuperCup paddock, Oulton saw what was seen by many as some of the best racing the championship has ever produced, with 9 cars squabbling over the podium in the second race. Tom Roche also features here, although his “perfect” weekend was upstaged by points leader James Blake-Baldwin who has really hit his stride this season. Reigning champion Alan Henderson was uncharacteristically off the podium last time, so he’s out to change that – as will Liam Murphy, Jonathan Greensmith, Jack Harding, Richard Wicklen, Jamie Goddard et al.
Staying with sportscars, the majestic sports prototypes of the Excool OSS Championship allows those with a fantasy of competing at Le Mans or the WEC a chance to live out that dream. With multiple classes featuring a mix of chassis from Radical, Juno, Ligier, Norma, Jade and more combined with a selection of home-built specials. Key drivers to look for include Graham Cole’s Jade, Duncan Williams trying a Ligier this weekend while his Juno's engine is repaired, 2014 champion Josh Smith’s rapid Radical and reigning champ Mike Jenvey in his self-developed Jenvey-Gunn. There may even be a surprise challenger or two in the mix as well.
Moving into single seaters, there’s two top line championships what are set to really get pulses going all the way from start to finish. Firstly, we’ve got a Mazda Road to Indy to continue traversing towards with the Avon Tyres Formula Ford 1600 National Championship. For the most part, it’s been about the prowess of Niall Murray who tops the points, however last time at Rockingham it was James Raven who scored a brace of wins to keep the Irishman within touching distance. Chase Owen is another who can strike if they hit problems, as could the impressive young Finn Patrik Pasma. There’s set to be separate races for both Post ’89 and Pre ’90 competitors here this weekend.
Secondly, you’ll need to add wings, slick tyres and swap in a bike engine for this one as the mighty Formula Jedi blasts into action once more. Despite not winning a race this season, a consistent run of strong podium finishes has pushed Paul Butcher to the points lead, however he has cruelly had victory snatched from him in the dying moments of races at Silverstone and Rockingham. Will it be 3rd time lucky here at Brands? Not if the likes of race winners Rob Sayell, Dan Clowes, Zachery Anderton and former champion Andrew Dunn have anything to say about it! These cars are small, lightweight and provide tons of grip – don’t blink or you may miss them!
For those who enjoy their touring car and saloon car racing, then we’ve got you covered on that one too. The Teekay Couplings Production GTis have championship for both classic and contemporary machinery out in force this weekend, both with their own stories to tell. In the Mk2s, it’s been all about Chris Webb in the 16Vs who has a commanding lead at the top of the table, however despite being the man to beat early on in the season, driver such as Adam Hance, Peter Milne and Nick Porter have all taken the fight to Webb and proven that they can run with him in relatively equal measure. Meanwhile in the 8Vs, Matthew Petts has been almost untouchable, although Wes Chatterton took advantage of travelling to Zolder to claw back some precious points.
Finally the modern Mk5 Production GTis feature a grid that continues to steadily grow in numbers and popularity. It’s been fairly hard fought up at the front so far with drivers such as Andy Baylie, Josh Johnson, Martyn Walsh and John O’Brien having made appearances on the podium so far. The aim is to see the grid numbers grow to such a level that the Mk5s can make the transition from a series to a fully-fledged points scoring championship. At the rate they’re currently going, it doesn’t look to be too long until they start to reach that goal.
Whatever you’re looking forward to the most and whoever you may be choosing to support, there’s another delectable selection of championships to choose from and indulge in. Variety is certainly something the BRSCC prides itself on when it comes to catering for a mixture of formulae and categories. Nonetheless, that’s exactly what you’ve got here this weekend – let’s drop the green flag and get going!
The weather forecast is looking dry and clear with high temperatures of 20 degrees. Testing today even saw an apparance of clear blue skies and sunshines towards the end of the day, so here's hoping it sticks around as there doesn't appear to be any sign of rain! The full forecast can be found via the Met Office here – BRANDS HATCH WEATHER.
Also, the final instructions, supplementary regulations, timetable and entry list for this weekend can be found here – BRANDS HATCH RACE WEEKEND.