IT’S A BUMPER BRANDS HATCH BONANZA!
Caterhams at Brands always provide a sensational display – Photo: snappyracers.com
With one of our busiest weekends of the year for the club, Brands Hatch will be bursting at the seams with a packed-out paddock representing 10 championships in what is set to be nothing but a high-speed flurry of four wheel activity on the Indy circuit.
Kicking off the racing will be the first of 5 championships from Caterham Motorsport with the Avon Tyres Caterham Tracksport Championship. London’s Timothy Dickens heads the table coming into this weekend but will be pressed hard all the way by the likes of fellow winners and title rivals Dan Gore and Henry Heaton, the ebullient Chris “Cheesy” Hutchinson, Jack Sales, Max Robinson and Max McDonagh. Gore especially goes well here at a circuit he enjoys, so keep an eye on the yellow #20 to be hovering around the front of the field. In Caterham racing, races are often decided by tenths, hundredths or even thousandths of a second on a regular basis, so heart-stopping battles from lights to flag are always guaranteed!
Also on the same bill, Caterham bring 3 more championships to the paddock. The rookies of the GQ Caterham Academy will grace the sweeping curves of Brands Hatch for the first time with two groups racing separately. The Green group sees Rui Ferreira, Kieran McAleer and Rob Yates as its brightest pupils so far, while the White group is headed by Andy Perry followed by Daniel Bremner and Russ Olivant, the trio separated by just 7 points in the race for the title. Whichever way the silverware goes, one thing’s for certain – the look on the Academy drivers’ faces on their first trip through the infamous Paddock bend WILL be priceless!
Over in the Avon Tyres Roadsports, the men to watch are the wonderous Wigg brothers, Benjamin and Olly. Elder brother Olly returned to the paddock four races ago after a less than satisfactory start, however he has been the man on form with 3 wins from those 4 starts and younger brother Benjamin is never to be discounted either. Of course, neither should those at the head of the table, with Paul Aram, Joe Draper and David Webber all hoping for solid points to aid their championship charge.
Finally on the Caterham front, the Avon Tyres Supersports complete the agenda. Every one of the top 5 drivers in the standings are formidable to watch, so expect potential success from either series leader Phil Jenkins, pre-season favourite Stephen Nuttall, Clive Richards, Danny Killeen or William Smith. Also, if you happen to spot Dutchman Jurgen Rigterink (#28) around the paddock, be sure to wish him many happy returns as this weekend marks his 51st birthday. Not a bad way to celebrate it!
Elsewhere in the paddock, there is quality aplenty. On Saturday, the Teekay Coupling Production GTis show off their new-for-2015 Mk5 Series. Run as a non-points scoring showcase with a view to expand to a full-blown championship given enough interest, it’s certainly been gaining momentum as the field has almost expanded into double figures as Paul Blackburn enters the foray, as well as Mk2 points leader Tom Witts. His main rival Jason Tingle, possibly one of the busiest drivers competing this weekend, has a near perfect record for Mk5 wins so far, albeit blotted by Martyn Walsh’s Race 2 success last time out at Oulton Park.
As for their Mk2 Championship contenders, they continue to go from strength to strength. The aforementioned Witts and Tingle (which almost sounds like a killer 70’s TV crime-fighting duo) are the men to beat in the 16v category, while in the 8v class it’s Craig Roberts heading the field with Luke Wales and Andy Aldridge giving chase behind. For anyone considering competing in motorsport, the Production GTis offer a safe and affordable way of going about it, which does nothing but add to the already friendly paddock vibe.
Single seater fanatics need look no further than the incredible Formula Jedi championship, with Michael Watton the man to beat so far this season. He has faced strong competition from Ferrari Driver Academy talent Ben Hingeley and former champion Lee Morgan, who are locked in a fierce battle for 2nd place in the standings. Dan Clowes and Paul Butcher will also be in the mix, so be on the lookout for them towards the front. The cars adopt the potent “slicks and wings” formula accustomed to most single seater series and with power provided by 1000cc bike engines screaming up to a staggering 14,000rpm, you’ll certainly hear them coming!
For those with a penchant for all things JDM, the Toyo Tires Honda VTEC Challenge will be just the championship for you. Featuring Hondas of all shapes and sizes, it allows a competitive platform for those who want to develop their craft on the touring car ladder, be it novice or experienced. With 3 classes racing at the same time (Production, Tuner and Super Tuner), there will be battles within battles up and down the field. The top men in each class to watch out for will be the “Pink Panther” Honda Accord of Phil Wright (Production), the DC5 Integra of Robert Burkinshaw (Tuner) and the ex-BTCC Civic of Marc Kemp. In support of the VTEC Challenge and racing with them on track at the same time will be our friends from the Smart 4Two Cup, who will provide a significant entry to help give the grid a boost and throw in an extra element to contend with.
A healthy grid will also be present for the Toyo Tires Porsche Championship. After making his return to the series he once claimed as he own at Cadwell Park, former champion and series stalwart Rick Styrin will write the second chapter of his 3 race comeback this weekend. As for the fight for the title, Ed Hayes comes into Brands leading the Boxster standings on dropped scores ahead of Adam Southgate, Richard Avery and Garry Lawrence. In Production Boxsters, Michael Goodacre will have competition from Philip Grayson and in the ever popular 924 class, Adam Croft will continue his battle for glory against Alastair Kirkham, Philip Waters and Karl Rossin.
The Excool OSS Championship is the closest thing the UK has to its own Le Mans Prototype-style series, with 5 classes featuring a fascinating variety of open-top purpose built racing machines from makes such as Radical, Jade, Ligier and Wolf. Coming into this weekend, expect the main tussle to be between overall points leader Mike Jenvey in his self-built Jenvey-Gunn and the title-sponsored Excool Juno Sportscar of Duncan Williams. Other cars to watch out for will be the trio of Class E machines from Danish manufacturer Aquila, providing an ideal proving ground for up and coming British engineering talent. As an added bonus, the championship will also be filmed for TV this weekend, so smile for the cameras!
They say that if you’re a true petrol head, then you’ll have owned an Alfa Romeo. Whether that’s the case or not, the next best thing is certainly enjoying the Alfashop Alfa Romeo Championship. Three classes mean an opportunity for almost any Alfa to prove its worth on the racetrack. Roger Evans and Graham Seager will duke it out for Modified class honours, as will Keith Waite and Ron Davidson in the Power Trophy. Finally, it will be down to James Bishop, Dave Messenger, Tom Hill, Steve Potts and co to provide entertainment in the Twin Spark Cup. Seager and Bishop are locked in a battle for the overall championship, so both will be fighting hard to maximize their points scores this weekend.
With such a busy paddock, a staggering 22 races scheduled and given how ruthlessly efficient our marshals and officials are, track activity will be non-stop. That said, you can be sure that Brands Hatch will provide some of the best on-track entertainment this weekend – blink and you’ll miss it!
Weather wise, it’s looking rather warm this weekend with a high of 26 degrees and sunshine all day on Saturday. Conditions look to remain dry moving into Sunday morning where it could reach 21 degrees, however there is the prospect of light rain during the afternoon which could easily spice things up on track. A detailed forecast can be found at BRANDS HATCH WEATHER.
The timetable, final instructions and entry list for this weekend can be found at BRANDS HATCH RACE WEEKEND.