MURRAY SERVES UP BRANDS DOUBLE


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There seems to be no stopping Niall Murray's charge to the FF1600 National title – Photo: Gary Hawkins

The BRSCC South Eastern Centre's second race meeting of the season took place over the weekend of July 9-10, a 21-race programme, as usual over Brands Hatch's 1.208 mile Indy Circuit. Saturday dawned a little overcast, but brightened as the day wore on. Sunday started in a similar fashion, with rain briefly disrupting proceedings before clearing.

Kicking off proceedings after Saturday’s lunch break was a 15-minute race for the BRSCC Formula Jedi Championship. In what seemed to be a recurring theme during the day, Newcastle-under Lyme’s Dan Clowes was unable to convert pole to victory, with Trowbridge’s Bradley Hobday eventually taking a comfortable victory ahead of King’s Lynn’s Robert Sayell. Clowes completed the podium. Saturday’s second ‘double header’ race saw Jason Dixon on pole, and he made a total hash of his start, and compounded his woes by going off along Cooper Straight as he sought to make headway on lap 1. Runcorn’s Lee Morgan claimed victory ahead of Cambridge’s Paul Butcher and Hobday.

A Red Flag brought an early halt to the first of Sunday’s pair of races, with Andrew Dunn’s car proving difficult to shift from the Clearways gravel trap under Safety Car conditions. Sayell, Morgan and Hobday formed the top three. Morgan rounded off his weekend with a DNF in the second race, with Butcher holding off Hobday to make it 4 different winners from all 4 races. Dunn stayed on the tarmac to take third.

A small but competitive grid of Teekay Couplings Production GTi Mk 5 runners had a pair of hectic 20-minute races. Once again, Simon Gunderson’s pole position failed to result in a win, the Cambridge man finishing third behind Chipping Norton’s Martyn Walsh and Taunton’s Charlie Cudlipp. The second race saw Walsh do the double, with a narrower margin of victory over Leicester’s Josh Johnson. Gunderson took another third.

Further single-seater action followed with the first of two 20-minute races for the Avon Tyres Formula Ford 1600 National and Triple Crown Championship post ’89 runners, attracting a bumper entry and two former Festival winners in the shape of Niall Murray and James Raven. It was Dubliner Murray who was to prove dominant, his Van Diemen RF99 finishing the best part of 5s ahead of Jake Byrne’s Ray GR13 and Luke Williams’ Firman RF16. Track limits time penalties for Raven and early contact victim Stephen Daly dropped them out of podium contention amid a multi-car scrap behind Murray.

The second qualifier kicked off Sunday’s racing action and it was a Formula Ford classic. Murray took an eventual dominant victory, leading all the way apart from a brief spell when a mistake allowed Williams ahead. One back in front, Murray strode to victory, aided by a sterling defensive drive from Williams, heading a nine-car train for the podium slots, circulating a second slower than Murray. Raven, making good progress from a lowly grid start following his race 1 transgressions, eventually found a way past, but Murray was long gone. Williams held on to third. Byrne was demoted down the order for his own track limits offences.

Three qualifiers for the Excool BRSCC Championship were on the card, and Duncan Williams’ Ligier 2000 was the next to suffer the curse of pole position in Saturday’s 20-minute outing, the Bromsgrove man finishing third, unable to match the pace of Graham Cole’s Jade Traxstar and Josh Smith’s Radical PR6. Sunday’s second race took place on a damp track, with Smith winning from Williams and Cole. A 15-minute race completed the weekend’s activities, seeing Cole regain the top step on the podium. Mike Jenvey overcame earlier woes to take second in his Jenvey-Gunn TS6 ahead of Smith.

A smaller field of Avon Tyres Formula Ford 1600 National and Triple Crown Championship pre-90 runners had their own 20-minute qualifier, with Ben Tinkler’s Reynard FF89 doing enough to hold off Brian Soule’ Van Diemen RF88. Ian Wolfenden’s Reynard FF87 was a distant third. Tinkler doubled up on Sunday, finishing well clear of Wolfenden. Nick Barnes’ Van Diemen RF87 completed the podium.

Having appeared on Saturday’s programme with free practice and qualifying, the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 runners had their first 20-minute outing on Sunday, with the ‘1A’ batch let loose on a wet track, as rain descended on the venue. Serial winner Tom Roche added another trophy to his cabinet, the Cardiff man doing enough to fend off Guildford’s Simon Goddard and Milton Keynes’ Michael Fisk. Conditions had improved a little for the ‘1B’ runners, Loughborough’s Jack Brewer mastering the tricky conditions ahead of Leamington Spa’s Richard Collins and Horley’s Paul Austin.

The track had dried in time for the ‘2A’ race, with Roche winning from Leamington Spa’s James Harris and Fisk. The ‘2B’ race (Hamlet jokes optional) was claimed by local man Stuart Symonds from Longfield. Solihull’s Martin Tolley had led the race until Symonds found a way past, but was judged to have jumped the start and penalised 10s. He nevertheless finished sufficiently clear of Bowdon’s Simon Orange to retain second.

Tricky conditions greeted the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup runners. Having swapped cars, Roche was unable to convert his pole position to victory, with reigning champion Alan Henderson winning ahead of Roche and Farnham’s James Blake-Baldwin. Roche got his revenge in the second race, reversing positions with Henderson. Blake-Baldwin just failed to snatch second on the line.

Qualifying and racing for the Teekay Couplings Production GTi Mk 2 Championship took place on the Sunday, with the track having dried from earlier in the day. Wimborne’s Nick Porter claimed victory in the first 20-minute encounter, well clear of the squabbling Chris Webb and Adam Hance. The second outing saw an identical outcome.

In the absence of the SE Centre’s Rescue Unit, we welcomed Calder Rescue to Brands Hatch and hope they enjoyed their sortie down south. Thanks to all who volunteered for the weekend’s action, especially given competing attractions up the M1.

Subscribers to the Club’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/TheBRSCC) had the opportunity to view some live footage of the weekend’s action thanks to some devilishly fiendish mobile phone technology mounted on one of the AJK crew’s cameras filming the event.

The BRSCC SE Centre returns to Brands Hatch over the weekend of October 22-23 where we join forces with HQ for the Formula Ford Festival.

Click here for the BRANDS HATCH RESULTS (http://www.tsl-timing.com/event/162731)

Colin Mann