OPEN SESAME AT BRANDS HATCH
The BRSCC South Eastern Centre’s first race meeting of the season took place over the weekend of March 24-25, with a scheduled 22-race programme dubbed the BRSCC Season Opener, as usual over Brands Hatch’s 1.208 mile Indy Circuit. Saturday had a damp, misty start, with Sunday dawning much drier, but remaining nippy and overcast.
Mazdas dominated the entries and race count, with a 20m pre-lunch race for the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship (1A) runners. Reigning champion Will Blackwell-Chambers put down a marker for the weekend, the Basingstoke man taking a comfortable victory Godalming’s Oliver Allwood and Leicester’s Samuel Smith claimed the remaining podium spots. Blackwell-Chambers doubled up in the 2A race, with Smith and Allwood swapping positions on the podium. A hat-trick for Blackwell-Chambers came in the third and final outing, with Smith picking up another second from Fleet’s Brian Trott.
The subsequent 1B race after Saturday lunch for the slower qualifiers was claimed by Lichfield’s Paul Tucker, ahead of a squabbling Simon Woods from Sutton and Alton’s Charlie Rawles. Honours in the 2B race went to Chesterton’s Clive Powles, with Soham’s Marcus Bailey a tad behind and Hockley’s Paul Bailey further adrift. Rawles did well to win the 3B race, from High Wycombe’s Oliver Robinson and Horsham’s Jack Moody.
Also well represented were Fiestas, featuring both the BRSCC Fiesta ‘Senior’ and Junior categories. Championship. The first 20m senior outing saw a repeat of 2017’s season opener, with South Benfleet’s and Fiesta Junior graduate Danny Harrison winning, ahead of fellow Junior alumnus Harry Gooding from Bridgwater and Crowborough’s Tom Hutchins. Harrison doubled up in Sunday’s second outing, with Charles Plumley from Rochester in third behind Gooding. A hat-trick was to follow in the third and final qualifier, Gooding once more in second, but with Horsham’s David Nye third.
Further Mazda action, this time a 20m BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Super Series race, followed. Local man Joshua Jackson from Bexley fought off Stratford-upon Avon’s Jake Bailey and Middlewich’s Richard Breland. Sunday’s second encounter saw the same top three, with race three seeing Bailey and Jackson swap places ahead of Congleton’s Paul Sheard in third.
Adding single-seater variety to the weekend’s proceedings were the Speed Group F1000 runners, Worcester man Michael Watton dominating the first 15m encounter, finishing comfortably clear of Cambridge’s Paul Butcher and Newcastle-under-Lyme’s Dan Clowes. Watton repeated the feat in the second outing, with Leeds’ Adam Walker second ahead of Butcher. The third and final sortie saw Watton secure a hat-trick of victories, with Walker second and Clowes third.
Having had their practice and qualifying on Saturday, the BRSCC Fiesta Junior runners had to wait until Sunday afternoon for their first 20m race, comfortably claimed by Barking’s James Waite from Otley’s Isaac Smith and St Albans’ Josh Steed. Waite bagged a brace of victories later in the day ahead of Smith and Evesham’s Oliver Turner.
Joining the action on Sunday were the Nankang Tyre BMW Compact Cup runners. An initially over-subscribed entry had originally led to three 15m races being scheduled, but withdrawals meant that all competitors could be fitted into two encounters. Reigning champion Steven Dailly carried on his winning ways in a race that livened up following a Safety Car intervention, with Owen Hunter second, just ahead of Ian Jones. The second outing, interrupted by a Red Flag, resulted in the same top three.
Another category just performing on Sunday was the JustMotorsportAds.com Nippon Challenge/Tricolore Trophy/Multimarques Challenge. Grantham’s Richard Hockley won the first 15m outing at a canter in his Honda Civic, ahead of Carlisle’s Russell Thomson’s Honda Civic and local man Chris Bassett (Longfield) in his Peugeot 205. Sunday’s second race closed the weekend’s programme, with another local man, Gravesend’s Clive Haynsford, winning a restarted race in his Mazda RX-8 ahead of Hockley and Thomson.
Prior to the start of Saturday afternoon’s racing action, a minute’s silence was held in memory of Gary Ikin, long-time recovery co-ordinator at Brands Hatch car race meetings, who passed away at the beginning of March.
Away from the race track, Gary was an IT expert, and devoted husband of Clare, and father to Chloe and William. Our thoughts are with them at this time.
The BRSCC SE Centre returns to Brands Hatch over the weekend of June 2-3, where we welcome the TCR UK Touring Car Championship as part of the Club Car Championships meeting, featuring the Mazda MX-5 Supercup, Avon Tyres National Formula Ford 1600 Championships, as well as the HRDC Allstars and Touring Greats.
Click here for the BRANDS HATCH RESULTS