SUPER COOPER ENJOYS BRANDS FIESTA


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Jason Cooper was a double winner at Brands, increasing his lead in the ST class of the Fiesta Championship. Photo: John Cooper

The BRSCC South Eastern Centre's third race meeting of the season took place over the weekend on Brands Hatch's 1.199 mile Indy Circuit, featuring an 11-race programme. A showery Saturday morning became a pleasant afternoon, with Sunday following a similar pattern.

Saturday's track action was dominated by the Fun Cup Championship, a one-hour 'Sprint' race preceding a four-hour endurance event. The day started inauspiciously for the No. 88 JPR/Ecurie Escargot entry, falling of the track at Druids on lap 1! Victory after 55 laps was claimed by the Julian Thomas/Joachim Ritter JPR/Racelogic pairing, comfortably clear of Team Honeywell duo Neil Plimmer and Geoff Fawcett, the cars winning their respective petrol and diesel classes. The James Thorpe/Sean McInerney Eclipse entry completed the podium.

The 88 car avoided a similar mishap as the 26-car field set off in the afternoon's enduro. With multiple pit stops scheduled, strategy would play a part in the race's outcome. Thomas and Ritter continued their morning form by leading at the one-hour mark, ahead of Mark Burton, Graham Pattle and Eugene O'Brien, but had dropped to third halfway through, with Plimmer and Fawcett heading the field, maintaining their supremacy to the Chequered Flag. The Mark Burton/Graham Pattle/Eugene O'Brien Spirit Fitness car looked set for a higher placing, but a late Stop Go penalty for Pit Lane speeding dropped them down to fourth, despite a titanic last-lap effort to wrest third from the Paul Abraham/Tom Mills/Charlie Burt/Jason Simon Eco Racing entry. Thomas and Ritter claimed second

Both groups of the Octane Caterham Academy Championship were in action in the afternoon, Group 2 taking to the track first for a 15-minute qualifier on the basis that Group 1 raced first at the Donington meeting. Austrian driver Michael Gazda took the Chequered Flag well clear of Stockport's Stephen Nuttall, with championship leader Pete Fortune from Reading tucked in just behind. Group 2 frontrunner Alex Gurr boosted his championship hopes in their race, the Hertford man heading home Highnam's Scott Lawrence and St Martin's Matthew Lawrence.

With the Fun Cup and Caterhams just appearing on the Saturday, Sunday's activities centred on Fiestas and Alfas. Dunlop Ford Fiesta A & B runners were the first pre-lunch race, a 20-minute qualifier. Pole-sitter Nik Barton from Biggin Hill failed to master the damp track and could manage no better than fifth. Islington racer Chris Toumazos's victory run was hampered by a lengthy Safety Car period, leaving a three-lap dash to the flag. Bournemouth's Terry Scruton took second, ahead of leading Class B man, Mundon's Keith Chapman.

The second outing was much more eventful, with Toumazos and Terry Scruton both falling off on the opening lap. Terry's father Ian inherited the lead, but fell foul of track limit rules, receiving time and drive-through penalties before falling off at Paddock Hill Bend. Seconds later Thomas Hopkinson beached himself in sympathy, bringing out the Red Flag. Horsham's Rex Nye won on count back ahead of Barton and David Elsom. Barton was later excluded for a technical infringement, promoting Elsom to second and Toumazos to third, but the revised results remained provisional subject to judicial procedures.

Class C Fiestas had their own race, with Chippenham's Jason Cooper continuing his winning ways with a dominant victory ahead of Braintree's Aaron Trigwell and local man Jordan Annells from Tunbridge Wells. Tyre choice was critical on a drying track, and Cooper made the right call.

As with the A, B and D runners, the second race was beset with problems, with a delayed start to rescue a stranded car on the Green Flag lap, and a Red Flag stoppage after Trigwell hit the Pit Wall. In 12-minute restart, Cooper claimed a brace of wins ahead of Stafford's Nicholas Bowers and another local man, Andrew Wilmot, from Dartford.

A compact field of Motorsport News Ford Fiesta Junior runners were first up after lunch for a 20-minute race. Watford's James 'JJ' Ross scuppered his chance of victory from pole with a gravelly Paddock Hill Bend moment, but he recovered to claim third. Brightlingsea's Charles Ladell and Dalkeith's Aiden Moffett were well clear in first and second.

Race two closed the weekend’s proceedings and was a much more competitive affair, a four-car train disputing the lead in the early stages before Ladell and Ross broke clear, enjoying a titanic battle to the flag, Ladell holding sway. Doncaster's Ben Wilcox completed the podium.

The BRSCC Alfashop Alfa Romeo Championship runners had a single 20-minute outing, on a bone-dry track. Adie Hawkins' 33 overcame an early Safety Car and back-markers to head home Pershore man Neil Smith's 156 WTC and Hope Valley's Roger Evans in a 147 GTA.

Just prior to the resumption of racing following the lunch-break on Sunday, SE Centre Committee man and 'Voice of Brands Hatch' Brian Jones delivered a moving tribute to two friends of the Centre who sadly passed away recently, Jim McGregor and Doug Jennings.

Click here for the BRANDS HATCH RESULTS

The next race meeting for the BRSCC SE Centre is the Formula Ford Festival over the weekend of 27/28thOctober, which will be run in conjunction with BRSCC HQ.

COLIN MANN