TCR UK & CO ANTICIPATES WEATHER LOTTERY AT PACKED BRANDS HATCH WEEKEND


The British Racing & Sports Car Club gets set for its third meeting of the season at its “home circuit”, as Brands Hatch in Kent offers up the Indy layout for the next instalment in the 2019 edition of TCR UK & Dunlop Touring Car Trophy, along with a mega mixture of supporting formulae ready to roll for two days of intense club motorsport.

TCR UK welcomed another race winner last time out at Croft, as young Fiesta graduate Lewis Kent finally picked up the first two victories of his fledgling touring car career having come agonisingly close at Donington Park. His pace all weekend was substantially better than those of his rivals, and he arrives at his home circuit eager to continue his strong run of form. Alongside him in the TCR ranks, expect the CUPRA of James Turkington and the VW Golf of Sunny Wong to be his nearest competitors, along with Darelle Wilson’s Vauxhall Astra and the return of Nick Halstead’s Honda Civic. With the TCT contingent, it should be another competitive contest between Henry Neal’s NGTC Honda Civic Type R and Alex Day’s Audi A4, plus any other last minute additions to the entry list that decide to join the grid.

The Avon Tyres National Formula Ford Championship has seen some excellent competition in 2019, but at Croft it was Ross Martin who began attempting to distance himself from his rivals with a stunning yet emotional hat-trick of victories. This has given him a gap of almost 50 points heading to Kent, with Spike Kohlbecker and Neil MacLennan looking likely to scrap over 2nd place behind him whilst trying to close the gap to Martin down simultaneously. James Clarke is still searching for his first National race win, while 2019 race winners Rory Smith and Jonathan Browne will be hoping for strong results too.

The title battle continues to take many interesting twists and turns in the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup, where points leader and double defending champion Luke Herbert failed to achieve a race victory in the previous rounds at Croft, but always remained in contention. On the day, those wins went to key rival Jack Harding and Steve Roberts, with the former having arguably his strongest season to date. By contrast, the third element in the championship fight, Aidan Hills, will be thankful for dropped scores as an ambitious yet failed last lap dive in Race 2 at Croft was followed by a rare mechanical failure on the way to the grid for Race 3. He will have both ground and momentum to make up, while Roberts, Jack Sycamore, Patrick Fletcher and the return of Paul Sheard, James Blake-Baldwin and Simon Baldwin will all certainly keep the top 3 on their toes.

For the first time, the BRSCC Fiesta Championship racing with MRF Tyres will feature on a TCR UK race meeting timetable, with the drivers back on track after a lengthy summer break. Fiesta Junior graduate James Waite leads the way in the points standings as the action gets back underway, despite having yet to win a race so far this season. Second placed man Samuel Watkins, on the other hand, had seen the top step on more than one occasion along with Snetterton double winner David Nye last time out. Ryan Faulconbridge is also hot on his tail having also tasted success in Norfolk, and you can never count out the likes of Jamie Going, Isaac Smith, Zachary Lucas or former champion Alastair Kellett.

The younger counterparts in the Fiesta Junior Championship racing with MRF Tyres are also firing back into life after returnee Nathanael Hodgkiss upset the form book somewhat with a double win. At the time of writing, his entry for this weekend is unconfirmed however championship leader Olly Turner will be hoping for a somewhat unchallenged campaign here in Kent as he looks to secure the title at his third attempt in FJC. His nearest rivals are sure to be any one of the remaining entered drivers with JamSport teammate Alfie Glenie, Joel Wren, Ted Potts and Joseph Loake all capable of challenging for victory. Be sure to keep an eye out for some extra FJC track activity on Sunday, where two exclusive sampler sessions will be taking place to give the next generation of potential Fiesta Junior drivers a chance to sample what could become their 2020 race car!

More tin-top action comes on Sunday in the form of the Disklok Civic Cup, where Lee Deegan arrives still in control in the race for the title. Croft brought another race win and a strong reverse grid race result, which is more that can be said for Daniel Hobson who lost out on victory in Race 1 before ending up as part of a four car start incident the next day. Hobson lost valuable points in the process, as did Phil Wright, Alistair Camp and Bruce Winfield, while Daniel Reason and Jason Ballantyne were the biggest benefactors with the latter collecting the reverse grid win in the process. Be sure to also keep an eye out for David Buky, Lewis Rose and Morgan Bailey too.

Patrick Sherrington and Nicolaj Lindberg will be the front running drivers this weekend in the rapid OSS Championship, a catch-all series for all types of sports racing cars and sports prototypes. Sherrington’s mighty MCR should excel on Brands Hatch’s fast and flowing Indy layout, but Lindberg’s Radical has been known to show great pace from time to time and so definitely shouldn’t be counted out either. Norman Lackford celebrates a special anniversary this weekend whilst racing in Class B, while Class C is once again dominated by Radicals. Scott Mittell also makes an appearance in his Mittell MC41R as the sole representative in Class E.

The Toyo Tires Porsche Championship should provide another fascinating contest, with Garry Lawrence hoping to obtain a clean sweep of victories in the Supersport Boxster class. This is something he missed out on at Croft after retiring from the last race, although he did manage to win the first two and extend his championship lead. With Andrew Porter, Anthony Hutchins and Leigh Bowden for company, Lawrence will again have to work hard to come out on top. Over in the 924 class, it’s set to be yet another eternal struggle for power between John Jones, Peter Smith and Chris Valentine.

Finally, an exciting debut is finally ready to take place this weekend. After months of planning, promotion and endless background work, the BRSCC is proud to present the new Clubsport Trophy for the very first time. The Clubsport Trophy is a 45-minute “mini-endurance” race with a mandatory pit stop, accommodating a wide range of cars across 5 classes with 230bhp per tonne or less, and the response for the inaugural encounter this weekend has been magnificent. Over 30 cars will line up with a healthy mix of solo and two driver efforts piloting everything from Honda Civics, BMW 3 Series Compacts, MINIs and Mazda MX-5s, all the way up to the fastest cars in Group A where Stuart Jefcoate’s Porsche 911 Carrera faces off against the modified Ford Focus of Scott and Shaun Bugner and the VW Beetle RSI Cup Car of Andre and Jake Severs. With such a diverse field of cars set to compete, this should be a fascinating contest!

Scott Woodwiss.