TITLES DECIDED AT BRSCC’S AUTUMN ALMANAC AT BRANDS HATCH


The BRSCC South Eastern Centre’s fourth race meeting of the season, the Caterham Race Weekend, took place over the weekend of  September 28-29 with a 19-race programme, as usual over Brands Hatch’s 1.208 mile Indy Circuit. Saturday suffered from brief localised showers, with Sunday beset by heavy overnight rain and intermittent showers, with the track drying under the autumn sun.

Kicking off  the afternoon’s racing action following pre-lunch qualifying was a 30m race for the Santander Caterham Seven 310R Championship. Dublin’s Jay McCormack, local man Pete Walters from Orpington, and Londoner Andrew Perry were always in the mix, trading blows, with McCormack taking victory from Walters. A 5-second track limits penalty demoted Perry from third, handing the spot to Northwich’s Tom Grensinger.

Having endured a lacklustre first outing, Londoner Christian Szaruta had a much better time in Race Two, winning what was effectively a one lap dash following a late Safety Car intervention. Walters took another second, from Londoner Alan Cooper. An early off-track excursion dropped McCormack down the order.

Guesting on the bill was a 30m pit stop race for the Amusetime CMMC Production Saloons. Polesitter Jonathan Bevan from Kings Hill (sharing with Rod Birley) led the field away at the Rolling Start, but got no further than Paddock Hill Bend, depositing his Honda Civic in the Gravel Trap, causing an immediate Safety Car intervention. When racing resumed, and after the pit stops had all shaken down Polegate man Bradley Lane’s Civic won from Crowborough’s Dave Hutchins’ similar car, with Jamie Primett and Kamran Tunio’s Civic fighting its way up to third, starting from the Pit Lane having been found underweight after qualifying.

More Caterham action followed with a 20m race for the Academy Championship Green Group. Isleworth’s James Venning took a comfortable victory from St Albans’ Dimitris Melas, with Londoner William Brunt even further adrift.

Providing single seater variety was the first of three 15m races for the Avon Tyres National Formula Ford Championship. Present at the track, but not racing was champion-elect Ross Martin, leaving Chippenham’s Luke Cooper (Swift SC16) to claim the honours from Southampton’s Michael Eastwell (Spectrum 011C) and Hampton’s Rory Smith (Medina JL18).

The first of two Sunday qualifiers had five minutes added to its duration with a Safety Car being called to deal with stranded cars. Cooper and Eastwell swapped podium positions, with Saint Louis’s Spike Kohlbecker (Ray GR18) third.

The final encounter featured a reversed grid, and Kohlbecker managed to stretch his legs in the early stages, allowing Smith to close him down, but not sneak past. James Clarke (Ray GR15) took third.

Academy White runners were next up for their 15m qualifier, with the field doing well to cope with the drizzly conditions. Coping best was Alton’s Tom Wyllys, who came home well clear of Inverurie’s Blair McConachie and Wes Payne.

The track was drying by the time the Motul Caterham Seven 270R Championship protagonists lined up for their 30m race. The first attempt was halted by a Red Flag, and when the restart got under way, it produced a cracker of a battle, with as many as 15 cars in the lead battle. When the race was halted slightly early with a stranded car in a precarious position, local man Tom Allen from Sevenoaks was leading, from Londoner James Murphy and Caterham Cars CEO Graham Macdonald. Light rain returned for Sunday’s second outing, which saw Murphy win by a country mile from Bristol’s Gregory Monks and Medstead’s Oli Pratt.

Caterham’s premier series, the Avon Tyres Caterham Seven 420R Championship, had a 30m qualifier, which was dominated by Magham Down’s John Byrne, once he had disposed of the threat of Crook’s David Henderson, who finished over 15s behind, and just clear of Woodbridge’s Willian Smith.

Byrne’s hopes of doubling up in the second qualifier were effectively scuppered when he stalled at the start, Henderson benefitting to take the win from Colchester’s Aaron Head, with Smith claiming another third.

Closing Saturday’s racing was rounded off with a 20m race for the Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport Championship. A Red Flag halted proceedings midway through, with the restart over 10m. Morden’s Andrew Murgatroyd just managed to hold off Neuwied’s Lars Alexander Hoffmann and York’s Ben Lopez-Appleton.

The rain appeared in earnest for Sunday’s second outing. Lopez-Appleton coped best with the conditions, winning from Hoffmann and Wimborne’s Harry Cook.

Appearing just on the Sunday were the Teekay Couplings Production GTi Championship runners, the first 20m damp and Safety Car interrupted encounter being claimed by Wadebridge’s Simon Vercoe, ahead of Milton Keynes’ Adam Hance and Bristol’s James Colborne. A drying tack greeted their second qualifier, claimed by Chipping Norton’s Martyn Walsh. Hance and Vercoe were second and third respectively.

Another guest category, the CMMC Iwade Garage Super Saloons had two 15m races, with the first being Red Flagged following a nasty shunt for Tony Skelton’s Renault Clio. It took until lap 8 for West Kingsdown’s Rod Birley (Ford Escort WRC) to get past Chatham’s Niall Bradley (BMW M3 E46), but thereafter he stroked home to a comfortable win. Stowmarket’s Jamie Liptrott (BMW M3 E46) was third.

Birley made a swift getaway in the second outing, with Bradley closing to within half a second by the Chequered Flag. Volker Timm’s Audi TT took third.

Having raced separately all season, the Academy runners had the opportunity to race each other for the Autumn Trophy. Wyllys added to his silverware with a narrow victory from Venning, Woking’s James Fowler completed the podium positions.

The weekend was of particular significance to 310R Race 2 winner Christian Szaruta, whose father Andy passed away recently following a tragic accident. As a mark of respect, Christian headed to the grid solo, before the rest of the field left the assembly area, taking up his position on the outside of the front row.

The BRSCC SE Centre returns to Brands Hatch over the weekend of October 27-28 for the Formula Ford Festival, where we join forces with HQ. In addition to the Festival element, the programme includes Fiestas and Fiesta Juniors, Classic Formula Ford, Sports 2000 Duratec and Pinto, Irish Supercars and Irish Global GT Lights.

Click here for the BRANDS HATCH RESULTS.

COLIN MANN