Brands Hatch - 14th November 2009
The final rounds of the Cannonís tin tops and the Chris Knott Intermarque League produced some terrific racing at Brands Hatch on November 14th.
In the tin tops, Steve Dann took his first two overall wins with his familiar VW Golf. Both races produced a terrific scrap for the lead with Steve just holding off Anthony Harrison in the first encounter. This race was stopped prematurely after Jason Cox crashed, and the result at the end of nine laps stood. Jason Richardson came third just two seconds adrift of the first two, with Daryl Radford a further two seconds down the road. Danny Cassar took T2 honours and this was enough to give him the overall title. Gary Chappell chased him home in sixth followed by Nick Proudlock, Peter Winstone, Michael Cox and Tim Swadkin (in Paul Goddardís Mk1 Ford Escort). Chris Chadwick took the T3 class and pegged back Bernie Baxterís points lead to just six. Unfortunately three cars never made it beyond the first corner as Terry Searles was tapped into a slide, which resulted in Dave Clark and Alex Ribbens joining him in the gravel trap.
The second race saw Dann under intense pressure from Richardson this time, who twice sneaked past at Clearways only to be retaken on Brabham straight. With track conditions very wet and a strong wind blowing across the circuit everyone did well to control their cars. The red VW took itís second victory by just 0.729 of a second, as the BMW Mini was awarded the best prepared car prize. Chappell withstood a race long assault firstly from Cassar (who pitted on lap 9) then Radford, who had a ďmomentĒ and lost ground. Harrison then had Gary in his sights but a big tank slapper on the final lap gave the Toyota driver some breathing space. Searles drove well to take sixth overall from fellow back row starter Clark. Winstone, Barlow and Cole completed the top ten.
Chadwick looked to have control of the T3 class until Ribbens started to close in. The silver Peugeot then veered off course due to a fogged up windscreen. Sadly Chris had to call it a day and with it went his hopes of the T3 title. Meanwhile Daniel Parker, Richard Carrison and Bernie Baxter fought for the runner up class position, with Parker holding off the challengers and winning the driver of the race award.
In the Intermarque races, Rod seized the initiative from the rolling start and pulled away with his Ford Escort WRC. On the slippery but fast drying track, Rod started to build a healthy lead. However, with a blustery wind the surface soon offered more grip and even though he had intermediate tyres on the front of his car they began to over heat. Over the last few laps Dave Longhurst , who had gambled on slick tyres, soon cut into Rodís advantage with his Peugeot super silhouette car. Rod made it to the chequered flag first but the gap had shrunk to four seconds. Steve Hall took third spot and with it he retained the title he won last year. En route he had to avoid a couple of spinning Tigers which meant he lost ground to Longhurst. Andy Thompson had a race long battle with Nick Starkey and just claimed fourth as Chris Brockhurst shadowed them in sixth. Newcomer Richard Smith held off the leading Tiger of Mark Steward, as Paul Clarke kept his Tiger in front of Chris Ayling. The other Tiger classes went Daniel Brigham and James Dudley.
The second encounter was on a very wet track and Rod scurried off into an ever increasing lead. Lapping two seconds quicker than any one else, he was over nine seconds ahead when John Cross rolled at Paddock Bend on lap four. The safety car was deployed so everyone closed up. On the re-start Thompson had to defend against a rapidly approaching Starkey. Finding his old rally tyres well suited to the conditions, Nick surged past into second (a move which earnt him the driver of the race award). He steadied the gap to Rod (who was in fact nursing a noisy transmission, it has been a long hard year). Thompson staved off the challenge of Brockhurst who in turn had Ayling hot on his heels. Both Longhurst and Smith had retired their silhouettes early on and Hall was suffering from a sick sounding engine, eventually he came home 23rd. Steward was best Tiger again in sixth, but his mirrors were full of VW Corrado as Mick Robertson charged through from the back of the grid. Nick Foster took the Tiger class A podium from Paul Clarke and Mick Grant. The other two Tiger classes went to Brigham and James Dudley.