Brands Hatch 19th August 2006
Rounds 13 and 14 saw us back at Brands Hatch for the second meeting in a row. Cooler weather conditions, with a small threat of showers, meant that it would probably help everyone. As is usual there was a welcome influx of some newcomers plus some returnees. Altogether we managed to fill the grid again, despite the higher entry fee than last month. It is worth noting that several drivers will be receiving “cash back” loyalty awards at the end of the year, to help off set these expensive meetings.
Practice saw 29 cars take to the track, which was slightly damp after a quick shower. One or two drivers opted for intermediates, but most stayed on slicks. The surface soon dried out, and the lap times were not affected. Rod secured pole quite early on, and then did his usual trick of sitting in the pit lane to see if anyone could better the time. With Steve Hirst present but not racing (car not quite ready, plus a recovering hand injury) and Kris Waite also missing, it was David Oates who emerged as the strongest challenger. John Cross wheeled out another of his V8 monsters, this time it was the Mercedes which took him to third fastest. Next to John would be Ray Barrow, fresh from celebrating his birthday the day before.
Row three contained two very pretty cars, the new Honda Integra of returnee Chris Adams, with Mark Hosken alongside in his Audi. Next came Richard Gane in his Honda with new boy Gareth Porter in his Peugeot 205, which was the quickest class D runner. Richard, incidentally, used his taxi to ferry several drivers to the lunch time briefing. We are not sure how much the fare came to!!!
Row five contained another new boy, namely Richard May from Tonbridge, in his Ford Sierra Cosworth, making him the quickest class B driver. Richard Brent lined up next to him, easily fastest in class E. Weatherley and Craig were evenly matched on the next row, followed by Kerr Robertson desperately hoping his Peugeot 306 would behave, and Andy Baker. Andy has another of these popular Peugeot 205s, which he is running in class D. The eighth row was occupied by Kevan Wells and Barry Barnes. Barry looked a lot better than he did last month and was back on the pace. Pye and Compton were next, followed by Pipe and Edgell. The rest lined up according to the practice sheet on the results page, but we must say welcome to Phil Danbury and Richard Kemp, and hope that you join in again.
The first rolling start had to be abandoned because Andrew Gatfield had a problem with his Nova. Although he pulled to the outside it was decided to wisely move his car into the pit lane. Andrew actually rectified the problem and managed to join in. Meanwhile, on the second attempt, Rod dived into Paddock Bend first, with John trying to sneak up the inside only to hit the kerb quite hard. David held his nerve and managed to slot in behind the black car. In the fun Ray nipped past John, who was obviously in trouble. In fact the silver machine crept in the pits a lap later, with a suspected loose wheel.
Already on the move was Mr. Brent. Not content with cruising to a class win, he decided to show the bigger engined cars a thing or two. Somehow he made it to up to fourth overall, a feat which earnt him the Quaife driver of the race award. Right on his tail was Chris Adams who took a good class C win. Gareth Porter managed to nip past Mark Hosken, Gareth taking class D honours on Toyo treaded tyres. Mark meanwhile was disappointed to be mugged by the smaller cars, but please that he had gone much better than last month. Steve Weatherley just held off Nigel Craig, after Richard May had retired with bodywork damage. Richard Gane was only 0.04 of a second behind Nigel.
Andy Baker claimed 11th overall and second in class D, and then we had Kevan Wells just holding off Barry Barnes. Mike Edgell was the final unlapped runner, although he was second in class E and he did receive the “best prepared car” award, so his long journey was worthwhile. A big group of 8 cars was headed home by a very happy Anthony Ahmed, the complete order is on the results page. Both Kerr Robertson and Rob Compton had problems, which meant they pulled out at half distance.
Cross, Compton and May all fixed their cars for race two, but sadly both Robertson and Wells withdrew. We still had 27 cars though, all eager to tackle the Indy circuit. Once again Rod lead the way, with David just holding off Ray’s advances. Richard Brent had ideas about challenging Ray, but Ray proved too quick down the straight bits. Richard Gane “borrowed” some tyres from Chris Adams, and then had the cheek to pass Chris and win the class. In fact Gareth Porter joined in this battle, just holding off the white and red Integra, and winning class D again. Hosken tried hard to hang on but had to settle for eighth. Weatherley again had the measure of Craig, whilst Richard May had a superb battle with Barry Barnes. Their efforts were rewarded with much applause as they received the driver of the race award together.
Mike Edgell outpaced the big pack, which again had Ahmed at the fore. This time Danbury kept away from the gravel and finished on the VWs bootlid, with Greg Pye pushing him along as well. Greg had a mirror full of Alex Ribbens, who in turn had Ray Adams for company. This group highlighted why the championship is so good, a bunch of cars racing close together with no contact. Andy Pipe was running with them, but found the gravel trap at Paddock Bend too inviting. Poor Graham Richardson suffered a smoky failure with his Nova and retired, whilst both Compton and Cross failed to finish.
The championship now moves back to Lydden for the next two meetings. The first one is on September 9th and forms part of the annual festival of motorsport event. This year we have the added attraction of Truck racing. As is now customary we will be running split grids for the DT&R, but the division will be dependant upon class entries.