2007 BARC Dunlop Motorsport News Saloon Car Championship - Round 2 - Brands Hatch Indy Circuit
The fun and games for the second round of this years championship started long before the actual meeting when several drivers found themselves on the reserve list. This lead to a few irate conversations but there was little the BARC south east centre could do, as we were guests with the Classic Sports Car Club. However, with some persuasion, they did manage to slot in an extra ďallcomersĒ race, just in case all our boys and girls did not get into the championship races. In the end everyone did get to race in DMN, but the moral is please enter early, particularly as this is Increasingly becoming an EXTREMELY popular championship.
Surprise of practice was the pace of our Escort. A 50.1 second lap on a crowded track was quite stunning and Rod seemed very confident. Lining up alongside was Peter Wilkinson in his Nissan Primera, hoping for much better luck than at Lydden. Next came Andy Thompson and then it should have been Richard Brent, but Richard suffered more engine problems and non-started. Martin Johnston appeared on the inside of row three with John Cross making it an all Mercedes row. Graham Bahr non-started from seventh after buzzing his engine, so Ray Barrow looked a bit lonely. The rest of the 32 car grid is on the results page, with a couple of fast Sapphires at the back. Steve Weatherley had an oil pipe split on his first flying lap whilst Andrew Williams had to wait until other drivers dropped out before he could join in. Ashley Hargreaves was grateful to John Plummer for hastily modifying his drive-shaft, and Anthony Ahmed needs a new alarm clock.
Race one started with a good formation leading up to the rolling start. Jamie Goldthorpe was sidelined but this allowed Greg Pye to join from the pit lane. Into the lead stormed Rod and he didnít hang about. Rodís mission was to regain the lap record he lost to Greg Rose back in November last year. On lap three he set a new bench mark at 50.649 seconds (85.193 mph) as he went on to win by 29 seconds. Into second place came John Cross hounded by Andy Thompson in his Seat. Martin Johnstone had already spun at Paddock Bend, but managed to avoid the rest of the pack. Peter Wilkinson looked steady in fourth whilst Ray Barrow was not quite able to match the former touring carís pace.
Trevor Nicosia had his unique Lancia Kappa up to seventh and second in class B. Trevorís mirrors had various different cars filling them during the race until Andrew Williams appeared with his class C sapphire. Andrew (debuting in the championship) had a storming drive from 31st in his nicely presented car. He was rewarded with the Quaife driver of the race award, and hopefully we will see more of him during the season. Next up was Stephen Craig, father Nigel had already spun down the order. Stephen was shadowed by Stuart Thomas in his Renault Clio which almost fell off at Clearways near the end. Steve Weatherley had also driven well from 32nd position to eventually claim tenth, just in front of the battling twosome of Bill Richards and Peter Crewes. Bill claimed class E by 0.6 of a second. Johnstone recovered to 13th with his Mercedes, nipping past the other two duelling Minis of Lee McNair and Mike Edgell. Anthony Ahmed woke up to take 17th just behind Phil Brent, whilst Andy Pipe claimed class D honours.
Race two followed a similar format. Rod stormed off into an ever increasing lead, although this time it was only 15 seconds. John Cross was again pursued by Thompson, as Andy harried the big silver car all the way to the chequered. His later victory in the allcomers (passing John on the last lap) ensured that Andy was voted driver of the day, to which he receives six months free subscription to Motorsport News.
Meanwhile back in the race, the man from Risca (Andrew Williams) was still on the move and he emerged in fourth after Wilkinson spun. Barrow had little company in fifth, but still bagged a good haul of points. Likewise Steve Weatherley, who moved up from tenth to sixth. The next group typified just why the championship is so popular. A seven car freight train battled and swapped positions almost every lap. The good clean racing featured two Minis, a Renault Clio, two Subaru's, a Mercedes and a Lancia. Martin Johnston emerged at the head of the queue to claim seventh, from Nicosia, Nigel Craig (much better on new tyres), and Peter Crewes, who just edged past Bill Richards on the last lap. Lee McNair sneaked home in front of a fast closing Nissan (Wilkinson). Anthony Ahmed improved his lap times to take 14th from Mike Edgell, Andy Woods-Dean bringing his Renault Megane home next from Ashley Hargeaves rival French Peugeot.
Jamie Goldthorpe took class D honours, making up for the disappointment in race one. Jamie slipped past an ailing Andy Pipe whose gearbox started malfunctioning just after half distance. Barry Barnes secured the best prepared car award with his latest acquisition a BMW M3. Nearly everyone found themselves involved in battles throughout the field and the sheer variety continues to amaze onlookers. Snetterton could see our biggest turnout ever at the Norfolk venue, so May 26th/27th promises to be another exciting episode.