February 23rd 2018
Kent driver grabs title at Brands Hatch for most race wins ever
Birley breaks UK record at home circuit
Kent's Rod Birley made history at Brands Hatch last weekend (18-19 November) when he claimed the new UK record for most race wins, just two weeks after a serious crash threatened to shatter his life-long dream.
Birley, who lives on the circuitís doorstep in West Kingsdown, claimed two saloon car class victories in a Honda Integra at the last event of the Brands Hatch season, to equal and then surpass the benchmark of 625 wins set by cult hero Gerry Marshall. Marshallís total was achieved during a career spanning more than 40 years from the mid-1960s until his death in 2005. Birley began competing in 1973 and much of his success has come at Brands Hatch, with more than 200 of his 626 wins secured at his local venue.
Itís been a landmark year for Birley, who chalked up his 600th victory early in 2017 and has enjoyed something of an Indian summer ever since, to close the gap on Marshall. Upon reaching 600 wins, Rod speculated that it would probably take "a year or two" to overtake Marshall, whose photo currently hangs in Brands Hatch's Kentagon restaurant.
Birley was aiming to break the record two weeks ago, when he tangled with a rival on the final run to the chequered flag. A 130mph impact with the pit wall left him with cracked ribs Ė and may have written off the Ford Escort in which he has achieved much of his recent success.
With the Escort out of action, Rodís record-breaking moment came in the next best thing as his Honda was shared in a two-driver race with Jon Bevan, whose family prepared his very first racing car.
Brands Hatch was the perfect location for Birley to claim the milestone, as itís the site of many of his key motorsport memories. Indeed, he cites watching Jim Clark in a Lotus Cortina on the Grand Prix circuit as the moment he realised motor racing was for him, and he was fortunate enough to compete on the support bill at the final Brands Hatch British Grand Prix in 1986. In more recent years, in addition to frequently competing at the circuit, Birley took part in filming for Ron Howard's blockbuster racing movie 'Rush', whilst the venue remains one of his preferred Sunday lunch destinations.
Briley said: ďI am really pleased that I managed to break the wins record at Brands Hatch, where I have enjoyed most of my success. Quite appropriately, it was with the Bevan family, as George Bevan built my very first race engine for a Hillman Imp back in 1973. Itís probably not the most sensible thing I have done, as I still have a couple of cracked ribs from the big crash two weeks ago!Ē
1. Birley won his 626th race at Brands Hatch at the weekend - a new UK record
2. The local driver claimed the landmark at Brands Hatch in his Bevan family-prepared Honda Integra
3. Gerry Marshall was the previous record holder with 625 wins
Just back from hospital where Rod had to have a full CT scan as they were worried about internal bleeding.
The Doctors diagnosis is a bruised spleen and very sore ribs, which will take a while to heal.
Our car is in a very sorry state. Crash helmet is scrap, but the HANS device saved Rodís life according to the doctor.
4th April 2017
Motorsport TV will be showing our races from Brands Hatch (March 25/26) over two programmes. The first will be on Saturday April 29th at 12.25 and the second will be on Saturday May 6th at 11.55
13th February 2017
The winter rebuilds are in full swing. Joe and Ben at Hart power are working hard to get the new engine/turbo/restrictor sorted for the Escort. This year we have been pegged back even further with a 50 mm restrictor, which is requiring a lot of thought to resolve. Everything was stripped off the car straight after Mallory Park. The calipers have been checked and re-sealed at Techcraft, the gearbox went back to Quaife for a check over, the body panels have been repaired and painted by Luke at Chappell Coachworks. The prop shafts have been balanced and checked at JW Engineering and Phil Stewart has checked the front differential.
Meanwhile the Honda Integra has been worked on as well. Dave at Boss Racing has stripped and checked the engine. Glen at GTS has sorted out the gearbox problem, whilst Mark at Brise has found an issue with the alternator. Could this be the cause of last yearís problems? The engine is now back in the Honda so it wonít be long before we are out testing, although the ECU will need to be programmed first.
Our first meeting is at Brands Hatch on March 25/26, so not long to go now. Just one more win and we hit 600!
8th December 2016
7th November 2016
24th July 2016
Good News !
Our fuel test was all OK. 99.4% fully legal on all aspects.
28th February 2016
Just four weeks until the first meeting of the year. Already the registrations and entries are looking good. In class A of the Quaife Motorsport News saloons we have Andy Banham (Subaru), Alex Sidwell (Holden Commodore), Rick May (BMW V8), Martyn Scott (BMW E30), Marcus Bicknell (Ford Mustang V8), Luke Reade (BMW Mini turbo), Dan Cowan (Ford Sierra RS500) and Steve Dann (VW Golf turbo) all eager to give Rod a run for his money.
In the Cannons Tin Tops, class T2 looks like being very popular this year. Joining our Bevan prepared Honda Integra will be the Honda Civics of Graham Richardson, Daniel Fisher and Chris Whiteman, the MGZR of Terry Searles, the Renault Clios of Vince Wheeler and James Alford, the Proton Satria of Daniel Adams, the Ford Focus of Phil Usher, the Ford Puma of Adrian Matthews and the VW Golf of lady racer Kelly Dann. Yes Steve Dannís wife is having a go this year and we all wish her the best of luck.
19th January 2016
|Big THANK YOU to everyone who voted for me in the Courier Group Sport Awards.|
I finished as runner up to a Decathlete in the Sports person of the South East category
100 wins for the Escort on Brands Hatch Indy Circuit.
19th May 2014
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9th January 2014
Congratulations to Rod who finished second in the Kent sports star of the year awards. The annual event is sponsored by the Courier newspaper group and features many local sports people from a wide variety of sports. This yearís event was held in Tonbridge at the K college, and the awards were presented by Helen Grant MP, minister for sport, and former England footballer Gary Stevens.