Dunlop Motorsport News Saloon Car Championship - Lydden - June 27th and 28th 2009

The latest rounds of the Dunlop Motorsport News Saloon Car Championship took place at Lydden Hill near Canterbury on Sunday, in very warm conditions. Pole position after qualifying went to Rod in a time of 43.44 seconds, with Mark Biggers from Nuneaton alongside a mere 0.182 behind. Londoner Malcolm Wise occupied the third position with his Ford Escort WRC and German visitor Frank Nohring claimed fourth in his beautifully prepared BMW E46 (in fact he easily won the Quaife best prepared car award).

From the rolling start Rod was beaten away by the more powerful Nissan Skyline which boasts over 650 bhp, compared to ďonlyĒ 500bhp in our Escort WRC. However, a brave late breaking move saw the championship leader re-take the lead going into the Devilís Elbow corner half way around the first lap. Biggers gave chase but was unable to respond and finally finished nearly ten seconds behind. Nohring took third as Wise faded to fifth with a problematical turbocharger. Up into fourth spot, and winning class B came the hero of the previous round, namely Rick May. Behind Wise there was a rather lonely Cris Hayes, who was the final unlapped runner. Steve Dann clinched third in class B with his self prepared  Volkswagen Golf, but this was only after a bold passing move on Andy Woods-Dean two laps from home. Woody was suffering braking problems and slipped behind Andy Wickens, he was then almost caught by John Cross. Peter Taylor struggled with his Sierra in the hot conditions and couldnít quite find a way past the Xsport Seat. Welcome returnee Tony Ryan brought out the ex-Alex Sidwell Sapphire Cosworth and completed the runners.

The second race again saw Biggers make the better start and he defended the line into the Devilís Elbow hard, to prevent a repeat of Rods previous pass. For five laps the two big powerful cars raced almost side by side in a thrilling contest, which should make good TV coverage. Eventually Rod sneaked alongside going into Paddock Bend and he just held on going over the startline to commence lap six. Biggers never let the leader relax because he knew the Escort was without an alternator to replenish the supply to the battery. Into the last lap and Rod felt the engine hesitate as the electrical power to the ECU faded, but

he just held on to win by 0.7 of a second. This was Rodís 493rd race win and helped maintain his championship lead. Wise upped his pace to finish third from Rick May, whilst Nohring took fifth place. Dann came home sixth overall and second in class B, plus he did not go a lap down this time. Hayes held onto seventh from a fast closing Wickens, who had Woody close on his tail. Taylor completed the finishers, and picked up the Ford RS awards for his good looking car. Ryan retired with an undiagnosed problem.

The races for classes C and D were joined by a couple of late invitation (non-registered) runners. There were no class E starters for the first time, most of whom were battling away in the fastest Mini races. Bill Richards kept his Mini at arms length from Richard Brent who had to contend with Graham Bahrís BMW. Yes that is correct, Graham had the blue Bavarian machine really flying, and to show it was no fluke he took the fastest lap in both races. David Usher claimed fourth both times, with James Lindridge chasing him home in the first encounter. James did not start the second race, so it was Alex Ribbins who took fifth place. Alex retired earlier with a battery problem. Chris Chadwick (Peugeot 106) and Jack Gabriel (BMW E30) completed the runners each time.



The championship now has a four week break until returning to Brands Hatch on Saturday August 1st. This time the drivers will be tackling the famous 2.65 mile Grand Prix circuit.