Brands Hatch round-up
Josh Barrett reports on the Stock Hatch, Classic Stock Hatch, Sports Specials and 750 Formula races at Brands Hatch last weekend.
The front row pairing of Tom Bell and Lee Deegan made poor starts which allowed the row two contenders of Andrew Tibbs and Jake Farndon to make their way through, before Deegan got sideways at Paddock Hill Bend and lost positions. On the second lap Tibbs moved ahead of Bell at Druids to take the lead, before Farndon also passed the championship leader. Quickly Deegan managed to recover from his earlier problem to pass his brother Shayne for fourth and battle with fellow ex-autograss racer Tom Bell.
It was on lap five that Farndon made the winning manoeuvre at Clearways by passing Tibbs. Throughout the race Matt Fincham and Martin Ward made their way through from the back of the grid to finish second and fourth overall respectively in the Clio 182 machines. Philip Wright drove an impressive race to finish in sixth of the Stock Hatches.
Bell made a super start which put him ahead of the Clio of Ward. He held the Renault off for a few laps before eventually losing time, pushing Bell back into the Stock Hatch pack. Meanwhile, youngster Harry Campey was going superbly well as he moved up to second on the first lap but did fall back behind the regular front runners. Further back, Nathan Saunders arrived backwards into Druids on the first lap which dropped him to the back of the pack.
On the fourth lap both Farndon and Lee Deegan moved ahead of Bell. There was a clash between Rob Drake and Campey which sent Campey spinning at Paddock. The unfortunate Steve Powlesland, who had been moving up the field, hit Campey’s car which caused hefty damage to both Saxos. When the recovering Saunders had a spin into the gravel at the same corner a lap later, the red flags flew.
The race was restarted over five minutes plus one lap and a poor start from Bell allowed the Deegan brothers to make their way to the front. Tom Bell made his way to the front after the brothers made contact on lap two. Despite this Lee Deegan fought his way back into the lead on lap five, despite holding onto his lead until the end he was later disqualified for contact which meant Bell took the victory. Following separate contact with Farndon, Shayne Deegan was also excluded. In the Clios, Fincham took the win by just 0.04 seconds over Ward.
The ‘drivers of the day’ were Steve Powlesland (Saturday) and Trevor Gregory (Sunday).
As the cars sat in the collecting area the rain started to fall and only worsened as the race went on, but a good start from Andy Philpotts meant he edged ahead of pole man Lee Scott off the line. Scott soon took the lead at Paddock Hill Bend and Martyn Fowdrey followed him through a couple of corners later. Both Philpotts and Matt Rozier then passed the fast-starting Fowdrey.
The leading trio of Scott, Philpotts and Rozier went on to have a race-long battle which involved plenty of overtaking and the Fiesta of Scott having a couple of massive tank-slappers coming out of Paddock Hill Bend.
On the penultimate lap of the race there was contact between the Fiesta of Philpotts and the 205 of Rozier which allowed Scott to slip through and take the victory. Unfortunately for Rozier, he had an off on the final lap at Druids as the conditions deteriorated which put him out of the race. This allowed Fowdrey to clinch the final step of the podium ahead of Paul Thorpe who moved up through the grid throughout the race after starting down in ninth.
A stunning start was made by Matt Rozier which moved him up into second position from the third row of the grid, just behind the pole sitter Philpotts. Behind the leading pack Fowdrey had a large moment at Druids where he hit Scott’s Fiesta. Philpotts and Rozier were joined by Imran Khan in the battle for the lead but Philpotts slowed with a problem and Rozier’s boot flew open.
This allowed Khan to race to proceed to a dominant victory, Scott held onto second despite a problem on the final lap and Derek Rozier (205) managed to hold off the flying Mervyn Beckett (Nova) to finish in third. Dan Gibson had a spin off the grid, but had an incredible recovery to run in seventh but dropped back to 15th when his engine cut out.
Gibson had made a strong comeback on Saturday, too, which earned him the driver of the day award, with Michael Williamson collecting it on Sunday.
Rob Johnston made a perfect start to take the lead from his pole position and from that point the Cyana driver was never challenged and took victory in the first race of the year. A good scrap broke out behind him which saw Stewart Fenton pass the Eclipses of Paul Boyd and Clive Hudson, although Fenton eventually spun into the Paddock Hill Bend gravel. This allowed both Boyd and Hudson onto the podium. Front runner John Schneider had a couple of spins which dropped him down to sixth after running as high as third. John Plant finished fourth overall and took a convincing victory in the SR & GT part of the race after both Barry Sheppard (Nomad) and the Porsche 917 replica of Graham Turner had a spin at Druids.
Both Boyd and Hudson made strong starts which meant they put their Eclipses 1-2 after the first lap but both Johnston and Schneider’s Caterham moved ahead of Hudson into Paddock on the second lap. The pairing quickly made their way past Boyd ,too. It was on lap eight that Schneider moved his Caterham into the lead ahead of Johnston, holding on for victory. John Plant once again took the SR & GT win with eighth overall.
Billy Albone made a good start from the outside of the front row, moving to take the inside line for Paddock, but nevertheless pole man Dave Hodkin maintained the lead into Paddock Hill Bend. From this point Hodkin never looked back and took his third win in three races aboard his HRD Mk1.
Albone couldn’t go with the leader but held a strong second position. Behind him a strong start was made by Mark Glover as moved up two positions from his grid position to fourth, but Dave Robson and Martin Kemp passed him in the first few laps. Robson went on to challenge Nathaniel Cooper for third and took the podium position on lap four at Druids.
Cooper spun into the gravel at Clearways, while Robin Gearing finished fourth but was excluded for a technical infringement. That promoted veteran Bob Simpson, who passed Glover around the outside of Paddock Hill Bend on the final lap. There was a strong race for Chris Gough who came up from the back of the grid on lap one to finish in sixth. Martin Kemp retired after four laps in a cloud of smoke.
The first round of the 2013 Spire SportsCars 750MC Bikesports Championship at Brands Hatch on the 27th of April was a great example of high octane sports car racing. A strong field of 20 cars were entered, however two cars were sadly forced to withdraw after troubles in testing the day before, Iain Cumming had an engine failure in his Speads whilst Andrew Harwood damaged his Radical and couldn’t repair the car in time for the morning.
In qualifying, reigning RGB champion, Tim Gray in the new Bikesports specification Spire GT3 put in a fast time to secure pole position, with quick new comer Lewis Plato joining him on the front row. James Breakell and Hamish Brooks would form the second row with Adrian Reynard and Richard Stables on row three.
Race 1 got under way with Tim pulling out a sizable lead which he maintained all the way to the chequer flag to the delight of the Spire team. The battle for second was much more strongly contested, Adrian Reynard and James Breakell managed to get in front of Lewis Plato at the start and a furious battle for the other podium places place began between Breakell, Reynard, and Plato.
This Battle went on for most of the race with Breakell trying his best to get past Reynard. Lewis Plato chased the battling two making the odd move down the inside of Breakell, eventually Breakell, frustrated with Reynard’s defensive driving tried to our brake the Inverter into clearways. The two collided and Breakell spun down the order, Breakell rejoined and over the next 3 or 4 laps caught and passed Plato to secure 3rd place. Richard Stables drove a good race to finish fifth behind Lewis Plato.
Race 2 was a very different affair as shortly before the start the heavens opened, the race was declared a wet race and the spray and slippery curbs would catch a lot of people out. For the start the front row was reversed with Lewis Plato being the pole man. Row two was Breakell and Reynard with Richard Stables and Aaron Bailey on row three.
When the lights went out Breakell took the lead followed by the Inverter of Adrian Reynard and Tim Gray in his Spire. Breakell promptly spun at Druids which demoted him to last place, this mistake gave Adrian Reynard the lead which he held until a broken drive shaft put him out of the race. Lewis Plato overcame the tricky conditions to take a fine win with the always consistent Richard Stables in second. Tim Gray finished third ahead of Aaron Bailey, James Breakell ‘s recovery drive saw him take 5th place ahead of Hamish Brooks.
Full results for each race can be found via the relevant formula page on this website.
Further reports will be added as they are received from our reporters.