Brands Hatch hosted the second 750 Motor Club meeting of the year and the paddock was full to bursting with eager competitors. All 11 categories racing over the course of the weekend boasted a healthy grid with three formulas needing to race in groups due to being over Brands’ grid capacity.
The K-Tec Racing Clio 182 Series became a championship for the first time in 2015, and of the 34 cars that came to Kent, 20 were separated by a mighty impressive 1.75 seconds in qualifying. Pole man Matt Digby led the early stages of the opening encounter but fellow ex-Stock Hatchers Patrick Fletcher and Andrew Tibbs (in his first Clio race) dived through with a great move at Paddock Hill Bend on the sixth lap. Fletcher broke away through traffic to take the victory with Tibbs and Digby chasing. James Bark, moving over from Golfs, took fourth after a race long scrap with Jeff Humphries.
Race two was greeted with damp conditions and a very slippery circuit. Fletcher, starting from pole this time, couldn’t find any grip off the line and fell immediately to fifth with Digby heading Humphries at the front. Bark was a man on a mission though and was quickest to get to grips with the conditions perfectly. He passed Humphries on the second lap and chased down Digby. The leader controlled a big slide at half-distance at Clearways while Bark had a trip through the gravel dropping him back to fourth.
It only took Bark another three laps to get back to second and as Digby got stuck in traffic through a yellow flag zone the pair were back together. The Clio newcomer had a better run out of Clearways on the final lap and just pipped Digby across the line. The margin was so small between the pair that race control had to revert to a photo for clarification. Meanwhile, Tibbs had passed Humphries behind to take third with Fletcher in fifth.
The Demon Tweeks / Yokohama Locost Championship produced three cracking and traditional slipstreaming thrillers. Richard Bradley led early in the first encounter but struggled with overheating brakes so fell back to fifth. This allowed Stuart Sellars and Danny Andrew to battle for the victory. Andrew missed the last lap board and mistakenly allowed Sellars an easy run to pass and therefore win with Andrew, Ian Allee and Michael Roots all within one second.
Lee McNamara looked to have an easy race in the second bout but Jack Coveney, who had been as low as sixth and five seconds back, set fastest lap after fastest lap to close him in. He took the lead on the final tour but made his move slightly too early as the erstwhile race leader was able to slipstream him to the flag and claim the victory by just 0.02 seconds. James Millman seized his first podium in third with Tim Neat and James McAllister behind.
The third race saw a seven-car battle with places constantly switching between Sellars, McNamara and Andrew. Tim Neat and McNamara, who were both in the battle for the lead, had an off-track excursion on the last couple of laps that allowed Andrew to take the victory but only by 0.08 seconds with Sellars chasing. Roots, Coveney, Allee, Neat and McNamara were behind.
Despite three red flags over their two races, the 750MC Formula Vee Championship produced two excellent, traditional races, much like the Locosts. Double champion Paul Smith (AHS Dominator) was the early leader in the opener and was involved in a four-way dice with Ian Jordan (Sheane Jordan), Tim Probert (Storm) and Ian Buxton (GAC Daghorm). Each driver was fighting with a different chassis, and Buxton moved his way from the back of the train to the front with the lead-changing pass coming on lap seven. Jordan also passed Smith for second. Probert dropped back to 12th allowing class B’s James Harridge (Maverick Vee) up to fourth.
The lap chart might indicate that Smith led every lap bar the first of race two but Harridge made him work for the victory. Damp conditions suited his Maverick and despite running in class B he took the challenge to Smith but couldn’t find a way through. He claimed the first fastest lap for a class B car in his challenge for the overall victory. Craig Pollard (Bears GAC) took third after Jordan fell off at Druids, falling back to sixth.
John Cutmore (Spire GT3) won both Disklok RGB Championship races after a trying week for the team after the car was punted into the pit wall during testing. Cutmore chased down Alastair Boulton (Spire) in race one but didn’t need to pass him as Boulton had to pull out with a gear linkage failure. Scott Mittell (Mittell MC-52B) had already fallen back as the car went immediately into limp mode off of the line but a trip to the pits reset it and he went on to set the fastest lap. Paul Rogers (Contour RGB09) also retired due to a blown engine. In what was a race of attrition, Cutmore won by five seconds to Duncan Horlor (Spire) and Oliver Hewitt (Spire).
Horlor made a stunning start to lead early in race two but Mittell and Cutmore passed him and went on to compete in a fantastic battle. The pair ran nose-to-tail slicing past backmarkers. On the eleventh lap Cutmore choose the quicker way through Druids and grabbed the lead and went on to win with Mittell and Horlor behind. David Watson (MNR GM2) and James Walker (TGM Phoenix) won in class F. Colin Spicer (Wildmoor DM1 RS) came second twice.
Jim Davies won the first Millers Oils Toyota MR2 Championship race but was excluded for a non-compliant car, along with Phil Hutchins and Ben Rowe, who’d worked his way from the back to finish fifth. That allowed Alex Knight to take the victory after passing Kristian White on the penultimate lap at Surtees with Mark Barber in third. Dave Hemingway drove excellently to take his class A Mk1 to fourth. Jonathan Grimes took class C honours.
Stuart Nicholls got the better of Rob Wells on the ninth lap of race two with a fantastic move into Paddock. Wells fell behind fellow class B runners Shaun Traynor and Tim Heron by the end with Merill Readett taking class A honours. The final race also saw Wells loose the lead when he went off at Clearways – again the ninth lap which seemed to be his nemesis. That allowed Traynor to win ahead of Nicholls – both claiming class honours. Heron finished third and Hemingway won class A.
Steve Roberts is still unbeaten in the 2015 Gaz Shocks Safety Devices Compact Cup after taking two more victories, both he and Owen Hunter passed early leader Ian Jones in the first encounter. In the final race Roberts held off Mike Tovey, who had won the second bout – the race that Roberts wasn’t competing in. Tovey won by just 0.07 seconds in that second one with a charging James Gornall closing up to him at the end after running sixth in the early stages.
Ben Short won a further two races in the 5Club Racing MX5 Cup to extend his championship lead. James Rogers took the battle to him in the opener but lost out in traffic. Rogers held on to second after Will Blackwell-Chambers spun on the final lap promoting Jack Sycamore. Blackwell-Chambers got second in the later race with Sycamore third. Rogers came from the back, due to a weight infringement, to finish fifth.
Lee Scott (Ford Fiesta XR2i) was the double victor in the Demon Tweeks / Yokohama Classic Hatch Championship as he aims for his sixth title. He was dominant in race one while a titanic battle for second occurred behind. Matt Stubington (Peugeot 205GTi) took second after Matt Rozier (205) spun in traffic falling to 12th. Andrew Thorpe (Citroen AX) claimed third with Stewart Place (205) behind, in by far his best race. Scott beat Thorpe and Rozier in a damp second race. Chris Martin (XR2i) was quick and led early in only his third race meeting but had a couple of spins at Paddock.
Adam Shepherd won in his third race in the Tegiwa Civic Cup. He had a lights-to-flag victory after holding off Endaf Owens, and Mark Higginson finished third. Carl Swift made an almighty start in the reverse grid race to go from sixth to first by Paddock. He held on to the lead despite Bernard Galea and Shepherd on his tail. Tim Evans and Andrew Hough won in class A.
The dominant Deegan brothers shared the honours in the Demon Tweeks / Yokohama Stock Hatch Championship. The pair were never separated by more than a car length throughout the weekend. Shayne couldn’t pass Lee in race one but finally moved ahead on the final lap of the second after setting the move up many laps earlier. Scott Sharp took third twice and Tom Bell won in Hot Hatch on both occasions.
Robin Gearing (Darvi P88) took his third victory of the season in the Premier Choice 750 Formula Championship. He held off David Bartholomew (PRS 1B), who started to struggle towards the end of the race. Bill Cowley (Cowley Mk4) was third but won the second in damp conditions in a convincing fashion. Gearing and Bartholomew completed the podium again. Dick Hartle (Tristesse Mk7) and Daniel Welsh (Racekits Falcon) won in class B.