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Brands Hatch Race Reports - Josh Barrett

Mon 28 Apr 2014

Safety Devices | Gaz Shocks BMW Compact Cup

A packed entry saw the Safety Devices | Gaz Shocks Compact Cup split into three groups.
The first Compact Cup race (for groups B and C) was a thrilling encounter with six cars battling it out for the victory. Alex Dew, Neil Roche, David Drinkwater, Mike Tovey and Michael Gray were all in with a shot of top step, but it was Alex Dew who managed to keep the raging five car pack off of his rear bumper to take his first win in the series for two years. Mike Tovey crossed the line in second position after making a move stick on Alan Kirkaldy on the sixth lap of the race.

Steve Roberts returned to winning ways in the second race of the weekend for groups C and A. However, he had to work for it with Kirkaldy breathing down his neck throughout the race until he spun out at Paddock which dropped him back to eleventh. This allowed Stuart Voyce to finish second ahead of Simon Roche, who had made a heroic effort to get to the grid after earlier ending qualifying on his roof. The top fourteen were separated by less than fourteen seconds – that is a gap smaller than what Roberts won by on occasions last season which shows how competitive this season is for the Compact Cup.

Roberts took a second victory (on a wet circuit) in the third race which saw groups A and B take to the track. Roberts had to pass Dew on the second lap and then defend for the rest of the distance to keep the race one winner behind him. Drinkwater, who took a double victory at Donington Park, finished in third ahead of Tovey and James Nutbrown.

Millers Oils Toyota MR2 Championship

Mick Nicholls led the race from his first ever pole position in the category but it was the reigning champion, Matt Palmer that moved to the front on the third lap and would pull six second clear by the end of the race. Jim Davies passed Nicholls on lap six but they were both passed by Mick’s son, Stuart. Robert Wells also found his way ahead of Mick Nicholls to finish in fourth behind Stuart Nicholls and Davies. Michael Wells and Matthew Wallis completed the top seven and finished on the tail of Mick Nicholls.

On a wet circuit in race two, Palmer moved straight to the front and drove clear of the field to take his fourth win in four races in 2014 by seven seconds to Jim Davies. Stuart Nicholls was running in third position until the final lap when Ben Rowe found a way ahead to finish on the podium for the first time this season. Tim Heron finished in fifth ahead of John Wilson, Robert Wells and Kristian White who had a battle to the chequered flag.

Demon Tweeks | Yokohama Stock Hatch Championship

Shayne Deegan led the first five laps of the opening round of the Stock Hatch Championship but lost the lead whilst lapping which dropped him down behind his brother Lee and reigning champion, Tom Bell. Bell, who started down in ninth, tried to find a way to pass Lee Deegan but was unable to do so and therefore Deegan took the victory from Bell with brother Shayne in third. Philip Wright and Steve Powlesland had a race-long battle for fourth where Wright moved into the position on lap twelve. The pair were over twenty seconds behind the dominant trio at the front. Terry Roughton just beat Scott Sharp to sixth position.

With new shock absorbers on, Shayne Deegan struggled to continue the pace that gave him pole position and dropped down to third. Bell, who made an incredible start and jumped from twelfth to third in the first few corners, couldn’t find a way ahead of leader Deegan, but set a new lap record of 57.24 as he tried. Carl Swift, who retired in race one, finished in fourth ahead of Paul Jarvis, who had a spin at the start of the race one. Powlesland defend off Sharp in the battle for sixth.

Demon Tweeks | Yokohama Classic Stock Hatch Championship 

A fantastic field of twenty-eight cars graced the start of the 2014 championship, with many possible contenders for the victory. However, it was last year’s champion Lee Scott that started from pole position. Nevertheless, it was Andy Philpotts that led the opening lap of the season after a cracking start to lead the way from Scott and Andrew Thorpe in third. It was that trio of cars that managed to make a break from the rest of the field. It took until the seventh lap when the reigning champion Scott managed to move ahead of Philpotts and take the lead and pull out a gap of three seconds by the end of the race, with Philpotts and Thorpe behind him. After initially falling behind the leaders, Matt Rozier clawed the gap back in but couldn’t go any better than fourth. Matt Stubbington finished in fifth after Andrew Lightstead was given a ten second penalty.

Thorpe made an excellent start in the second race to jump from fourth to first. He continued to lead for thirteen laps, unfortunately for him it was the fourteenth and final lap which mattered and it was Scott who crossed the line first to take a second race victory. Rozier span into the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend, due to a snapped wishbone, which allowed Philpotts to take a second podium of the weekend, albeit this time in third. Lightstead finished in fourth ahead of Martyn Fowdrey, who span at the beginning of the first race, and Martin Cayzer made up the top six.

Tegiwa Civic Cup

Rob Baker made what is becoming to be a traditional poor start to lose his pole position to Luke Sedzikowski, who is getting a reputation for launching his Civic into the lead off of the line. When Sedzikowski missed a gear out of Graham Hill Bend on the fourth lap Baker got boxed in and it allowed Rich Hockley into the lead. Baker worked his way ahead of Sedzikowski and then Hockley on the tenth lap of the race to take another race victory. Mark Anderson, who was part of an early four car scrap for the lead finished fourth ahead of Nathan Burrell.

Hockley rushed into an early advantage in race two after another poor start was made by Baker where he fell down to sixth off of the line. However, Baker had worked his way into second by the sixth lap, at this point track conditions had got slippery as the rain began to fall. Baker closed in on Hockley but couldn’t pass him which allowed Hockley to score his first victory of the season. Burrell passed Sedzikowski for third position on the eleventh lap of the race, Anderson finished fifth.

Demon Tweeks | Yokohama Locost Championship

Lee McNamara led the early stages of the first Locost race until carnage was caused by a slippery surface at Graham Hill Bend, causing multiple cars to spin out. This allowed the returning Tom Coller to drive clear at the front and take a victory of eleven seconds. Thomas Robinson held on to finish second after taking that position away from Martin Welland on the eleventh lap of the race. Welland would hold on for a podium finish ahead of Richard Bradley and Matthew Booth.

Danny Andrew slowly worked out a gap to the rest of the field in the second Locost race to pull clear of Matt Brooks, McNamara and Welland who battled over second position. Richard Jenkins would join that battle later in the race to finish in fifth. Brooks had to work hard to defend off the attentions of his rivals throughout the distance in the slipstreaming formula.

Race three saw Coller and Andrew battle for the victory. Andrew successfully found a way through on the eighth lap where Coller lost time and most importantly, the slipstream. Therefore, Andrew was able to stay clear to take his second victory of the day with Coller finishing in second. Lee Bankhurst worked his way through the field from eleventh and was looking to finish in third, but Robinson moved into that position on the final lap. He started from eighteenth on the grid.

Sports Specials Championship

Edward Ives lined up on pole position after a wet qualifying session for Sports Specials but it was Paul Boyd who took the early advantage. Boyd would never lose the lead but had to defend hard in the closing stages when Clive Hudson attacked hard, after clawing his way up from ninth on the grid. Ives held onto third and the victory in class C ahead of his class rival, Paul Collingwood. Stewart Fenton finished in fifth, albeit a large margin behind the top four. Adrian Cooper won in class B ahead of the reigning champion, Colin Benham.

Boyd led the early stages in race two but was unable to hold off Hudson who fought his way into the lead on the sixth lap of the race. Boyd challenged Hudson but wasn’t able to move ahead of the fellow Eclipse driver. Ives claimed another overall podium and class C victory after holding off Collingwood. Fenton claimed another fifth place finish. Marcus Roskill took the class B victory ahead of Martin Buckland.

5Club MX5 Cup

Brian Chandler managed to defend off Will Blackwell-Chambers, who was the dominant Donington Park double winner, in the first race at Brands Hatch. Blackwell-Chambers attempted to draw up alongside Chandler towards the line but Chandler took the victory by 0.02 seconds. Gary Hufford fell down to seventh at the end of the first lap but managed to fight his way back onto the podium. Multiple car battles were a feature of the race and it was James Rodgers who managed to hold on to fourth ahead of Chris Lovett. Andrew Coombs came across the line in sixth leading a gaggle of five cars at the end of the race.

Rodgers led the early stages of race two but Chandler came through on lap three and pulled out a gap of eight seconds. Blackwell-Chambers had to work his way up from tenth on the grid and took second on the tenth lap when he sliced past both Hufford and Rogers at Paddock Hill Bend. Hufford held onto his podium position when the red flags flew due to Matthew Short spinning into the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend. Lovett and Stephen Craggs completed the top six.

Premier Choice Group 750 Formula Championship

Despite starting from seventh on grid after a wet qualifying session, Billy Albone rocketed into the lead of the first race. Albone would pull out an eight second gap to his closest rival, Bill Cowley who came home in second position. Mick Harris managed to fight off Bob Simpson for the final step on the podium. However, Simpson did have to pass both Robin Gearing and Martin Kemp to cross the line in fourth position.

Albone took his fourth victory of the season in the second race at Brands Hatch but had to work harder than the previous three races for it. He started from eighth on the grid and worked his way up to second by Graham Hill Bend on the first lap but Bill Cowley defended his race lead. It wasn’t until the eighth lap of the race when Albone managed to make a move that would stick. Cowley fought him to the end but couldn’t find a way back through. Gearing didn’t fall too far off the leaders either, only two seconds at the end of the race, in third position. Simpson had another race battling with Harris, this time for fourth position. In this encounter it was Simpson that beat Harris to the chequered flag in a scrap that lasted the whole race distance. Kemp rounded off the top six for a second time.
Andrew Lake took a double victory in class B with Nigel Harvey in second place for both encounters.

Tillotson Formula Vee Championship

Paul Smith started 2014 with yet more dominance as he took a sixteen second victory in the first race of the season. Martin Farmer qualified on the front row but had to make a pit stop to replace a spark plug. Pete Belsey took the fight to Smith in the early stages but got stuck in third gear which dropped him down to twelfth. Paul Taylor finished in second after fighting his way past Ben Miloudi. Steve Ough also passed Miloudi to stand on the third step of the podium. Ian Jordan finished in fifth to round off the quartet of cars battling for, what would eventually be, second position. Graham Gant was the best of the rest and finished in sixth.

Smith looked like he would be making it a double victory in the second race until the car dramatically slowed when a fuel filter failed on the penultimate lap of the race, causing him to fall down to eighth. Farmer and Jordan, who were scrapping throughout the race for second, suddenly were battling for the lead and Farmer was able to hold on to take the victory ahead of Jordan. Daniel Pitchford managed to just score a podium finish as he passed the chequered flag 0.01 seconds ahead of Taylor. Ough and Gant were also part of the battle, for what eventually would be third, to finish in fifth and sixth respectively.