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Race report, Brands Hatch 4th May 2014

By Shawn Herrington

QMN Rounds three and four of the Quaife Motorsport News saloon car championship took place at Brands Hatch on Sunday. As part of the MG car club meeting, the whole event took place in glorious sunshine. Perhaps the increased temperatures also turned up the action in the races, as there were plenty of incidents.

The first race saw Rod Birley on pole position, with the unusual sight of a 1600cc Vauxhall Nova lining up alongside him. The diminutive Vauxhall had out qualified all the other much bigger engine cars and was in the hands of Jeremy Francis from Fleet in Hampshire. Rod’s normal sparring partner, Dale Gent, was lurking back in 19th position after his Subaru had experienced vibration problems in qualifying. Last year’s champion, Andy Woods-Dean, returned to line up 7th on the starting grid. From the rolling start Birley surged into the lead with his flame spitting Escort WRC. Behind him a huge battle raged between Jamie Liptrott in his BMW, Ian Butler in his Ford Focus and Paul Eve in his Ford Sapphire. Jezz Francis clung on gamely to the big cars, but then the race took a dramatic turn. The tin top class Peugeot of Ash Green’s Chris Bassett dropped a large amount of fluid on the track. Birley steered through the hazard, but the pursuing pack spun in all directions. The race was temporarily halted and six cars were eliminated. Liptrott and Butler effected quick repairs to their cars and the race re-started. Missing were Francis, Gent, Richardson, Scott, Pellin and of course Bassett.

Birley again controlled the pace and eased away to take a six second win from Butler and Eve, as the race was red flagged again. This time it was for the stranded Perry Winch, who had spun his Renault Clio into the Paddock Bend gravel trap. The first three were followed home by Liptrott, whose BMW was minus it’s front splitter. Tony Paxman took fifth position and won class D, after Bill Richards had a quick gyration. Sixth went to Bob Hosier in his new Seat from Woods-Dean, who took class E honours after the demise of Francis. Rounding out the top ten were Dave Charlton, Steve Dann and Andy Banham.

The concurrent Tin Tops section saw a close battle between Chris Whiteman and Tom Bridger, with returnee Kenny Coleman holding a watching brief in his Honda Civic. They finished in this order, covered by just over one second.

TinTops Race 19 of the programme was just for the Cannons Tin Tops. Again it was filled with drama as Barnaby Davies in his Toyota Starlet held a slender lead from Bridger and Whiteman. The Honda pilot got past the Rover Tomcat and then literally slid past the Toyota, as Davies fell foul on some more oil, which caught him out at Surtees. Just over a lap later Bridger plunged off the road at Druids, as he hit the same fluid. With Bassett parked up on the edge of the track, the red flags were again deployed.

On the restart Davies outdragged Whiteman to Paddock Bend, but again Chris hung on tenaciously. As the pair headed towards the last lap Whiteman got a good run out of Clearways and just edged in front along Brabham Straight. Davies looked to the outside going up Graham Hill, but realised that this is where the oil lay. The chequered flag saw Whiteman take victory by 0.5 of a second. Coleman came through to third with Vic Hope fourth after the retirement of Terry Searles. Class wins went to Peter Osborne in TP and Neal Gardiner in T4.

QMN The third race saw yet more action. This time Dale Gent was determined to try and catch Birley, but lost control of his Subaru on Brabham Straight. He performed a high speed 360 degree spin, which sent cars in all directions in avoidance. Somehow everyone missed the errant Subaru, but Dale retired with flat spotted tyres. Meanwhile Rod eased away from the battling Butler and Liptrott. Eve pitted when his engine lost oil pressure, but there was still another bit of drama to unfold. Birley was threading his way through the back markers until he came across the jostling pair of Peter Winstone and Perry Winch. As he was deciding where to pass them, the Winch Renault Clio suddenly spun in front of Rod as they came through Graham Hill bend on the final lap. The black Escort WRC just squeezed past by going off the circuit. The drama allowed the second place battle to close slightly, but Birley held on for his fourth win of the year. Butler took the runner up spot by just 0.056 of a second from the impressive Liptrott.

Hosier came home fourth, with Paxman narrowly holding off Woods-Dean, and a fast closing Bill Richards. Charlton was somewhat subdued in eight, but he did have the attention of Andy Banham and his class A Subaru. Glen Rossiter rounded out the top ten in his Renault Clio, from the similar car of Lennie Coad. In the Tin tops section Peter Osborne eclipsed the T4 runners again as Neal Gardiner took their class honours and with it the overall Cannons championship lead.

The Mark Fish tin top driver of the day award went to Barnaby Davies, with Bob Hosier taking the QMN honours. Best prepared car awards went to Cliff Pellin and Dave Charlton.

Next Race Meeting:

See you in 2019

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2. CHris Brockhurst
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Adrian Bradley
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Lewis Smith
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