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Simpson starts title defence with a winning double

By Brian Phillips

Intermarque Quaife Intermarque Champion Matt Simpson launched his 2014 season with two wins at Brands Hatch on Saturday April 12. Even though Matt’s regular sparring partner Chris Brockhurst was away preparing for his wedding, Simpson didn’t have things all his own way. Malcolm Blackman showed the benefits of a year’s long circuit experience by staying very much in touch and recording a pair of second places.

A 21-car entry was down to 17 by race day, the result of cars not being ready, problems in testing and sheer bad luck in the case of Malcolm Harding, who had a fall and broke a bone in his shoulder in the preceding week. Newcomer Kurt Russell reduced the total to 16 when he crashed after setting a promising midfield qualifying time.

David Brooks qualified 0.008s behind Simpson for a surprise front row start with Malcolm Blackman third and Simon Smith fourth ahead of nephew Lewis. Mike Thurley headed the Senior Cup section for drivers who admit to being over 50, but his advantage was even smaller than Simpson’s.

Intermarque Matt led from the start of race one and Blackman took second place into the hairpin. That was the order until the race ended after 18 laps, but there were only fractions between them until Brooks slowed with an overheating engine. He remained clear of White, who seized the Senior advantage and headed Lewis Smith well clear of Thurley and Mark Fuller, who had a sometimes fraught duel for sixth overall and second among the seniors.

A broken halfshaft accounted for Simon Smith after two laps and Philip Blackford was having trouble getting his car out of fourth gear. A qualifying misfire on Neil Jessop’s car hadn’t gone away, and Ray Harris, who suffered a small fire in qualifying, had his transmission seize on the green flag lap.

Intermarque Thurley was promoted to pole position for race two in the draw for a partially reversed grid, but he had little time to enjoy the view from the front because a storming getaway took Simpson from sixth into the lead by Graham Hill Bend. Left behind in the Paddock gravel trap were White and Ross Loram, victims of some jostling away from the start. Paul Adams joined them briefly but was heaved back to the tarmac by marshals and completed the race.

When the safety car returned to the pits Blackman soon passed Lewis Smith for second place. Behind the leading trio Thurley worked hard to keep Simon Smith and Fuller at bay, but a mistake at Graham Hill Bend cost him two places. He regained one of them when Fuller retired, and the laps ran out before the recovering Harris could catch Thurley for fifth. Mike was also first of the more mature competitors.

David Brooks escaped from the first corner scrum and survived a lurid moment on the grass out of Graham Hill Bend, but his engine problems put him out after a handful of laps.

The four Avon tyre award winners are: Ricky Hunn, Philip Young, Ray Harris and Neil Jessop. Neil also won the driver of the day award.

Next Race Meeting:

23rd September 2017
Brands Hatch (TinTops and Intermarque)

24th September 2017
Brands Hatch (QMS)

Latest Galleries:

Latest gallery Quaife Modified Saloons with Cannons TinTops,
10th September 2017

Latest gallery Scrapco Avon Intermarque,
3rd September 2017

Latest gallery Quaife Cannons TinTops,
2nd September 2017

Last Race Results

Quaife Modified Saloons:

1. Rod Birley
2. Malcolm Wise
3. Paul Adams
See full results

Quaife / Cannons TinTops:

1. Dan Fisher
2. Rod Birley
3. Bob Hosier
See full results

Scrapco / Avon Intermarque:

1. Lewis Smith
2. Malcolm Blackman
3. Keith White
See full results

2017 Championship Leaders:

Quaife Modified Saloons:

Rod Birley
See full standings

Quaife / Cannons TinTops:

Dan Fisher
See full standings

Scrapco / Avon Intermarque:

Malcolm Blackman See full standings