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Championships round one make a big impression.

By Brian Phillips

Intermarque race The opening races in the Centre's 2013 championships supplied some of the highlights of a busy weekend at Brands Hatch on April 20/21, with the headline spectacle of the British Truck Racing Championship ensuring a big audience for our drivers and their sponsors. Quaife/Motorsport News saloons shared the track with Cannons Motorspares Tin Tops in a full-to-capacity field, and the Quaife Intermarques won praise from both officials and spectators for their smart turnout. A partially reversed grid in race two was an extra ingredient for the Intermarques.

Action aplenty from big saloon car entry

Birley leads QMN Former champion Rod Birley launched his QMN title challenge with two outright wins, but there were clear signs he won't have things all his own way in class A. Reigning champion Gavin Thomson (class C), QMN newcomer Ian Butler (B), Steve Rothery (D) and Andy Woods-Dean (E) were all double winners in their respective classes, so at this early stage it's level pegging in the points table. In race one Birley broke away from the rest in close company with Alex Sidwell, Malcolm Wise and Dale Gent. Dale has been away from the tracks for a while but produced some brave overtaking moves to reach second place and looked a real threat to Birley in traffic. Wise stalked Sidwell before slicing past at the hairpin near the end for a hard-earned third place.

TinTops action Fifth man Thomson finished more than half a minute behind but kept class C rival Peter Taylor at arm's length. They were followed by Butler and Rothery, Danny Innes in his new class A Seat and Alan Phillips who completed the top ten. Alan headed a closely matched group which included Tin Tops winner Chris Whiteman (T3) in 11th, Brett Lidsey in his new Clio and Woods-Dean. Peter Winstone (T1), Peter Osborne (TP) and Dominic Ryan (T4) were the other Tin Tops class winners. Birley had a much more comfortable win in race two, helped by Gent running out of brakes and Wise being flagged off with a damaged front splitter dragging on the road. Sidwell was second, with class winners Thomson, Butler, Rothery and Woods-Dean next. Phillips suffered engine damage when his car was started up in the paddock, so the other top ten finishers were Lidsey, Taylor, Peter Wilkinson and Whiteman with little daylight between any of them. Tom Bridger won Tin Tops T1 this time and Osborne and Ryan repeated their earlier successes.

One of the hard luck stories of the weekend related to Ashley Hargreaves, who crunched his car in qualifying. Ashley feared he was facing a lengthy absence from the track, but while he returned to Essex for a new radiator a band of willing volunteers straightened the Peugeot's crumpled front end and he made the race one grid just in time. A broken exhaust then forced him out, and after good progress in race two from a lowly grid position the car started losing gears. He carried on to score some useful consolation points.

New-look Intermarques full of promise

With full championship status successfully achieved, the main focus switching to the HR class and a reversed second grid adding extra spice, the Intermarque prospects for the new season are bright. Matt Moore's class A car and Chris Brockhurst's HR were the first weekend's winners, but along with additional drivers, there's much more to come as the season progresses. A 20-plus entry was reduced by two for race one when Daniel Smith's car had mechanical problems and Neil Jessop's had trouble with the noise test. Matt Simpson took pole, but Moore's turbo Escort not surprisingly powered ahead from the rolling start and stayed in front. Matt and Jeff Simpson followed, then came Simon Smith (after brother Richard had a moment at Paddock), and long circuit "novice" Malcolm Blackman.

Brockhurst was on the move after problems in qualifying and passed Jeff Simpson on lap 16. Ian Conibear tried to join this contest but spun his rapid Caterham in a misunderstanding with John Chasey's similar car. Confusion reigned in the final stages when Mark Fuller dropped oil and cars slithered in all directions but the top ten finishing order was Moore, Matt Simpson, Brockhurst, Jeff Simpson, Simon Smith, Blackman, Richard Smith, Ray Harris, Ross Loram and Chris Ayling.

Race winner Moore had the doubtful honour of conducting the draw to decide which car between sixth and tenth would start race two from pole position. He pulled out number ten, leaving himself with plenty to do from the fifth row.

Loram leads Intermarque Loram set the early pace until Richard Smith went off backwards while trying to pass round the outside of Paddock, and on the same lap Brockhurst took over the lead. Jeff and Matt Simpson soon settled into second and third, but most eyes were on a fraught duel between Simon Smith and Moore in which Matt enjoyed a straightline advantage and Simon regained the lost ground on the corners. This wasn't resolved until the last lap when Moore grabbed an advantage, and fourth place. Conibear further demoted Smith on the final dash to the flag. Behind these two, Loram, Blackman, Russell Humphrey and Colin Watson's Caterham completed the top ten.

Coming soon

The QMN and Tin Tops will race together again at Brands Hatch on May 5 in round two of their championships. The Intermarques travel to the picturesque Cadwell Park circuit a week later.

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