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Cannons TinTops race report, Brands Hatch, 2nd May 2015

By Rod Birley

TinTops The Cannon’s Tin Tops, supported by Mark Fish motorsport, started their season at Brands Hatch on Saturday. A healthy initial entry of 24 drivers was whittled down to 18 by the time qualifying started. This only lasted a couple of minutes until Chris Bassett dumped a large amount of oil as he ground to a halt just past the pit entrance. After a fair amount of cement dust was put down the session resumed. Tom Bridger set the fastest time then promptly spun going into Clearways. Chris Whiteman wound up second with his Honda, over 1.5 seconds ahead of Terry Searles. The very smart Honda of Carey Lewis lined up fourth.

Neal Gardiner and Daniel Adams had missed qualifying with car maladies, but were both ready for the first race along with Bassett. From the rolling start Bridger edged in front with Whiteman shadowing him. Lewis briefly got ahead of Searles, but the positions were soon reversed. Dominic Ryan popped through in fifth, fending off the T1 BMW of Len Colley and Peter Osbourne’s new Vauxhall Astra turbo. The first retirement was Daniel Adams when an injector wire came off, then on lap three Mikey Day hit the tyre wall hard coming out of Druids. Opinions will always vary as to exactly what happened, but there was evidence of a close encounter with another car. On the next lap Gordon Cooper pulled off on the outside of Druids as a lambda sensor had failed on his engine. Unfortunately as he was instructed to go forward he ended up in the gravel. The safety car was therefore deployed.

TinTops On the re-start Bridger continued to lead, but Bassett had made stunning progress from the rear of the grid. By now he was 7th, but a lap later he was up to 5th and looking for a way past the Searles/Lewis battle. However, that was as far as the Peugeot got, on the very next lap it’s engine seized and Bassett was out. Last year’s champion Neal Gardiner was already on the sidelines as a mixture of water in the oil halted his progress. By now Osborne was getting used to his new car and he managed to find a way past Colley into sixth. The last lap proved to be very dramatic as Bridger suddenly slowed coming out of Clearways and Whiteham dived past to take an unexpected win. A c/v joint had broken in the Rover 220. More drama befell Carey Lewis as his Honda’s engine expired just as he approached Clearways. This meant that behind Searles came a jubilant Ryan in fourth overall, also win the T3 category. Osborne came home fifth, from Colley, Farndon, Pellin (TP class winner), Aylward and Turner.

TinTops The draw for the second grid put Len Colley into pole position, with Whiteman relegated to sixth. It was Colley who made the best start pulling out a small but useful gap. The rest meanwhile were all squabbling over second place until Whiteman emerged just in front of Bridger. It didn’t take these two long to catch the BMW E30, and by the end of lap two Bridger led from Whiteman. Colley clung onto third for a couple more laps until Osborne powered past. Searles followed through a lap later, pursued by an on form Ryan. The race up front seemed settled as Bridger appeared to have a safe margin. However, for the second time cruel luck struck the Brenchley driver as the master switch suddenly cut the engine out. As Tom pulled over Chris sped to his second win of the day. A somewhat surprised Osborne gladly claimed the runner up spot, with Searles upholding MG honours in third. Daniel Adams made stunning progress from last position to fourth overall, and class TP winner, with Colley a good fifth. Robert Farndon showed a much improved turn of speed to take sixth overall and the driver of the day award. Ryan slipped back to 7th, but still took T3 honours. Pellin was next, followed by James Aylward who also won the best prepared car award. Robert Taylor rounded out the top ten, just two days before his birthday.

Special mention to the other newcomers who have joined the Tin tops this year, namely David Packham with the smart little Suzuki Ignis, Adrian Matthews and his Ford Puma plus Ben Wilson and his Peugeot. You are all welcome.

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See you in 2019

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