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MN Saloons race report, Brands Hatch, 3rd May 2015

By Adam Grant

MN Saloons The second meeting for the Motorsport News saloon car championship produced a good turnout of 22 cars with some notable additions. Appearing for the first time this year, Rick May planted his all white Ford Escort Cosworth on pole position by over a second. With Rod Birley lining up second in his black version, it would be interesting to see how the expected battle developed. Third on the grid was Ian Butler just in front of Daniel Clark’s Vauxhall Astra turbo, which also runs in class B. Malcolm Wise lined up fifth from Alex Sidwell’s mighty Holden Commodore V8. The repaired Seat of Dave Charlton headed the class C competitors, with Steve Dann eighth. Mark Cripps and Gavin Thomson completed the top ten.

Following the rather wet qualifying session the track was completely dry for the first race. May headed the pack into Paddock Bend, as Birley drew alongside. The run up to Druids saw the two Fords still side by side, but by Graham Hill Bend Rick had edged in front. However, disaster then struck as the white Cosworth went into a lurid spin. This scattered cars in all directions as Birley dived to the left for a grassy moment. Clark went to the right and was somewhat caught out by the wet grass. Despite his best efforts he rejoined the tarmac only to be hit by Rossiter’s Renault Clio. For the second meeting running the Gravesend man was eliminated. Through all this drama Malcolm Wise emerged in the lead, but on the other side of the circuit there had been another incident. Having missed the start Alex Sidwell had accelerated hard from the pit lane exit only to slam into the retaining wall.

MN Saloons Wise led at the end of a very eventful first lap, with Birley recovering to second. Butler held third from a fast starting Thomson, with Dann in fifth position pursued by Andy Banham in his Subaru. Lap two saw Birley take the lead, but Wise clung on gamely. Into third came Thomson as he showed a good turn of speed with the class C Peugeot. Banham held sixth spot until lap five, when the recovering Clark moved ahead. The Vauxhall driver was being shown the black and orange flag due to bodywork damage, but he only responded when the black flag was shown. As Birley reeled off the laps Wise never gave up trying. In fact the yellow Cosworth set the fastest lap during the pursuit. Thomson took the final spot on the podium, as Butler suddenly ground to a halt on Cooper Straight. The Ford Focus had suffered alternator failure. This promoted Dann to fourth along with class B honours, although Banham was close behind in fifth. Matt Turner took sixth, with class E winner Craig Shepherd a fine seventh. Paul Nevill, Jamie Liptrott and Mark Cripps rounded out the top ten. Perry Winch claimed class D honours in his Steve Rothery run Renault Clio.

MN Saloons The second race saw Birley lead away from the rolling start. The drama this time came on lap three, as Sidwell went off at Paddock Bend and beached the big Aussie car. The safety car slowed the field so that the hard working marshals could move the errant machine to a safer resting place. Birley controlled the re-start and he slowly eeked out a safe margin. By the chequered flag the gap was just under three seconds. Wise was pleased to achieve a couple of good results, as was Thomson who secured third spot again. Turner powered his BMW up to fourth, narrowly beating the similar car of Liptrott. Banham just held off a fast closing Butler, after Dann retired with a c/v joint failure. Cripps, Nevill and Shepherd completed the top ten, with the latter again taking class E honours. Dave Charlton was a bit subdued in eleventh, although well clear of Martyn Scott and class D winner Winch. Bernie Baxter and Bill Richards completed the finishers following the retirement of Clark and Sean Fairweather. Paul Nevill took the best prepared car award with his very smart Ford Escort RS2000.

Birley’s Escort was thoroughly checked by the scrutineers. The restrictor was measured and passed as legal and sealed.

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