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Intermarques shine at first American SpeedFest.

By Brian Phillips

Intermarque Our Intermarques had almost certainly their biggest ever audience when they appeared at the heavily promoted first American Speedfest at Brands Hatch in support of the European answer to the NASCAR championship. Sadly the grey, cold weather did not match the occasion, but apart from a hint of rain in the air, at least it stayed dry.

A 24-car entry included first championship outings for Ben Taylor in a former Luke Armiger short track Tigra, Malcolm Harding in another Vauxhall clone and Ian Butler's SLK, previously seen on display in the paddock. Keith White make a welcome first 2013 appearance in his BMW Z4 and Mick Robertson's long rebuild was finally completed, the team presenting his Corrado in a sparkling white livery.

Qualifying was affected by a safety car intervention after Harding's Tigra stopped with seized front brakes on its first lap and took a good deal of shifting. Matt Moore was the only driver under the 50s mark, but the strain was too much on his Escort's engine and Matt didn't appear for the races. Also in trouble and out for the day was Ray Harris in his SLK. Lewis Smith suffered a broken engine in his Peugeot, but in his case this was just the start of the story.

Intermarque After qualifying ninth, Richard Smith gave up his drive so that son Lewis could start at the back in the Tigra with the other drivers' agreement. He was joined by Harding. The rolling start was too close for comfort for some, and a tangle at Paddock left Armiger, White and Mike Thurley limping out of harm's way and into retirement. Harding triggered an immediate safety car period when his brakes jammed again on Cooper Straight.

At the resumption Chris Brockhurst soon took the initiative from Matt and Jeff Simpson and Malcolm Blackman. However, all eyes were on Lewis Smith, who charged up the order to fifth place on lap nine and joined the battle for third between Jeff Simpson and Blackman a few laps later. Fourth on Cooper Straight for the penultimate time, Lewis grabbed third into the final lap, but a momentary hesitation with a dodgy clutch allowed Jeff to regain a podium place half a lap from the end. Uncle Simon Smith was also on a late charge, taking fifth from Blackman.

Behind Blackman, Torquay postman Ross Loram, newcomer Ben Taylor, Russell Humphrey and Neil Jessop filled out the top ten. Former racing star Jack Sears handed out the awards and drew the number of ninth man Humphrey for pole position on the partially reversed race two grid.

Intermarque The big crowd had started to thin out after the final NASCAR race, but those who stayed were enthralled by the early action as the race one pace-setters moved towards the front again. Taylor, Blackman and Lewis Smith all had a turn in the lead amid much hectic jostling for position before Matt Simpson took control in a car much improved in the interval.

Lewis Smith fell back and finally retired with his car stuck in gear, and in a race of heavy attrition Simon Smith stopped with a gearbox problem after reaching third place, Ross Loram had his differential go, Chris Ayling's car also expired and Neil Jessop only lasted four laps. One which survived was the troublesome Harding car, which rewarded Malcolm with ninth place.

Intermarque With Matt Simpson out of reach at the front, Brockhurst was secure in second despite a misfire from a suspected carburettor problem. Blackman and newcomer Taylor contested third until contact at Clearways put Taylor into the gravel trap and Blackman struggled round with smoke pouring from a damaged rear corner ahead of a rapidly closing Daniel Smith, only finisher from the Smith clan. Jeff Simpson, race one spinner Mark Fuller, Humphrey and Armiger followed and the top ten was completed by Harding and Baz Johnson's Pontiac.

Driver of the Day which was Malcolm Blackman, and the four Avon tyre award winners: Matt Simpson, Luke Armiger, Mark Fuller and Daniel Smith.

Next Race Meeting:

18th-19th November 2017
Brands Hatch
QMN and TinTops Non-Championship

Latest Galleries:

Latest gallery Quaife Modified Saloons with Cannons TinTops,
24th September 2017

Latest gallery Scrapco Avon Intermarque,
23rd September 2017

Latest gallery Quaife Cannons TinTops,
23rd September 2017

Last Race Results

Quaife Modified Saloons:

1. Andy Banham
2. Graham Crowhurst
3. Matthew Turner
See full results

Quaife / Cannons TinTops:

1. Rod Birley
2. Dan Fisher
3. James J.J. Ross
See full results

Scrapco / Avon Intermarque:

1. Malcolm Blackman
2. Matt Simpson
3. Daniel Smith
See full results

2017 Champions (Provisional):

Quaife Modified Saloons:

Rod Birley
See full standings

Quaife / Cannons TinTops:

Dan Fisher
See full standings

Scrapco / Avon Intermarque:

Malcolm Blackman See full standings