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Race Meeting Report, Brands Hatch, 4th-5th November 2017

By Adam Grant
Photos: Rafal Biniszewski

Quaife Cannons TinTops Championship

TinTops A massive crowd attended the end of year truck meeting at Brands Hatch at the weekend and they certainly witnessed some dramatic racing.

In the Quaife/ Cannons Tin Tops there were plenty of talking points right from the start. West Kingsdown driver Kam Tunio has acquired a class T3 Honda Civic since the last meeting. Amazingly he planted this on pole position which certainly raised eyebrows and made fellow competitors enquire about his tyres. The Honda Integra of Rod Birley lined up second, with JJ Ross next in his Vauxhall Astra, who had championship leader Dan Fisher alongside. Bob Hosier qualified fifth with Vic Hope next up followed by the similar Honda of Dave Hutchins.

The first race saw Tunio and Birley go side by side towards Paddock Bend, then Tunio locked his brakes and slid into the Integra, forcing both cars into the gravel trap. Somehow they both scrambled their way out, but had both lost a considerable number of places. With Hosier non-starting due to a clutch issue, Alfie Brooker charged up to sixth position in his BMW Mini. Meanwhile Birley was regaining places at a good rate, and by lap five was back up to fourth position. He struggled to pass the equally matched Honda Civic of Dave Hutchins and it took until lap 13 to edge clear. By now the two leaders (Fisher and Ross) were well in front, so Rod settled for third, with Tunio coming home fourth and winning class T3 easily. Dave Hutchins slipped back to fifth whilst Alfie Brooker held onto sixth. Bradley Lane went well to take 7th with Mikey Day next home. The top ten were rounded out by Steve Everson and Jon Wild. Gideon September won the TP class.

The second race saw no drama at the first corner, but exiting Druids hairpin Tunio ran wide and tangled with the Citroen Saxo of Ben Forbes. Both cars ended up in the tyre barrier unable to continue. Birley moved up to second position, just before the safety car appeared to allow the marshals to move the stricken cars. When the safety car pulled off Birley stayed close behind the leader Dan Fisher. These two soon pulled away from James Ross and Alfie Brooker. With two laps to go Birley made his move exiting Clearways corner and took the lead, which he held until the chequered flag appeared.

With Fisher and Ross second and third, it was a surprise to see Glen Rossiter charge through to fourth. His lap times were over two seconds faster than anyone else, which again raised eyebrows. Unfortunately Glen had fitted non-compliant tyres and was subsequently excluded by the officials. This also cost him third place in the T1 championship as he received a 50 point deduction.

On the revised classification Lane was awarded fourth position, followed by Alfie Brooker then came Mikey Day winning T3. Next up was Hutchins just holding off Everson, with Wild going well in 9th. Marcus Bicknell completed the top ten followed by September, who again won class TP.

So Dan Fisher deservedly took the championship, having fended off strong class opposition from Birley and Chris Whiteman. Sadly Chris’s mechanic, known to everyone as “Skid”, passed away just before the meeting, which meant Whiteman was absent. JJ Ross took the T1 championship, with Day top of the T3 points and September easily winning TP.

Scrapco Avon Intermarque Championship

Intermarque The Scrapco/Avon Tyres intermarque again had a good turnout, which was very good to see. It would be so good if 25 cars can appear regularly. Qualifying saw Malcolm Blackman slug it out with Lewis Smith, with the red Vauxhall Tigra snatching pole position. Steve Burrows did well to line up third from previous champion Matt Simpson (in Malcolm Harding’s car). Keith White was the leading senior driver in fifth, followed by Daniel Smith, back in his father’s Mercedes SLK. Chris Brockhurst was 7th from the very impressive Jason Hunn (driving his father’s rather old Peugeot 205). Just behind him was his brother Danny Hunn in the rather new Mazda RX8! Completing the top ten was Mike Thurley.

Race one saw Lewis Smith make the better start and sprint into an early lead. On lap four the safety car appeared because Simon Smith (driving Ricky Hunn’s VW Corrado) had crashed heavily at Paddock Bend). On the re-start Lewis was very eager to get away and almost overtook the safety car too soon. This time he stayed in front of Blackman all the way to the chequered flag to take his first win at Brands Hatch this year. Simpson got the better of Burrows, who had Daniel Smith right on his rear bumper. Jason Hunn drove really well to take sixth, especially as it was his first drive for several years. Keith White headed the seniors in 7th, closely pursued by Ben Taylor and Mike Thurley. Reuben Taylor (who is not related to Ben) came home tenth, again it was close as Phil Spinks hustled him all the young.

The rest of the finishers were Phil Young, Danny Hunn (in his first circuit race), Ayling, Steward, Homewood, Brockhurst , Harris and Timm.

Race two saw Reuben Taylor promoted to pole position, as the top ten finishing positions were reversed. This proved to be one of the best races of the season and was a really good advert for the championship. Thurley took the lead initially, hotly pursued by Simpson, Lewis Smith, Blackman and Daniel Smith. The places changed constantly until Lewis Smith took the lead in a daring move on lap 4. Blackman slotted into second with Simpson right on his tail. The large crowd were then treated to some superb racing as these top drivers put on a superb display of fast close racing. Lewis and Malcolm gradually eased away from Matt, Daniel as they were joined by Steve Burrows. Thurley still led the senior group as Keith White had opted for the wrong tyre choice.

On lap six Blackman sneaked into the lead as he gained a bit more traction exiting Clearways. Lewis stayed right on his bumper and tried to counteract a lap later. However, he slid slightly off line and got caught in the gravel trap. A valiant effort had come to a sad end, but everyone knew it had been a terrific season long battle by both drivers. Simpson now found himself in second place, but he still had Daniel Smith and Burrows for close company. Ben Taylor made good progress to annex fifth position with Jason Hunn charging along in sixth. Thurley slipped back to 7th, safe in the knowledge he had won the senior cup championship again. Reuben Taylor had a good run in 8th, just holding off the impressive Danny Hunn in the Mazda RX8. Completing the top ten was Chris Brockhurst.

With Blackman taking his third title in a row, there was plenty of celebration around the red Vauxhall Tigra. On the day Jason Hunn deservedly won the driver of the meeting award, whilst the Avon tyres went to Danny Hunn, Chris Brockhurst, Reuben Taylor and Brian Loram. Hopefully we will see some more new drivers next year and the momentum will continue.

Quaife Modified Saloons Championship

QMS On Sunday we had the two Quaife modified saloon car races, which saw the addition of several Tin Top cars at the rear of the grids. Qualifying had taken place late on Saturday, and it was interesting to see Paul Adams on pole position, even though his Ford Focus had suffered alternator failure. At the other end of the grid was this year’s champion Rod Birley, whose Escort WRC had an electrical problem.

The first race had to contend with a slippery track initially, as the trucks had dropped diesel, but the marshals had done a sterling job in cleaning up most of it. The race was only two laps old when Andrew McKenzie clipped the pit wall in his Mitsubishi Evo and had a fairly heavy impact. However, just 500 metres later Alfie Brooker was tipped off the circuit by another competitor. He hit the tyre wall and bounced back right into the path of his father. Both cars suffered severe damage, and both drivers were taken to hospital. On the re-start all eyes were focused on Birley’s progress as he scythed through the field. He was second by lap three and catching the leader by over two seconds per lap. With the race shortened to just six laps, Rod timed his move perfectly catching Graham Crowhurst just as they approached Clearway’s corner. Onto the Brabham straight and Birley went to overtake around the outside. What happened next is open to conjecture, but suffice to say that Birley’s Escort WRC had contact from the BMW and headed straight into the pit wall at unabated speed. The clerk of the course awarded Birley the win as he penalised Crowhurst for driving in a manner incompatible with general safety and also put three points on his race licence.

Birley was immediately taken to hospital where he underwent a full CT scan. Fortunately he suffered no internal injuries, other than severe bruising. Danny Brooker spent a night in hospital, whilst Alfie Brooker and McKenzie are both recovering from their injuries which are mainly bruises.

The second race was also shortened, and this saw Andy Banham take his first outright victory in his Subaru. Further back Paul Adams limped home with his recalcitrant Ford, but did enough to clinch class B in the championship. Sean Fairweather took another two class wins, which sewed up class D in the championship, whilst Tyler Lidsey was another double class winner in his Renault Clio. The report is brief as there are still ongoing enquiries into the first race incidents.

Next Race Meeting:


Modified Saloon Car, TinTop and Intermarque

Latest Galleries:

Latest gallery BARC SEC Modified Saloon Car and TinTop Championship,
22nd September 2018

Latest gallery Scrapco Avon Intermarque Championship,
22nd September 2018

Last Race Results

Modified Saloon Car:

1. Andy Thompson
2. Alex Sidwell
3. Adrian Bradley
See full results

TinTop:

1. Brad Lane
2. Rod Birley
3. Chris Bassett
See full results

Intermarque:

1. Lewis Smith
2. Steve Burrows
3. Ray Harris
See full results

2018 Championship Leaders:

BARC SEC Modified Saloon Car:

Adrian Bradley
See full standings

BARC SEC TinTop:

Rikki Taylor
See full standings

Scrapco / Avon Intermarque:

Lewis Smith
See full standings