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Quaife Modified Saloons with Invitation TinTops Race Report, Brands Hatch GP, 10th September 2017

By Adam Grant
Photos: Rafal Biniszewski

QMS The annual trip onto the Grand Prix circuit at Brands Hatch featured the Quaife modified saloon car championship, plus a group of tin tops for a non-championship race. With the cost of the longer circuit and obvious time constraints it would be just one race, although it was lengthened to 20 minutes.

Qualifying featured 16 QMS runners plus 8 tin tops. At the head of the table was Rod Birley in his familiar Ford Escort WRC, now sporting addition backing from AJW vehicle services of Erith. Joining Rod on the front row would be Paul Adams, in his class B Ford focus RS, albeit 4.4 seconds slower. Row two featured Malcolm Wise, his Escort Cosworth still showing signs of damage from the collision with Tony Skelton at the previous meeting, and the BMW of Dave Cowan who headed class C. Skelton was fifth with Matt Turner alongside, followed by Graham Crowhurst and Riku Garner (fastest in class E). The two class D protagonists, Sean Fairweather and Dave Charlton, were together on row five separated by just 0.121 of a second. Michael Eustace was 11th, and he was joined by Ray Barrow in his mighty Chevrolet Camaro. Hugh Gurney (BMW), Martyn Scott, Andrew MacKenzie (Mitsubishi) and Paul Restall completed the QMS grid. Heading the Tin Top group was Len Colley in his BMW, with another BMW belonging to Ken Angell alongside. Kamran Tunio and Bradley Lane had their Peugeots side by side, then came Alfie Brooker and Marcus Bicknell. Mr. Bicknell senior having returned from America, where he had been racing historic cars. Chris Bicknell was next and then Bob Hosier. However, Bob’s Seat had mechanical issues and despite various attempts to fix the problem he did not actually start.

QMS The race started slightly early under threatening skies. Sure enough it soon started to drizzle, which meant the first lap saw everyone being very cautious. Birley led from Adams, with Wise initially third from Turner. On lap three Wise slipped behind both Turner and Crowhurst, as Skelton spun from 6th down to 15th. In the tin tops Colley led on the first lap, but pulled off on the second with clutch issues, whilst Alfie Brooker also disappeared when a power steering belt came off. Meanwhile there was drama for Paul Restall as a hose burst and his Sierra Cosworth momentarily caught fire. This was dealt with very swiftly by the marshals.

QMS On lap five Wise recovered back to third, but then the safety car appeared because Marcus Bicknell had rolled his Citroen Saxo into the Paddock Bend gravel trap. Birley’s 4.7 second lead was obviously eroded, as everyone closed up for the re-start. Adams hung on to second until lap 10, when Wise powered past and closed in on the black Escort. For the final two laps Malcolm sat right on Rod’s rear bumper and it was thrilling to watch. Even though Birley hung on to win, Wise kept him honest and set the fastest race lap. Adams tailed off a bit in third, but still won class B, with Turner just hanging on to fourth and taking class C honours. The person who closed on Turner was Fairweather, who brought along Cowan, Garner, Eustace and Gurney in a fast moving pack. Barrow was not far behind having struggled initially with too much power, Ray soon got into the groove and chased the BMWs in front. His efforts were rewarded with the driver of the race prize.

TinTops Martyn Scott just held off Dave Charlton for 11th spot, with Angell heading the tin top brigade in 13th overall. The green BMW was a half a second in front of the squabbling Peugeot and Renault of Lane and Tunio, who finished in that order. Chris Bicknell completed the finishers, following the retirements of Skelton, MacKenzie and Crowhurst. Michael Eustace received the best prepared car award.

In two weeks time the QMS returns to the Indy circuit on Sunday 24th September, whilst the Tin Tops have their championship races the day before.

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