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Brands Hatch, 10th-11th June 2017 Race Report

By Adam Grant
Photos: Rod Tietjen and Rafal Biniszewski

Intermarque The best turnout of Intermarque cars so far this year arrived at Brands Hatch as part of the American speedfest. With live TV coverage for Sunday’s race, it was nice to see a well presented grid of cars. Making their debuts were Joe Russell, in a very smart Audi TT (which won the best prepared car award), and Paul Knight in an equally nice Vauxhall Tigra. For the first time this year Chris Ayling, Mick Robertson and Richard Smith all returned and Toby Homewood finally got a meeting under his belt with his Mercedes SLK. In the invitation class we had the familiar VW Corrado shape driven Fabio Luffarelli, but under the bonnet lurked a motorcycle engine.

Intermarque Qualifying saw the joint championship leaders (Malcolm Blackman and Lewis Smith) vying for pole position with some very quick lap times. In the end Lewis stopped the watches at 48.360 seconds, with Malcolm clocking 48.944. Third spot was occupied by Keith White, followed by Mike Thurley and then the Caterham of Anthony Bennett. The open top sports car would be starting from the back of the grid though as a guest class runner. Reuben Taylor was therefore promoted to fifth, with Ian Hales sixth. Richard Smith just pipped the similar Mercedes of Mark Fuller, with Ricky Hunn and Paul Knight completing the top ten. An early casualty was Steve Burrows, whose Peugeot suffered nasty engine noises, which made him a non-starter.

Intermarque The first race took place on Saturday, and Lewis Smith got the hammer down straight away and opened up a small gap on Blackman. As the pack went through Druids there was a bit of bumping and boring, in which Fuller was the first casualty, pulling off at Graham hill bend. On lap two Ian Hales plunged into the Paddock bend gravel trap which prompted the safety car to intervene. On the re-start Blackman stayed much closer to the white Tigra, whilst Keith White was caught napping and allowed a two second gap to quickly open up. On lap six Blackman found a way past, but for the next four laps there was nothing in it. Sadly on lap ten Lewis pulled off, due to a broken oil pump belt, which meant that Malcolm could ease back and take a comfortable win. White eventually shook off Thurley, who then had to contend with the advancing Ayling. Mike clinging onto third spot by less than half a second.

Intermarque Further back it became a race of attrition. Hunn pulled off on lap 8 with a broken splitter, with Knight following him into the pit lane. Homewood had clutch issues and retired on lap 11, followed three laps later by Philip Young with a deflated tyre. The red Mitsubishi had been going well in sixth position, so it was really unfortunate for the normally very cheerful driver. Taylor had his engine go sick on lap 16, which turned out to be a damaged piston, just as Richard Smith ended his good run with a fuel line issue, which caused a misfire. After all this Philip Blackford steered his Peugeot 206cc into a creditable fifth spot, with Mick Robertson coming home sixth in his “Help for heroes” VW Corrado. Anthony Bennett won the invitation class in 7th, followed by Russel, Phil Spinks and Steward.

The second race took place on Sunday in front of a very large crowd. Pole position went to John Steward, with Spinks alongside. Blackman was back in ninth, with Lewis Smith in 17th. Lewis was kindly allowed to start his father’s Mercedes, as Richard stood down from competing. After various discussions all the drivers signed to agree the change of car for Lewis.

Intermarque The rolling start saw the usual first lap sort out as the quicker drivers tried to fight their way through. At the end of lap one Ayling popped up in the lead, with Blackman already up to second! Spinks clung onto third with Thurley fourth. Lap two saw Malcolm take the lead, with Lewis nipping up to fifth in the unfamiliar Mercedes. His progress continued, although it did take another five laps to usurp the battling Ayling/Thurley duo. Once into second spot all eyes were on the gap to Blackman, but it never changed. It stayed at seven seconds all the way to the chequered flag, as Malcolm took his second win of the weekend. Lewis was a worthy runner up, with Thurley eventually squeezing past Ayling. Bennett just held off White for sixth, with Hales motoring up to 7th. Sadly the group which had battled over sixth had a coming together at Clearways. Russell had a half spin to avoid Spinks and was hit in the rear. With Knight, Fuller and Blackford also suffering damage it meant more retirements.

Through it all Robertson steered his way up to 8th, having started from the back of the grid. Steward drove a sensible race to claim 9th and bag more valuable points, with Spinks recovering to take 110th. Luffarelli and Homewood completed the finishers, as both Young (deflating tyre again) and Hunn (vibration) retired. The Avon tyre awards went to Spinks, Thurley and Blackman.

The result moves Blackman into the championship lead, with Thurley now second three points in front of Lewis Smith. The next round is at Rockingham on July 1st, and hopefully all the damaged cars will be repaired in time.

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