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Scrapco / Avon Intermarque Championship race report,
Brands Hatch, 11th-12th June 2016

By Rod Birley
Photos: Rafal Biniszewski

Intermarque Qualifying took place on Saturday afternoon, following a reasonably heavy rain shower. With the track drying very quickly all 17 intermarque drivers opted to use slick tyres. Sure enough a dry line soon appeared and gradually the lap times tumbled down. By the chequered flag , which was actually shown at the same time as the red flag when Ian Hales spun, Malcolm Blackman had secured pole position. Malcolm was the only driver to break the 50 second barrier with a 49.918 seconds time. Lewis Smith secured second spot on his last lap, just 0.151 of a second behind.

Row two saw Chris Brockhurst, who had over heating issues, and leading senior cup competitor Mike Thurley. Steve Burrows lined up fifth, just edging out Daniel Smith. Mark Fuller qualified a very good seventh, with Keith White alongside. Ricky Hunn and Ian Hales completed the top ten, with returnee Ross Loram qualifying eleventh. The grid was completed in the order of Chris Ayling, Reuben Taylor, Philip Blackford, Simon Smith (who had to change a broken gearbox), Philip Young and John Steward.

Intermarque The first race on Sunday morning saw everyone, except Fuller, changing at the last minute onto wet tyres as a steady downpour persisted. The pace car led the drivers on two warm up laps, in order to get used to the conditions. A very orderly start saw Lewis Smith go bravely around the outside of Blackman as they went through Paddock Bend. Straight away the white and blue Tigra opened a small gap, as Brockhurst fell behind a fast starting White and Thurley. Hunn had moved up to seventh, but then had a time consuming spin at Surtees which dropped him to 14th. Young was an early casualty retiring on lap two, just as Taylor’s windscreen wiper suddenly pointed skywards.

Intermarque Brockhurst upped his pace on lap four and swept past White into third spot, as attention switched to the progress of Simon Smith. 11th on lap one, Simon made it up to 7th by lap five as he swept past Reuben Taylor. However, Taylor fought back and regained his position three laps later. This pair then closed in and past Thurley, ending up 6th and 7th. Meanwhile White fell behind Burrows on lap seven, but then stayed together for the remainder of the race. In the end Lewis Smith won by 3.5 seconds from Blackman, with Brockhurst in third. Burrows came home fourth with White fifth. Ayling held off a recovering Hunn for 8th, with Thurley completing the top ten. The rest of the finishers were Hales, Loram, Blackford, Daniel Smith, Steward and the slick shod Fuller.

Intermarque Race two was much later in the day on a completely dry track. It was pleasing to note that a large proportion of the 25, 000 spectators stayed to watch a very entertaining race. With Ayling starting on pole position, as the top 8 finishers were reversed for this starting grid. Like his nephew, Simon Smith braved it around the outside of Paddock Bend to take the lead going into Druids. With White nipping through into second we had the rare sight of a BMW one two as they completed lap one. Lewis Smith soon wriggled through the pack to take the lead on lap three and appeared to be on his way to another win. However, on lap 8 a plume of smoke signalled a gearbox failure going into Paddock Bend and Lewis pulled off. Through the smoke Blackman emerged in the lead with Brockhurst second. Simon Smith was still third, as White had Burrows filling his mirrors.

Intermarque Lap 14 spelt disaster for Brockhurst as he headed down the pit lane with a halfshaft oil seal leaking badly. This meant that Simon Smith was back up to second, but a resurgent White was catching him. The green BMW was visibly struggling out of Graham Hill bend as a misfire was setting in. White pounced on lap 16 and then Burrows tried unsuccessfully for two laps. However, on the run to the chequered flag Burrows just edged ahead to take the final podium spot by 0.077 of a second. Into fifth position came a charging Daniel Smith, who had started way back in 14th. Sixth went to Mike Thurley, happier in the dry conditions, with the flying postman Ross Loram a good seventh. Hales improved to 8th, with Fuller eventually squeezing past Taylor for ninth. Young and Steward completed the finishers, as Ayling retired with a puncture, and both Hunn and Blackford also pulled off.

The Avon tyre awards went to Ricky Hunn, Philip Blackford, John Steward and Mark Fuller, whilst Simon Smith received the driver of the day bubbly. After the first race the scrutineers took fuel samples for analysis, and checked the choke sizes in some carburettors. This means that the results are still provisional.

Next Race Meeting:

See you in 2019

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