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Quaife Motorsport News Saloons race report,
Brands Hatch, 17th September 2016

By Adam Grant
Photos: Gary Hawkins

QMN Saloons After a very long summer break the Quaife/Motorsport News saloon car championship re-convened at Brands Hatch as part of the HSCC meeting. Qualifying took places under grey skies with a constant threat of rain. Straight from the green flag Rod Birley and Dale Gent traded fastest laps, until Birley sealed pole position with a time of 50.672 seconds. Gent was just 0.143 behind. A second further back was Dan Cowan, followed by a very impressive Tony Skelton with his class B Renault Clio. Malcolm Wise had to settle for fifth in his Escort Cosworth, with Graham Crowhurst the second quickest class B competitor in sixth spot. Championship leader Laurie Grant was next in his BMW, with former champion Tony Paxman alongside in his Mk1 Ford Escort. Michael Eustace had his class A BMW on the inside of row five, with new boy Liam Dalton in his Mitsubishi Evo 3 alongside. The only real incident in an otherwise trouble free session was Tim Sandhu suffering a fuel leak with his Escort Cosworth. His pain for ignoring the black flag was to be banished to the rear of the grid plus a licence penalty. Sadly Wesley Mott suffered engine maladies with his Sierra Cosworth, which he withdrew from the races.

QMN Saloons The rolling start saw a determined Birley lead into Paddock Bend, with Gent glued to his bumper. The first three laps saw the two black cars barely a length apart, as they drew away from Skelton. On lap four Gent visibly slowed as Skelton nipped by into second. Cowan had already retired when his gearbox cried enough, and on lap five Gent came into the pits with a loose boost pipe. So Birley now headed Skelton, Wise, Crowhurst, Grant and Paxman. Meanwhile Dalton was starting to go quicker and he gradually caught the battling pair of Paxman and Nick Wall. On lap 13 he powered past both of them and then set off after the BMWs of Grant and Crowhurst. He almost caught them on the final lap, which probably spurred Grant into overtaking Crowhurst as they lapped Jaime Vanns. So Birley took the win, to help his championship bid, with Wise passing Skelton on the run to the flag to claim second. Skelton won class B, with Grant taking fourth and class C honours. Crowhurst just held off Dalton for fifth, with Paxman in 7th. A late charge by Andy Banham saw him take 8th from Wall, who was closely followed by Eustace. Sandhu rectified his fuel leak to take 11th, passing Dave Charlton on the final lap. Vanns and David Cowan (BMW M3) completed the finishers. Both the BMWs of Mark Cripps and Martyn Scott retired, whilst Andy Pipe pulled off after his differential broke.

QMN Saloons Race two saw everyone line up on the grid except Pipe and Wall. Birley again blasted away into the lead, with Skelton moving into second. However, Tony tried a little too hard on cold tyres going into Surtees and had a very time consuming spin which lost him over a lap. So Wise briefly held second, until a charging Gent swept past on lap three. Dale had a close encounter with Dan Cowan on the first lap, which resulted in a broken headlight on the Subaru. On lap four the gap between Birley and Gent was just over five seconds, but the Subaru was visibly quicker and gaining almost a second per lap. By lap ten they were together and the inevitable happened on lap 12. Coming out of Graham Hill bend Gent simply out dragged the Escort and had the lead by Surtees. Birley held on gamely, but a last lap touch with Crowhurst, who was being lapped, scuppered any thoughts of retaliation. So Gent evened the score to six wins each with Birley. Cowan made it up to third, 34 seconds further back, with Wise settling for fourth. The first lapped runner was Crowhurst in fifth, who claimed class B honours. Banham had a better run into sixth, with Grant taking 7th and class C victory. This slightly increased his overall championship lead. Eustace battled with Paxman to claim 8th, with Scott getting past team mate Cripps for 10th. Charlton was next from class E sole runner Vanns and a slowing Sandhu. David Cowan took 15th from the ever smiling Skelton, as Dalton limped home as the final finisher.

A very entertaining couple of races, with plenty of battles throughout the field. Who will have the power to conquer Snetterton, as the championship travels away from Brands Hatch for the only time this year.

Next Race Meeting:

See you in 2019

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Last Race Results

Modified Saloon Car:

1. Rod Birley
2. Steve Rothery
3. Malcolm Wise
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1. Kamran Tunio
2. Kevin Palmer
3. Steve Everson
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1. Steve Burrows
2. CHris Brockhurst
3. Lewis Smith
See full results

2018 Championship Winners (Provisional):

BARC SEC Modified Saloon Car:

Adrian Bradley
See full standings


Rikki Taylor
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Scrapco / Avon Intermarque:

Lewis Smith
See full standings