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Brands Hatch meeting report

By Adam Grant
Photos: Rafal Biniszewski

TinTop All three south east championships came to Brands Hatch undecided. First up were the Tin tops, where six drivers still had a theoretical chance of claiming the title. Qualifying took place on a very slippery track and championship leader Rikki Taylor annexed pole position with his nimble T3 Ford Fiesta. The three Hondas of Kamran Tunio, Brad Lane and Jamie Primett occupied the next three positions, followed by the T1 group of Alfie Brooker (in his father’s Vauxhall Astra), Dave Charlton (Seat) and Kevin Palmer (BMW Mini). Rod Birley was driving Alfie Brooker’s usual BMW Mini, and he lined up alongside Mikey Day (Citroen Saxo).

From the rolling start, on a much drier track, it did not take long for Brooker and Charlton to power past the smaller cars. Once in the lead Alfie pulled away to take a resounding victory and keep his championship hopes alive. Charlton had his best result to date coming home second, whilst Taylor consolidated his position with a fine third overall and another 29 points in his championship quest. Tunio kept Taylor honest for most of the race, once Lane dropped back with an intermittent misfire. Brad still took T2 honours, although Palmer and Birley were closing in fast on the last lap.

Steve Everson had a fairly lonely run in 8th, after he had usurped Day, with Bob Hosier completing the top ten. In a race with 19 starters it was good to see all 19 cars finish, newcomer Chris Burley being the final runner. Unsurprisingly this reliability was not repeated in race two. As early as the rolling lap Brad Lane pulled his recalcitrant Honda off the track, when the engine cut out. Then on lap one the leading Vauxhall expired when the engine blew up and caught fire. All this left Charlton in the lead, closely pursued by Tunio and Taylor. Next up were the battling Minis of Palmer and Birley. As the quintet closed up there was drama on lap 8 exiting Druids. Exactly what happened is unclear except that Tunio appeared to tag the rear of Charlton’s Seat. The Spanish car then slowed, which allowed the pursuers to nip past.

TinTop The drama did not end there. Mikey Day also slowed on lap 8 and trundled around for a few laps, until on lap 13 when the two leaders came up to lap him. Tunio managed the pass along Brabham Straight, but Taylor had to wait until Cooper Straight to go by. Bizarrely there was then contact as Day and Taylor went through Surtees into Clearways. The blue and white Fiesta spun wildly, whilst the Saxo dived into the pits and retirement. Taylor continued down in fifth spot, which then became fourth as Birley hit problems in the Mini when it snapped the super charger belt. Rod limped home 10th as Tunio took his first outright win. Palmer was a delighted if somewhat surprised second, whilst Everson completed the podium. Behind Taylor it was invitee Graham Heard in his VW Golf, followed by Hosier, Ben Forbes, Chris and Marcus Bicknell. Despite all the dramas there were still 16 finishers as Charlton limped home at the tail of the field.

Once all the calculations were done Rikki Taylor was confirmed as the new champion. The ninth different winner in 9 years. Jamie Primett claimed T2 honours and second overall, followed by the unlucky Alfie Brooker just holding off Dave Charlton. Gideon September won the TP class, which could really benefit from some more runners on a regular basis.

Modified Saloons The modified saloons were again short of numbers, so it was good to see a clutch of Tin Top drivers join in for a bit of fun. Again qualifying was on a slippery track and for a while local instructor Will Arif headed the times in his unusual Saab 9000 turbo. As the session wore on the championship contenders got into their stride and Rod Birley put in the quickest time on his last lap. Adrian Bradley proved his worth by setting the second best time. Arif held onto third spot from the brand new Peugeot 308 turbo of Steve Rothery. The Escort Cosworths of Paul Eve and Malcolm Wise were next up, followed by Damien Bradley (BMW), Martyn Scott (BMW) and Tim Sandhu (Escort Cosworth). The Saxo gang of Everson, Forbes and Day completed the field for race one.

Birley eased away from Rothery at the start, as the Peugeot driver made his intentions clear. Eve powered through into third, but Wise dropped back misfiring his way into retirement with a failed coil pack. Cripps had a wild moment going into Surtees, sliding across the grass then getting airborne as his BMW hit the undulating scenery. Eventually he regained the tarmac, but was now over a lap behind. Up front Birley eased his pace once he established a four second lead. Eve battled past Rothery on lap 7 to take the runner up spot. Adrian Bradley settled into fourth, safe in the knowledge of another class win. Scott took class B with fifth overall, after a race long battle with Arif. Damien Bradley was next home, from the entertaining Day and Everson. Sandhu, Forbes and Cripps completed the finishers.

Race two saw drama almost immediately at the Druids hairpin. Birley powered away from a clean start, but as Rothery slotted into second he tried a bit too hard at Druids and slewed sideways. Eve spun to the outside in avoidance, which dropped him to 10th. As others darted about Scott emerged in third position. Birley therefore had a comfortable lead from Rothery, with Scott ahead of team mate Cripps. Arif was next up, closely pursued by Wise now running strongly in his Cosworth. Eve pulled off on lap 5 as a driveshaft failed. Meanwhile the battle for second hotted up as Cripps challenged Rothery and then Wise joined in. Scott gradually slipped away, but still had the measure of Adrian Bradley who was calculating that a second in class finish would be enough.

Modified Saloons As Birley took the chequered flag, Rothery just held off Wise by a tenth of a second. Cripps was pleased to take fourth and a class win. Behind Scott and Bradley came Alfie Brooker who had repaired his Mini in time for this race. Damien Bradley took 8th. Everson got the better of Day this time, whilst Forbes finished in front of Sandhu. Arif was a late retirement.

Once the points were checked it showed Adrian Bradley had indeed just done enough. Taking the title by a mere 3 points from Birley. Considering the black Escort WRC was virtually written off a year ago it was a good contest. Scott was delighted with class B honours, as Rothery took class D.

And finally we had the conclusion to the intermarque championship. With three drivers in contention, what was certain was that a new name would be listed in the hall of fame. Qualifying saw Lewis Smith throw down the gauntlet with a pole position time of 48.93 seconds, just clear of Chris Brockhurst and championship rival Steve Burrows. Richard Smith annexed fourth spot from the other championship contender Ray Harris.

Intermarque The rolling start saw the usual charge towards Paddock Bend, with Lewis Smith emerging in the lead. However, Brockhurst was on a mission after having a somewhat turbulent season. On lap 3 the man from Sussex squeezed by into the lead and headed off for a fairly comfortable win. Lewis was more interested in staving off the challenge from Burrows, which he successfully did. Harris could not quite match the leaders pace, but was good enough for fourth. Richard Smith had unfortunately spun after being elbowed wide coming out of Druids on lap one. His fight back to 9th was good progress. Meanwhile Ian Hales drove a steady race to take fifth, from an impressive “rookie of the year” Danny Hunn. Reuben Taylor almost caught Danny as he slowed on the final lap.

With the top ten reversed for the second race, Steve Dudman led away from pole position. Steve held on until lap three when the safety car popped out. The caution period was short, to retrieve Jason Hunn’s car, and at the re-start Burrows soon powered by into the lead. Richard Smith was up to second, but retired on lap 7. This now let Brockhurst into the runner up spot, and he started challenging for the lead. Lewis Smith was subdued in third, clear in the knowledge this was enough to win the championship. In the end this was the finishing order, as Toby Homewood spun at Clearways and was stranded on the edge of the track. The race was therefore red flagged and declared.

Intermarque The net result was that Lewis finally took the championship he has strived for, although his engine is still to be checked by the scrutineers. He may be moving to Ginettas next year, which will be an interesting challenge. In the senior section Paul Knight came out on top, despite non-starting after a crash in qualifying along with Mike Thurley.

As this is my last report for BARC south east I would like to thank all the drivers who have put on some really entertaining racing. The intermarque may be split between two camps next year, whilst the Tin Tops and Modifieds have chosen a new club like me.

Next Race Meeting:

See you in 2019

Latest Galleries:

Latest gallery BARC SEC TinTop Championship,
17th November 2018

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. Rod Birley
2. Steve Rothery
3. Malcolm Wise
See full results

TinTop:

1. Kamran Tunio
2. Kevin Palmer
3. Steve Everson
See full results

Intermarque:

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

BARC SEC TinTop:

Rikki Taylor
See full standings

Scrapco / Avon Intermarque:

Lewis Smith
See full standings