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Race Meeting Report, Brands Hatch, 18th-19th November 2017

By Adam Grant
Photos: Rafal Biniszewski

Pit Stop Race It was very much an end of term feeling at the final race meeting of the year at Brands Hatch, which also witnessed a record being broken. On Saturday there was a 30 minute pit stop race, which was primarily for the Tin Tops, along with 2 wheel QMS cars on treaded tyres plus a couple of Fun Cup machines from our friends at Team BRIT (who cater for disabled ex-servicemen). It was good to see Rod Birley back in action, following the high speed crash just two weeks ago. After a medical check he was passed fit to race and joined Jonathan Bevan in his Honda Integra. The pair qualified in third position, behind the Ford Sapphire Cosworth driven by Colin Tester and Paul Restall, and the BMW of Martyn Scott/Paul Watson. Lining up in fourth spot was Vic Hope in his Honda Civic, followed by Ken Angell and Mark Cripps in their BMWs.

Terry Searles should have been next, but a water hose blew on his new engine and he withdrew in a cloud of steam. Jamie Falvey was the first of the Fun Cup cars, followed by Terry Waller in his Fiesta. Then came Les Beer and Caroline Agate in another BMW, with next Alfie Brooker also getting the medical all clear, driving his father’s BMW Mini. Danny Brooker was not well enough to race. The grid was completed by Hall/Russell in the second Fun Cup VW and Jon Wild back out in his MG Metro for this meeting.

Pit Stop Race The start of the race saw a very wet track, as persistent rain had been falling for about 40 minutes. This favoured the front wheel drive cars, which allowed Vic Hope to take the lead in his Honda Civic, with Bevan occupying second spot. These two soon drew away from Falvey and Cripps. The first retirement was Angell, as he was really struggling on unsuitable tyres. Just as the pit stop window opened a safety car appeared, so the marshals could retrive the spun BMW of Agate. Both the leaders pitted, which allowed Birley to jump into the Integra. Hope did not have a co-driver, so he stayed aboard the Civic.

QMS/TinTops On the re-start Birley overtook Hope going into Druids hairpin, and took the lead. From here on there was barely a second between them, as they both put on a good display of close competitive racing. Birley held on to take a narrow victory by just 0.4 of a second after 24 laps. Hope claimed second with Jamie Falvey coming through to a well earned third position, albeit 40 seconds back from the duelling Hondas. Terry Waller was a lap adrift in fourth and Cripps should have been fifth, but he missed the pit stop window so he suffered a two lap penalty, which dropped him to 8th. The other Fun Cup car of Hall and Russell claimed fifth followed by Scott/Watson who were the best of the QMS cars. Tester/Restall brought their Sierra home 7th, after both Brooker (broken power steering) and Wild (engine cut out) retired.

QMS/TinTops Sunday saw much better weather conditions, although qualifying was conducted on a still slippery track. Unsurprisingly Hope and Birley annexed the front row, with the more powerful rear wheel drive cars struggling for traction. By the time of the first race, the surface was almost completely dry. Initially Hope led from Birley, but Tester soon powered past in the Sapphire. On lap nine Birley finally found a way past Hope, but immediately came under pressure from the modified BMW of Paul Watson, which was on slick tyres today.

QMS/TinTops On lap 13 Watson powered past Birley along Brabham straight, then on lap 15 he inherited the lead as Tester retired. Over the last few laps Birley closed back in on Watson and at the chequered flag it was just over half a second in favour of the BMW. However, Birley did win his class and in so doing broke the record for the number of wins. Previously held by Gerry Marshall, the new bench mark is now 626. Into third spot came Martyn Scott, who just got past Angell on the drag race to the chequered flag. Fifth went the way of Cripps, then came Warren McKinlay in a Fun Cup VW followed by Alfie Brooker. Hope retired with a misfiring engine, whilst Falvey spun off on Cooper Straight.

QMS/TinTops The second race saw Bevan back in the Honda Integra, but he had to start from the back of the grid. Up front Scott took the fight to Watson, as these two pulled away from Angell, Cripps and McKinlay. Bevan soon found his way past Brooker into 6th, but he had Restall on his tail in the quick Sapphire Cosworth. They both nipped past McKinlay on lap four and joined the Angell vs Cripps battle. Restall briefly passed Bevan, but then dropped back as his engine appeared to cut out.

QMS/TinTops Lap 12 saw Bevan get past Cripps, but a lap later it all went slightly awry as he went on the inside of the lapped Agate and Angell went to the outside. As they braked for the Druids hairpin the white Honda locked its brakes on a damp patch and slid gently into the tyre wall. A slightly bemused Angell went on to take his first podium, as the unlucky Bevan climbed out of his car. The red flags then appeared, which meant that a delighted Scott would claim the victory from Watson. Fourth went to Cripps, followed by Falvey, McKinlay, Brooker and Agate.

So that’s it for this year, with next season due to start on April 1st/2nd at Brands Hatch.

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
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2018 Championship Winners (Provisional):

BARC SEC Modified Saloon Car:

Adrian Bradley
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Rikki Taylor
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Scrapco / Avon Intermarque:

Lewis Smith
See full standings