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Brands Hatch, 29th May 2017 Meeting Report

By Adam Grant
Photos: Rafal Biniszewski

QMS The Quaife modified saloons kicked off proceedings, with 13 cars taking to the track for qualifying. Missing were Steve Dann (car not ready) and Mark Cripps (damaged foot). Despite an engine boost issue, Rod Birley secured pole position with the similar Escort of Malcom Wise alongside. Class B pacesetter Tony Skelton lined up his Renault Clio in third with Andy Banham in fourth. Bill Richards qualified fifth in his familiar Mini Clubman with newcomer Tyler Lidsey heading class E in his Renault Clio. Sean Fairweather was next up, followed by Riku Garner, Steve Rothery and Samuel Taylor (all in Clios). Missing was Martyn Scott as his Biddenden team were busy changing a gearbox in the BMW. Dave Charlton and Kenny Hunt completed the qualifiers, although they were joined by Paul Adams who arrived late following a trailer issue.

QMS The start saw Birley just edge out Skelton, as Wise slotted into third. The two leaders steadily pulled away, until lap five when Wise suddenly slowed. On lap six he fell back to sixth, as Banham, Richards and Rothery all went by. A couple of laps later the yellow and white Cosworth retired with a broken gearbox. All eyes were now on Adams in the Ford Focus, as he made good progress from the back of the grid. By lap ten he was up to sixth and two laps later he passed Rothery for fifth. A lap later he overtook Richards and was closing in on Banham. Andy upped his pace and managed to hold onto to the final podium spot, whilst Adams got the driver of the race award.

Meanwhile Birley held off Skelton, although there was only 1.9 seconds in it at the chequered flag. Behind Banham and Adams was Rothery (class E winner), who got the better of Richards. In fact the blue Mini started to slow and Lidsey nipped past as well, leaving Bill in seventh but still winning class D. Garner was next, just holding off the advances of Fairweather, then came Charlton and Hunt. Taylor had beached his red Clio in the Paddock Bend sand trap on lap 14. The championship now has a summer break until the end of July.

TinTops Several QMS cars joined in the predominantly tin top 30 minute pit stop race. With all the cars running on treaded tyres and the pit stop times varying according to performance it was an interesting concept which hopefully will be repeated again. Qualifying saw Skelton take pole position in his rapid Clio, with Birley/Jonathan Bevan alongside in the latter’s Honda Integra. Next up were Rothery sharing with Perry Winch in the Renault Clio, then came another Integra in the hands of Mike Ritchie. Martyn Scott’s BMW was on the inside of row three, Martyn sharing with Paul Watson. Lining up sixth was Dave Charlton, followed by Terry Searles and Graham Richardson/Les Beer. Next up was Ken Angell, with a fresh engine in his BMW, followed by the Honda Civics of James Alford and Trevor Collar. Kamran Tunio should have had Tom Jackson co-driving his Renault Clio, but in the end Kam drove solo. Adrian Matthews (Ford Puma) was joined on row 7 by Mark Hall debuting his BMW E36. Completing the grid were Samuel Regan/Brett Lidsey in their Renault Clio and the team BRIT crew of Andy Searle and Tony Williams. This is a VW fun cup car driven by disabled ex military servicemen, and it was good to see them joining in.

From the rolling start Skelton immediately scampered away, opening up a nine second lead by lap five. As Bevan made a slow start, the other Integra of Ritchie slotted into second spot with Angell third and Rothery fourth. Bevan slipped back to eighth at one stage, but did move back past Charlton and latched on to the main pack. Moving up into third was Scott in the Biddenden team BMW, but this was short lived as another problem sidelined the M3 on lap 8. At the same time Rothery moved into third spot in front of Angell, as Bevan took sixth spot. Yes there was plenty of overtaking going on.

TinTops At the end of lap 11 the pit window opened and Bevan and Charlton dived in first. Birley jumped into the No.44 Honda and returned in 12th spot. Two laps later and Skelton came in for his lengthy stop, so Ritchie took the lead until he stopped on lap 15. This elevated Rothery into the lead for a lap, and when he stopped Brett Lidsey found himself momentarily leading the field. As the pit stops came to a close Birley found himself in the lead with Searles a couple of seconds back. Angell was in third from a charging Alford and Skelton already up to fifth by lap 20. The question was would he catch Birley. The gap was coming down at roughly two seconds a lap, and by lap 27 there was no gap at all. Skelton swept by with two laps to spare, so the handicapping had worked quite well. Searles held onto third, whilst Angell just pipped Ritchie. Sixth went to Richardson and Beer, as Charlton held off Collar for seventh. Regan/Lidsey were next, with Rothery/Winch rounding out the top ten. Tunio came home 11th, with Searle/Williams and Matthews completing the finishers. Driver of the race award went to Ken Angell, with Bevan/Birley winning the popular T2 Tin Top class. Team BRIT also got a well deserved special prize.

Allcomers The final race of the day was an allcomers, which again featured our QMS and Tin Top runners. Unfortunately a few did not make it after maladies in the earlier two races, but we did have Birley and Skelton on the front row renewing their rivalry. Sadly it all went wrong on the first lap, as Skelton rode the kerbs at Surtees and spun across the path of Tyler Lidsey who innocently collided with Tony. The red flags appeared, as two rather bent Clios were removed from the track.

With no real opposition Birley cruised around for another victory, although he slowed markedly on the last lap due to an unknown problem. Into second spot came the impressive Ritchie, who was having a very good day in his Honda Integra. Mike had to stave off the advances of Martyn Scott, as this time the BMW made it to the finish and gave Scott a podium spot. Samuel Taylor also had a better run, gaining fourth position, with Paul Watson shadowing him in fifth. Angell was again reliable and came home sixth, fending off the green Honda Civic of Alford. James only just made the race, as he had to replace a driveshaft. Tunio, Hunt, Regan and Andy Searle completed the finishers.

Hopefully everyone enjoyed the pit stop race and will give the centre some positive feedback, as it would be good to see this again.

Next Race Meeting:

18th-19th November 2017
Brands Hatch
QMN and TinTops Non-Championship

Latest Galleries:

Latest gallery Quaife Modified Saloons with Cannons TinTops,
24th September 2017

Latest gallery Scrapco Avon Intermarque,
23rd September 2017

Latest gallery Quaife Cannons TinTops,
23rd September 2017

Last Race Results

Quaife Modified Saloons:

1. Andy Banham
2. Graham Crowhurst
3. Matthew Turner
See full results

Quaife / Cannons TinTops:

1. Rod Birley
2. Dan Fisher
3. James J.J. Ross
See full results

Scrapco / Avon Intermarque:

1. Malcolm Blackman
2. Matt Simpson
3. Daniel Smith
See full results

2017 Champions (Provisional):

Quaife Modified Saloons:

Rod Birley
See full standings

Quaife / Cannons TinTops:

Dan Fisher
See full standings

Scrapco / Avon Intermarque:

Malcolm Blackman See full standings