After a summer break since Mallory Park back in June, it was very pleasing to see 44 cars roll into
Brands Hatch for the Grand Prix circuit meeting, supporting the British GT event.
Qualifying was late on Saturday afternoon and it was really a question of getting a traffic free lap.
The early pace setters were Ed Leigh, Niall Bradley and Rod Birley, but then the safety car appeared.
Dan Fisher had a suspension part fail going through the fast Westfield corner and he just managed to
stop the Honda, but unfortunately was in a dangerous spot. Once the safety car pulled off everyone
was bunched up again. It looked like Bradley had secured top spot, until Birley had a clear lap with
just a couple of minutes left and he snatched pole position.
The full set of times are on TSL sports timing, but one late comer was Marcus Bicknell who managed
to qualify out of session. Marcus had been busy at Lydden Hill, winning the European late model cup
in his Ford Fusion V8. His mount for Brands Hatch was a more humble Citroen Saxo.
Everyone had to wait until Sunday afternoon for the first CMMC race. It was straight after the big GT
race, so a large crowd witnessed the terrific sight of 42 cars taking to the circuit. Missing were Tony
Skelton and Adrian Matthews with unknown maladies, but Fisher had fixed his Honda Civic. The
rolling start was very impressive, just as the circuit owner arrived by helicopter. Birley and Bradley
ran side by side into Paddock Bend, with Rod just having the edge going into Druids. These two soon
pulled clear of Leigh, but remained close together. Initially Kevin Bird was fourth, then on lap 2 Steve
Rothery moved past. These two also stayed close together for the whole race. Paul Nevill started off
sixth, until Malcolm Wise powered past on lap 3.Paul then had to contend with 3 intermarque
runners as Richard Smith, Mick Robertson and Volker Timm ganged up on him.
Nevill certainly held his own amongst the space frame cars and it was very entertaining.
Unfortunately Richard Smith pulled off at Graham Hill bend on lap7, just as Paul Restall plunged into
the gravel at Clearways. As the leaders came past the stricken Smith Mercedes they caught the ailing
Holden Commodore of Andy Woods-Dean. It all looked very close as the Holden was running out of
fuel and pulling off, but everyone was OK. Further back Wise had dropped down to 11 th after a
moment on lap six. This meant that Robertson was now sixth, from Timm and Nevill with Gavin Dunn
next up in his Fina BMW. Colin Smith was tenth in his ex-Tommy Field Vauxhall Tigra.
In amongst the production saloons there was also plenty going on. Jonathan Bevan took the early
lead in his Honda Integra and had Dave Cowan’s BMW between him and Kam Tunio’s Honda. On lap
3 Bevan tumbled down the order following an incident with Neil Duke (Ford Anglia BDG) as they
went onto the GP loop. This put Tunio into the lead with Brad Lane on his tail. These two then fought
it out, until Danny Brooker split them up. Danny was trying slicks on his Vauxhall Astra, so was
running in the super saloons this time.
Meanwhile the two leaders were heading for the chequered flag at a blistering pace. Birley lowered
the lap record by just over two seconds, en route to a good win from the impressive Bradley. Leigh
was 25 seconds further back in third, with Rothery holding off Bird, then came Robertson, Timm,
Nevill, Dunn, Smith, Wise, Cowan and Duke. It was good to see Nick Wall back with his Renault Clio
as he finished 14 th . Tunio won the prod saloons, followed home by Brooker, Lane, Graham Bahr
(taking time off from scrutineering), a hard charging Fisher, a slowing Sean Fairweather, Dave
Hutchins and Bevan. In all there were 35 finishers.
Race two was the final race of the weekend and despite several incidents in other races the hard
working marshals made sure we got our full race distance, just before the 6.30 curfew. Again Birley
and Bradley ran side by side through Paddock and also Druids. Birley just managed to dive into
Graham Hill bend first and powered through Surtees out of sight. As they re-appeared into
Clearways the black Escort was just over a second clear. Bradley drove the wheels off his BMW, but
was not quite able to stay with the Ford. Rothery unfortunately non started his Peugeot, due to a
gearbox gremlin, but Leigh had a race long battle with the similar BMW of Bird.
Volker Timm was going well in fifth with his Audi TT, until the rear window started to pop out.
Robertson passed Timm on lap 6, as Timm slowed and eventually retired with other issues. Wise
moved up to sixth, towing Colin Smith with him, until the Tigra also retired. This promoted Dunn to
7 th , following another retirement for Richard Smith who pulled off in the same spot as race one.
David Cowan upped his pace in another BMW to take 8 th .
In the production saloons Fisher rewarded his team’s hard work with ninth overall, holding off the
rapid Tunio. Bevan was not far back, despite suffering a bad vibration, closely pursued by Brooker.
Dave Hutchins was the final unlapped runner, as Chris Baker went from 38 th to 14 th . Paul Cocksedge,
Ken Angell, Marcus Bicknell, Dave Charlton, Chris Bicknell and Rob Methold completed the top 20.
The final finishers being Harry Hardy, Todd Garner, Gideon September, Andy Banham, Nick Lunn and
The clerk of the course was very impressed with the rolling starts and general driving standards,
despite the huge variety in performance. Yes there were a few incidents, but overall everyone
enjoyed the rare opportunity to compete on the excellent 2.43 mile circuit.
The special awards went to:
H&G Production Saloon driver of the day – Dave Hutchins
*Cannons Production Saloon Best Prepared car – Todd Garner
Biddenden Super Saloons driver of the day – Gavin Dunn
*Caesar Electrical Super Saloons best prepared car – Chris Baker
Hardiest trier – Alan Breck
* Both were picked by the scrutineers.