CMMCS at Brands Hatch Indy on Sunday 25th October 2020. Mixed grid, two races.
Meeting report by Adam Grant WHOM WE THANK WARMLY
A last minute additional couple of races saw the BMR/Caesar electrical super saloons and Amusetime tin tops head to the popular BRSCC Formula Ford festival at Brands Hatch. With the luxury of pit garages, on a day with occasional showers, it made the mechanics jobs a bit easier. The added bonus of live TV coverage via Facebook, meant that our series would reach a bigger audience. Click on the image for a replay…
Qualifying on a wet track was expected to be a gift for Rod Birley, back in his familiar Ford Escort WRC. However, a loose exhaust meant two pit stops and only 5 laps on track. This meant he was back in third. Pole position went to the duo of Mike Chittenden and John Devereaux sharing their BMW M3, with Ronan Bradley alongside. Next to Birley would be the impressive leading tin top Honda Civic of Brad Lane. Steve Dann finally got his recalcitrant VW Scirocco to work properly for a few laps and bagged fifth spot, with the quickest invitation class Mazda of Paul Sheard next up. However, the Mazda group would in fact all start behind our cars, so it was Paul Watson who lined up sixth. He was another driver who only managed a few laps and was busy sorting his BMW just in time for the first race. The top ten qualifiers were completed by Martyn Scott (BMW), Dave Hutchins (Honda Civic, who finished third at Castle Combe the day before), Vic Hope (Honda Civic) and Nick Wall (Ford Fiesta).
The first race ventured out onto a still damp and greasy track. So much so that Ronan Bradley spun on the first warm up lap going through Surtees. He just avoided falling to the tail of the field, so was able to regain his starting position. The charge to Paddock bend saw Watson make an audacious move around the outside, as most drivers tried to hug the inside line. However, at Druids hairpin BMWs were slipping and sliding in all directions and at Graham Hill bend Bradley performed his second rotation which meant Birley had the lead. As things settled down Dann appeared in second place, going well in his front wheel drive VW. Bradley had another spin on lap 2, and then retired to the pits. Devereaux squeezed past Dann on lap 4, soon to be followed by Watson. Attention switched back to Birley, as a noticeable misfire could be heard from the Cosworth engine. At first it did not seem to impede his pace, but gradually the duelling BMWS started to close in. By now Dann was in the pit lane with a detached turbo boost pipe, so Scott moved up to fourth with Lane in fifth.
Watson got the better of Devereaux on lap 7, although they stayed close together until the black BMW slowed markedly on the final lap. Birley held onto his lead by just over two seconds from the impressive Watson. Scott was a lonely fourth, with Lane topping the Amusetime Tin Tops group. Hutchins was next up, just holding off a hard charging Sheard, with Hope close behind. Ken Hunt (VW Golf) drove well to come ninth, winning class D from returnee Nick Proudlock (Mk.1 Ford Escort). George Grant was runner up in the Mazda class from Christopher Richardson. Lawrence Squires (T2 BMW) managed to hold off the similar T1 BMW of Ken Angell. Ken had competed in the Birkett 6 hour relay event the day before, helping the CMMCS to 18th place on handicap. Dominic Ryan (Ford Fiesta) won T3 with Ian Seale (Fiesta) triumphing in class TP from Kathryn Henderson (Puma). Nick Wall sadly retired on lap 7 after an off course excursion.
As the weather conditions kept changing, everyone was carefully watching the track surface. A light shower meant grooved tyres would be the preferred choice. With his misfire hopefully cured (loose earth lead) Birley led the pack away, with Watson again trying the outside line at Paddock bend. Birley held his position as Watson slotted into second. Scott was in third, as Chittenden had to start back in 17th after taking over the black M3. Brad Lane was charging along in 4th, from a fast starting Hope. Dann soon carved his way up to 4th by lap four, whilst Chittenden popped up in 5th a lap later. Ronan Bradley’s miserable day ended with another spin, at which point he called it a day.
Birley kept the gap back to Watson at around five seconds, depending upon back markers. On lap 9 Dann found a way past Scott, and a lap later Chittenden repeated the move. The focus of attention was now on Dann and Chittenden as the two black cars diced together for several laps. Mike made his move on lap 15, as Steve had a moment and then dived into the pits. He reappeared three laps later to be classified 23rd. Meanwhile Birley took his second win of the day, upholding Ford honour to the delight of the many Ford owners present displaying their cars. Watson took a well earned second, winning class B and the H&G driver of the day award. Chittenden completed the podium, with Scott in fourth place winning class C. Martyn had a last lap scare at Druids as Lane had suddenly closed in and went for a dive up the inside. Hutchins was second tin top home, having battled past Hope who faded as the race went on. Vic ended up 11th, behind Sheard in 7th (winning the Mazda class) Hunt who had a good race with Proudlock, and Wall. Squires was 13th, holding off former GT winner Martin Plowman (Mazda). The other classes we were won by Angell in T1, Ryan in T3 and Seale in TP.
A three week gap now until the final meeting of the year at Lydden on 14th November. All four series will be getting their own races, so hopefully a decent size entry will be present.