Brands Hatch Superprix – 14 July 2013
So to practice for Brands on the iconic Grand Prix circuit. Beautiful weather, couldn't wish for better, in fact it was probably a bit on the warm side and it was certainly going to heat up for the race. We started off with an entry of 32 and three fell by the wayside and ended up with 29 completing practice in the end. It was really led from the beginning to the end by Mike Gardiner in his Ford Falcon as it should be. Mike was on good form his car now having the power steering and power brakes as his back is not doing him any favours at the moment. He was comfortably the only car under 1.50. There was quite a tussle thereafter for the following places on the grid. Tim Davies was up there for a while, Jonathan Gomm was up then Bob Bullen, Jimmy Fuller and John Pugsley. Eventually it all shook out and Joe Gomm took second on the grid with a 1.52 and it was all pretty close behind him. Bob Bullen is making a terrific return to racing he has had about two or three years off and it was it was great to see the Yellow Peril back on the track and Bob is a bit of a Brands specialist anyway so what he has done is gone out testing, the car and Bob obviously doing really well. So Bob was third on the grid with a 1.52.6 and just pipping Neil Brown’s Lotus Cortina also on a 1.52.6. Little bit worried about Neil as his car pulled off right towards the end of practice, but he was just down to the fumes in the tank. Now Tim Davies was up there for a while but slumped down to 5th in the end with a 1.52.8 and frankly watching him going round his car was quick and we know Tim is quick but the car really wasn’t handling very well so he has got a bit of work to do there. 6thoverall the usual giant-killing performance of Simon Benoy in the Imp with a 1.53.4 just that few tenths ahead of Jimmy Fuller. It's good to see Jimmy, who lives in Antigua in the West Indies, out again in his Alfa Romeo in a 1.53.8 just pipping John Pugsley’s Ford Anglia in a 1.54. We’ve got to be a bit careful here in the race as these two have got a bit of history so I hope they can behave themselves. In ninth place Andy Jones brings his Singer Chamois, that is a posh version of an Imp, in 1.54.2. Andy sporting a new 1150 cc engine so it should be very quick when he gets it really sorted out. Rounding out the top 10 was Robin Slater's Ford Anglia in 1.54.5.
Brands Hatch: The Race
The sun stayed shining and Mike Gardiner made a terrific start from the front. It was such a terrific start that he arrived at Paddock a bit before he thought, he had to take to the gravel and really he was very lucky to maintain forward momentum bringing the car back on to the track. Half a dozen of the field swarmed past him and the lead taken by Tim Davies, Joe Gomm and Neil Brown. Bob Bullen fell back a bit at the start but then clawed back up, however three laps into the race and Mike had used his power to reassert his lead and Joe Gomm had very much come through to make second place his as well. Tim Davies was definitely having problems with the handling of his Cortina and was needing 2 litre power to fend off Neil Brown. Behind these two Lotus Cortinas there was a terrific gaggle of Anglias - Bob Bullen, Robyn Slater and John Pugsley all swapping places but eventually Bob Bullen got the better of them all. Indeed it looked at one stage as if he might get the better of Neil Brown and come in fourth as well. The race was a wee bit upset with the safety car appearing for 2 laps in the middle this was initially brought about by William Ward’s Cooper S spinning off at Paddock into the gravel although he was a fair old way from the track. Then there was an incident between Steve Jones and John Avill at the back of the circuit which necessitated the safety car coming out and in the course of all of this there had been a lot of oil drops at various points around the circuit. It was definitely getting pretty slippery as was reflected in the times as they were a couple of seconds off the pace set in practice. So the eventual result was Mike Gardiner from Joe Gomm and Joe reckoned that if it wasn’t for the safety car, Mike was definitely starting to slide around in the heat and he thought he might just about make a race for it. These two were well clear of the terrific battle between Tim Davies, Neil Brown, Bob Bullen and Robin Slater with John Pugsley hanging onto the end of this, eventually Tim just getting a nose in front of Neil Brown to take the last podium spot. Bob Bullen had a terrific race back for him after two or three years out of competitive racing. Robin Slater very much kept him honest as well and was right on his tail at the flag as was John Pugsley for 7th. Simon Benoy was mixing it with these guys but I guess eventually horse power did tell but he brought his Hillman Imp home in a class winning 8th, 9 or so seconds in front of second in class Steve Platts in his Singer Chamois, who had a bit of a tussle along the way with Roger Phillips but got the better of him. In 10th place a good result for Colin Kingsnorth who kept himself out of trouble and kept just in front of a David Morrow’s Alfa. Roger Phillips brought his Cooper S home in 12th a few seconds in front of Peter Morgan's Cooper S, who was in turn just a few tenths in front of Adrian Oliver in his Hillman Imp. Then there was a gap of about 20 or so seconds and then into 15th place David Lloyd brings his Ford Mustang having a great race with David Owens Ford Anglia just pipping him at the end by a second or so. David Owens was just a couple of seconds ahead of David Cabena’s beautiful Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Right on the tail of this pair was Pete Wright in his Austin A 40, who went four seconds quicker than on his last Brands outing! So Richard Cross finishes 19th , a good result for him because he actually got his car to the finish line, just in front of Gideon September’s Hillman Imp who is in turn a few seconds clear of the Singer Chamois’ of Stuart Kerr and Andy Jones. Andy’s car was going much quicker at times but with only three cylinders pulling himself round had to dive into the pits to reattach a loose plug lead. Then into last place Jimmy Fuller who also went into the pits because of a fuel union leaking bringing up the tail of the field.
A great day’s racing with an amazing mix of cars throughout the grid.
We were there