Brands Hatch Intermarques report

The expected entry of 18 drivers, shrunk to 16 when Philip Young and Volker Timm both had issues on their way to Brands Hatch. Despite this there was still a competitive field of cars which took part in qualifying. Daniel Smith set the quickest time, just ducking below 50 seconds (49.972). Next to him it was Ian Hales, followed by the leading senior driver Paul Knight. Phil Spinks was an impressive fourth, edging out Dave York by 0.150 of a second. Lining up sixth would be Colin Smith, back in a Vauxhall Tigra for this event, with Richard Smith having a better run in his Mercedes in 7th. Danny Russell looked competitive in his Tigra, posting a time of 51.735 seconds, pursued by Reuben Taylor, Philip Blackford and Scott Aprigliano. Chris Ayling was a welcome returnee in his Tigra, whilst Sean Pooley was getting quicker in his VW Corrado. Lewis Smith only managed two laps before a front hub sheared, whilst Keith White was also in strife as his engine expired (making him a non-starter). Mick Robertson missed qualifying, but was allowed to start from the back, whilst Blackford withdrew.

Race one only got as far as Paddock bend, as two cars disappeared into the gravel trap. As the dust settled and the red flags appeared we were missing both Spinks and York. Richard Smith retired to the pits, so just 11 cars took the re-start. Daniel Smith edged into the lead with Hales in close attendance. Somehow Lewis Smith was already up to third followed by Knight, Colin Smith and Taylor. Although Daniel carved out a four second lead, it was Hales who kept the pressure on. Lewis remained a further four seconds adrift, and he nearly lost a place due to a track limits penalty, but he hung onto third. Knight drove a good race to claim fourth and take the senior class win, whilst Taylor got past Colin Smith for fifth. Robertson made steady progress to come home 7th, right on Colin’s boot lid. Russell caught and passed Aprigliano with 2 laps to go, as the Peugeot slowed. Despite this Scott won the driver of the race award. Ayling and Pooley completed the finishers.

Race two saw the first six finishers reversed, which put Colin Smith on pole position. Sadly we had another first lap incident, as Taylor was tagged and sent into the gravel trap. The re-start saw Lewis Smith grab the lead with Colin and Daniel second and third. Within a lap Daniel was second and closing in on his brother. Lewis defended hard and on lap 7 the two Mercedes did virtually the whole lap side by side. Eventually Daniel emerged in front and he slowly edged clear. Lewis meanwhile had Hales looming in his mirrors. The white Mercedes was becoming a bit ragged, as Lewis picked up more track limit penalties. Ian kept his head down and made a decisive move on the last lap to take second place, whilst Lewis was dropped from third to sixth in the final results once the penalties were added on. This meant Knight was promoted to third, winning the senior class again. Colin Smith was a solid fourth, whilst Richard Smith had a good run to take fifth (second in the seniors). Aprigliano was a consistent seventh and Robertson should have been eighth. However, Mick had an incident when the red flags appeared, so his meeting with the clerk of the course resulted in disqualification. Therefore Ayling took 8th as Pooley completed the finishers also taking the driver of the race award.

It was a shame we lost a few cars with the first lap incidents, but hopefully they will all be back for Snetterton next month. Daniel now leads Lewis narrowly in the series, whilst Knight now heads the seniors.

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