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Race Report-Brands Hatch 13th-14th August
By Tim Falce

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The following is a report of what may or may not have taken place on Saturday and Sunday the 13th and 14th of August 2005. Anything that is written is just a figment of someone else's imagination and may or may not be true. I apologise in advance to any offended drivers, friends, friends of friends and anyone else concerned.

Saturday practice

Twenty five cars were to qualify for what was going to be an exciting weekends racing for the Sports Racing and GT Challenge. Rain had been forecast but as the cars hit the track at eleven thirty three AM the weather had been kind and the sun shone with just a few clouds slowly passing above. Cheng Lim put in some early fast laps, his fastest being on lap four, closely followed by Clinton Dorrel and Mike Walker (class B). Nick Taylor in his GD Cobra was the one to beat though and he just seemed to pip the trio on each lap and finally clinched pole with a time of 52.588 seconds with Cheng being pushed back to fourth behind Nick, Mike Walker and Clinton Dorrel.

Class C was lead by Phil Hollins in his Morgan closely followed by class D drivers Paul Edwards and the ever rapid Myles Castaldini in his Davrian. We were joined by again Ben Dewen in his D-type and Andrew Chalmers with a stunning black Porsche 911.

Saturday race

Between the practice and race we had rain, sun, more rain and more sun, but the rain was to win and by the time the cars were lined up for the start of the race the track was soaking, with standing water in all the wrong places and more rain falling from the ever darkening sky.

As the red lights went out to start the race Cheng made an inspired start, while a very out of shape Nick Taylor was passed by Clinton and Mike Walker as they went into Paddock bend for the first time. As Cheng and Nick went into Graham Hill bend, Nick spun collecting Cheng, closely followed by Paul Hunt in his orange Crossle 9S. The trio gathering themselves together, rejoined way down the field with Cheng last.

This promoted Mark Walklett in his Ginetta G4 to first place which he held until lap four when he ran wide and into the gravel at Paddock corner ending his race. Further down the field the very well turned out red GT40 of Phil Froud was battling to get past Roger Donnan in his Stratos replica. Ben Dewen was having a fantastic race in his D-type and had come from fourteenth to sixth in a nice display of car control in atrocious conditions. Graham Turner joined us for the first time this year in his immaculate Gulf liveried GT40 and was battling hard with Andrew Chalmers further back.

Meanwhile hard charging Nick Taylor and Cheng Lim cut their way through the field to be up to third and fourth respectively until disaster struck for Nick with a spectacular three hundred and sixty degree spin and off, sailing across the gravel into the tyre wall at Paddock just feet away from where Mark Walklett had come to grief earlier. This put Myles into third place behind Mike Walker. Meanwhile Cheng was driving as though the track was hot and dry and he didn't seem to be at all bothered by the water that was catching so many others out. He caught Clinton for what was to be a nail biter of a finish with Cheng just seven hundredths of a second behind when they crossed the line as the chequered flag fell.

There was some good steady driving and enjoyable battles from Michael Shoobridge in his newly acquired Lotus Elan, Graham Paddick as ever put on a masterful display in awful conditions and not forgetting Tony Webb in his Ginetta and John Dickson's Cobra.

Drive of the race had to go to Cheng for an excellent display which proves he must have a cast iron backside, well done that man.

Sunday race

Sunday started bright and sunny but threatened to rain after clouds started rolling over north west Kent around midday. Due to a couple of horrendous accidents in earlier races in which no one was seriously hurt thankfully, the race schedule was running very late and the SRGT race amongst others was reduced to ten minutes. The race finally started in sunshine around ten past six in the evening with Cheng and Mike Walker getting the drop on pole man Clinton pushing him back to third place closely followed by Ian Wilson in a Lotus Europa from sixth on the grid.

Making a rare but much appreciated appearance was Henry Lawson in his Chevrolet Lister, he had come from last on the grid (due to not being around on Saturday to qualify) to eighth by lap five but unfortunately retired on lap six. Graham Turner was battling to pass Andy Lambert in his Cobra and finally made the move going into Graham Hill bend on lap five. Ben Dewen's smoking D-type lost tenth slot to Graham Paddick on lap five while Andrew Riley in his awesome V8 powered MGB lost out to David Stafford's Ginetta and Jon Jefferey's Davrian. Jon had been having ignition and carburetor problems between races and was thankful that it had been sorted prior to the race as the car was now on song.

Midway through the race the weather changed and rain started to fall and we all expected a repeat of yesterdays deluge. It was not to happen however, for as quickly as the rain came, it went again, giving way to glorious evening sunshine. Back up at the front Cheng lost the lead to Clinton on lap six and steadily a small gap opened between them. Mike Walker was a few seconds behind with Phil Hollins coming from tenth to fourth some twenty plus seconds behind. Barry Sheppard had taken the controls of his ever impressive Nomad from Max Sheppard for this race and was making progress from the rear up to sixth position with his normal steady style. Michael Shoobridge was now getting the hang of his Lotus, putting in faster laps on every pass. Paul Hunt made steady progress in his Crossle to finish sixth form a twelth place start while Andrew Chalmers could not regain the place lost to Graham Turner although both drivers were pleased to have completed the race without mishap.

So the race came to a finish at six twenty two with Clint crossing the line first, Cheng 2.3 seconds behind with Mike Walker less than half a second behind him.

Unfortunately we lost Mark Walklett near the begining of the race, although not in so dramatic a style as in the rain soaked previous day. David Grunberg's Ginetta retired on lap eight.

It was an excellent weekend's racing only marred by the delays of a couple other races.This goes to show how friendly yet competetive the series is and we look forward to seeing more large grids in the future.

Please accept my appologies for any errors or if I missed you out in this report, I was also taking photos which can be seen........ here

Results race 1
1: Dorrel
2:Lim
3:Walker

Results race 2
1: Dorrel
2:Lim
3:Walker

Full results......... here .pdf document


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