There’s nothing unusual about the team heading to Brands Hatch for a round of the Avon Intermarque Championship, but it is unusual to see number 62 on the doors and ‘Brian Loram’ on the entry list!
What a perfect day!
Round 7 of this years championship, held on 27th September, saw Brian make his circuit racing debut after he’d successfully gained his licence following Ross’ withdrawal from the championship back in June. It was great to be back in the paddock and meet up with some familiar faces and a very enjoyable Saturday afternoon / evening was spent at the circuit in the company of great friends. We were also in for a real treat as we would be competing on the same weekend as the GP4 championship, as well as a whole manor of wonderful Historic championships…there were certainly some beautiful (albeit slightly scary) cars in the paddock.
What are you doing in there Ross?!?
After a peaceful nights sleep (good class of people in Historic racing!) we prepared for racing as usual. Ross even found himself back behind the wheel briefly as he took the car to scrutineering while Brian was attending a new driver briefing. Scrutineering passed and it was time for Brian to head out for his first qualifying session, making his way out on track at 10:30am with the 16 other Intermarque entries this weekend. It must be said the entry would have been higher but quite a few people have had expensive seasons and are busy nursing tired and broken cars back to health in garages up and down the country!
On circuit Brian was looking much more comfortable in the Tigra (reporting it feels like ‘his car’ again) and was lapping consistently until he had to call into the pits with a loose passenger door. Ross was on hand with the duct tape to rectify the issue but Brian chose not to head out again as a large amount of oil had been dropped on circuit. In fact most of the cars were to be found in pitlane by the end of the session as the circuit was indeed quite treacherous. The time sheets revealed Brian had managed a best laptime of 54.9 seconds with quite a few others laps of a similar time, a definite step forward from the track day we completed here back in July. We even managed to avoid qualifying slowest, just pipping John Steward who was racing Ricky Hunns Peugeot 205 this weekend.
Into the hairpin. (Thanks to Keith Duke for the pic)
The drivers (including those present but not actually racing this weekend, Ross included amongst others) had a meeting in the gap between qualifying and race one to discuss the championships future going forward. After a vote was held it has been established that the regulations will remain largely unchanged, with the vote specifically keeping the current testing restrictions in place as well as the continued rejection of a sequential gearbox. Great news then. We believe there are to be some minor changes made to the front splitter regulations as well as enforcement of diffuser regulations regarding length, but generally speaking things will be carrying on much as they are now. Ross would also like to thank eagle eyed Philip Blackford who pointed out the absolute legends that are Adrian Newey and Dario Franchitti who Ross had just strolled right past as they were having a coffee by race control. Nice of them to come and watch us this weekend, we thank them for their support 😉
There goes the door! (Thanks to Keith Duke for the pic)
Okay then, meetings over and it was back out on circuit for race one! Not wanting to get involved in any accidents and not yet entirely comfortable with the vision out of the car, (which isn’t great from these cars) Brian had a gentle first lap but then got back into the groove and spent a few laps chasing John Steward which had a good effect as he improved his fastest lap to a 54.3 before passing John on the main straight. Unfortunately that pesky passenger side door broke free once again (which was a miracle as Paul taped the hell out of it! Must have been too much polish on the car for once!) which signalled the end of Brians race after nine laps, but he was still pleased with his performance and once back in the pits we fixed the door once and for all!!!
(Thanks to Keith Duke for the pic)
Race two and 62 would again start from the rear of the grid following the race one retirement. With the time approaching 6pm, the low sun would be right in the drivers eyes as they headed along the Cooper straight, never fun for a driver. Brian chose to fight the issue by stealing Ross’ sunglasses in the assembly area, well it’s cheaper than a tinted visor! The top nine cars from race one were reversed on the race two grid which made for an interesting first few laps as the faster drivers made their way through. Lewis Smith made short work of it and soon took a lead he would keep to the flag. Behind him Malcolm Blackman cruised to second in what was a reverse of the race one result, Malcolm no doubt happy with the result though as it secured him the 2015 Championship, congratulations. Commiserations to Chris Brockhurst though who Ross was surprised to find also spectating during race two, his car and title hopes irreparable after a break down in the latter stages of race one, better luck next year. Rounding out the race two podium was Richard Smith, looking good in his SLK.
(Photo used courtesy of www.barcsoutheast.co.uk and Rafal Biniszewski, thanks!)
Our race? Oh I suppose we’ll have to cover that too. Brian was keeping pace with John Steward ahead but just as it looked like he might be getting into position for a move he had a high speed spin at Surtees. Fortunately despite the 90mph spin and leaving the track backwards, car and driver avoided everything solid but Brian thought something may have broken on the car which spelt an end to race two. See it for yourself here.
“No, it’s still got all its wheels”
So that’s it for Brians first circuit meeting then,it was a shame not to get a finish in one of the races but there were some positives to take from it and it’s all good experience. Plus we had a great time being back, we’re looking forward to the season finale in November already, see you there!