“Aims for the weekend?”
The final round of this years Avon Intermarque championship has been and gone, with the team travelling to Brands Hatch for the finale on 7th November. After encountering some pretty horrendous weather back in Devon during the previous week, everyone was at least prepared for a rather wet and windy Saturday at Brands! Overnight rain on Friday had left the circuit looking fairly sodden which meant that although the rain halted in time for qualifying, everyone would still be on wet tyres for the session. This was Brians first experience driving the Tigra in the wet on a circuit but despite a big moment at Graham Hill bend in the early laps, the pace was good. It must be said all the cars looked a bit ‘clumsy’ in the wet conditions but for the most part they looked reasonably equal in what was a busy session as everyone kept circulating until the chequered flag in case the conditions improved.
Conditions were at their best in qualifying. Huge thanks to Keith Duke for the picture.
A quick visit to the scales in Parc Ferme revealed the Tigra to now weigh an eye watering 910Kgs, but we could live with that on a cold wet day. When the timing sheets were posted we were happy to see car 62 in 15th place of the 18 cars, posting a best lap of 1:05.9
IT’S SO WINDY!!!
Back in the paddock and the heavens well and truly opened, sending everyone running for cover under various gazebos and awnings. In truth we’re fairly amazed the gazebo survived the battering it took all weekend, even if it did need strapping down to two vans and a trailer to stop it flying off!!! With the conditions seemingly set for the rest of the day, we took the chance to fit the extra rear wing elements which Ross had run to good effect at Lydden Hill last season. (Although we did hold off on fitting the front ones)
On track in race one. Huge thanks to Keith Duke for the picture.
Race one and the drivers certainly had their work cut out for them as they struggled to keep control and even see where they were going in the spray. Brian spent the first seven laps within a second or two of John Steward, the pair of them keeping within sight of a great squabble ahead which ended up involving Griffiths, Ayling and Gomm. Quite how Chris Ayling could see where he was going was a bit of a mystery however as his wiper ended up pointing straight at the sky, clearly doing a great impression of an aerial. Lap 8 and the safety car was out to allow the marshals chance to retrieve Lewis Smiths car after it had stopped up at the hairpin. Lewis had endured several high speed detours through the gravel at Paddock, the last of which had unfortunately resulted in some damage to his engine which hopefully isn’t as expensive as it sounded.
More traction required! Huge thanks to Keith Duke for the picture.
Lewis’ car was barely out of the way before the race restarted, catching out quite a few of the drivers. Malcolm Blackman continued where he’d left off and took a comfortable win with Steve Burrows taking a great second place. Mark Fuller came through well for third but there was drama further back with Simon Smith spinning to the back of the pack and losing his shot at the podium. Brian turned in his fastest lap on the last lap on route to 13th place. A race finish, mission accomplished!
We were barely back in the pits after race one when the drivers were being called up for race two, in fact the podium finishers weren’t back at all before they were being called for! This was due to the access tunnel being closed when the trucks are on track. Trucks, great big bloody things that constantly destroy barriers, cover the track in diesel and smoke everyone out in the pits. Sorry, we’re not their biggest fans to be honest. So then, after a hasty refuel, Brian found himself heading back to the assembly area for race two which he would start in 13th place. A few places higher and it’ll be reverse grid ‘start on pole’ time!
What a grey day.
Forgive us if we turn into a bit of a ‘Philip Young fansite’ for a minute here, but our old friend ‘Mr.Cheese’ was on an absolute mission in race two. From fourth on the grid he powered around the outside of Ayling and Griffiths at Paddock, before ducking under a charging Richard Smith at Druids and storming off into the lead. It was majestic. Further back and Brian was again looking competitive and had gotten the better of John Steward at the start although John was looking good and gained the place back a few laps in.
Brian and John come through Paddock in the early laps. Huge thanks to Keith Duke for the picture.
The safety car made the first of two appearances as Steve Burrows day took a turn for the worse as he got stuck in the Paddock gravel. Blackman had worked his way upto second before the safety car came out but it was Philip who was still leading as the race got back underway until Blackman inevitably got through later in the lap. The pair of them soon disappeared up the road though, much to everyones delight. Richard Smith appeared in third, his SLK really looking good as this season has progressed. The top three positions were looking reasonably secure until Richards car just got out of shape on the way into Paddock as he tried to chase down Philip in second. With the car well and truly beached in the gravel we had the second safety car intervention of the race which bunched the field back up and would leave us with another two lap sprint to the flag. Excitement! Blackman sped off to another comfortable win, really showing why he’s this years champion. Ricky Hunn emerged in second place, getting the better of Philip after a couple of close corners, top result considering he started from the back of the grid. Without doubt the biggest cheer of the day though went to Philip Young who came home in third place, an absolute dream result and thoroughly deserved it was too, great drive mate. Brian brought our car home in 11th which was another good result. Interestingly his fastest lap was only 1 second off Philips…….with a bit more practice……
Just had to throw this very beautiful pic into the mix! Huge thanks to Keith Duke for the picture.
With our racing all done and dusted by Saturday afternoon, we decided to stay the night and cheer on our friend Lee Rogers who was racing in the Pickups on Sunday. We also had the Legends to watch, always entertaining and one of Ross’ favourite formula. Oh, and trucks too, they draw a crowd, but……..m’eh. Oh, and needless to say Sunday was of course nearly entirely dry!
That’s another season over then, and what a strange one it’s been. We started full of hope on building on a strong 2014 with Ross behind the wheel, and we ended up with Brian doing the last two meetings! Whatever will next season bring? See you then.