Brian returns at Brands


“Can I just write ‘Loram’ on the entry form? And can’t we just use the same number?  I’m going to have to get that signwriting machine out again.”

After Ross made his first appearance of the season at last months American Speedfest meeting, it was Brian back in the hot seat last weekend at Brands Hatch for round five of this years Avon Intermarque championship.

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A rather traffic filled journey across the south coast of England meant we arrived slightly later than expected at Brands on Saturday evening, although that was probably for the best as the pits were only just emptying as we arrived.  We eventually found our way into the bottom of the paddock and enjoyed a wonderful evening with our ‘racing family’ before turning in for the night.

Sunday morning dawned dry and bright, and pleasingly for Brian at least, not too hot, as he wasn’t looking forward to a day being spent baked in the race car in the middle of summer!  Scrutineering was a rather casual one this week and with that and signing on taken care of, we were all ready for qualifying.

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All lined up in the assembly area ready for qualifying.

Nineteen cars joined the circuit for qualifying although we lost Dan Smith early on with a major engine failure.  Brian was busy getting back into the groove with the car running well, although he did have to pit along with the rest of the drivers when the red flags were brought out to retrieve a stranded car.  After a quick check of the tyre pressures, the circuit was again open as the drivers got chance to complete a final few laps.

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(Photo used courtesy of www.barcsoutheast.co.uk and Rafal Biniszewski, thanks!)

When the chequered flag fell it was Malcolm Blackman who had secured pole position with a 49.3 second lap, some half second clear of Steve Burrows who still put in a great sub 50 second lap to line up on the outside of the front row.  Brian would line up for race one in 16th after producing his best lap to date with a 53.069, next stop the 52’s!

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Quick – everyone in the camper, the British Touring Cars are on TV! 😉

A bad start to race one saw our black and orange Tigra drop to the back, but by lap six Brian had found his way past series newcomer Volker Timm and John Steward into a clear 14th place.  Unfortunately a broken halfshaft brought an early end to the race on lap nine, just one lap after nearly squeezing into the 52 second laptimes with a 53.001, annoyingly close!  You can view race one on Youtube here.

Malcolm Blackman converted his pole position into a win, with Lewis Smith second and Chris Brockhurst third.  That sounds fairly familiar?

Back in the pits we had some work to do preparing the car for race two!  With the car up in the air and the rear undertray / rear wing etc removed, we could get to work on the problem from race one.  We ended up changing a halfshaft and the diff before re-assembling and calling it ready to rock again.  Either the halfshaft broke and damaged the diff, or the diff broke and took the halfshaft with it, answers on a postcard. 😉

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Ready for race two with just a couple minutes to spare.

Okay then, race two and Brian spent quite a few laps chasing Volker Timm before passing on lap eight, one lap before we suffered another DNF!  This time it was a fuel starvation issue which brought an early end to the race and the meeting.  Up at the front Lewis Smith gave Malcolm Blackman a good race early on before Malcolm pulled away for his second win of the day.  Simon Smith completed the podium after curing his race one misfire.  You can view our second race here.

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(Photo used courtesy of www.barcsoutheast.co.uk and Rafal Biniszewski, thanks!)

That’s it for this time then, it was a real shame to suffer two DNF’s but we’ll try again next time out at Silverstone on August 28th, see you there!

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