Sunny Brands Greeted The 750 Motor Club

Brands Hands hosted a one day race meeting for the 750 Motor Club, with six formulae racing including the mini endurance 116i Trophy it was always going to be busy..

First out were the Locost competitors, the large grid saw the field split into groups once again. It was Ben Powney who put it on pole in a car he first sat in during qualifying. Louis Wall wasn’t far behind with Murray Shepherd third. The first race saw Louis Wall on pole with Powney racing in the later races. Wall led the field from the start Mark Burton who got a great start to slot into second. The top four broke away from the field allowing them to battle it out for the podium positions. Wall, Burton and points leader Tom Gadd raced hard. Burton gaining the lead at one point only for Wall to get a slipstream and retake the lead. Peter Hatfield joined the top three battling it out. Burton made a move on the last lap for the lead, but didn’t have the pace to stay in front as Wall powered past by 0.10 second from Burton with Gadd. The top four separated by just 0.36 second! The second race saw Murray Shepherd on pole from Ben Powney. Shepherd led the way behind him it was Geoff Peek who got a great start to get ahead of Powney who was now third. There were close battles throughout the field, Greg Smith was battling with Paul Clark and Tim Penstone - Smith, who had moved up from 14th on the grid. After a coming together Greg ended up in the gravel at druids, stranded with a car not willing to steer the safety car was called. Sadly the race would end under the safety car as it took longer to recover the car then previously thought. Victory went the way of Murray Shepherd with Peek and Martin West completing the podium. The final race of the day saw Powney on pole ahead of race one winner Wall. Powney made the best start with Burton climbing up to second chasing him down. Jack Coveney returning to the championship was catching Burton for second and passed him on lap 6. Wall was fourth, on lap 7 Burton lost a place to Wall. However by lap 9 Burton had not only got back passed Wall but also Coveney to return to second place. Powney took the chequered flag with Burton hanging on to second and Wall finishing third after a successful day taking points from this championship rivals.

The MX5’s had a strong 30 car grid to take on the Indy circuit. It was Paul Bateman on pole from Ian Tomlinson and Jordan Johnson. Race one and Bateman led off the line from Ben Hancy who had climbed from fourth to second. Lap three however and Hancy made contact with Bateman up at Druids forcing the safety car to come out, so the marshals could retrieve Bateman’s stricken Mazda. Richard Baxter now led from Jordan Johnson. Bateman rejoined and set fastest lap along the way. Lap 10 and Johnson made his move for the lead with Ian Tomlinson now lying second and third was the previous leader in Baxter. This is how it would finish, later the stewards disqualified Ben Hancy for the contact made with Bateman meaning he would start race two at the back of the grid. Race two saw Tomlinson make a textbook start and lead, a lead which he would never give up on his way to a 2.43 second victory. Dan Abbitt was in second for the initial laps, by lap 3 he was displaced by race one winner Johnson. Ben Hancy who started at the back, worked his way up through the field and finished an incredible third and set fastest lap along the way. Paul Bateman recovered to finish sixth after his troubles in race one.

MR2 championship had a grid of 26 cars, a bit lower then the usual 30+ cars on track. It was reigning champion Shaun Traynor on pole from Stuart Nicholls in his class C roadster. Aaron Cooke was third continuing his momentum from Cadwell. Race one saw Nicholls get the initial jump on Traynor to take the lead. Cooke suffered a bad start falling into the pack, before the end of the first lap and Traynor made his move for the lead. Lap two say Tom Gaughran run wide out of paddock hill causing him to spin into the infamous gravel and retire. A brief safety car was called to move the car to a safer position. Once racing resumed Traynor made a break from Nicholls with Adam Lockwood lying third. Towards the end of the race Traynor made a mistake allowing the pack to close up on him, this didn’t effect his concentration as he crossed the line just under 2 seconds ahead of Nicholls who also claimed class C victory. Class A went the way of Dave Hemingway finishing 14th overall. Race two Traynor carried on where he left off leading the pack, this time from Alistair Topley and Ben Rowe. Lap 2 coming round Surtees Darren Aldworth had a coming together with Chris Thomas, sending Aldworth sideways across the pack thankfully no one collected him and he rejoined last. Lap 5 and the safety car was needed again as Mick Nicholls and Ashley Parsons both had offs at Paddock Hill. Parsons was able to continue albeit in last place, sadly Nicholls car needed to be recovered. A lengthy safety car period for the majority of the race, led to a last lap dash to the line. Traynor crossed the line for double victory, behind it was Topley in second, the real battle was for third. Ben Rowe having held third for the whole race, Stuart Nicholls got a superb run on Rowe to the line it was a dead heat, with Nicholls just pipping Rowe by 0.01 second!

The MG BCV8s were guests for the day, with a healthy grid of 22 cars. Qualifying was interrupted by a red flag, when they resumed unfortunately the same occurred with another red flag, two cars had entered the gravel at Paddock Hill. In the 7 laps they did get it was Russell McCarthy on pole from Neil Fowler. In the class C it was Andrew Young, class B went the way of Barry Holmes, AB was Russell McAngus and the invitational class was James Darby. Race one and it was fourth place man Robert Spencer who raced through into the lead with Neil Fowler behind. The Class C battle was a close affair all race with James Wheeler taking the class lead at the start from Andrew Young. The race upfront was ever closer with the top three all within a second of each other. There was a drama on the last lap as Fowler went for a move on Spencer for the lead at Paddock Hill, the two came together forcing Spencer out wide. A scene of good sportsmanship followed as Fowler waved Spencer back through to take victory. On the penultimate lap the class C lead changed with pole man Young getting ahead of Wheeler to take class victory. Class B went the way of Mark Scott as pole man Holmes dropped down the order. Class AB saw pole man McAngus victorious the same for invitational class driver Darby. Race two was a much more easier affair with Robert Spencer enjoying a lights to flag victory. Lap three saw podium finisher Fowler retire, a lap later and Jordan Spencer in class C found the gravel at Clearways leading to retirement as he couldn’t get out. Class C victory this time went the way of James Wheeler in a close finish with race one winner Young. Mark Scott enjoyed another class B victory along with invitational class driver Darby and AB class winner Russell McAngus.

The new for 2019 Type R Trophy took to Brands for it’s penultimate round of the season. In qualifying it was Dan Thackeray on pole from Stu Neale. Mervyn Beckett had qualified in 5th but had a hefty off at Paddock severely damaging the car beyond repair, pleased to report Beckett was fine just a touch sore. The race saw five cars starting with Peerless dropping out as well, Thackeray led from the lights to flag with a commanding drive, Stu Neale tried to catch him over the 15 laps to no avail. Mark Hughes and Jack Thomas enjoyed a close battle with Mark getting the better of Jack towards the end of the race and enjoyed his first podium in the series. Race two was very much the same, Thackeray again led from the start this time he finished further ahead of Neale but the two were closer together in lap times. Hughes and Thomas enjoyed another close battle but the places were reversed this time round with Thomas getting the last podium spot.

The 116i Trophy completed their 90 minute mini endurance race with 13 cars on the grid, it was also open to invitational cars, Mervyn Beckett ran in another car alongside Ben Hancy in his MX5, Adrian Johnson and Jordan Johnson in their MX5 and Kevin Dengate and Chris Lovett in their MX5 also, Rhys Dorman was in the sole Toyota MR2 roadster. The start of the race and with Beckett having to race a different car to what he qualified in, he was starting from the back. Ben Hancy led the way with the trio of MX5 cars out front. In the 116i trophy it was Anthony Seddon who took the lead from Paul Wighton and Lewis Wighton-Turner. Lap 6 and Seddon ended up in the gravel at Paddock which led to a safety car. Mervyn Beckett meanwhile had worked his way from the back of the grid and was chasing down the leading Mazda. By lap 15 he was in the lead ahead of Ben Hancy. Matt Maxed was in the lead of the 116i trophy race with every little separating the top three drivers. The pit stop window opened between 15 minutes and 75 minutes of the race, they began to happen just over half way with the mandatory one minute stop for the 116i cars. The invitational class had to have at least one three minute stop but some made more due to refuelling. Mervyn Beckett after his pit stop was 10 seconds behind the MX5 drivers, it was a big ask to make the time up but by lap 75 Beckett was back in the lead of the race, winning the race by 8.77 seconds from Ben Hancy. The 116i trophy was getting every closer, a close battle between the top two of Lewis Wighton-Turner and James Alford meant after 75 laps the pair were separated by less then a couple of seconds. It was Alford who was initially in front until lap 77 when Wighton-Turner took the lead and the victory, Alford finished in second for his first podium and debut pairing of Chris Neal and Matt Maxted finished third.

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