Brands Hatch 2011Race 1 results
As the BCCC circus rolled into Brands hatch for the first two point-scoring rounds of the series, the drivers and spectators were once again treated to warm weather and red-hot track action. As a stand-alone series within the larger Nippon Challenge, the fledgling BCCC has already captured the imagination of race fans with its epically close finishes and royal battles.As well as many of the usual suspects lining up to start, Wayne Ainsworth from series chassis gurus ‘Gravity Works’ has also booked himself a hired seat, and despite sporting a novice cross on the rear of his rented car, Ainsworth was to prove to be immediately up to the speed of the front runners.
Qualifying went well with the 3 fastest times in the GT200 class going to Civic Cup cars. Ex Time Attack champ and series creator Paul Hughes, once again on an ‘exhibition’ drive, setting the pace with a scalding 58.64 from Ainsworth and previous BCCC winner Richard Hockley. This trio lined up 7th, 8th, 9th overall on the Nippon Grid.
In the first race, Hughes was tagged off at the first corner, sending him spinning back to 28th place. He was later able to recover this back to a respectable 14th overall and 5th in Civic Cup. Hockley and Ainsworth battled tooth and nail all race with a mere 2 seconds separating them at the finish line. Hockley pipped Ainsworth to the win setting fastest lap in GT200 class. Resident journo Paul Cowland and Mike Hamlett were having their own tussle further back to finish 5 seconds apart at the finish line with Cowland taking third at the flag. Dave Payling was having tyre temperature problems throughout the race and came home in the final Civic Cup place.
In the second race, Hockley was favourite starting 5th on the grid with Ainsworth, Cowland and Hamlett right behind him. Hughes was back in 14th on the grid with Payling behind. As the lights went out Hockley and Cowland soared up the pit wall while Ainsworth lost ground after a bad start, blocking Hamlets charge.
The Battle for 1st place raged with Cowland quickly passing Hockley and leading for most of the race. Being the only competitor on the series’ ‘road-spec’ tyre, Cowland’s tyres quickly went off to allow the semi-slick shod Hockley to challenge. A bumper-banging Steam train went on for over 6 laps with Cowland defending well and holding Hockley in position, This allowed the charging Hughes (moving up from 14th to 8th) to catch up on lap 11 setting the fastest lap in GT200 (58.4)making it a 3 way scrap. On one lap the Civics were almost three abreast down Paddock Hill, which seemed to please the crowd immensely! With nothing left in the corners, Cowland let Hockley past on lap 15, with Hughes following him through shortly after, resulting in Hockley and Hughes scrapping to the flag side by side with only 0.3 of a second separating the two cars and Cowland only 1 second astern. Hamlett and Ainsworth came in with 0.5 seconds separation, only 2 seconds behind after catching them all gradually and also both dropping into the 58s by the end of the race. Payling brought up the rear but had improving from race 1 by 3 places in the overall Nippon standings.
The next BCCC race will be at Castle Combe on Monday the 30th of May. Don’t miss it!
Brands Hatch 2011 Race 1 Results