FJHRA/HSCC “SILVERLINE” UK CHAMPIONSHIP Round 7 – BRANDS HATCH – 29 JUNE 2019
In a repeat of last years’ format, our qualification and single race took place on the same day, which seemed to meet with general approval and had the very welcome additional benefit given our Saturday billing this time, that for once the Paddock was not overcrowded and plenty of room for all.
The circuit was looking its usual well maintained best and the sun was observed – ie 34 degrees – uncomfortable for some but no doubt Most was ever hotter – Marty Bullock reported that Magny Cours enjoyed 40 degrees.
Thirty-five cars were entered and every one turned up – quite remarkable in view of the Lurani Race at Most on the same weekend.
Qualifying was almost as exciting as the subsequent race. Tim De Silva, Andrew Hibberd, Sam Wilson and Pete Morton flew round with only a couple of tenths separating the lap times – Sam Wilson held sway as fastest by the narrowest of margins until the very last lap when each produced their fastest time – this shuffled Wilson back to 4th, the final order being De Silva, Hibberd, Morton and Wilson.
Fastest of the Front Engines (by a considerable margin) was Chris Drake in his unusual Terrier from Alex Morton (Condor S II) and Mike Hibberd (Lola Mk 2).
The session was marred (and red flagged) by an alarming accident involving James Russell and Andrew Beaumont – both had been lapping quickly and an overtaking move saw Russell spin backwards across the track and collide heavily with the barrier at the Pits Exit. The CCTV footage was carefully examined – lessons to be learned are to be very careful where you chose to overtake and to keep a close eye on the mirrors to know what is happening behind – exactly as stressed by our Competitions Secretary. The beautifully prepared Lotus 22 was comprehensively wrecked – It was James’ birthday and the drive was his birthday treat.
There were a few unfamiliar names on the timing sheets (5), they were additional cars from HGPCA who were over capacity in their session- interestingly, the pole position HGPCA car was slower than the fastest 4 Juniors!
Due to the high temperatures, and the likelihood of overheating on the grid, it was decided to have a rolling start – this went smoothly and without drama with only one reported case of overtaking before having crossed the start line.
Into Paddock first time, De Silva led Hibberd by the narrowest of margins. On lap 1, the order was Hibberd, Wilson, De Silva, Morton – all extremely close, followed by Thornton and Smeeton in the rare Wainer. This continued for several laps with Wilson hanging on to his precarious lead – sadly on lap 4, a rear suspension joint in Morton’s unique Lightning failed and he abandoned the fun at Druids leaving 3 in the lead dice.
Meanwhile in Class D2, Laine Martin, back out for the first time this season, enjoyed a substantial lead over the battling duo of John Chisholm and Robin Longdon – post race, his winning margin was reduced by a 5 second penalty for track limit infringements. It is worth noting that Brands have installed sneaky pads at the edges which activate cameras to record the atrocity- so you can’t hope that the dozy DSO is asleep on duty! A notable performance by Rudolf Ernst who drove quickly and well to 5th place in exalted company.
The front engined class was won comfortably by Chris Drake’s Terrier from Alex Morton’s Condor and Harinda De Silva’s Lola while in C2 Andrew Taylor’s nicely prepared Cooper T 56 won from Ian Simmonds’ unusual Envoy and Trevor Griffiths’ equally unusual Emeryson
Back to the lead battle, Wilson dropped back to third on lap 8: thereafter rising temperatures saw him drop steadily away but maintaining 3rd place easily – incidentally the rising heat from the radiator was doing a good job of roasting his feet – so a very brave effort indeed.
Meanwhile T. De Silva and A. Hibberd were inseparable- with notably clean and fair racing between these extremely talented drivers – well done both.
And so the race finished – our President- Tony Goodwin presented the first 3 overall with trophies at the Podium while all class trophies were presented in the paddock by our Patron Howden Ganley – not only was Howden a gifted F1 and Le Mans Endurance driver but wrote a truly superb autobiography called “ Road to Monaco” while I don’t suppose Howden was responsible for the title, it’s definitely one of the best 3 racing books I have read (I’ve got over 500) – alongside in the best 3 is Tony Goodwin’s Autobiography “Doctor on the Grid” don’t imagine he chose that title either – but both are fascinating- and both were distinguished Formula Junior drivers – don’t miss it.