Richards delighted with class victories
Ashford’s Bill Richards edged closer to becoming a Motorsport News Saloon class champion after two strong drives at Brands Hatch on Sunday.
The Mini Clubman campaigner, 64, picked up two class D wins on the full Grand Prix circuit despite not racing on the 2.4-mile loop for three years.
Richards qualified 14th on a capacity 40-car grid and from the start of race one set about building a gap over his class rivals.
Despite backing off on the final lap to bring the car home, Richards finished in 15th overall, easily clear of class rival Perry Winch in his Renault Clio.
The renowned engineer followed a similar pattern in race two, improving on his earlier performance to take 12th at the flag.
Richards said post-race: “I’m over the moon with the results on what would have been our worst circuit with the long straight. We thought the best thing to do was to do whatever it took to win the class. We tried to get as many of the high-powered Tin Tops between me and the Clios and it all went according to plan.
“I feel honoured that a 1976 Mini Clubman is playing with the big guys on this circuit and it’s punching well above its weight.”
In class A, Sellindge racer Andy Banham was pleased with his improved pace on only his second-ever drive on the full Grand Prix circuit.
Banham lined up alongside local rival Richards in race one and just missed out on a top-10 finish by 0.271 seconds. In the second encounter, the Subaru Impreza pilot avoided a drama at Druids to finish eighth overall and third-in-class behind the Ford Sierra Cosworth of Daniel Cowan.
Banham said: “I improved my lap time by a second – that made me happy.
“I do like the GP but just wish we had a bit more time. We have done 24 or 25 laps and you are always learning.
“By the end you are doing half the gear changes than you do when you start but it will be another year before we get another go. I am slowly starting to like Brands.” Elsewhere, Aldington’s Chris Brown failed to finish the first race in his Cannons Tin Tops Ford Fiesta but took 26th overall in race two, scoring fourth in his T3 class.
The Motorsport News Saloons and Cannons Tin Tops will return to Brands Hatch on November 7 and 8 for their final round.
Star players Nat Arter
and Abbey Farris
Ashford’s Bill Richards challenges Sellindge racer Andy Banham in the Motorsport News Saloon Car Championship at Brands Hatch