Richards de­lighted with class vic­to­ries


Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sport - By Dan Wright

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

Pic­ture: Joe Wright

Ash­ford’s Bill Richards chal­lenges Sellindge racer Andy Ban­ham in the Motorsport News Saloon Car Cham­pi­onship at Brands Hatch

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