Double Mini Miglia champion Bill Sollis made a fairytale comeback to the series at Brands Hatch last Sunday, claiming victory in an exciting race two after Shayne Deegan had taken the spoils in the first contest.
With the Miglia and Se7en drivers competing together, over 40 Minis took to the track in both races, providing a glorious spectacle. Race one poleman Deegan, racing the car prepared by seven-time Miglia champion Peter Baldwin, powered ahead of Kane Astin on the opening tour and never looked back, pulling out a nine-second gap by the finish. Reigning Miglia champion Astin held second throughout ahead of the duelling Rupert Deeth and Aaron Smith, with Sollis finishing a distant fifth. Welshman Ashley Davies was the first of the Se7en drivers home, fending off Max Hunter’s challenge.
Deegan’s hopes of a double were dashed at the start of race two when he bogged down on the line and then spun into the Paddock gravel. Conversely, Sollis quickly moved up the field. Grabbing the lead at the end of the opening tour, he then had to fend off the close attentions of Deeth, Astin, Smith and Colin Peacock.
As the drama intensified, Sollis had to put all his invaluable experience to good use, while the ever-increasing presence of backmarkers in the latter half of the race also created some nervy moments for the quintet. As the race neared its conclusion, Deeth had worked his way into second and looked set to attempt a pass on Sollis. Hopes of a grandstand finish however, were scuppered by late caution period, enabling Sollis to claim a famous success. Davies was victorious again in the Se7ens ahead of Hunter.
Rod Birley was another veteran racer to enjoy success on Sunday. Two further successes in the Saloons/ Cannons Tin-tops double header meant he clocked up his 200th Brands Hatch race win. Malcolm Wise was runner-up in both races.
Both Caterham Superlight R300 races were hampered by startline shunts. Aaron Head held off the close attentions of Lee Wiggins and Jack Sales to win a curtailed race one. All three drivers, along with Danny Winstanley, were at the centre of a typically fraught battle for the lead in the second race too. Head kept his cool to claim his second win of the weekend from Winstanley, who exchanged places with Wiggins several times. Sales held fourth as just over a second covered the top four at the flag.
The sole Aston Martin GT Challenge/intermarque race was dominated by the BMW M3 GT4 of Jeremy Cooke and Mike Dowd, with the pair leading the entire race aside from the mandatory pitstop period. Rapid laps at mid-distance, plus a late pitstop, helped Tom Black take second in his Aston Martin, ahead of Chris Kemp’s Vantage GT4. Mark Libbeter