MCALEER SE­CURES DOU­BLE WIN

BRANDS HATCH: MGCC APRIL 30/ MAY 1

Motor Sport News - - Racing Reports - BY BRIAN PHILLIPS Photos: Gary Hawkins

Mark Mcaleer was a dou­ble Porsche Club Cham­pi­onship win­ner at a busy two-day fix­ture, lead­ing a qual­ity field in both dry and wet con­di­tions.

A safety car in­ter­ven­tion gave Kevin Har­ri­son two chances to at­tack for the lead in race one, but for­mer cham­pion Mcaleer stayed nar­rowly ahead, with Paul Win­ter a close third.

Win­ter was the main chal­lenger in race two, which was de­layed for a tyre change af­ter a shower. Mike John­son fin­ished third, with a charg­ing Pete Mor­ris next, re­cov­er­ing from a qual­i­fy­ing shunt and out to de­fend his 2015 ti­tle. Mor­ris was aim­ing for the podium, but his charge was halted by a race-short­en­ing red flag with a car off at Pad­dock.

Three-time for­mer MG Tro­phy cham­pion Chris Bray pul­verised the op­po­si­tion in Satur­day’s first race, but a dou­ble hit at a crowded first cor­ner on Sun­day sent him into re­tire­ment. This gave Satur­day run­ner-up Doug Cole the chance to dom­i­nate. No­table drives were put in by Robin Walker, start­ing well down the grid be­cause of a faulty plug. His fourth and sec­ond places were well earned.

James Wheeler con­verted sec­ond on the grid to a race-long lead un­der mas­sive pres­sure from Rus­sell Mc­carthy in the first MG BCV8 race. This pair left Neil Fowler well be­hind. Fowler spun out of sec­ond at a treach­er­ous Gra­ham Hill Bend in the wet sec­ond race, caus­ing all kinds of con­fu­sion in the chas­ing pack and hand­ing Wheeler an un­beat­able ad­van­tage.

Wheeler added a third vic­tory in Sun­day’s Thor­ough­bred Sportscar race, hounded again by Mc­carthy, who won a close con­test with Rob Spencer. MGB GT V8s dom­i­nated, and Fowler com­pleted the top quar­tet, all of them a lap ahead of the next car.

Ben Rush­worth sur­vived sev­eral lurid mo­ments to win the first Metro Cup race, but the same ragged tac­tics didn’t help him to un­seat Mike Wil­liams from the lead on Sun­day. Wil­liams dropped out of Satur­day’s race with a first lap flat tyre.

An Equipe GTS dou­ble fell to Tom Smith’s MGB. Both races fea­tured a tough fight be­tween Smith and the Tri­umph TR4S of Brian White and John An­don, fin­ish­ing in that or­der in race one. White was in front for more than 20 laps of the sec­ond race be­fore a puff of smoke sig­nalled a sud­den re­tire­ment. An­don fell well back but re­tained sec­ond.

Chris Bas­sett scored a maiden out­right win in the first of two BARC South East­ern Tin Tops races, and en­joyed the ex­pe­ri­ence so much he did it again later. His Peu­geot was given a hard time in race one by Chris White­man’s Honda Civic and Rod Bir­ley’s In­te­gra be­fore Bir­ley fell away with a crip­pling mis­fire. White­man didn’t give up, and fin­ished a scant 0.047s adrift. Bas­sett dom­i­nated race two in the wet, with White­man a dis­tant sec­ond. Bir­ley’s still un­well car re­cov­ered from 18th on the grid to fourth, right be­hind Daniel Adams’ Pro­ton. The 1830hrs cur­few pre­vented a likely podium fin­ish.

Among the more hard­core SE Cen­tre sa­loons rac­ing on Sun­day, Dale Gent (Subaru Im­preza) ended Rod Bir­ley’s early un­beaten run in this year’s Quaife Saloon Cham­pi­onship with a pair of em­phatic wins over the lo­cal man’s Ford Es­cort. The ri­vals clashed when they last shared the track, but this time around Gent was never un­der threat af­ter the first third of each open­ing lap. Mal­colm Wise (Es­cort), Gavin Thom­son (SEAT Leon), Tony Skel­ton (Re­nault Clio) and Andy Ban­ham (Subaru Im­preza) fol­lowed in both races. The vet­eran Skel­ton was a dou­ble class win­ner.

With other quick cars fall­ing by the way­side, James Dunk­ley could pace him­self to the flag in the first Mid­get and Sprite Chal­lenge. Race two was a dif­fer­ent story. Graeme Adams pressed hard un­til his car ex­pired, then David We­ston traded the lead be­fore spin­ning at Clark Curve. He re­cov­ered in sec­ond place, but Dunk­ley had the race in the bag, only to have the car die un­der him half a lap from the flag, hand­ing the vic­tory to We­ston.

The first three places in both MG Cup races were filled by Tom Hal­li­well, Ed Davies and Tom Di­ment in ZR mod­els. Richard Buck­ley, pe­nalised down to sixth for con­tact in race one, stayed out of trou­ble to fin­ish fourth at the sec­ond at­tempt.

Robin El­lis took a while get­ting up to speed in his Lo­tus Elite, but drove clear once in front of the Iconic 1950s field. Colin Jones’ MGA was best of the rest.

Cars from a much ear­lier era took part in the Triple M races, which brought vic­to­ries for David Se­ber’s Wolse­ley Hor­net Spe­cial and Charles Jones’ MG L Spe­cial.

David West’s Mid­get eas­ily won the MG All­com­ers’ Chal­lenge that rounded off the long pro­gramme. This was in­ter­rupted when Dan Jones rolled his ZR at Pad­dock. Ian Boul­ton’s eighth-placed ZR was first non-mid­get home.

Mcaleer was unstoppable in the open­ing Porsche Club races

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