Brown and But­ler-hen­der­son share Mini wins as ti­tle bat­tle heats up

Motor Sport News - - Racing Reports -

De­fend­ing Mini Chal­lenge cham­pion Char­lie But­ler-hen­der­son and Cooper class grad­u­ate Nathan Har­ri­son re­main closely matched on points af­ter two Jcw-only con­fronta­tions at Brands Hatch. Har­ri­son scored a pair of podium places and CB-H had a fourth place and a win.

Per­haps the star of the week­end though was Jono Brown. Af­ter a tor­rid open­ing round when he crashed out at Don­ing­ton Park, he gave him­self the ideal tonic with pole and a com­mand­ing win in race one. Brown used his qual­i­fy­ing tyres in a con­trolled drive to vic­tory. This would leave him a new set on which to chal­lenge from fifth on the part-re­versed race two grid.

A close con­test for se­cond made Brown’s task eas­ier. Har­ri­son had the place for much of the race, but Chris Smith moved ahead when it mat­tered with a bold move at Sur­tees. But­lerHen­der­son fi­nally passed Rob Smith for fifth on the road and fin­ished right be­hind Luke Cau­dle, who was sub­se­quently pe­nalised down to 10th for a jumped start. Cau­dle had a re­stricted qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion be­cause of a mis­fire and started sev­enth, but a good get­away was deemed a lit­tle too quick, and the time penalty fol­lowed.

New tyres or not, Brown could make no im­pres­sion from fifth in a pro­ces­sional se­cond race. But­lerHen­der­son soon took com­mand and man­aged the gap back to Har­ri­son, pole­man Rob Smith, Chris Smith and Brown. Rob Smith felt he’d over­heated the car and lost power on the pa­rade lap, cost­ing time early on.

Still short of seat time in the fam­ily team’s new Bent­ley, Jor­dan Witt nev­er­the­less qual­i­fied al­most 2s faster than Richard Cham­ber­lain’s Porsche for the GT Cup and proved to be in a class of his own in all three races. With Cham­ber­lain clear in se­cond, by the end of race one John Dhillon’s Fer­rari 458 was be­ing caught for third by Gareth Down­ing’s Lo­tus Evora. Both were in the sights of Dar­ren Nel­son, whose Lam­borgh­ini missed qual­i­fy­ing with a gear­box is­sue and pro­gressed from last on the grid to fifth, but the laps ran out be­fore any of th­ese places could change. Sixth man Tom Webb, with reg­u­lar co-driver brother James ab­sent on a stag week­end, won his class.

Witt again dom­i­nated race two but Nel­son and Cham­ber­lain en­livened things with a start-to-fin­ish con­test for se­cond, al­though the Lam­borgh­ini was ahead all the way. Down­ing was fourth and Webb fifth, ben­e­fit­ing from a first lap spin by Dhillon. This left the Fer­rari driver play­ing catch-up into sixth place.

The third race, with pit­stops, had the same win­ner, but the Lam­borgh­ini crashed early on and Cham­ber­lain caused a red flag pre­ma­ture fin­ish af­ter shunt­ing out of Hawthorns. Dhillon was joined by Aaron Scott to take se­cond place.

Blanc­pain’s ama­teur-only GT Sports Club races were dom­i­nated by Pol­ish driver Michal Bro­niszewski in a Fer­rari 458. Most of the ac­tion was in the fight for se­cond. Martin Lant­ing’s 458 had the place in race one un­til he clipped a back­marker and spun off at Sheene, and Ni­co­las Vandieren­donck dropped back af­ter putting his Chevro­let Corvette through the Pad­dock gravel. This left Pa­trick van Glabeke in an­other 458 to take se­cond, with Karim Oj­jeh’s BMW M6 third. Amer­i­can sur­geon Steve Earle won the class for drivers aged over 60.

Oj­jeh passed van Glabeke for se­cond in race two when the Fer­rari had a wob­ble through Pad­dock. The Corvette fell back to fourth and dropped to ninth in the re­sults af­ter a 30s penalty for over­tak­ing dur­ing a full course yel­low.

The Cater­ham Grad­u­ates en­joyed their se­cond meet­ing of the year, with five classes in ac­tion over three dou­ble­head­ers. First up was the Clas­sics, where the top three drivers were tied on points. Graeme Smith put an end to that by win­ning twice – in race one he jos­tled for position early on be­fore break­ing clear on the fi­nal lap to win as his ri­vals bat­tled.

Smith made it a dou­ble in race two, squeez­ing past Steven Mcmaster into Brun­dle and Nel­son in an­other well­timed last lap move to snatch top spot.

De­clan Dolan and Luke Cooper took a class win apiece in the pair of Cater­ham Su­per and Mega races. A strong start for Cooper in race one looked like putting him in con­trol, only for a surg­ing Dolan to sneak ahead in a blan­ket fin­ish.

Cooper bounced back in race two, edg­ing away from the pack to se­cure top spot. Mean­while, Andy Mol­som claimed wins in the Su­per Class, beat­ing clos­est ri­val Ed­ward Ben­son both times.

Three cars were in the mix for over­all vic­tory in the open­ing race for Sigma and Sig­max groups. Dy­lan Stanley, Lee Bris­tow and Scott Lawrence from the faster Sig­max class par­ried for most of the dis­tance, with Lawrence beat­ing Bris­tow at the fin­ish.

In race two, Bris­tow held off Stanley and Zoltan Cs­abai to win. Mean­while, David Web­ber and Jamie Win­row took a win apiece in the Sigma Class.

Ed Moore had the open­ing Ju­nior Sa­loons race in his con­trol from the start, con­vert­ing pole to a dom­i­nant win. De­spite chip­ping away at Moore’s lead and set­ting fastest lap, fel­low front-row starter Matthew Round-gar­rido couldn’t get close enough to chal­lenge.

It was a sim­i­lar story in race two, with Moore en­joy­ing an­other lights-to-flag vic­tory. Mean­while, Round-gar­rido re­cov­ered from fifth on the grid to third, but couldn’t find a way past se­cond-placed Char­lie Kennedy.

Tom Howard and Mike Moss teamed up to win the open­ing GT and Pro­duc­tion en­duro. Hav­ing taken over from Howard mid-race in the lead, Moss held off a chal­lenge from Ruben Anakhasyan to se­cure vic­tory. Anakhasyan went one bet­ter in race two, beat­ing a trio of BMWS to win.

With two wins and a se­cond place, Liam Mor­ley proved the pace­set­ter in the Divi­sion 1 Su­perkarts while Jack Lay­ton re­tained his lead in the MSA Cham­pi­onship de­spite a re­tire­ment.

In the F450 cat­e­gory, Stephen Clark twice edged clos­est ri­val Phil Row­lands fol­low­ing a re­tire­ment due to an oil leak in race one. In the F125 Open class, reign­ing cham­pion Lee Harpham fought off the close at­ten­tions of Mor­ley.

There was a thrilling cli­max to the Brit­car En­durance race, as Mike Wilds used all his ex­pe­ri­ence from 51 years of rac­ing to se­cure vic­tory in the Fer­rari 458 shared with son An­thony. Hav­ing cho­sen to go to the fin­ish with­out a late fuel stop, Wilds knew his chances rested on man­ag­ing his pace to stay ahead of hard­charg­ing An­drew Mckenna (who’d pit­ted with 20 min­utes to go). It worked out per­fectly for Wilds, with Mckenna los­ing time scrab­bling past Manuel Cin­trano into Riches, al­low­ing Wilds to es­cape.

Among the no­table per­for­mances fur­ther down the order was a re­cov­er­ing Nigel Moore, who set fastest lap of the race in the clos­ing min­utes de­spite his Audi R8 hav­ing ear­lier caught fire. But it was the in­de­fati­ga­ble Wilds who stole the show.

Brown won the first Mini race from pole

Witt took a triple in the GT Cup in his Bent­ley GT3

Ed Moore starred in Sa­loons

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