BUT­LER-HEN­DER­SON TAKES BACK CON­TROL

Motor Sport News - - Racing Reports - ROUND-UP

Three dif­fer­ent win­ners shared the spoils as the Mini Chal­lenge JCWS head­lined MSVR’S an­nual Mini Fes­ti­val, but the hap­pi­est driver leav­ing Kent will be Char­lie But­ler-hen­der­son who snatched back the cham­pi­onship lead.

While he didn’t win a race, two podi­ums from three races and trou­ble for all of his clos­est ti­tle ri­vals have helped the reign­ing cham­pion open out the largest points cush­ion he’s had all sea­son.

David Grady gave his ti­tle am­bi­tions a shot in the arm with a win and a podium, while Brett Smith took a wellde­served maiden vic­tory in the opener and Luke Cau­dle ended the week­end with his first race win in a year.

Qual­i­fy­ing marked the down­fall of many of the reg­u­lars, with the ul­tra-close ses­sion de­ter­min­ing who would thrive and who would strug­gle in the races. With track tem­per­a­tures above 30 de­grees, the two-litre tur­bocharged en­gines suf­fered for cool­ing in dirty air, with the ECUS re­duc­ing turbo boost and power in or­der to cope. It meant over­tak­ing was at a pre­mium, and those in traf­fic would strug­gle more than usual.

Brett Smith snatched pole by just 0.015s from Grady, with Rob Smith, Chris Smith and But­ler-hen­der­son all blan­keted by less than a tenth.

Nathan Har­ri­son led the points com­ing into the week­end, but he could only qual­ify sev­enth af­ter strug­gling for rear-end grip and straight-line pace in the heat. CB-H’S other big ri­val, Jono Brown, started just ninth af­ter strug­gling for a clear lap.

That be­gan the down­fall of both ti­tle chal­lengers as both made lit­tle head­way. Har­ri­son would only record a hat-trick of ninth places to haem­or­rhage points, while Brown took a best of fifth in race one be­fore en­gine is­sues lim­ited his re­sults in races two and three.

With both out of the run­ning, But­lerHen­der­son grabbed a last-gasp podium with a dar­ing lunge on third-placed Rob Smith start­ing the fi­nal lap of race one. Brett Smith led through­out from Grady.

Race two was al­most a mir­ror, but with Grady tak­ing the flag this time af­ter slip­ping past Smith into Druids on the first lap. But­ler-hen­der­son tried to un­seat Rob Smith again, but Rob was wise to it this time and held his spot on the ros­trum.

Fifth place in that out­ing was good enough for pole on the re­versed grid for Cau­dle, and he led both at­tempts at the fi­nal race, get­ting away well in the first be­fore the red flags flew for a clash on the pit straight. That was a let-off for CB-H, who had lost his sec­ond place to Rob Smith. But with the restart go­ing back to the orig­i­nal grid, it es­sen­tially handed him back sec­ond, and another hat full of points. The net re­sult means Mini UK man But­ler-hen­der­son now sits 23 points clear of Har­ri­son at the sum­mit as he chases a sec­ond crown.

1 Cau­dle; 2 But­ler-hen­der­son +0.362s; 3 R Smith; 4 Grady; 5 Henry Neal; 6 Lawrence Davey. FL Chris Smith 52.899s (82.20mph). P Cau­dle. S 23.

1 Rob Austin (Cooper S); 2 Tim Porter (Cooper S) +2.966s; 3 Scot Adam (Cooper S); 4 Car­l­ito Miracco (Cooper S); 5 Steve Cocker (Cooper S); 6 Keith Is­satt (R56 Cooper S). CW Is­satt, Max Bladon (Cooper). FL Richard Mills (Cooper S) 53.229s (81.69mph). P Cocker. S 34.

1 Austin; 2 Adam +0.049s; 3 Miracco; 4 Cocker; 5 Porter; 6 Is­satt. CW Is­satt, Bladon. FL Miracco 54.631s (79.59mph). P Austin. S 26.

1 Rob Howard; 2 Ru­pert Deeth +0.167s; 3 Dan Wheeler; 4 Da­mon Astin; 5 Paul Thomp­son; 6 James Coul­son. CW Astin, Jim Bur­rows. FL Shayne Dee­gan 54.771(79.39mph). P Astin. S 18. 1 Dee­gan; 2 Deeth +9.045s; 3 Astin; 4 Drew; 5 Wheeler; 6 Kane Astin. CW Astin, Bur­rows. FL Dee­gan 54.886s (79.25mph). P Dee­gan. S 16. 6 Kieren Mc­don­ald. CW Josh Collins. FL Selby 1m00.429s (71.96mph). P Hunter. S 27.

1 Sam Tom­lin­son; 2 Greg Jenk­ins +1.820s; 3 Stu­art Coombes; 4 Craig Pendle­bury; 5 Mor­gan Har­ris; 6 Joshua Young. FL Har­ris 1m04.824 (67.08mph). P Tom­lin­son. S 15.

1 Jenk­ins; 2 Pendle­bury +0.180s; 3 Har­ris; 4 Young; 5 Si­mon Carter; 6 Tom­lin­son. FL Tom­lin­son 1m04.306s (67.62mph). P Carter. S 13. 1 Endaf Owens (Mini Cooper S); 2 Nick Swift (Mini Cooper S) 0.068s; 3 Barry Sime (Mor­ris Cooper S); 4 Nick Paddy (Mor­ris Cooper S); 5 Mark Bur­nett (Austin Mini Cooper S); 6 Stig Blomqvist (Mor­ris Cooper S). FL Owens 58.774 (73.98mph). P Ian Cur­ley. S 18.

1 Owens; 2 Chris Mor­gan (Austin Cooper S) +5.754s; 3 Swift; 4 Jimmy Sime; 5 Paddy; 6 Bur­nett. FL Owens 58.649s (74.14mph). P Owens. S 15.

1 Nick Swift/ Phil Am­ming (Mini Cooper S); 2 Owens/ Wheeler (Mini Cooper S) +3.874s; 3 Nick Paddy/ Bill Sol­lis (Mor­ris Cooper S); 4 Steve Jones (Mor­ris Cooper S); 5 Peter Crewes/ Brian John­son (Mini Cooper S); 6 Keith Pad­more/ Nick Pad­more (Cooper S). FL Paddy/ Sol­lis 58.460 (74.38mph). P Sol­lis/ Paddy. S 13.

1 Bill Richards (Rover Metro); 2 Lee Jones (Mini) +2.357s; 3 Jim Lyons (Mini Maxi); 4 Jon Lee (Lynx R1 Mini); 5 David Usher (Mini); 6 Peter Hills (Austin Mini). FL Jones 53.262 (81.64mph). P Richards. S 12.

1 Richards 15m30.173s (79.47mph); 2 Lyons +4.984s; 3 Shayne Dee­gan (Rover Mini); 4 Lee; 5 David Franks (Austin Mini); 6 Hills. FL Richards 53.139s (81.83mph). P Richards. S 10.

Brett Smith took maiden win No wins, but a good points lead for CB-H Bill Richards’ mad Metro was win­ner

Ol­lie White topped a tight Cham­pion of Brands race in Van Diemen Max Bladon was again un­beat­able in the Mini Chal­lenge Coop­ers

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