The Motors TV programme covering rounds 8 & 9 of the Championship at Cadwell Park gave us another chance to enjoy two of the best races we have had for some time.
And if you weren’t there, then you’ll now know what we have been talking about! The likelihood of a race win for Graham Seager in race 1 (followed home by Chris Snowdon and Roger Evans) came to fruition. However, this was followed by a sequence of events in race 2 that allowed a surprised Bryan Shrubb to come through to lead Graham to the flag while the other major players all retired apart from Andy Robinson who took the final spot on the podium. And while all this was happening, James Ford and Paul Plant were battling it out in the Twin Spark class to take a win apiece. James Bishop had suffered an engine problem in race 1 but came through from the back to finish 3rd in race 2. He thereby retained his Championship lead but only by a single point from Graham once dropped scores had been taken into account. Ray Foley and Bryan Shrubb emerged next in line on the points table with Tom Hill and James Ford sharing second place amongst the Twin Sparks ahead of Dave Messenger.
So can we expect more of the same at Brands Hatch next Sunday in what will be just a single race? Sadly, for various reasons the Modified entry is down to just two cars – Graham Seager’s GTV and the 147 GTA of Roger Evans. As Cadwell showed, they are very evenly matched but the outcome may depend on who comes out of Druids in front on the first lap. If it is Roger, Graham will be depending on the power of the GTV’s supercharged engine to pull him ahead at the end of the lap into Paddock while if it is Graham, then Roger will have to use the nimble handling of the 147 to stay close enough to find a way past and, having done that, open up a gap.
In the Power Trophy, we shall not have Ray Foley with us as he has gone to Assen in Holland to contest rounds of the Alfa Challenge. However, Snetterton class winner Keith Waite has entered his 75 3 litre joining the 164 3 litre of Ron Davidson. Keith will be planning to keep the Twin Spark Cup cars behind him while Ron is likely to be in amongst them, but hoping for a better outing than he had at Snetterton.
With 12 of the 16 cars entered coming from the Twin Spark Cup, this is likely to be the focus of much of our attention. Championship leader James Bishop broke his long running finishing record at Cadwell with that retirement in race 1 on a weekend when the wins were shared by old rivals James Ford and Paul Plant. Neither James or Paul will be racing at Brands which means that on current form, James Bishop will start as favourite to take his sixth win of the year. However, there will be several drivers eager to deny him top spot, led by past winner at Brands, Dave Messenger. If he can avoid some of the problems that have dogged him in recent races, Tom Hill will hope to return to the form that gave him early season podiums while Steve Potts is should also be running close to the front in the only “face lift” 156 in the Championship.
Others who could spring a surprise are Simon Cresswell if he can have a straightforward day and Richard Stevens seems to get better and better with his 145 each time out. Making a welcome return is Mel Freeman, our only woman competitor this weekend in the absence of Stacey Dennis. Mel could be something of a wild card, particularly if she can repeat the kind of form she showed in a 2009 Brands video I watched the other day, courtesy of Matt Daly and Ian Brookfield. James Browning (147) gained a “highly commended” mention when the Driver of the Weekend award was made at Cadwell and could well be in the top 6 mix although like several of the Twin Spark Cup drivers, this will be his first visit to Brands. Luther Blissett proved himself to be much more competitive at Cadwell and it will be interesting to see how he fares this time against Russell Anderson(146) , who shared Luther’s 156 in a 6 hour race recently at Snetterton. Jeremy Chilton and Joshua Lambert, having his first ever race in a newly built 147, complete the field. Although Gary Walker whispered to me that there might be a welcome dark horse in the shape of Gethin Llewellyn in his 156.
As far as the timetable at Brands is concerned, we have drawn something of a “short straw” as we have qualifying on Sunday morning at 10.20 and then a long wait for our race until 17.15. This leaves several options – help polish a car (!) go and watch some of the other races involving the inevitable Caterhams plus Jedi’s, Porsches and Golf GTi’s, find a TV (in the Kentagon perhaps?) to watch the Belgian Grand Prix or just take a good book. Final points – we are in the pit garages (24 to 32 at the Clearways end: Allocation list below) and the weather forecast (writing today – Wednesday) looks awful, so make sure you have your wet weather gear. Final question – who would you bet on to lead the Championship on Sunday evening?
Pit Garage Allocation
- Roger Evans & Graham Seager
- James Bishop & Steve Potts
- Tom Hill & Simon Cresswell
- Ron Davidson & Gethin Llewellyn
- James Browning & Joshua Lambert
- Keith Waite
- Dave Messenger & Mel Freeman
- Richard Stevens & Jeremy Chilton
- Luther Blissett & Russell Anderson