Posted on In General
Having waited three years to return to the top step of the podium, the Racelogic trio of Julian Thomas, Jon Tomlinson and David Denyer repeated their Silverstone success, with a second consecutive win at Brands Hatch.
Guy Wenham led from the start for Apollo and was stretching the field by lap four, as Team Lane Roofing’s Jordan Lane, PT Motorsport’s Ian Payne and Ed Bridle’s Team 7 Fun Bikes 2 car ran as one, in a battle for second.
Michael du Bois did his best to hold onto the group ahead having lost out to Bridle on the second lap, but soon had 2Rent Dominos’ Chris Hart working his way through, as the safety car was called into action after eight laps.
A collision between Agua Caliente’s Dave Clark and Honeywell’s Tim Wheeldon, as they went into Paddock Hill Bend, also caught out Championship leader Peter Belshaw, who was left with nowhere to go, but into the Honeywell car, breaking the radiator. Although they all got back to the pits, Belshaw had a blown headgasket too and was out of the race.
When the green flag was waved, Wenham started to charge away again, with Payne, Lane and Bridle joining him. But du Bois was under pressure from Hart, “I completely missed the green flag, then saw a cone in the middle of paddock, lifted and they mugged me,” du Bois admitted.
“It was good to get away twice, but I was aware of them getting onto the back of me,” said Wenham.
Hart, CCS Media’s Nigel Greensall and JPR UVio’s Fabio Randaccio all went by du Bois within a couple of laps, before they started to work together to close on Bridle and Lane’s third placed duel.
By lap 24 it was a five way fight for third, while in eighth du Bois had a seven car train closing in, with Steve Johansen’s JPR 99 and Ellis Hadley’s JPR GT Radial to the fore.
When Wenham and Payne continued to run at the front, Greensall began to work his way through the order and was into third by the 31st lap, with Bridle, Randaccio and Hart still in contention, as Lane dropped to seventh.
It took another six laps for Greensall to oust Payne from second, on the inside of Clearways, by which time Wenham’s lead was over seven seconds. But, the CCS driver had also taken Randaccio and Bridle with him, as Hart was next to challenge Payne for fifth. “It all got a bit close and there was a little bit of contact,” said Payne. “I felt comfortable up there and we had the pace,” Bridle added.
As the first pitstop window approached, both Wenham and Greensall stopped on the same lap, handing to Ryan Burke and Alan Honarmand respectively.
“It was hard to pass here with all the drafting,” said Greensall. “That was great doesn’t get much better than that. I just needed to work with Nigel to try and reduce Guy’s lead. I think Chris Hart must have had a launch control problem though, as I passed him very easily,” Randaccio added.
Team 7 Fun Bikes 2 became the new leaders, with Chris Bridle in for Brother Ed, but after only a few laps he was forced to give best to 2Rent Dominos Henry Dawes.
At the first hour, Dawes still had the lead from Bridle, with Farquini Deott in third for JPR UVio. Honarmand was in fourth for CCS, with Burke’s Apollo car and Team Lane Roofing’s Dan Gullick completing the top six.
The top three continued to hold station up to the next stop, but having taken over from Jon Tomlinson, David Denyer had brought Racelogic up to fourth and was one of the first to make a second stop, as Julian Thomas took over.
At the end of the second hour there were only three on the lead lap, with Team 7 Fun Bikes ahead of 2Rent Dominos and Racelogic. “The car is oversteering quite badly and we lost our advantage when the safety came out, after Alan Brown in our second car, went off at Paddock,” said Team 7’s Jay Shepherd.
2Rent Dominos had a couple of problems though and not just the drivers, as some rivals suggested. “It kept locking up on us on the right hand front, so it’s like a square wheel and it’s happening more to Henry, plus we have got the misfire again,” Hart explained.
Although Team 7 Fun Bikes continued to lead, the safety car had brought Racelogic within 0.514 secs of them, with JPR UVio up to third, from 2Rent Dominos and Apollo, while Team Kennedy had edged out Team Lane Roofing for sixth, after some sterling work from both Charlie Kennedy and Rob Croydon.
As the green flag was out again, Denyer made his move and Racelogic became the new leaders. “I expected David to make a move on me, so I then tried to work with him to make sure we got a god result,” said Chris Bridle. “I was just staying neat and tidy and pushed to get that lead,” Denyer added.
Into the final hour, only Racelogic were shown on the lead lap, as JPR UVio had been penalised a lap when Deott missed the pitstop window. “I was tucked in behind Henry and just didn’t see the board. I really lived up to my name today, totally my fault,” he admitted.
2Rent Dominos, Team Kennedy, Team 7 Fun Bikes and Apollo were all still challenging for podium places and both Team Lane Roofing and CCS Media were still close enough to play a part too.
While Racelogic cruised through the remaining laps to take the win, the fight for second continued to rage between Team 7 Fun Bikes and Team Kennedy.
The final stops were just after the 200 lap mark and Team 7 Fun Bikes just had the edge over Kennedy’s, with Team Viking, 2Rent Dominos and CCS Media the top six, despite the latter having to stop and tape up the rear bodywork.
Kennedy was giving his all for second place and finally managed to take Shepherd on lap 204. But experience told and after a number of side by side moments, he was forced to surrender through Paddock.
Thomas finally took the flag for Racelogic with a 14.6 secs cushion. “Our consistency was the key and the car was so reliable,” he said, “Yes that helped for sure,” Tomlinson added.
There was still only 0.597 secs between Shepherd and Kennedy at the flag for second, “Charlie was very brave, but I had seen oil down and he slipped on it, so I just patiently sat until it started to dry and got him,” said Shepherd. “We had bent the steering and had one slow refuel stop, but just want another step on that podium,” added Ed Bridle.
For the Kennedy team it was celebrations all round for their first Fun Cup podium, “I have waited 14 years for that,” said Croydon. “Really loved it, the team did a brilliant job at the stops and everything, but I just couldn’t hold Jay off,” Kennedy added.
Team Viking’s Mark Holme and Nick Nunn virtually crept into the top four, after escaping from 2Rent Dominos. “Everything seemed to be unfolding in the first half, we could have been quicker, but we played a safe strategy, pitted early and it worked,” said Holme. “We were seeing what happened to others and just tried not to get involved, thinking of the championship,” Nunn added.
Despite their problems, 2Rent Dominos still found sixth enough to give them the championship lead, having lost out to Apollo in the closing minutes. “The flat spot was down to the mettle, but we had changed brakes and I struggled, as it was almost undriveable. But, I am not taking the blame for that,” said Dawes.
Having led early on Apollo were a little disappointed to be only fifth. “I lost my comms on a pitstop and had to serve a stop go by just seeing the board and when I came in for the last stop, the team wasn’t ready and Guy had to get me out of the car,” said Zoe Wenham.
It had all ended in disappointment for Team Lane Roofing too, “we lost a belt at Clark Curve and the engine went bang, so just coasted into the pits,” said Dan Gullick.
CCS Media finally finished seventh ahead of the penalised JPR UVio, while GCI Racing and JPR 99 completed the top 10.
1 RACELOGIC (Jon Tomlinson/David Denyer/Julian Thomas) 232
laps in 4h00m39.299s (56.445mph).
2 TEAM 7 FUN BIKES 2 (Ed Bridle/Chris Bridle/Jay Shepherd)
3 TEAM KENNEDY (Rob Croydon/Charlie Kennedy)
4 TEAM VIKING (Nick Nunn/Mark Holme)
5 APOLLO MOTORSPORT (Guy Wenham/Ryan Burke/Zoe
6 2RENT DOMINOS (Chris Hart/Henry Dawes)
7 CCS MEDIA (Nigel Greensall/Alan Honarmand/Ciro
8 JPR UVIO (Fabio Randaccio/Farquini Deott)
9 GCI RACING (Craig Butterworth/Ian Wood)
10 JPR 99 (Steve Johansen/Kristian Rose)
Fastest lap Harry Mailer (DespatchBay.com) 56.299s (77.24mph).