Belshaw and Clutton Take the Spoils For Sherardize at Brands Hatch
It was nonstop action as expected as 29 Fun Cup cars took to the Brands Hatch Indy circuit for the third round of this year’s Championship, with seasonal debutantes Peter Belshaw and Marcus Clutton taking victory for Team Sherardize.
Track Torque FNS had drawn pole for the four hour race with Steve Walton taking the start.
Belshaw had started on the second row but led out of Paddock Hill bend, before chaos reigned with Chris Dovell and Jan Persson crashing out on the approach to Druids in the two Team 7 Academy cars.
There was trouble behind too when Jon Tomlinson braked in the Racelogic car to avoid the incident and was hit by Track Focused’s Sean Cooper, damaging the radiator on the latter’s car.
Six laps followed behind the safety car, with Belshaw heading DFDC’s Marcus Batty, Track Torque 2Rent Dominos’ Chris Hart, JPR on the Piste’s Graham Pattle, Team Viking’s Nick Nunn and CCS Media’s Nigel Greensall.
From the green flag Batty dived ahead, with Greensall up to fourth, while Nunn lost out with a spin at Clearways. Belshaw quickly retaliated and was back in front a lap later, with Hart following him into second at Druids.
Hart continued his charge and led on lap 10, with Greensall third at Paddock, before ousting Belshaw for second through Clearways, as Batty was down to fourth.
Gradually the top five started to get away with Greensall at the head from lap 14, as Stuart Hall ousted Batty for fourth in the MAK Racing car.
There were early penalties though for Tomlinson and Team Trooper’s Harry Mailer. Mailer had started 28th on the grid and had climbed to ninth, just behind double winner Farquini Deott’s JPR UVio car, who came from dead last. “I was so fired up after the penalty and had followed Farquini to get through,” said Mailer.
It finally began to settle at the front, but DespatchBay.com’s Andy Bicknell was into sixth at Druids on the 22nd lap, before Deott chased him down and they exchanged at Clearways.
“It was fantastic out there, thoroughly enjoyed it, flat out all the way, but we had an intermittent downshift. So every time I began to build a gap I lost it again,” said Greensall.
“I just stayed out of trouble and just sat with Nigel and Chris once I had retaken Batty,” Belshaw explained. “Nigel had the pace, but we had to work together to get away. I had managed to get places at Paddock though before that first safety car,” Hart added.
The first stop window came and went with Henry Dawes the new leader, after Track Torque 2Rent Dominos didn’t take on fuel. Ciro Carannante was second for CCS, from Clutton’s Team Sherardize and Chris Webster’s MAK Racing, but Graham Roberts was closing in for JPR UVio.
After the first hour Dawes was 5.7 secs up on Clutton, with Carannante still third from Roberts, Webster and DFDC’s Will Wright, while Charlie Hollings was seventh for DespatchBay.com on his Fun Cup debut.
Jake Rattenbury had Team Trooper in eighth, while Trumans had swapped Julian Bricknell for Colin Kingsnorth and Team Lane Roofing had Nigel Griffiths in for Chris Weatherill to complete the early top ten.
The second stop brought almost the whole field in together after Agua Caliente’s Matt Hogg had collided with TLR’s Nigel Griffiths at Druids and brought the safety car out again.
Belshaw had the lead back until he went through the gravel at Clearways. “I decided to take it flat, touched the gravel and it pulled me in,” he explained after damaging the splitter.
Deott was the new leader and after the second hour JPR UVio had a seven second cushion over Track Torque 2Rent Dominos, with MAK Racing and Team Trooper the only ones on the lead lap.
“We just need to stay in there, but the brakes were tending to lock up,” said Roberts as the duel for the lead was down to only 1.987s after the third hour. Clutton/Belshaw had led again and remained UVio’s biggest threat. But in third Team Trooper were saving Anthony Reid for the last stint, while Hart/Dawes and Bicknell/Hollings were still looking for the podium too.
Deott and Hart stayed out as Clutton stepped into the Sherardize car. But after the lead pair made their stops Clutton had the advantage with Roberts and Reid hunting him down. But when Roberts was baulked Reid snatched second place, before Roberts took it back five laps later through Druids.
The second placed duel allowed Clutton to escape and at the flag it was Team Sherardize with over 16 seconds in hand. “I enjoyed it and yes we had to play the game too,” said Belshaw. “No fuel at the last stop and it worked, but we had brimmed it at the previous stop. A really hard race though,” Clutton added.
Roberts just held second for JPR UVio, wit 0.161s in hand over Reid for Team Trooper. “We led twice, Harry put a nice move on me, so I had to give him a little kiss later. But the safety car lost some of our advantage but a good championship result,” said Deott.
“It was still a maybe, especially when it was Reidy fighting with me. I got him back when he went outside of the backmarkers and I got inside them both at Druids,” Roberts explained. “It was the backmarkers at Paddock, I got squeezed. But couldn’t get any closer at the end and had to think of the team and the Championship,” Reid added.
DespatchBay.com just missed out on the podium after Hollings took Dawes into Druids on lap 210. “That was real racing and I would love to be Andy’s super sub. Just a shame we didn’t get that podium though,” said Hollings. “We seemed to lose some grip and power,” Dawes added after taking fourth for Track Torque 2Rent Dominos.
MAK Racing completed the top six. “We had the pace of the leaders and could run with them, but we had lost a lap,” said Michelle Hayward. “I felt responsible as the time lost was in my stint,” Webster admitted.
The Racelogic trio of Julian Thomas/Jon Tomlinson/David Denyer finally finished seventh after two extra stops including their early penalty. Bob Tomlinson and Alan Honarmand kept CCS in the fray until Greensall brought them home eighth, while JPR on the Piste and Team Viking completed the top ten.
Track Focused fought back from their early disaster to 11th, while Trumans lost a top ten place after a spin at Clearways. “I got tapped into a spin and ignition problem made it hard to restart,” said Kingsnorth.
Team 7 Fun Cup Academy won ‘Team of the Day’, with a fabulous team effort to repair 2 of their 3 cars, after a collision on lap 1.
1 Team Sherardize (Peter Belshaw/Marcus Clutton) 225 laps in 3h52m55.355s (70.01mph); 2 1 JPR UVio (Farquini Deott/Graham Roberts) +16.563s; 3 Team Trooper Iron Maiden Racing(Paul Wighton/Harry Mailer/ Jake Rattenbury/Anthony Reid)+ 3.832s); 4 DespatchBay.com (Andy Bicknell/Charlie Hollings); 5 Track Torque 2Rent Dominos (Chris Hart/Henry Dawes); 6 MAK Racing (Stuart Hall/Chris Webster/Michelle Hayward); 7 Racelogic (Jon Tomlinson/Julian Thomas/David Denyer); 8 CCS Media (Nigel Greensall/Ciro Carannante/ Bob Tomlinson/Alan Honarmand); 9 JPR on the Piste (Graham Pattle/Mark Burton/Dominic Jackson); 10 Team Viking (Mark Holme/Mick Nunn/Jim Hadfield). Fastest lap Marcus Clutton 55.927s (77.75mph).
Published by Peter Scherer for Fun Cup, June 5th 2017.