Sat 23 Apr
Simon Clark Triumphs in challenging conditions
Simon Clark Triumphs in challenging conditions
Sun 13 November 2016
Clark Wins Brands Hatch Finale as Britton is Crowned Champion.
If the drivers were expecting the final of the TDC to be easy they were in for a surprise. The challenging weather conditions set in at Brands Hatch, just prior to the start of qualifying! There were mixed reactions in the paddock as the rain came down with the FWD cars looking slightly pleased with themselves!
As conditions worsened however it was the Porsche Boxster of Simon Clark who managed to settle into a good rhythm first and found the grip on track to tack pole by a second over Big Bear Motorsports Dylan Brychta. Darren Goes claimed the top spot in Class S, just two tenths of a second above Class S rival Kester Cook whom he shared the Class S title battle with – both entering the final round on 122 points!
Class C and Class D were more spread out with the pairing of Hobson and Sharp and Oliver O’Neil taking their respective class “poles” in a reasonably jumbled mid-field.
Championship leader James Britton took third, and while it wasn’t enough to claim class pole; a slot already held by Simon Clark in the Boxster, with the retirement of Mark Flower and Darren Goes claiming the Class S point for class “pole” it was enough to secure the Championship, as the points tally fell in his favour.
As we headed towards the race, conditions started to brighten slightly. Although the race would still be a wet one, it would not (quite) replicate the season opener at Snetterton! With the cars accumulating in the holding area, it became apparent that there was an issue with car 82 – James Britton! The Champion elect would retire from the race in the holding area, before a wheel was turned in anger with a substantial fuel leak. Britton’s retirement left a gap on the second row of the grid... right in front of the Class S pair who were now solely battling each other for the Class S title!
As the lights went out it was the Ford Fiesta of Kester Cook who gained the most managing to jump the slow starting Seat of Goes into the gap left by James Britton’s BMW. This left the Ford on the inside at Paddock where he managed to cement great moves on both the Saxo of Ryan Steel and the Ibiza of Dylan Brychta to find himself in second by Druids hairpin. Further back a brilliant start by the Porsche of Class B championship leader Jack Wright in the number 48 car was compromised as he negotiated his way between the Seat and the pit wall, eventually getting squeezed just before the apex to Paddock Hill bend.
Further down the grid, it was Mark Penny who look the Class B lead, jumping the pack off the start,to find his way into third by the exit of paddock. Brychta, seeing the Clark Racing Porsche stretching it’s legs at the front knew he had to make short work of the VX220 and managed to squeeze past at druids, making the move stick on the exit, allowing Ryan Steel and Darren Goes to follow through by Graham Hill Bend. Big starts from the Porsche of Class A Jamie McHugh the VW Golf of John Lyne also saw them scythe through the field on lap one.
As the pack moved through the second lap, the safety car was brought out to allow marshals to recover the BMW of Gary Burstow who had found his way into the gravel at Paddock Hill. It was at this point the good start of Abbitt Motorsport was undone as they found themselves on the grass at Graham Hill bend just prior to the Safety Car period.
At the restart, it was Clark in the Boxster how stole the march on the chasing pack, with Brychta hounding Cook for second place through paddock hill, and McHugh passing Penny just over the line for sixth.
Further down the road, the McDougal MR2 was fighting the Moores Motors fiesta and the Supatune Puma, this time with Dean Hyde behind the wheel. The Supatune MR2 of Tester had started reeling in the Class C leaders Hobson and Sharp in the Clio, and O’Neil was struggling to escape the on form Puma of Jason Francis in the Class D battle
As the pit window opened, it was Cook who blinked first; pitting early to gain the undercut on the Clark Racing Porsche. Clark Pitting the lap later in reaction to cooks stop. As Cook crossed the start finish straight, Clark was released but ultimately lost out to the Fiesta who was already up to race pace. Clark would now have to pass the Fiesta of Cook on the circuit to gain the technical lead of the race!
It took four laps for Clark to find a way past, but he managed to pass Cook on the inside at Paddock on lap 19. This was just in time to see the number 19 Car of Dylan Brychta emerge from the pit lane just in front of both the Porsche and the Fiesta to take the technical lead of the race. Brychta gaining the advantage in the pits as the leading pair slowed each other down squabbling on the track.
Class B was tight going into the pit window, with the Wrights Porsche, Penny’s VX220 and the Fiesta of Denslow, covered by three seconds on the track as Denslow and Penny jumped into the pit lane at the same time, leaving the Porsche of the Wrights who had not yet been to the pits temporarily in the lead of the race. Pitting late proved to be the right decision as the second safety car of the race slowed the cars on circuit and the wrights returned to the circuit still first in class.
With the safety car again brought into play, of the Pirtek Harlow Racing Car who has also managed to join the BMW of GNB racing in the gravel at Paddock Hill. This not only neutralised the fierce battle for the lead of the race, but also allowed the two Class S contenders to become nose to tail on track for the first time since the start of the race. It would be a straight race to the line for the class title.
The race wasn’t done however, as Clark in the Porsche wanted the win! After many attempted overtakes by Clark, you had to assume the Brychta had done enough defensively. Clark wasn’t out of tricks however and on the penultimate lap managed to find a way past the Big Bear Motorsport Seat to retake the lead for the first time since the pit stop with one lap to go. This was a lead he maintained, under pressure from Brychta until the end; second overall marking a great return to form for the Big Bear Motorsport driver.
In the challenging conditions it was the Fiesta of Kester Cook that managed to build the gap to Goes and take third place overall. This was enough to seal the “runner up” slot in the Championship and the Class S title; Goes in turn cementing yet another good season by taking third in the Championship overall, and second in Class S.
Class B title leaders Jack and George Wright maintained the class lead from the restart only to be caught and passed by Denslow in the Fiesta. It was a move that proved pivotal for Denslow as it helped him jump from fourth in the Class B title hunt up to second; with the Wright pairing still earning enough points to hold onto the Class title. Mark Penny lost out during the safety car period but battled back to gain 10th overall and third in Class B.
It was a relatively comfortable class win for Colin Tester in the Supatune Motorsport MR2, who despite a late charge from the Clio or Hobson and Sharp managed to hold on to the lead and earn just enough points to take the Class C title. The Frugal Motorsport MR2 fought valiantly to third in class and 19th overall, despite dramas earlier in the race resulting in a long pit stop.
Despite a late charge by the Class D Puma of Jason Francis, following the safety car period the gap was too big to close, and O’Neil took the Class win and title.