Brands Hatch - Race Report - 9th / 10th June 2012

Brands Hatch Race Report - 9th / 10th June

With the Championship now in full swing, Brands Hatch gave us an indication that it certainly won’t be a one-way domination. Three incredible races, 30 amazing drivers, new race winners for 2012 and the monumental might of Porsche power, demonstrated that as the season goes on, the racing just gets better all the time.


Two men stamped their authority on qualifying and were separated by just 0.003 seconds! David Bearman and Rick Styrin ended up on the front row and as the only men to lap the Indy circuit in under 55 seconds, they immediately looked the favourites for the weekend. Richard Sykes and Gerry Taylor weren’t too far adrift with two newbies to the grid, Cliff Graham and Bafel Ahmed, on row 3. There were more new faces in each class: Paul Moraviec joined the ‘full fat’ Boxsters with John Printy lining up for a three-man battle in the Production class. In the 924s, there were several new recruits, as returnees Andrew Hannington and Hugh Peart were joined by new boy Richard Matthews. Steven Brown got the better of Stephen Potts in the Production qualifying sessions, and Simon Hawksley set the pace in the 924 class hotly pursued by Kirkham, Siddall, Mackenzie, Hannington and Rebecca Jackson. Three races later, a very thrilling story would be told with quite a few spills on the way…


At the start, Styrin and Graham would both drop the ball with Styrin slipping to 4th and Cliff Graham losing everthing to end up at the back of the field. But his comeback had only just begun. Adam Croft and John Bearman both made up two places on the start while Steven Boyles lost half a dozen places by the end of lap 1.  Graham knew he had work to do, and immediately picked off six of the 924 runners in one lap alone! The battles were commencing throughout the field, as drivers used the challenging sweeps and crests of the Brands Hatch circuit to brilliant effect. Styrin soon put enough pressure on Gerry Taylor to make his move on lap 5, as the 924 cars were already being lapped by the leaders due to the 1.1 mile Indy circuit’s short length. Sadly though, lap 6 would be James Atherton’s last and he became the race’s only retirement. For the next few laps, David Bearman extended his advantage little by little each time around, whilst Styrin continued to put Richard Sykes under immense pressure until lap 13. The mistake came and it was enough to cost Sykes two seconds and two places. But no matter how hard Rick Styrin tried to close on in Bearman, the gap was too great. After 22 laps of close battling, local boy David Bearman took his maiden race win,  ahead of Styrin and Taylor, with Sykes having to settle for a frustrating fourth place and the fastest lap. Steven Brown once again had the edge on Potts in the Prodcution class, whilst Sean Siddall proved he’s still one of the men to beat in the 924 race beating Kirkham and MacKenzie to a sweet victory.


If the first race had been calm and serene, race two was anything but. Bearman and Styrin led away into Paddock Hill whilst behind carnage ensued. Who hit who first was too tough to call, but the racetrack quickly resembled a battleground as Mike Sellar span across the exit of Paddock Hill. Cars sideways, carbon fibre flying everywhere and Steven Brown, Mike Sellar, Bafel Ahmed and Nick Hull all eliminated on the spot. Not surprisingly the safety car was deployed as the long clear-up operation began. Then Stephen Boyles also joined the race casualty list as the damage on his car was too high to continue. The luckiest driver from the first lap chaos was Rebecca Jackson who had leapfrogged past several of her 924 rivals and found herself second in class behind Marc MacKenzie. When the race restarted on lap 7, the field settled down into concentration mode and John Bearman began a thrilling fightback through the 924 class, having been another victim of the first corner incident. Styrin had been threatening to show David Bearman the way home in race one, but time had been against him. On lap 10, the red Boxster surged into the lead with a brilliant move, and began steadily to eke out an advantage. As one Bearman lost the lead, the other lost the race altogether; gremlins crept in to the #3 car on lap 12, and John had to succumb to retirement ending a brilliant race revival. Behind the Boxsters, Jackson couldn’t hang on to her advantage forever and eventually Siddall made the move on lap 15 to grab a brilliant second place. Four laps later, and the chequered flag fell for the valiant Styrin who became the first man in 2012 to take a win at two separate meetings. David Bearman hung on for second, ahead of Taylor, Sykes and Croft. Stephen Potts finished ahead of John Printy in the Production race, and MacKenzie took his maiden victory in the 924 race, from Siddall and Jackson.


Not surprisingly, the race two pile-up spelled “game over” for all four of the victims, meaning that at least the pressure was suddenly off for Stephen Potts in the Production category.  Away from the lights and David Bearman delivered sweet revenge for race two and blasted into the lead past Styrin. This began a grudge match to see who of the two drivers would give best, and the talented duo swapped lap times for the next dozen tours determined to beat their opponent. Behind them, Steven Boyles was able to get past John Bearman on lap 5, and to add insult to injury John’s race wouldn’t last much longer. #3 ended its charge on lap 7, much to the dismay of its driver. Just a lap later and newcomer Paul Moraviec would join him on the sidelines. By lap 13, Bearman and Styrin’s battle was so fast and frenetic that they had lapped the entire 924 field already, which was now a close contest between, Kirkham, Hawksley, Siddall and MacKenzie. Unfortunately, the race two winner MacKenzie would soon fall away, and his race came to a premature end on lap 17 with an errant front wheel! Another racer suffering from problems was Rebecca Jackson, whose lap times were becoming increasingly more erratic as the race went on, but she valiantly fought on. Then came the moment Styrin had been waiting for: a chance to take the lead, It was tough, tense and very contestable but on lap 19, he took the lead. The last four laps must have been terribly frustrating for David, but he refused to throw in the towel and pursued Styrin all the way to the flag. On the face of it, Rick Styrin took two wins out of three from David Bearman with Taylor and Sykes behind. But that overtaking move had obviously not impressed the officials who slapped a five-second penalty on Styrin for “exceeding track limits” and so it was Bearman who got his second home win! Potts grabbed an easy Production class win, whilst Kirkham only just beat Hawksley and Siddall home to take a famous win and extend his lead in the 924 Championship.

The season had been exciting enough without a fourth different winner in four meetings, a multiple pile-up at Paddock Hill Bend, two different race winners in one weekend, and a controversial penalty, but it wouldn’t be British motorsport without thrilling racing at Brands Hatch. So the Championship’s most exciting race meeting so far sees Styrin increase his overall lead in the points, and David Bearman securing his place in the Championship fight with two brilliant victories. When the field travels to Silverstone to race on the National circuit, the only thing we do know is that the winner will be as unpredictable as ever!

Race report by Jake Sanson

Photograph courtesy of James Roberts Photography.




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Brands Hatch (Indy) - 23rd / 24th March 2019


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