Boxsters do Battle at Brands

Boxsters do Battle at Brands

Scorching weather greeted the Toyo BRSCC Porsche drivers on Saturday as they prepared for two races on the short but challenging Kent circuit. A few of the drivers had arrived on the Friday to test and four of the lead drivers, including past champion Rick Styrin, had posted best laps within 0.3 seconds - so we were all expecting some extremely close racing. New to the grid was Alex Stocker who has bought Syd Combes red 986 that last saw the light of day at Autosport Live a few years back.

Qualifying claimed the 924 of Karl Rossin whose engine explosively ejected its oil before expiring on the entry of Paddock Hill Bend. The session was red-flagged while the Orange Army dressed the spillage.

Rick Styrin was correct to predict he might not land another pole in the Class A cars as Ed Hayes posted 54.638 to take P1 ahead of Garry Lawence 0.323 seconds behind; Adam Southgate was third. Adam Croft kept his form to take the front row of the 924s alongside David Jones with the returning Niz El-Chamaa behind in third.

Typical of our friendly and helpful paddock, no less than six were working on Karl Rossin's crippled 924 hastily fitting a replacement engine - including Michael Goodacre - but unfortunately a couple of sheared cross-member bolts meant there simply wasn't enough time to complete the work for the afternoon race. John Cleland's annoyingly intermittent electrical problems continued and he was unable to make the grid.

Race 1 proved eventful to say the least. Garry Lawrence entertained the crowd with a massive spin at Paddock Hill Bend - he was extremely lucky to escape with zero contact as the car eventually came to rest at the bottom of the hill. He recovered but despite his best efforts was unable to catch the leaders and had to settle for an uncharacteristic 8th place behind Nick Hull.

Linda Warren was holding a comfortable fourth place when a coolant hose came adrift through McLaren, dumping collant on the track. This led to several 924s spinning there on the next lap but it was the unfortunate Adam Croft whose stranded car - right next to the track - led to the Clerk of the Course stopping the race after around 13 minutes had elapsed. Recent red book regulations meant a 'not classified' for him (his first this season) whereas Linda, who had been forced to pit to save the engine, landed her first ever podium despite not having crossed the line.

And so it was David Jones who took the Class C win (his first) with the returning Niz El-Chamaa grabbing vital catch-up points in second and Linda in 3rd.

Angus Archer was forced to retire his Class A Boxster when part of the exhaust from Philip Grayson's newly upgraded car came adrift and destroyed his central radiator, forcing another retirement.

Michael Goodacre brought his silver 986 home to take P1 as the sole Class B car. Alex Stocker completed his first ever race unscathed in 9th and 924 newcomer Jamie Callendar brought his white 924 home P4 in class - his best of the year.

Rick Styrin was judged to have jumped the start and was thus awarded a 10-second penalty, robbing him of his hard-fought win and leaving Ed Hayes to take P1 again, with Andy Hack using a back marker to get past Adam Southgate for 2nd. Southgate took the bonus point for fastest lap - a blistering 54.914, even more impressive when the temperature inside the cars must have been approaching 50C.

In the evening the drivers gathered for the draw of our charity raffle where another £700 would be donated to CMT UK - taking the total raised so far this season to over £1000. Top prize was an RAF helicopter simulator flight kindly donated by our dedicated Clark of the Course Andy Holley.

Race 2 was bound to be a thrilling affair after an hour or so of fairly heavy rain had drenched the circuit. But just as everyone had picked a full-wet setting, the rain ceased and the track entered is most challenging condition: wet but drying - this was to be a real test for the newer drivers.

Both James Coleman (engine problems) and John Cleland (worsening intermittant electrical issues) called it quits so Class A numbers were already diminished.

Linda Warren's green 924 behaved itself until she was safely back in Parc Ferme when its cooling system again erupted, but no Class C podium for her time time as Niz El-Chamaa led for most of the race ahead of Adam Croft - desparate to make up for his Race 1 non-finish which meant he started last - and David Jones, who landed his second podium of the weekend. Karl Rossin finished 5th with his borrowed engine - fitted after much effort late into Saturday evening - behind Jamie Callender's second 4th of the day.

Nick Hull managed to keep Adam Southgate and Garry Lawrence at bay for most of the race but a missed gear at McLaren let both Class A cars through. Andy Hack was first away but Rick Styrin forged ahead for the second lap; sadly Andy's bright orange 986 ground to a halt on the Cooper Straight on lap 12. Richard Avery then took over the challenge but contact between them going up Hailwood Hill led to him spinning out at Druids and a non-finish for the Leighton Buzzard driver. Thus Rick returned to his move conventional top-of-the-podium position with Championship leader Ed Hayes second.

In what I believe is a first in the Championship, and on the same day as fellow Class A driver Mark Marshall was getting married, Garry Lawrence surprised his girlfriend with a marriage proposal (which she accepted) during his MotorsTV interview.

Just two rounds remain of the 2015 season, with three races at the Yorkshire circuit at Croft next on the cards. With Alastair Kirkham now retired, Adam Croft has stretched his lead in the 924s. Ed Hayes' two podiums, both higher positions than fellow Class A Boxster competitor Adam Southgate increases his lead slightly but certainly not far enough for comfort.

Next race

Anglesey - 11th / 12th August 2018

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