Brands Hosts Thrilling End to the Season

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Brands Hosts Thrilling End to the Season

A weekend of varying conditions greeted our drivers for the final races of the 2017 season, as part of the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch this weekend. While the Class A and B titles were already firmly in the bag for Ed Hayes and Andy Baker respectively, Pip Hammond had a marginal chance of losing his grip on the 924s title. We welcomed three new drivers: novice Stephen Fitzpatrick was to run in Garry Lawrence's spare 987 Boxster, with Stock Hatch and Ginetta racer Chris Jones and experience classic racer Jon Jeffrey in 924s. Also returning were part-season racers David Jones, Steve Potts and Hugh Peart.

27 cars - our biggest grid since 2013 - took to the damp track for morning qualifying and it was James Coleman who took pole ahead of Ed Hayes, Adam Southgate in third after a last-minute change of plans. Pip Hammond, who only needs a single win, or two finishes ahead of team mate Gavin Johnson, to take home the Class C title, puts his car confidently on the 924 pole.

Garry Goodwin's Boxster displays an ABS issue in qualifying and he sends out an urgent request for a new sensor, only to discover its being caused by a wiring issue.

Race 1
Rain and heavy spray - back-lit in places by sunshine - make the first of our three races this weekend a serious challenge, even for the most experienced drivers. Alex Stocker said later "the only way I knew I was reaching Druids (hairpin) was just about seeing the bridge - otherwise it was like driving in fog". Angus Archer retires as his windscreen as misted so badly he can't see at all.

A quick spin on lap 2 drops Garry Lawrence down to mixing with the 924s, where Jamie Callender again shows his mastery of wet weather racing, sitting in 2nd for much of the race and only losing out on the second podium step to Philip Waters after as he posts a fastest lap.

Dave Jones spins into the gravel at Paddock causing a Safety car; at the restart, James Coleman goes off from 2nd place into the barriers leaving a Class A top three of Hayes, Southgate and Avery.

Pip Hammond repeats his winning performance once more, thereby winning the Class C title for 2017. Baker takes Harris at the last minute to retain his 100% record in Class B and overall its been a great race to watch, with action all round the circuit - very high standards of driving through the field in very difficult conditions keep incidents to a minimum.

Race 2
A change of conditions greets the drivers on Sunday morning, with the rain gone and a dry track - and even the threat of sunshine. The drivers are grateful for clear visibility as they get cleanly away from the lights and into Paddock.

Karl Rossin's bumper has come adrift and fragments litter the track at both Clearways and Graham Hill Bend. Waters goes wide on the exit of Druids, losing any chance of grabbing a podium.

Harris takes the lead in Class B and just as it looks like he's on target for a debut season win, Baker grabs the lead back to take home another pot. Southgate spins onto the grass at the bottom of Paddock, his rear bumper left just hanging on; he rejoins but is only able to finish last.

Lawrence defends his third place aggressively against a determined Coleman from Druids downhill to beyond Graham Hill Bend with repeated contact between the two cars, running over the remnants of Karl Rossin's stranded badge panel in the process.

Callender now also spins dramatically on the downhill from Paddock but recovers - however the car is again starting to demonstrate misfire problems. Waters' 924 looses coolant and he retires, possibly too late to save the engine from damage. Pip Hammond also retires with a gearbox issue that renders 4th virtually unobtainable.

Across the line it's another win for Class A champion Hayes with Avery 2nd. Lawrence shows he's recovered his race mojo with a third just ahead of a season best performance from Stocker in 4th. Similarly in full command is David Jones who has fought through from the back of his class grid to win in the 924s ahead of Ryan Lowry and Steve Potts.

Race 3
Both Waters (the engine had in fact failed) and Stocker (car refused to start) were missing from the grid of the final race of the season. Hammond decides to race regardless of reduced gear selection options.

With Southgate first to turn 1 in the Boxsters, Moluto driver Ryan Lowry makes a massive charge down the left to take his 924 from the 6th row to third place by the end of the first lap. PDC drivers Gavin and Pip are lapping together, almost as if anticipating a suitable team action photo.

Garry Goodwin spins at the bottom of the hill and is unable to re-start, leading to a safety car deployment with just five minutes left on the clock. The safety car bunches up the field and the Class A race is open once again - Hayes, Southgate and Avery all in with a chance of last-race glory with less than a second separating the three of them at the drop of the flag.

Lowry gets a tap exiting Druids and goes wide. Meanmhile Hammond, faring better in the traffic, seems to have decided to push for places and pulls ahead of his team mate. Afterwards he said "Gavin had the pace - I could get past him at one place but he would immediately re-take the position".

David Jones - almost from the back row - again takes the 924 win but Steve Potts and Karl Rossin swap podium places, with Potts suffering a post-race penalty for a yellow flag infringement, leaving Rossin to finish the year with a 2nd place trophy. Having landed two fastest laps as well as a pair of trophies, asked of the racing at the end of the day Steve Potts said "best races of the season - it's going to be a sad five months before I'm back behind the wheel".

And so the sun sets on another successful season for the BRSCC Porsches. Our thanks go to Toyo Tires UK and their supplier Tyres (South Shore) Ltd., Jasmine Porshalink, Rock Oil, Wharfside Electrical, Hartech Porsche plus Custom Cages, Gaz and Mintex for hardware support, and the miriad companies and individuals who have supported teams and drivers through the year. We must also thank our BRSCC Clerk Andy Holley, coordinator John Broadley, chairman Nick Hull - and all of the BRSCC staff, officials and marshals who have given us another wonderful season of racing.

Photo shows (l to r) our overall class champions: Ed Hayes (Class A); Pip Hammond (Class C); Andy Baker (Class B).

Results - Brands Hatch (Indy)

October 21st 2017

Race Spec Boxster

  Driver Grid Position
1 Ed Hayes 2
2 Adam Southgate 3
3 Richard Avery 5

Production Boxster

  Driver Grid Position
1 Andy Baker 1

Porsche 924

  Driver Grid Position
1 Pip Hammond 1
2 Philip Waters 4
3 Jamie Callender 2

October 21st 2017

Race Spec Boxster

  Driver Grid Position
1 Ed Hayes 1
2 Richard Avery 3
3 Garry Lawrence 6

Production Boxster

  Driver Grid Position
1 Andy Baker 1
2 Matthew Harris 2

Porsche 924

  Driver Grid Position
1 David Jones 13
2 Ryan Lowry 7
3 Stephen Potts 4

October 21st 2017

Race Spec Boxster

  Driver Grid Position
1 Ed Hayes 11
2 Richard Avery 10
3 Adam Southgate 1

Production Boxster

  Driver Grid Position
1 Andy Baker 2
2 Matthew Harris 1

Porsche 924

  Driver Grid Position
1 David Jones 12
2 Karl Rossin 9
3 Stephen Potts 10

Championship Standings

  Driver Points
1 Ed Hayes 480.0
2 Adam Southgate 427.0
3 Richard Avery 373.0
  Driver Points
1 Andy Baker 252.5
2 Matthew Harris 190.0
  Driver Points
1 Pip Hammond 454.0
2 Gavin Johnson 411.0
3 Ryan Lowry 393.0

Next race

Oulton Park - 24th March 2018

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