Southgate Takes Class A Title in Brands Thriller

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Southgate Takes Class A Title in Brands Thriller

The Toyo Tires BRSCC Porsche Championship headed to Brands Hatch in Kent for their penultimate races of the season.
 
For qualifying, the Class A Boxster lineup included the reining champion Ed Hayes and consistent front runner Alex Stocker having his second outing of the year. Also returning was Andy Porter with a freshly rebuilt car after his massive crash at Cadwell Park; by contrast, sadly absent was Nick Hull after his major accident at the Anglesey round as his car couldn’t be repaired in time. David Jones returned in his 924 to give Gavin and Hugh a challenge in Class C.
 
Qualifying was a car short as Gavin Johnson skipped the session to investigate a worrying gearbox/diff problem experienced in testing, the class-leading driver wisely wishing to avoid any further damage to his car.
 
Race 1
The first race of the weekend very much followed the times set in qualifying. Highlights included Alex Stocker spinning at Clearways on consecutive laps due to leaking coolant getting onto his rear tyres, causing a couple of other Boxsters to take a trip through the gravel in avoidance. He retired after the second spin.
 
Adam Southgate lead throughout with James Coleman close behind, but unable to find a way past, Hayes next up on his series return. These three were the class of the field, with the battling duo of Molyneaux and Garry Lawrence a further 18 seconds back at the flag.
 
Further back Matt Harris lost his bumper and pitted, so was the only other DNF along with Stocker.
 
Gavin Johnson fought his way through from the back of the 924s, catching leader David Jones but missing out on the win by under 2 tenths of a second.
 
Race 2
The first of Sunday's two races started early in overcast by dry conditions. Adam Southgate was left temporarily as a spectator as he'd left the car in neutral; after one lap Kevin Molyneaux was leading, but was being caught by James Coleman who got past, pulled ahead and lead comfortably. Molyneaux, Hayes and Lawrence circulated in a tight bunch fighting over 2nd place.
 
Stocker dropped away slightly and got involved in a tight duel with Andy Porter and Toby Smales which ended with slight contact between Stocker and Andy Porter, causing the latter's front bumper to come lose. He slowed to scrape round the last laps to complete the race, narrowly avoiding being flagged in by the marshals. Smales finished right behind Stocker on the road, but was subsequently penalised 5 seconds for track limits infringements, although it didn't affect his finishing position.
 
The front six Boxsters establish themselves in the order Coleman/Hayes/Southgate followed by Lawrence/Mol/Stocker. Harris, Kevin Ludford and Andy Baker circulated together in a tight group, Baker beating Ludford by less than 2 seconds, but Harris span at Graham Hill on lap 19 and was unable to restart before the flag dropped, landing him his second DNF of the weekend. Southgate's third will become one of his dropped scores, meaning he will actually gain points by not winning!
 
David Jones put in a similar performance and while Hugh Peart was able to hold Gavin Johnson off for a while, Johnson got the better of him towards the end of the race to take 2nd - every point being vital to him at this late stage. Johnson said later "a bad start and some quality defending from David Jones stopped me doing any better".
 
Race 3
There was frantic action from the start of our reverse grid race as Ludford lead off the line, soon to be passed by Smales who lead from Lawrence after one lap. By lap 3 the regular front runners of Southgate/Coleman and Hayes had joined to chase Lawrence and for the next few laps passed and re-passed each other all round the circuit, with Kevin Molyneaux joining in the fun. A few laps in and Coleman had a brief excursion onto the grass at Paddock Bend after contact with another car; he then dropped back but fought his way through the field to close on Hayes and Southgate who were fighting over the lead. The race was so exciting, in fact, that BRSCC commentator Scott Woodwiss described it as "the best race of the weekend"!
 
Hayes was robbed of his win by a 5-second track limits penalty, so it was another win for Adam Southgate with James Coleman promoted to second; as he crossed the line, Hayes was far enough ahead of Lawrence to take the third spot on the podium. Another P4 for Garry Lawrence, but Kevin Molyneaux retired on lap 14.
 
Also retiring was David Jones, who dropped out of the 924s lead after contact with Matthew Harris as he in turned braked to avoid the spinning Andy Baker at McLaren. Meanwhile Hugh Peart was unlucky to loose his lead to Johnson after being diverted off the track by another Boxster that had run wide at Druids. Johnson therefore duly took the class win by 1.5 seconds, stretching his class lead slightly of Peart.
 
As announced at the circuit, Adam Southgate is now safe to claim winner of Class A for 2018 but James Coleman, Garry Lawrence and Kevin Molyneaux are all capable of finishing 2nd or third overall.
 
As the only Class B entrant this year, Leigh Bowden has taken the Class B title and is already working on upgrading his car to Class A spec for next season.
 
The Class C 924 title could literally go to the last race, where Hugh Peart trails Gavin Johnson by just 12.5 points. Third place could go to David Jones, Ian Gribben or even Chris Valentine - all of whom are signed up for our final races of the year, at Donington Park on 20/21st October.
 
Text: John Broadley and Chris Valentine; photos: Chris Valentine

 

Results - Brands Hatch (Indy)

September 8th 2018

Race Spec Boxster

  Driver Grid Position
1 Adam Southgate 1
2 James Coleman 2
3 Ed Hayes 3

Production Boxster

  Driver Grid Position

Porsche 924

  Driver Grid Position
1 David Jones 1
2 Gavin Johnson 3
3 Hugh Peart 2

September 8th 2018

Race Spec Boxster

  Driver Grid Position
1 James Coleman 2
2 Ed Hayes 3
3 Adam Southgate 1

Production Boxster

  Driver Grid Position

Porsche 924

  Driver Grid Position
1 David Jones 1
2 Gavin Johnson 2
3 Hugh Peart 3

September 8th 2018

Race Spec Boxster

  Driver Grid Position
1 Adam Southgate 8
2 James Coleman 10
3 Ed Hayes 9

Production Boxster

  Driver Grid Position

Porsche 924

  Driver Grid Position
1 Gavin Johnson 2
2 Hugh Peart 1

Championship Standings

  Driver Points
1 Adam Southgate 436.0
2 James Coleman 329.0
3 Garry Lawrence 314.0
  Driver Points
1 Leigh Bowden 121.5
  Driver Points
1 Gavin Johnson 224.0
2 Hugh Peart 211.5
3 David Jones 71.0

Next race

Donington Park - 20th / 21st October 2018

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