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Dunlop Britcar

Britcar Open GT and Sportscars, Brands Hatch – Race Report
Antiques Trackshow

Although just seven cars pitched up for the pair of  45-minute end-of-season/start-of-next-season races, they provided some enthralling action, and Calum Lockie, sharing a Class 2 FF Corse Ferrari 458 with lauded antiques expert David Mason OBE, took victory in both rain-soaked races, though it wasn’t all clear-cut.

Lockie annexed pole for Race 1, ahead of lone-driver Lee Mowle in the Optimum Ginetta G55, the only representative of Class 1. A frustrated Kevin Clarke had yet to take delivery of his Mosler, so ran his trusted Production Cup BMW E46 in Class 3, and Wayne Gibson would tackle this race alone, leaving Clarke to try his hand in Race 2, but their qualifying time was four seconds adrift of the GT cars on the front row. Jensen Lunn was running his BEC Chevron GR8 in Class 3 and future 2013 co-driver Alistair Lindsay would drive alone in Race 2, getting some advance race mileage for next season. Next up were Irish father and son pairing Shamus and Peter Jennings, sharing another Class 2 FF Corse 458. In only their second circuit race, the duo would have their work cut out in the tricky conditions, and they lined up ahead of the second Intersport BMW of Hayes and Radcliffe; with Adam Hayes driving alone for the first race. Surprisingly bringing up the rear was the “orange” Topcats Marcos Mantis of veterans Jon Harrison and Mick Mercer.

Race 1

Lockie went into an immediate lead, which he proceeded to build over Mowle’s Ginetta, which would be his nemesis for the day.

The press-room bean-counters had reckoned, considering the Lockie/Mason pace differential and Mowle being consistent, that the Ferrari would need to be 90 seconds ahead at a late pitstop to beat the Ginetta. Mowle used up all his skills and pushed every corner of the envelope as he kept in touch with the #26 Ferrari, setting fastest lap in the process; but the gap hovered around 13 seconds. He admitted to three spins along the way - though the commentator only noticed two - and pitted after the last one, with 11 minutes of the race to run.

His stop was noticeably shorter than the prescribed time, though, and he rejoined 96 seconds adrift of Lockie, who pitted with just six minutes of the race to run. Mason took over for a short run to the flag, and was around 40 seconds back from the Ginetta on the road at the end. The officials had noted the brevity of the pit stop, however - the Optimum team misunderstanding the 90-second duration for 60 seconds - and Mowle was docked 25 seconds, giving the win to Lockie and Mason.

Jensen Lunn’s strategy of an early pit-stop – he was in on Lap 2 – paid off, earning him third place in the Chevron GR8...

...while Adam Hayes’ early burst of speed through the field in the #9 Intersport BMW saw him take fourth at the end, ahead of stablemate Wayne Gibson in the #33 car.

Mick Mercer and Jon Harrison kept it together in the Topcats Marcos, finishing two laps down on the leaders, while novices Shamus and Peter Jennings came home seventh, a further lap adrift.

Race 2

It was Lockie on pole again and into a decisive lead went the red lights went out, but Mowle had his mirrors full of a fired-up, Mosler-less Kevin Clarke during the opening laps.

The Ginetta shook the Intersport BMW off eventually and began to pull away, but had one of his notorious spins, this time into the Druids gravel. Miraculously, he drove out of it and back into the race four seconds ahead of Clarke.

Jon Harrison had also been caught-out at Surtees and took a while to ease the Topcats Marcos out of the muddy grass, while the Jensen Motorsport team played the early game again, pitting the Chevron GR8 of Alistair Lindsay in the opening laps.

The rain had intensified over the lunch period and now set-in, causing some hairy moments. Peter Jennings lost it coming down the hill from Druids, but recovered in the #24 Ferrari, before pitting to hand over to father Shamus, while Lindsay had a quick spin in the Chevron too.  Clarke was about to put a lap on old sparring partner Mick Mercer and the pair went off in unison onto the Surtees infield, with no contact and no damage.

Mowle couldn’t resist the invitation either, but this spin was the most significant of his weekend, ending up in the pit entrance. The Ginetta was helped on its way by the marshals and, with 11 minutes of the race to go, made the mandatory stop, this time for the requisite 90 seconds.

Mark Radcliffe drove the #9 Intersport BMW straight into the garage, the diff mounting having failed, and Lockie pitted the FF Corse Ferrari from a comfortable lead with nine minutes to go. This time it was Clarke’s BMW that took up the final chase and, as the laps ticked over, great chunks were being torn out of David Mason’s lead; lap 38 – 54 seconds, lap 40 – 44 seconds, lap 42 – 32 seconds. But time was running out and Mason held on, taking the flag nearly 28 seconds ahead of Clarke. Mowle finished third this time, a lap adrift, with the Jennings’ Ferrari 458 a further two laps down, in front of the Mercer/Harrison Marcos and Lindsay’s Chevron.  
 
Steve Wood