2014 Race Reports – Round 3: Brands Hatch – 3 May 2014

Words and Pictures by : Phil (Scoop) Broster.

‘e’mail : phil_scoop@hotmail.co.uk

Brands Hatch on the first weekend in May saw competitors in the Lackford Engineering Midget and Sprite Challenge converge for the next two rounds. The majority of runners were scheduled to race over the two days with the usual single qualifying session on the first day deciding the grid positions for both races.

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Among the entry were series sponsor father and son duo, Robin and Nigel Lackford who had been absent from Donington. Another absentee from Donington who was here this weekend was front runner Paul Sibley. Noticeable by his absence was current champion Tom Neat who had commitments elsewhere.

Other non attendees included Tom Walker with his frogeye and Pippa Cow. One who was here after his Donington maladies having sorted his gearbox issues with a completely new installation was James Dunkley.

Qualifying got under way mid morning and from my view point above the back ‘straight’ the traction and speed differential between the Class A cars and the rest of the field was most noticeable. A particular moment when Martin Morris sped out of Graham Hill Bend and came across a couple of battling B class runners who were about to swap places made me hold my breath for a second, fortunately they were using their mirrors as the faster car, very much committed, sped pass. This is a part of the track where three abreast just wasn’t on! It really did look hairy where I was, but talking to Martin later, he had a different view from the driving seat.

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When the session ended Sibley was on pole followed closely by Weston, Dunkley, Reeve and Morris all Class A runners. The first Class B car was Southcott fractionally ahead of Campfield’s Healey Class E Sprite. Then we had Pratt and Watkins before Actman, Attwood, Lackford R. and Perry, all within half a second of each other. Lackford N, Bernberg and Harman were next similarly spaced apart. Easton, Chadwick, Bridge J, Homer and a returning Jenkins completed the order.

There was an incident near the end of qualy when Southcott pulled across to the pits with a puncture, catching an unsighted Sibley. The impact didn’t seem serious but was enough to bend a wishbone on Sibley’s car, discovered later in the paddock…big hammer time!

Another with issues was Reeve who’s gearbox decided to destroy itself. The result was a lot of hard work for the likeable David Weston who ministers to Reeve’s car as well as his own. Each time I visited the area Dave was under the car but eventually the job was done and the car would race.

It was soon time for our race and the grid formed for the start which saw Sibley fly away. Up to Druids, Weston had stayed in second with Morris taking the inside line from Dunkley to grab third. Pratt, Campfield and Southcott were three abreast with Reeve and Watkins heading the rest of the runners.

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Next lap and Sibley was pulling away but not by much, he would finish just over half a second ahead of Weston by the end.

Meanwhile Morris was hassling Weston and was looking good to pass given the chance. Southcott and Pratt would once again start a battle that would continue for the whole duration, Southcott got ahead for many laps but Pratt would edge it at the end.

As is usual at Brands there were little battles going on down the field, Reeve had had a poor first few laps and for a while would have to fight Lackford R, Campfield and Watkins, before needing to pass Pratt and Southcott in his pursuit of the leaders. Likewise Lackford jnr was battling with Harman, which would go all the way to the flag.

Harman had been embroiled in another battle for a while with Bernberg and Attwood, Attwood would clear this one though.

The commentator got excited at one point when Dunkley, intent in his pursuit of Morris, ran wide coming onto the pit straight and did a bit of autocrossing, the pressure was now off Morris but ironically he would pull off with dead electrics three laps from the end. A blown out HT lead was the cause!

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As the minutes ticked away we would get 17 laps in before the flag came out. Sibley was first with Weston not far behind, Dunkley made it into third place and Reeve would eventually finish fourth. Behind came Pratt from Watkins and Campfield who had both got ahead of Southcott.

Robin Lackford came home next ahead of Perry, Actman, Attwood, Harman and Lackford N. Easton, Bernberg, Bridge, Chadwick, Jenkins and Homer completed the order. Great racing once again, lots of battles and only the unfortunate Morris who failed to finish!

What would the Sunday race bring?, baited breath!

Scoops momentous moment : That moment in qualifying on the bottom straight!