Highs and lows at Brands
2019 BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship.
Round 1, Brands Hatch.
Brands Hatch was once again the opening venue for the BRSCC MX-5 Championship. Ahead of my third full season we had moved team to Blink Motorsport and hopes were high, even with the bumper 61 car entry for the meeting.
Qualifying was busy, but I was able to find some space and set a lap I was pleased with and was fast enough for pole position. So far, off to a good start! I lead at the start in the race but was never able to breakaway from a group behind. A third of the way through, Brian Trott slipped past me into Paddock Hill Bend, in a tight but good move. After that I found it much easier to follow and threw everything at Brian but could not pass. With attention from behind too, it was a tense first race of the year, but I was happy to finish in second place. Well done to Brian on his first win!
I had another good start in race 2 where I drove straight into the lead, this time ahead of Ben Short. He’s a punchy driver, so I was wary of him making a move, but as Brian proved in race 1 you can lead at Brands and defend successfully. As the race moved along, Will Blackwell-Chambers got into second place. A lap later, he tried to overtake me at Paddock Hill Bend, but hit me in the rear corner as we enter the turn, spinning me into the gravel. I’m out on the spot. Beached. DNF. Nul points. Not happy.
After the race there was the messy old business of going to the stewards, looking at footage (not mine though) and all the rest of it. In the end there was no penalty given, not that one would bring back my race in any case.
The double whammy of all this was my relegation to the B race. I started 4th, went into second place at turn one and then took the lead on the back straight. I pushed ahead and had a 14 second lead by half way when the race was stopped due to an incident. I was declared the winner, but still only got points for 33rd place overall.
So it was an up and down weekend. Race 2 was a sad occasion, but we had fantastic pace all weekend which leaves us hopeful for the upcoming races.
A special thank you must go to my wife and family this time as the entire weekend played out to the backdrop of the birth of our son Henry, the Wednesday before. He was premature and in intensive care but as there was little I could do and Brands is local to us, I came up to race and then went to the hospital in-between times. I’m pleased to say he is fine now and already out-growing his first clothes so all is well.
We travel to Pembrey in South Wales next, a new circuit for me so I’m looking forward to it.
Top photo: Scott Woodwiss
Other photos: Dave Luck