By VW Cup, Aug 7 2017 07:36PM
A dry and sunny open to the day set the scene for the qualifying session around the 2.61 miles of the Brands GP loop. The lights went green and allowed the stream of cars onto the circuit, Team Hard’s Jamie Bond was the first of the runners to post the a representative lap time throwing down the benchmark for the other competitors. Next across the line came two JWB Sciroccos in the form of Phil House and Kieran Gordon slotting right under Bond in P2 and P3. Bobby Thompson flashed up onto the screen with two green sectors and a purple to briefly go to the top of the table to only be displaced by Bond on his second rotation.
Kent’s Kenan Dole was next to put his mark on the session slotting into P3 whilst the polo of Johansen jumped to sixth in the standings posting the fastest Sportsman Trophy driver time so far in the session. Gravel dust flew into the air as Toby Davis gets it wrong exiting Surtees and finds himself stranded, bringing out the safety car to bring the session to a slower pace. With little time on the clock the safety car peeled into the pits with just two laps available for the drivers to go quicker.
Championship leader Tom Witts jumped up the timing screen to go sixth fastest whilst fighting the 60kg success ballast, but immediately gets pushed down the order as a gaggle of cars finish the session with their fastest times. As the chequered flag dropped Jamie Bond sat on provisional pole waiting for others to cross the line, Bobby Thompson breaks the beam to go second fastest, only half a tenth separating the top two. Kieran Gordon wasn’t to improve but had done enough to secure third on the grid.
A late lap from Simon Walton placed him the highest Sportsman Trophy drivers in fourth, with Kenan Dole not improving had secured fifth on the grid for race one. Tim Docker threw down an impressive late time to place sixth ahead of returning champion Phil House and Tom Witts in seventh and eighth.
The grid lined up on the Sunny Brands Hatch start finish straight with a Team Hard front row lockout. Lights out and an even start saw the field rocket towards turn one, contact from House on the rear of Docker assists the Scirocco into a slide down Paddock Hill bend as cars began darting in all directions in avoidance. Docker slid across the track as Paul Ivens took to the right and clipped the rear of the spinning Scirocco spiking Ivens into the air before widly rolling multiple times and finally coming to a rest on his roof. The polo of Stephan Johansen also an innocent party being caught up in the incident after running side by side with Ivens before leaving the circuit, collecting Docker and ending up in the tyre wall after a hefty impact.
The race came to an immediate stop with red flag conditions as the medical teams attended to the drivers. Paul Ivens was removed from the car and stretched off, before later being taken to the Hospital for checks. The cars returned to the grid as the marshals and medical teams worked to clear the incident. The other drivers involved were taken to the medical centre for check ups to assure their well being. With the race length shortened to ten minutes, the cars set off on their second green flag lap.
The sun continued to shine as the cars returned to the grid to restart the race, the lights flashed off and the racing resumed. JWB’s Kieran Gordon relishing the restart took no time to displace Thompson for second, but Thompson quick to retaliate repaid the favour by slipping up the inside of the Scotsman at Sheen Curve.
Next to make a move was championship points leader Tom Witts who forced Dole to defend into Clearways allowing the white and green Scirocco to undercut on exit and pull alongside down the straight to snatch the position. Heading up to druids House found himself defending on the inside to fend of the charging Golf of Toby Davis. Shooting to the outside Davis tried his luck and pulled it off whilst House found himself boxed in behind Dole.
Further up the grid Simon Walton lined up a run down the back straight on third place sitter Kieran Gordon, using the slipstream and the momentum exiting the turn, the Audi pulled alongside and past before the breaking zone of Hawthorns Bend. Jamie Bond up front began pulling a lead over teammate Bobby Thompson in second as the cars flashed through the timing beam once more.
Dole ran wide exiting Graham hill bend allowing House past up to seventh place, as the two front runners began trading purpler sectors chasing around the track. No further changes saw the field take the chequered flag with Jamie Bond sealing the win followed across the line by Bobby Thompson in second and Simon Walton in third. Russell Joyce claimed the Sportsman Trophy award after charging through the field from P16 to P11.
As the sun lowered in the sky the drivers took to the grid for the second reverse grid race, seeing Team Hard’s Kenan Dole lined up on pole position with teammate Toby Davis for company on the front row. Witts lined up behind on the second row of the grid along side the grey Scirocco of Kieran Gordon. A few cars were missing from the line up due to the race one incident, seeing Stephen Johansen, Tim Docker and Paul Ivens understandably not making it to the grid. Jack Walker-Tully also unfortunately retired from the remainder of the weekend due to mechanical issues.
With the green flag lap completed the cars lined up on the grid before shortly being released racing once more. Dole lead the field off the line and into paddock hill bend, Gordon getting a quick getaway made the most of his momentum, overtaking Witts for third around the outside of Paddock before shooting up hill towards druids. Davis challenging for the lead around the outside gets knocked by Gordon on the rear pushing them both wide and demoting Davis down to third.
The cars quickly disappeared in-between the trees before returning through the Clark Curve and onto the straight, Darelle Wilson having started in eighth had made up three places by the end of the first rotation. Russell Joyce entered the pits after the first lap having started in eleventh on the grid, to unfortunately retire with mechanical issues. A lap went by with Witts closing in on Davis for third, pulling along side, Witts managed to go around the outside of Davis at the Hawthorns Bend before latched onto the back of Gordon ahead.
Having a bad start, Bobby Thompson began his charge back through the field setting the fastest lap of the race so far whilst closing in teammate bond in sixth. At the front Witts began eyeing a move on second place sitter Kieran Gordon, forcing Gordon to defend, Witts cut to the inside exiting Westfields before pulling alongside heading towards Dingle Dell before securing the move. Off line from being overtaken, Gordon found Davis up the inside and past before the completion of the lap, demoting him down to fourth from second.
Pushing hard Davis’ driver side door flew open due to previous contact forcing him to pit and retire from the race whilst sitting third on track. Back up front, Witts had taken no time to pull in leader Dole to start contemplating a move, with the fast charging Thompson looming large after passing Wilson behind for fifth position. Witts closing in cuts to the inside at Dingle Dell and claims the lead demoting Dole to second place before the gaggle raced onto another lap. Bond slides wide through Paddock hill allowing Thompson to inherit the position.
The top four separated by less than a second bunched together, with Kieran Gordon pouncing up the inside of Dole which in turn allowed Thompson through before the gaggle broke the timing beam once more. Heading up to druids, Dole dove to the inside to regain one of the lost places to displace Thompson back to fourth place. The cars briefly disappeared around the GP loop before reappearing with Bond having made the move on Dole on the final lap, before the chequered dropped on Tom Witts for his fourth win of the season, followed across the line by Kieran Gordon in second and Jamie Bond in third. Matthew Evans collected the Sportman Trophy honours after finishing the race in eleventh place.