Brands Hatch Indy – 19th / 20th September 2020 Race Report, Images and ResultsPosted on: September 23rd 2020 • Posted in: Race Results
Brands at its most sparkling!
Round 4 & 5 – Brands Indy
The Creative Funding Solutions Sports 2000 Championship was back in very contrasting conditions to those that we saw at Silverstone – Brands Hatch Indy’s Ford Power Live event had brought with it some beautiful sunshine and clear skies. There was a slight wind for drivers to contend with on both days that could make things interesting on the tightly-packed undulating circuit.
Reigning champion Michael Gibbins entered the weekend with a slim lead of 4 points over his rival Tom Stoten. Josh Law was only 1 point back from there, with Peter Needham leading the Pinto standings with a slight buffer back to Richard Cooke and Pat Egan. With more Pintos making it onto the grid each time we go racing, it’s been getting closer and tougher for the front-runners to keep bagging points.
It was a tiny margin of 24 thousandths of a second that separated protagonists Stoten and Gibbins, with the Gunn TS11 coming out on top this time. Josh Law and Dominic Lesniewski lined up on row 2 with Giles Billingsley and Paul Trayhurn ready to keep the others on their toes from 5th and 6th respectively.
In the Pintos it was Paul Streat’s elegant Lola taking the honours in Qualifying, lining up 13th overall, over half a second clear of Jon Harmer in the bright green Tiga. Championship leader Needham was alongside Chris Snowdon with two more Tigas in the form of Mike Fry and Clive Steeper 17th and 18th. David Gorst would make his debut in the championship at Brands Hatch Indy, using Qualifying to get some more experience in his orange and black MCR S2, eventually lining up 23rd.
Off the line for the first race of the day it was Gibbins with the advantage – it had been talked about that starting 2nd was possibly better here due to the angle of the straight – as Stoten and Law followed, with Lesniewski, Billingsley and Trayhurn trying to hang on to them. The quartet behind was made up of Mike Turner, Roger Donnan, John Owen and Nick Bates.
Jon Harmer had made a good start in the Pintos and soon had the lead, making it clear that he wasn’t going to be giving it up to anyone. Behind it was anybody’s guess as Streat, Needham, Snowdow, Fry, Steeper, Williams and Feyerabend began what would be an awesome show to watch around the short lap on the legendary Indy layout. It would soon become apparent that Tigas are naturally magnetised to one another as they didn’t separate all race long.
The gaps at the front between Gibbins, Stoten, Law and Lesniewski would stay rather stagnant after the first half of the race, the four of them swapping lap times as they went. Stoten’s car was looking very lively in his pursuit of the championship leader and managed to get a chance down the start finish straight due to traffic holding Michael up, but it wasn’t quite enough to get the job done. The car’s liveliness was particularly highlighted when all of the top 3 had simultaneous slides around Clearways, trying to get an edge on their opponents.
As always, Roger Donnan and John Owen shared the same space on track, John being ahead this time in his pursuit of Mike Turner who was running in 7th. Ash Law wasn’t far back either, watching as the group steadily closed together with a battle surely brewing. Jon Harmer’s Tiga SC80 had been so quick in the early stages that Law ended up having to fend him off at points, mentioning in the paddock afterwards how quick “the green machine” was.
At around two thirds race distance, Turner and Owen were locked into a real dice with Donnan and Bates right behind, ready to pick up the pieces. Unfortunately though, it wouldn’t pan out this way. John missed his braking point into Druids and despite the best efforts of Mike Turner to avoid contact, there was a slight touch that pitched the MCR into a long spin, eventually ending up on the apex of the corner and being collected by Roger Donnan. Nick Bates and Ash Law managed to just avoid the fiberglass amalgamation with Owen eventually recovering to finish 8th between them.
The Safety Car would come out as Turner’s car became beached in an unsafe place, right on the apex of the corner. It would circulate for around 5 minutes, giving us only a handful of laps to decide the race.
Roger Donnan came into the pits to try and temporarily repair the damage done to the front of his car – the splitter and front left bodywork being broken and bent out of shape. He would eventually go out and complete the race, albeit 3 laps down.
Michael Gibbins had made a great restart and left the others behind to try and claw back the time as they negotiated traffic, which was far from easy considering how often they would come across the same cars, with how short a lap was.
In the Pintos, Streat had dropped back slightly from his pole position in class, but found himself right on the back of Chris Snowdon for 3rd – the two white cars seemingly glued together throughout the closing laps. Meanwhile Peter Needham in the beautiful Van Diemen started reeling in Jon Harmer in his Tiga. It was a battle that looked like it would go on to the very end.
It seemed there wasn’t enough time for Stoten to reel Gibbins in despite mixed fortunes in traffic for both and the reigning champion would take win number 13 in a row – another controlled performance to take top honours with the always flamboyant Stoten in 2nd and Josh Law 3rd. Lesniewski was then 4th with himself, Giles Billingsley and Paul Trayhurn only separated by 1.2 seconds across the line.
Nick Bates, John Owen and Ash Law would grab 7th, 8th and 9th respectively with Jon Harmer taking Pinto honours and an overall Top 10 finish, just 1.4 seconds ahead of Peter Needham who bagged more valuable championship points, especially in class. Chris Snowdon would just hold on from Paul Streat for 3rd – barely half a second covering the dicing pair.
Unfortunately Mike Fry and Clive Hayes would both fail to finish due to mechanical failures in the final few laps – a fuel filter punctured by a stone and a clutch problem ending their respective races. David Gorst finished his first race in the championship with a positive outlook on the second encounter on Sunday.
On the Sunday ahead of Race 2, the weather was even better and the drivers were all in high spirits after the great action the day before. With a much bigger crowd on the banks of the Indy circuit and in the grandstands, Michael Gibbins would line up on pole position from Tom Stoten, Josh Law and Dominic Lesniewski. In the Pintos, Marc Noaro had taken over from Jon Harmer in the Race 1 class-winning number 27 Tiga. Peter Needham and Chris Snowdon were looking to challenge for that class win in this encounter.
Gibbins got a steady start from the front – the number 1 machine leading out of Paddock Hill Bend while Giles Billingsley took off like a missile from Row 3 to challenge Tom Stoten for 2nd! He would eventually concede and still be an impressive 3rd by the end of Lap 1. He was followed by Dominic Lesniewski, Paul Trayhurn and Josh Law who had a poor start, bogging down off the line.
The aforementioned Needham and Snowdon would be the dicing duo early on at the front of the Pintos, with Roger Donnan, Mike Turner and Clive Hayes making their way through traffic from the back of the grid. The number 7 of Turner would only manage 2 laps before retiring, rounding out a weekend to forget.
The field settled down after the first lap melee but Tom Stoten spun his car on the exit of Graham Hill Bend and dropped way down the order as he recovered. Before long, Josh Law had made his way back up to 2nd ahead of Billingsley and set off after race leader Gibbins. Paul Trayhurn would soon get past Giles as well, moving up into a podium spot – 3rd place overall.
The number 27 at the hands of Marc Noaro wasn’t showing as much pace as it had in Race 1 and was losing places, now sitting 4th in class behind Snowdon, Needham and Streat. David Williams in his white-wheeled Lola wasn’t too far behind, nor was Clive Steeper and Mike Fry – the white Tigas once again proving some form of magnetism definitely exists between them.
Stoten was on a comeback drive through the MCRs of John Owen and Nick Bates, until waved yellows at Clearways and eventually a safety car was deployed. Series newcomer David Gorst had spun 180 degrees at the final corner and was unable to get the car out of harm’s way under its own power. This would now bunch the pack back up and give Law the chance to take a race win away from Gibbins, who had once again controlled the pace at the front.
Also, an interesting development in the Pintos saw Snowdon and Needham – the pair of them still welded at the hip – gain almost a lap on the rest of the cars in their class as they hadn’t been lapped by the leaders. This now meant that they’d be able to have a straight fight and not have to worry too much about Streat’s Lola behind. Towards the end of the safety car period, Tom Stoten’s miserable race had come to an end, with a broken steering arm.
Up front, Gibbins had two Pintos between himself and Josh Law, but got an excellent restart either way. Law immediately made his intentions clear and went flying after the blue MCR ahead, but the gap had already opened up. Just behind them, amongst a sea of Pintos, Billingsley was still trying to chase Trayhurn but had to be careful as Lesniewski was hot on his heels. In said Pinto class, Streat had to watch out for Noaro, Williams, Steeper and Fry who had done anything but go away thanks to the safety car.
From that point on, everybody stayed on circuit without retirement, but with only a handful of laps to go, Paul Trayhurn picked up an unwanted Birthday present in the form of a 5 second penalty for track limits. At the time he was 4.3 seconds clear of Billingsley, so would hold on to his podium with a few more quick laps.
Michael Gibbins took win number 14 in a row, sealing another wonderful weekend in the Creative Funding Solutions Sports 2000 Championship, extending his championship lead with Stoten’s retirement. Josh Law would take another strong podium in 2nd, finishing 3.8 seconds back, while Giles Billingsley managed to close the gap to Trayhurn and take a podium thanks to the aforementioned 5 second penalty. Fortunately for Paul, he was just under 6 seconds ahead of Lesniewski so he held on to 4th position.
Behind them was Nick Bates, John Owen, Roger Donnan (who started at the back, remember) and Ash Law who’d had a hard time with traffic in the latter stages. Rounding out the Top 10 overall was another Birthday Boy! Chris Snowdon just held on from a charging Peter Needham to take a class win in his Tiga, only 2.4 seconds ahead, with Paul Streat getting a podium. Behind him was Marc Noaro and David Williams, with Steeper, Fry and Feyerabend covered by just over a second for 15th, 16th and 17th.
Once again consistency reigned supreme with Michael Gibbins taking two from two and with only a pair of races left this season, it’s looking like anyone will be hard pressed to beat him. Peter Needham still leads the Pinto standings after another haul of points, but he needs to keep an eye on his mirrors if the pace displayed here is in any way indicative of what lies ahead on the Grand Prix Circuit.
On that note, the championship returns to Brands Hatch for its final meeting on the 10th and 11th of October, so keep an eye on our social media pages and website for any further updates.
Thanks as always to our series sponsor Creative Funding Solutions and to everyone behind the scenes who makes these great race weekends happen.
Many thanks to Chaz Draycott for this report.
Below are some images credit to KJG Photograpy. To view the full set or purchase copies visit https://www.kjgphotography.co.uk
Our Podium Finishers…
Race 1 Duratec Podium
Race 1 Pinto Podium
Race 2 Duratec Podium
Race 2 Pinto Podium