Brands Hatch GP – 01 June 2024 Race Report, Images and Results

Posted on: June 6th 2024    •    Posted in: Race Results

Rounds 5 and 6 – Brands Hatch GP

There was a bumper 33 car entry split between 23 Modern cars and 10 Historics for this one day race meeting on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.

For this meeting Tim Tudor assumed the role of Team Manager of the University of Wales entry with Patrick Sherrington undertaking the driving duty for both of the races. The team were hoping for a quieter weekend than their previous outings. The intention being that the students would have time to focus on other projects after the Brands event. Whilst Jon Harmer had Marc Noaro as his engineer for the two races in their Tiga SC80.

Nick Bates announced his arrival back in the entry by being placed prominently at the entry into the Sports 2000 paddock. The stunning Red and Yellow livery on his MCR car creating a bright spot in the paddock when the drivers came out to test on a wet and windy Friday. The weather was a huge disappointment for Nick as he had hoped to use the test to understand the progression in the development of not just the aero on the cars but the Hoosier tyres too. It was great to see him back behind the wheel as he prepared himself for the challenges of Brands Hatch. With only one dry run in the late afternoon he still felt there was a lot more to come from both driver and car come Saturday.

Making a welcome return after a three year absence was Giles Billingsley in the spare MCR entry taken last year by David Houghton. A former front runner everyone was looking to see where he would fit on the 2024 grid.


It was not too surprising to find that Josh Law would take pole position on the Saturday morning. Giles Billingsley proving that despite a three year lay off from the Championship he had lost none of his speed qualifying half a second behind Josh and heading the Derek Bell class runners. Patrick Sherrington in the first of the University cars qualified 3rd with Paul Trayhurn completing the second row with his Gunn  being the first of the non MCR car. The top 4 were covered by 7 tenths of a second with Paul being just 2 tenths short of Giles Billingsley’s time to be second in the Derek Bell class.

5th on the grid would be Colin Peach who was trying really hard. His recent spate of podium finishes had reinvigorated the Van Diemen racer and with representatives from Paslode his new sponsors for the season attending he was hoping to retain his form.  Colin was the only driver to have two times deleted for exceeding track limits such was the level of his commitment. Steve Ough would be 6th in his MCR completing the podium positions in the Derek Bell class for qualifying.

In the Historic Classes it would be battle renewed between Will Schryver and Jon Harmer, with Chris Snowdon 3rd fastest from Mike Fry, Mike Dodd, with Peter Needham and Simon Aldworth completing the top 6. No sooner had Chris stepped out of his race overalls, he could be found around the paddock lending assistance and advice to his fellow competitors.

For others the session had not gone at all well. Michael Gibbins having a repeat of the electrical problems that had troubled him throughout testing on the Friday. Completing the mandatory 3 laps he did not set a time and would start from the back of the grid. It was very busy around the Gibbins MCR as they set about replacing the electrical systems before the 1st race. Ben Cater’s qualifying was even shorter when after only 1 lap the engine went onto three cylinders announcing the end of his participation for the weekend. He was later to comment that the only good thing is he got to watch the first race of the Sports 2000 which proved to be really good. Andy Chittenden parked his car safely on the approach to paddock hill bend after 5 laps his clutch refusing to disengage. Andy would be another relegated to the role of spectator.

Others encountering problems in qualifying were Josh Needham who had a problem with the alternator, leaving them with a rapid scramble to change it in time for the racing. John Owen returned with his car stuck in gear. Luckily this was easily resolved upon closer examination. A screw had worked loose jamming the mechanism. An easy fix and John would be ready to race.

Nick Bates had settled into his return quite well being among the front runners at the start of the session running as high as 7th this slipped to 14th for his grid place when he found the engine appeared to go down on power. Overall he was happy with the handling of the car and his performance particularly that of his replacement knee.

Simon Aldworth like Nick Bates was feeling his way into qualifying. It had been 14 years since he had last raced on the Grand Prix circuit saving car and driver for the races ahead.

Roger Donnan whilst not  having an issue admitted to selecting the wrong ratios and would be making some changes prior to the race.

Ash Law came in frustrated as he had not been able to get himself clear of traffic resulting in a 12th place qualifying position.

Clive Steeper spent most of his qualifying trying to set the car up when he had to pit on the opening lap when the battery box fell off.

Race 1

With MSVR getting ahead on the timetable those in the paddock attempting to get their cars ready to race following qualifying had a dash in the paddock to be ready. A red flag delay in the preceding Caterham race proved to be most welcome. With all 31 of the remaining runners being ready to take the start.

It was Josh Law who led the Duratec start into Paddock Hill bend whilst all eyes were looking further back to see if the problems had been resolved on Michael Gibbins car, they had. He passed three cars entering into Paddock Hill bend with his progress delayed at Druids as Giles Billingsley had spun to the inside of the corner broadside almost blind to oncoming traffic.

Both Nick Bates and Ash Law also made progress from the start. Nick gaining two places into Paddock Hill Bend, whilst Ash was better placed at Druids with many cars locking up as they encountered the stricken Giles, Ash was able to slip past on the exit of Druids away from the Yellow flags. Following him was Michael Gibbins who was really fired up following his problems in qualifying and the previous days testing.

Giles car did not immediately restart prompting the Safety car to take control for a lap which did help Giles get closer to the rear of the field. Before the arrival of the safety car, Michael had made excellent progress and as they crossed the line at the end of lap one, the order would be Josh Law leading from Derek Bell class leader Paul Trayhurn, Patrick Sherrington would be 3rd,James Barwell 4th, Colin Peach 5th Steve Ough 6th Ash Law 7th Micheal Gibbins 8th Peter Williams 9th and Roger Donnan 10th. Josh Needham had made a good start from 16th to be 11th.

The Historics start was very exciting to watch as they entered Paddock Hill bend almost three abreast, with Jon Harmer leading Will Schryver 2nd , Chris Snowdon in 3rd place, 4th would be Mike Fry, Mike Dodd 5th with Peter Needham rounding out the top 6. Simon Aldworth made a poor start too much wheelspin but he was soon into the wheeltracks of Clive Steeper who he passed briefly at Dinge Dell, quickly relinquishing the place when he realised Clive had spotted the Safety car lights before him.

At the restart a lap later most cars held station. Unfortunately Richard Cooke did go past Rollo Tomasi before the control line, this would incur a drive through penalty which Richard did not spot despite the best efforts of his team to signal to him. Resulting in his later disqualification a regrettable end to an otherwise good drive from the driver in the Carbir who had diced in the latter stages with Simon Aldworth

With a clear track ahead, Josh Law gradually extended his lead over Paul Trayhurn and Patrick Sherrington. James Barwell after his brilliant start was slipping down the order with Michael Gibbins moving into 4th place on lap 4 narrowing the gap to Patrick Sherrington to be 4 tenths of a second behind by lap 5. Colin Peach and Steve Ough resuming their initial grid placings of 5th and 6th respectively. Following his lap 1 spin Giles Billingsley was recovering well, to 19th on the 15th lap.

On lap 4 Will Schryver lost the lead of the Historic field with a spin. Jon Harmer gaining an advantage of almost 3 seconds back to Chris Snowdon  who was 1.5 seconds clear of Mike Fry in 3rd who had Rollo Tomasi separating him from Mike Dodd 4th in the Historics.

Lap 6 brought a huge spate of retirements. John Deane-Bowers pulling off with a lack of power, Mike Dodd, Mike Turner, James Barwell and Andrew Butler also retiring. Andrew retiring when the weld on his gear lever broke. Firstly costing him two places to John Owen and Grant Gibson as he persisted the change interval grew longer and he pulled off.

Around lap 7 the lap times started to increase as competitors were encountering oil on the track. Some drivers reporting back there were two lines which made it more difficult to judge. Simon Aldworth being one of the first to find the oil overtaking Mike Fry into Clearways he had to catch a massive slide to retain the position and ultimately pull away. Josh Law’s lap times increasing by 6 seconds much to the relief of Michael Gibbins who must have gone on an ice racing course as his lap times barely decreased on lap 7 he was 3 seconds quicker than Josh and 4 seconds quicker than his nearest rival. On lap 8 David Gorst came into the pits briefly returning a lap down.

Lap 8 also saw the retirement of Chris Snowdown with fluid coming from the car. From his 10th place starting position Peter Williams had moved up 7th he being another driver comfortable on the slippery track. Two seconds quicker than Colin Peach in 5th and Steve Ough in 6th. The change of gear ratios had been good for Roger Donnan bringing him to 9th place.

On lap 10 Michael Gibbins took over the lead of the race from Josh Law. Patrick Sherrington was now 10 seconds back in 3rd place whilst a further 4 seconds down was Paul Trayhurn in 4th place. Paul would later pull off with a suspected blown head gasket.

Giles Billingsley after his first lap spin by lap 10 had caught up with Nick Bates the returnees swapping places a lap later as Giles went in pursuit of Grant Gibson in 10th place. Giles taking the place on lap 12 only to lose it a lap later with another diversion at Druids dropping him behind both Grant and Nick.

Ash Law was encountering a number of handling difficulties derived not solely from the oil. He had problems with rear of the car starting to move around. He lost time and places as he made adjustments to the rear anti roll bar. He was able to fend off Giles Billingsley to retain 9th place, but there was a lot of work to resolve the problem prior to race 2.

Nick Bates had noticed a problem developing with his car and was trying to cruise to the finish whilst having a dice with Grant Gibson. On lap 14 approaching  Clearways Nick’s engine expired not the result anyone would have wished for, but he was surprisingly upbeat post event. Glad to be back in the paddock as a competitor rather than a bystander.

As the drivers became familiar with the slippery surface lap times improved and the lappery helped Josh Law to close the gap back to Michael Gibbins, Josh regaining the lead on the penultimate lap although Michael having lost 2.5 seconds did have one lost shot closing to just over a second behind at the end.

The last lap produced a dramatic close when David Gorst slowed as he encountered the slippery surface, Colin Peach came through in traffic and was caught out by slowing car and collided with him both cars continued to the finish but Colin looking at the damage thought his day was done.

The final result would be a win for Josh Law, Michael Gibbins second with Patrick Sherrington 3rd a pleasing result for the University team who had both cars finish with John Illey returning home in 12th place.

4th and winner of the Derek Bell Class would be Steve Ough, 5th and second in class would be Peter Williams. 6th despite the incident was Colin Peach with another class win whilst 7th his fellow Van Diemen racer Josh Needham. 8th would be Roger Donnan completing the Derek Bell class podium, 9th Ash Law with Giles Billingsley finally taking 10th place.

Jon Harmer came home first in the historics from William Schryver who finished 15th overall following his spin. 3rd in the Historics and class c second place was Simon Aldworth with Mike Fry 3rd in class C.

It had been a dramatic race with high attrition and with a second race to come for many the battle against the clock to repair cars would be a tough challenge.

Race 2

Of the cars that took part in race 1, Nick Bates, Chris Snowdon, John Deane-Bowers and Paul Trayhurn would be the 4 non-starters for this second race. It looked for awhile as if Colin Peach would not be starting. Andrew Brewster his mechanic made a brave attempt at refabricating the front nose section but it was Grant Gibson who came to the rescue supplying not only a spare nose but also a replacement front wheel for the one that was damaged in the accident.

With Josh Law sitting in pole position with Michael Gibbins alongside we were readily awaiting the renewal of the battle between the recent champions. The former front row runner Giles Billingsley was sitting back on the 5th row how well would be come through in this second 25 minute race?

The Ash Law team managed to resolve the problems with the car but it was a very late dash to the assembly area to be ready for the start.

The Historics again had the clash of Will Schryver versus Jon Harmer hopefully Will would have a better race to challenge Jon. Simon Aldworth after his poor qualifying in the morning had a podium finish in Race 1 could he repeat the same in Race 2 with both Mike Fry and Clive Steeper looking for an opportunity to improve?

At the start it was Josh Law who led from Michael Gibbins and Patrick Sherrington. Entering into Surtees Steve Ough’s car snapped at the back forcing into a wide understeer across the grass to make a solid impact with the tyre wall. As the field filed out onto the Grand Prix loop Patrick Sherrington felt there was something wrong with the car and he cautiously proceeded to complete the lap and enter into the pits.

Steve Ough fortunately was unhurt but the recovery of the damaged car proved to be difficult with 16 minutes of the 25 minute race  being held behind the safety car. During that period Patrick Sherrington did come out again but the problem with the rear wheel worsened and he retired.

At the restart it was Josh Law who led away from Michael Gibbins. The pair quickly building an advantage over 3rd place man, which initially was Peter Williams. But with a new nose the Van Diemen of Colin Peach quickly passed Peter for Colin to claim his 4th podium of the season.

Giles Billingsley became the highest grid mover in race 2 going from 10th place to 4th, shuffling Peter Williams back to 5th place on lap 8. Josh Needham who had such a good race earlier found himself being the one slipping down the train following Giles, both Ash Law, Roger Donnan and James Barwell slipped past the Van Diemen runner.

Ash Law caught up with Peter Williams following the wily fox to see where he could possibly overtake. On the last lap they did get very close but not close enough. Ash wishing there had been another lap to perhaps make the pass.

At the front it looked like a win for Josh Law until the last lap when Michael Gibbins put in a late pass entering Clearways catching Josh off guard to claim victory making it one all for the duelling pair from the weekend.

As reported Colin Peach completed the podium and taking the class win. Giles Billingsley and Peter Williams were first and second in the Derek Bell Class with Roger Donnan completing the top 3. Ash Law in 6th place finished 3rd in Class A, whilst Joshua Needham and Grant Gibson were second and third in class B behind the flying Colin Peach.

Despite collecting a 10 second penalty for being out of position at the start of the race Jon Harmer was winner of the Historic race and winner of his class with William Schryver second within the Historics. 3rd place and second in Class C was Simon Aldworth who had Mike Fry as his sparring partner

Jon Harmer also being the recipient of the Driver of the Day Award.

It is now a rest for the Championship which commences again at Oulton Park on August 17th. In the interim, there is the non-championship round to look forward to at Zandvoort.  The only current Grand Prix circuit the cars will get to race on this year. Packed with History and an interesting variety of current and past machinery on the weekend schedule. I hope to see many of you there.

Race Report by Alan Jones with especial thanks to all who contributed to this piece your personal insights are greatly appreciated.

Full results are available via the Results Page. Here

Race Images

Many thanks to Kevin Gibson of KJG Photograpy for these Images from the event. To view the full set or purchase copies visit

Driver of the day

Driver of the day – Jon Harmer

Race 1

Duratec Podium: 1st – Josh law, 2nd – Michael Gibbins, 3rd – Patrick Sherrington.
Historic Podium: 1st – Jon Harmer, 2nd – Will Schryver, 3rd – Simon Aldworth.

Race 2

Duratec Podium: 1st – Michael Gibbins, 2nd – Josh Law, 3rd – Colin Peach.
Historic Podium: 1st – Jon Harmer, 2nd – Will Schryver, 3rd – Simon Aldworth.