What a wonderful way to wake from a motorsport free winter, with one of our favourite UK Circuits, the formidable Brands Hatch. We had a relaxed start to the season fielding two cars in the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship.
Paul Tucker and Clive Powels made their return to the championship, after a winter of assisted car preparation and driver coaching the #22 and #18 drivers were ready to race.
The conditions, well they were wet even by March’s standard! This presented tricky mixed conditions for Qualifying with the wet/damp track constantly drying. With this in mind the team plucked for a full dry set up, knowing the final lap would be the only one to count. This plan was going, well quite honestly to plan, as both cars steadily rose up the order lap by lap as the track continued to dry out.
There were just three laps of Qualifying to go, as the drivers rounded Clear Ways, the final corner, both were forced to take evasive action following an incident ahead. Unfortunately this incident saw the both of their lap times tumble for the remaining three laps. With speed down on the approach to the start/finish line their slow first sector saw them crossing the chequered flag first. As any avid fan of Formula 1 will know, with a circuit as interchangeable as this March Brands Hatch, it is highly desirable to be the final car across the line in Qualifying. Whilst initially the plan had been working swimmingly (No pun intended), this final corner incident had seen this scuppered.
With the tribulations of Qualifying truly behind us it was time to Focus on race one. Clive had to fight hard in his first race, being deep in the A Pack with little wriggle room a minor collision saw him drop into the B Group for race two. Paul on the other hand lead off the start line comfortably, starting his first race of 2018 in P3, with a handsome lead developing over the race he progressively increased his ranking to achieve first place, a great opening stance for the first race.
Race two provided just as much action, whilst experiencing a troublesome start Clive didn’t let this effect him, and in his plucky race style he clawed himself into second place, with a fair gap between himself and the race leader. As the laps and minutes ticked on by Clive continued to chip the seconds away from the gap, with just five minutes of race time remaining Clive’s effort paid off, the gap was closed. Coming down to Clear Ways, it was a very different story to Qualifying, with a brilliant opportunistic move Clive took the lead, driving an excellent line keeping his speed and managing to defend his first place position to the finish line.
High on the success of the first two races, both drivers put in great performances for the final race, starting deep in the pack of such a competitive field they worked hard through every lap, both gaining places throughout the race.
As season starts go we couldn’t ask for much more! OK perhaps slightly better weather, but with super results for the first meeting of 2018, three races two team wins, we’re ready for what’s set to be a busy second round at Snetterton.