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Round 2 Race Report – Brands GP 21-22 May 2022

25 Porsches gathered over the weekend of 21/22 May for the CALM All Porsche Trophy’s (CAP) annual visit to the magnificent and challenging Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.

The CAP racers were sharing the track with Bernie’s V8s and Historic Outlaws series. Two races were scheduled: a 20 minute sprint on Saturday with a 30 minute follow up on Sunday, both races for solo drivers, rather than the usual CAP format of 40 minute pit stop events.

As ever, CAP welcomed a host of newcomers including Boxsters for Neal Blakes in his “Momo” tribute liveried car, the experienced Matt Harris in his black example, Jonathon Leeson making his competitive debut in an SW Motorsport car, and father and son combination Metin and Gabriel Yilmaz in the SPDA spec car previously driven by Leigh Bowden. The experienced Ivor Mairs made the long journey from Northern Ireland to drive series organiser Philip Waters’ LHD 924, and a beautifully prepared Cayman appeared, pedalled by novices Paul Hicks and Trevor Bale.

Qualifying was a hectic 20 minutes as 44 cars circulated, many learning the track for the first time and a high proportion also doing driver changes. An early Safety Car meant that the quicker times were set in the final few minutes, and the front of the grid was dominated by Bernie’s runners.

Quickest Porsche was James Harvey, his SPDA Boxster just ahead of the SP2 cars of Garry Goodwin and Neal Blakes, closely followed by the rapid Ryan Mone 944S2 (SP3). At the other end of the grid newcomers Hicks and Bale made an impressive debut, managing to outqualify a couple of V8s in their fully road-legal Cayman.

“Spirit of Tamworth” community award winner Andy Pritchard’s newly-wrapped car was a casualty in qualifying

There were 3 mechanical casualties of qualifying: Both of the McHugh family 944s experienced problems, Jamie’s Turbo misfiring as was Tom’s NA car, which was also suffering from an ominous top end rattle. Andy Pritchard’s 924 came to a spectacular halt, with clouds of steam from every orifice and a comprehensively blown engine. Andy took no further part in the weekend, but was able to return home and collect his well deserved “Spirit of Tamworth” community award.

The start of Race One was marked by a Jaguar’s first lap excursion into the Paddock Hill gravel, causing an immediate Safety Car.

At the restart, Garry Goodwin leapt into the Porsche lead, followed by Ryan Mone’s 944. The pair were tied together until a few laps from the end, when a pair of V8s finally caught them after a race long chase and split the pair. Garry took an impressive Porsche win and 9th overall a few seconds ahead of Ryan, both winning their classes. Slightly further back Sam Callahan initially joined the Porsche battle, but dropped a few seconds as various V8s and lapped cars intervened, but finished a strong second in SP2. Sam was chased closely by a battling gaggle of Boxsters including Neal Blakes, James Harvey, Rob Hardy and Mark Horton making for a great spectacle. This group were split up after Neal spun and the unfortunate Rob Hardy ended up in a barrier trying to avoid him. Mark Horton also dropped back after a spectacular spin and recovery at Paddock that earned a round of applause from the spectator bank!

With Ryan Mone taking a comfortable SP3 class win, the remaining podium places were taken by the 968 duo of Dan Crego and Ed Sampson who finished a tenth of a second apart after a race long battle.

Chris Valentine getting ready for Race 1

The SP4 pace was set by Brands 924 specialist David Jones more than 20 seconds ahead of Karl Rossin’s similar car, and giving some much quicker cars a hard time around this very technical circuit. The podium was completed by Ivor Mairs after Chris Valentine’s 924 was spun around by an charging V8 at Clearways while comfortably ahead, retiring later in the race after a visit to the Surtees gravel trap.

The SPDA class was won by James Harvey, an impressive 4th Porsche home and over a lap ahead of debutant Metin Yilmaz who was 10th Porsche home – an excellent result.

SP1 was taken Trevor Bale’s Cayman, another debutant who thoroughly enjoyed his first ever race.

Sunday’s 30 minute race was proceeded by a well supported grid walk, followed by Bernie’s interpretation of a traditional Le Mans start, with all cars lined up in echelon against the pit wall, and drivers running to their cars as Bernie waved the Union Flag.

The grid was based on race 1 finishing order with the first 12 positions reversed, the upshot of this being a Porsche lock out of the first 3 positions with a slightly apprehensive Sam Callahan on pole from Ryan Mone and Garry Goodwin, and a bunch of potentially quicker V8s lined up just behind.

Several cars that didn’t complete race 1 joined the Sunday grid, most notably Jamie McHugh in his magnificent 944 Turbo who had sorted his car’s electrics overnight and promised a charge from the back of the grid. Andy Baker had retired from race 1 after his Boxster covered most of the Indy circuit in a huge plume of oil smoke. He managed to fix the issue, but retired at the start of this race with terminal engine damage.

Sam started from pole in Race 2 thanks to a last-minute reverse grid

Sam Callahan and Ryan Mone led the field away on the rolling start, maintaining the lead for a lap until the first of the V8s sped past on the pit straight. Shortly afterwards, contact with a TVR attempting an extremely ambitious overtake resulted in Sam taking to the grass and Ryan suffering a major delay as the pair lost several places. Meanwhile Colin Tester was making great progress in his Boxster climbing from an 11th row start to an amazing P5 by lap 2. He spent the rest of the race embroiled in a great scrap with a group of V8s, offsetting their greater power and lower weight with a brilliant display of driving that won him both the SP2 class and the Driver of the Day award.

The recovering Ryan Mone experienced a quick spin at Paddock on lap 3, but managed to stay ahead of his nearest SP3 challenger Dan Crego and cruised to the class win, providing great entertainment along the way as he battled the closely matched Goodwin, Horton, Blakes and Harvey group of Boxsters and almost catching Sam Callahan in the SP2 class second place car by the end of the race. There was a brief Safety Car after Neal Blakes stopped on the circuit, and then the group was joined by Jamie McHugh who brought the 944Turbo through the field. They completed the race less than four seconds apart in the order Goodwin (SP2 3rd), Harvey (SPDA winner), McHugh (SP1 winner) and Horton, who was penalised 5 seconds for track limits offences having finished at the head of the group on the road.

Dan Crego was second in SP3 behind Ryan Mone, well ahead of the #30 Sampson family 968, this time driven by Clayton. SP4 featured the battle of the Instructors, with Jon Harmer spending the whole race locked in a fierce contest with David Hornsey, and finishing just two tenths apart with Jon taking the win. David was consoled with a new lap record in P2. Ivor Mairs completed the SP4 podium after Karl Rossin retired from third close to the end with suspected clutch failure.

Text: John Broadley, photos: Sean Mulcahy.

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