Britsports Race Reports – Brands Hatch, November 18
Williams Proves It’s Not All About Size
Race one saw
seven cars making up the Britsports grid at the final round of the
year at Brands Hatch, delivering a slight improvement over the previous
round held at Donington Park. However, the racing made up for the
lack of numbers.
A damp but drying
circuit made tyre choice particularly difficult in qualifying. As
Ian Ford, running a Radical SR8, put it: “Do I destroy a set
of wets or do my best on a set of slicks?” Howard Spooner,
who was the anticipated pole man, damaged the rear left of the three
litre class one Jade Trackstar in an incident at Paddock on slicks
and consequently only managed to qualify fifth on the grid, while
Ford, also on slicks, had a harmless spin exiting clearways. However,
Duncan Williams in the 1500cc Radical Prosport, running in class
three, was quickest, putting the car on pole position with a time
of 49.454 seconds, followed closely by the Radical SR3 of Barry
Gates and Anthony Dunn. Ford was third quickest, with William Curtis
in a class one Jade fourth. Spooner was fifth with Jean-Louis Rihon’s
Radical SR3, shared with Nigel Greensall, sixth. The Michael Richardson
/ Phil Bennetts ADR Sport qualified seventh, completing the grid.
The first race
of the day for the Britsports was scheduled for fifty minutes and
saw Duncan Williams (below) pull away as soon as the lights went
green. He immediately started punching in quick laps and putting
a gap between himself and Howard Spooner, who had a dream start
jumping from fifth to second during the course of lap one.
Spooner immediately pulled away from the rest of the field, leaving
Ian Ford (#37, below - about to be passed by Spooner) to lead the
rest of the pack in third place, whilst William Curtis and Nigel
Greensall were having a good scrap for fourth.
the front, Spooner was fast catching Williams and on lap nine passed
him for the lead, but not without having to work for it, after great
defensive driving by Williams in the less powerful class three car.
Barry Gates, who shared the front row with Williams, was struggling
to find pace and had consequently slipped to sixth overall. Lap
15 saw the ADR Sport of Michael Richardson come into the pits with
over-heating problems, which proved terminal.
Curtis in the Juno passed Ford for third place and set about catching
second place man Duncan Williams, and on lap 29 managed to get past,
again not without having to work hard for it. The same lap also
saw Nigel Greensall hand the class three Radical over to second
driver Jean-Louis Rihon in a strong fifth place.
At the front
Howard Spooner was now a healthy sixteen seconds ahead of Curtis
who brought the car in on lap 36, followed a lap later by leader
Both cars refuelled
and waited for the regulation ninety seconds before returning to
the circuit behind new leader Ian Ford, who pitted two laps later
and, like Spooner and Curtis (below), had to wait for the full ninety
All of this
had given Duncan Williams, who had pitted on lap 31, the lead of
the race in the tiny 1500cc Radical Prosport. The car had a much
smaller time restriction in the pits of only 30 seconds, a full
minute less than the bigger cars. This was set to make the final
fifteen minutes of the race a real cracker. Spooner was punching
in lap after lap of quick times in an effort to catch Williams for
the lead, and after a near collision at Clearways on lap 52, managed
to pass the Radical to pull away for a comfortable victory. Meanwhile,
Ford passed Jean-Louis Rihon for fourth with only two minutes of
the race remaining.
1 4 1 SPOONER/WAKEFIELD Jade Trackstar 50:35.871 64 44.635
2 55 3 Duncan WILLIAMS Radical Prosport 50:46.532 64 45.871
3 43 1 William CURTIS Juno 51:14.772 64 44.999
4 37 1 Ian FORD Radical SR8 50:45.271 62 45.838
5 38 3 RIHON/GREENSALL Radical SR3 50:51.996 62 46.499
6 39 3 GATES/DUNN Radical SR3 51:02.460 62 46.011
86 2 RICHARDSON/BENNETT ADR Sport 31:36.092 15 50.527
(below): “The car ran really well without any problems, but
I was virtually brakeless towards the end. I’m very happy
- it is just a pity there weren’t more cars out there today.”
drive of race one had to go to Duncan Williams who was on the absolute
limit for the entire race, making what could have been a procession
of seven cars circulating into a real crowd pleaser.
Race two saw
five cars come to the grid, with pole man Howard Spooner electing
not to race. In fact, race two was better than race one, with Williams
and Curtis passing each other two or three times a lap for the first
twenty minutes. It had everyone at Brands Hatch on their feet. The
tiny Prosport in the hands of Williams was a joy to watch, having
to brake later and carry every ounce of speed through the corners
to keep up or ahead of Curtis’s more powerful Juno. By lap
four there had already been five changes for the lead and this scrapping
allowed Ian Ford to start catching the leading pair, with Nigel
Greensall in the SR3 somehow managing to cling on to the back of
Ford’s class one SR8.
Lap 13 showed
Williams thinking and foresight, when both leaders came round to
lap Barry Gates at the end of the main straight. Williams cleverly
used the backmarker to stop Curtis from finding a way down the inside.
This was exactly the sort of craft that kept him ahead of Curtis
and, when behind him, in a position to again challenge for the lead.
Unfortunately on lap 18, Ian Ford came into the pits with gear selection
problems, effectively ending his afternoon, even though he came
back out, but eight laps behind the leaders. This in turn handed
third place over to Nigel Greensall.
Lap 32 saw Greensall
and Gates (above) come into the pits for their stops. Both cars
refuelled and changed drivers, with Rihon taking over from Greensall,
and Anthony Dunn for Gates. Dunn immediately started catching Rihon
and soon passed him for third. Back at the front, the race changed
when Curtis pitted and found himself having to wait for the ninety
second stop, effectively handing the win to Williams, who only had
to wait for thirty seconds. Curtis did, however, end the race only
ten seconds behind Williams, after a great drive to close the gap.
1 55 3 Duncan WILLIAMS Radical Prosport 50:15.468 63 90.20 45.703
2 43 1 William CURTIS Juno 50:22.412 63 6.944 89.99 45.272
3 39 3 DUNN/GATES Radical SR3 50:16.150 61 2 LAPS 87.32 46.480
4 38 3 GREENSALL/RIHON Radical SR3 51:04.090 61 2 LAPS 85.95 46.542
5 37 1 Ian FORD Radical SR8 50:53.921 56 7 LAPS 79.17 46.512.
Williams: “I had to concentrate really hard in that race because
William (Curtis) was driving really well and kept the pressure on.
It was great fun passing each other because it was done fairly.
I was conscious of the tyres because I overcooked them in the first
race, but fortunately managed to get it right for race two. The
team has worked so hard over the past two years developing the car
and I am confident that it is the best it has ever been.”
Now for sale, whoever manages to get hold of the car will be buying
a winner. Curtis, gracious in defeat said “I enjoyed the race,
it was really entertaining and all credit to Duncan (Williams) because
he drove the wheels of that car and deserved to win.”
racing in Estoril next weekend and is sure to be a front runner.
Credit should also be given to Barry Gates who finished third, in
only his third race, with team-mate Anthony Dunn. Ian Ford intends
to spend much of the winter and early next year gaining experience
by getting more time in the seat and bringing lap times down, with
the intent of mounting more of a challenge in his SR8.
With the season
over, reflections on it should be positive. All those who have been
racing in the Britsports championship have enjoyed themselves and
with big changes expected for next year it is likely that the grid
is regularly going to be full. If five sports cars can keep people
entertained then a whole grid should be awesome. Watch this space…….