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BRANDS HATCH – September 26th./27th. 2015
Adam Paterson’s hopes of retaining the Classic Clubmans B Sport championship faded with his brakes on Friday morning. Any hopes of taking the championship to the wire against his main rival, Clive Wood, went when his front brakes failed going into Clearways during testing on Friday morning, resulting in a severely damaged Mallock.
The A Sport championship had already been sealed, but Mark Charteris rubber stamped it with a further two victories, taking his season tally to eight.
21 cars were originally entered, thus providing the best entry of the season. Sadly, Martin Halliday had to withdraw after hurting his wrist tightening up the rear axle nuts on his Mallock!
The 20 remaining cars consisted of 9 A Sports and 11 B Sports. In Class A, it was a very welcome return for Mike Lane, having his first run since his huge accident at Thruxton at the start of the year. It was also great to see Ray Mallock once again, finding time in his busy schedule at RML and also Keith Whyman, having his second outing of the year.
A good grid of B Sports included Tom Dunstan in the Doris for the first time. This was Toms first appearance in Classic Clubmans since his debut as a young sixteen year old in the F1300 Drat nearly ten years ago!
Also a warm welcome to Andy Hammond, Steve Littler’s mechanic, Andy driving the car for the first time as Steve is laid up following serious surgery
Special praise must go to Gavin Childs for making the blue Centaur available for Adam Paterson to drive after Adams testing accident. The pair of them arrived back at the circuit at 1:00 am Saturday morning, having driven all the way to Kettering and back to collect the car. That’s real Clubmans spirit!
For the whole weekend, we were promised beautiful weather and so it was when all twenty cars took to the track at midday on Saturday. Very quickly into the swing was Mark Charteris, the only person in the 46 second bracket. In the 47’s were both John Harrison and Ray Mallock, John pipping Ray by less than a tenth to take the other front row slot.
Joining Ray on row two was our Californian import Rob Manson, the only person in the 48’s. Row three consisted of Mark Hales in the Childs Centaur and Mike Lane, the only two other people under 50 seconds.
Alan Cook and Keith Whyman occupied row four and on the inside of row five, was the B Sport pole man, Clive Wood, with a very respectable time, close to the lap record. He was joined on the row by the final A Sport runner, Peter Carter in the Phantom.
Row six saw Phil Hart, going very well and Tom Dunstan, whilst on row seven we had Adam Wheeler, having his first outing at Brands and Alan Davenport.
On row eight were Aston Martin marketing guru, John Muirhead and Mike Sales in the Phantom and row nine saw Andy Hammond and Dave Facer. Dave had throttle and carburettor problems. The final row saw Trish Hunter and Adam Paterson, trying to get to grips with the Centaur with very poor brakes.
Last race of the day and the sun was very low in the sky. I’m sure the experienced drivers had visor strips. Otherwise it was going to be very tricky, especially along Cooper Straight.
Coming up to the line Alan Cook did a practise start and promptly broke a half shaft! Luckily he pulled off the circuit and got out of the way.
The lights went out and it was Mark Charteris, straight into the lead from pole, followed by John Harrison and Ray Mallock. Mark Hales also broke a half shaft leaving the line. Luckily all the B Sports behind had their wits about them and everybody missed him.
The train moved cleanly through Paddock and Druids, but then Dave Facer spoilt it all by half spinning at Bottom bend. Once again, the remaining cars missed him and he restarted dead last.
At the end of the first lap it was Mark, John and Ray, then a gap to Rob Manson, Keith Whyman and Peter Carter. Clive Wood headed the B Sport field, comfortably clear of Tom Dunstan and Adam Wheeler, up to third. Then came Phil Hart, Mike Sales and John Muirhead, followed by Andy Hammond, Adam Wheeler, Trish Hunter and Alan Davenport with Dave Facer bringing up the rear.
The first retirement came on lap four, Alan Davenport coasted to a stop on Cooper Straight, having inadvertently turned off his ignition! Then John Harrison made contact with Trish Hunter whilst lapping her, causing both to retire to the pits.
The six remaining A Sports continued in the same order, but the B Sport battle was hotting up considerably. Tom Dunstan was hanging on to Clive, but unable to trouble him. Behind them, Adam Wheeler was just keeping his nose in front of Mike Sales with both Phil Hart and Andy Hammond in very close attendance. Adam Paterson and Dave Facer were rapidly pulling this duelling quartet in.
Rob Manson had a moment, allowing Keith Whyman past and by lap ten, Adam Paterson and Dave Facer were amongst the quartet fighting for third in class B. Two laps later, Dave had found a way past both Adams and was up to third. Adam Paterson was past Adam Wheeler and up to fourth.
On lap fourteen, Keith Whyman went off at Clearways bringing out the safety car. For some reason the safety car picked up Dave Facer on Cooper straight. The safety car waved Dave and the following B Sport bunch through, so he could pick up the leader,Mark Charteris, but then lapped at a significant speed, preventing the rest of the B Sport field from catching up the two front runners, who were in the tail behind the safety car.
Keith had extracted himself from the gravel, the safety car went in and the lights went green on lap sixteen, whilst the field was lapping in two separate groups!
Mark got the jump again and quickly pulled a gap to Ray, these two well clear of Rob, Mike and Peter Carter, who had not yet caught up during the safety car period. Clive had also pulled clear of Tom, these two circulating on their own at the head of the B Sport field. Dave had established himself in third and Adam Paterson in fourth, but behind them, things were far from settled. The earlier battle was still going on between Adam Wheeler, Mike, John, Phil and Andy and on lap 19 Phil Hart went straight on at Druids, into the gravel trap and retirement. Two laps later, John found a way past Mike and that was how it stayed until the end.
At the flag it was Mark Charteris, 4 seconds clear of Ray Mallock in second. Rob Manson was third, the only other person on the same lap as the winner. Mike Lane took fourth ahead of Peter Carter.
In B Sport, Clive Wood was the comfortable winner, with Tom Dunstan in second. Dave Facer took the other podium spot with Adam Paterson in fourth. Adam Wheeler was fifth, John Muirhead, sixth, Mike Sales, seventh and Andy Hammond, eighth.
The respective class winners, Mark and Clive also took the fastest laps.
The start of race 2 promised to be exciting (with the threat of disaster!) with four quick A Sport cars starting at the back of the grid. However, all went well and there were no disasters as the field negotiated Paddock for the first time. Once again, Mark Charteris took advantage of pole and held the lead from Ray Mallock as the pack entered Druids. Mike Lane got the jump on Rob Manson and moved into third, with Peter Carter in fifth. Already, John Harrison was moving swiftly through the B Sport field, closely followed by Mark Hales and Keith Whyman with Alan Cook a little further back.
At the end of lap one, it was Mark from Ray, with Mike third, Rob fourth and Peter fifth. Clive lead Tom over the line to head B Sport, just clear of the A Sport cars coming through from the back. Adam P held third and Adam W drafted past Dave to take fourth. Alan Cook then headed the rest of the B Sport pack with Mike Sales just ahead of John Muirhead, Andy Hammond, Trish Hunter and Alan Davenport.
By the end of lap two, Rob had found his way back past Mike Lane to hold third, but both John and Mark Hales were already clear of the B Sport field and closing. On lap four Dave took Adam Paterson and started in pursuit of Adam Wheeler and Tom Dunstan. Clive had established a comfortable class lead.
At lap six, Mark Charteris had established a comfortable lead over Ray in second. John however was past Mike in fourth and closing on Rob. In class B, Clive was clear, but Tom was now under pressure from Adam Wheeler and a lap later, Adam drafted past Tom on the main straight to take second. Another epic battle was developing down the order, with Mike Sales at the front of a very tightly knit bunch of B’s containing John Muirhead, Andy Hammond and Alan Davenport.
At lap eleven, all of the A Sports were clear of the B Sport field and all on the lead lap. Mark Charteris held a comfortable lead over Ray, with John now up to third ahead of Rob. Mike was fifth, Mark Hales sixth,Peter seventh, Keith Whyman eighth and Alan Cook ninth.
In Class B, Clive was clear of Adam Wheeler, with Tom in third and Dave fourth. Adam Paterson was fifth, but starting to come under pressure from the battling quartet of Mike Sales, John, Alan and Andy, with Trish a little further back.
A lap later Mark Hales squeezed past Mike and then Tom and Dave spent half a lap side by side before Dave slid past Tom at Surtees to move into third. Further back, John got the jump on Mike Sales to climb up to sixth.
On lap nineteen Mike Lane overcooked it going into Paddock and buried himself in the kitty litter, fortunately without hitting the barrier. Then Keith Whyman posted his second retirement of the weekend.
No matter how hard he tried, John could make no further progress, the gaps between Mark and Ray and Ray and John remaining virtually static. Rob was doing a great job of matching the leaders for pace as well. The B Sport battle was still very much alive/. Clive had a cushion, but Dave was now the fastest car in the field and catching Adam Wheeler. Finally on lap twenty two, Dave outbraked Adam into Druids and used his experience to keep him at bay. Meanwhile Alan, having also got past Mike Sales, then slid past John to grab fifth at the last knockings.
At the flag it was Mark from Ray, John and Rob. Next up was Mark Hales, the only other runner to complete the full distance. Peter Carter was sixth and Alan Cook seventh.
Clive took the B Sport honours and in doing so, wrapped up the championship. Dave was second just four seconds behind and Adam Wheeler was third, securing his third podium in his first season. Tom Dunstan was fourth, these four well clear of the rest.
Alan Davenport took fifth, his best result for some while. John Muirhead was sixth, ahead of Adam Paterson who was having a race he would like to forget in a hurry. Mike Sales was eighth, clear of Andy Hammond and Trish Hunter.
Mark Charteris once again took fastest lap in A Sport, but it was Dave Facer who took the honour in B Sport.

Driver of the meeting was awarded to Tom Dunstan for his sterling performances in both races on his return to Classic Clubmans. Andy Harrison was awarded mechanic of the meeting, not only for his efforts in returning John Harrison to the grid after his race pone collision, but also in trying to solve a number of problems with the Centaur being driven by Adam Paterson. Mike Lane received a special bottle of red wine for making it out again this season after his Thruxton disaster.
As this was the season finale, a number of end of season trophies were presented at the presentation ceremony after the race:

Harvey Postlethwaite trophy for the A Sport Champion Recipient: Mark Charteris
….. Trophy for the B Sport Champion Recipient: Clive Wood
Catchpole Trophy for the overall highest points scorer Recipient: Mark Charteris
Arthur Mallock Trophy for somebody who truly epitomises the spirit of Classic Clubmans
Recipient: Trish Hunter
Vegantune Trophy for a non-driver whose sterling efforts have provided great support for the formula throughout the year Recipient: Kerry Harnett
Midnight Oil Trophy for the individual perceived to have worked especially hard throughout the year to get cars onto the grid Recipient: Dave Facer
Founders Trophy (presented by Gavin Childs on behalf of David Childs) for somebody whose wholehearted commitment to the formula has helped it retain its place as an HSCC championship
Recipient: Mike Sales
Huge thanks also, to Sheila, Katie, Charlotte and Kerry for superb hospitality catering throughout the year. There is absolutely no doubt, that as well as providing fine food and drink, the hospitality facility provides a great meeting point and central focus for the formula. A point not lost on the HSCC!

Congratulations to those drivers who have delivered throughout the year to earn a place in the top three of their class and thus have the honour to be presented with their awards at the HSCC annual awards ceremony at Whittlebury Hall.
Whilst Mark Charteris and John Harrison in A Sport and Clive Wood and Adam Paterson in B Sport have received most of the plaudits, a special mention for Alan Cook in A Sport and John Muirhead in B Sport, whose commitment and performance throughout the year has earned them third place in their respective classes.
After a season of really mixed weather, it was great to go out on such a fabulous weekend. Have a great winter and we hope to see you all (and more!) in 2016.

Lots of Love
Sue Facer
The Demonic Perm

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