Fifth Round Post-Race Report - Day 1, Brands Hatch
Updated: Jul 29, 2019
An Action-Packed Race One at Brands Hatch in Tricky Conditions
The first National FF1600 race of the weekend was action-packed with plenty of overtaking, a few spins and very tricky conditions after several downpours of rain at the Kent circuit.
Rory Smith had put his Medina JL18 on pole position ahead of championship rivals, Neil MacLennan, Spike Kohlbecker and Pro-Championship leader Ross Martin.
However, it was Kevin Mills Racing’s Neil MacLennan who made the best start, whilst Smith looked to have been swamped by the Cliff Dempsey trio of Spike Kohlbecker, James Clarke and Jonathan Browne. But when all the three all ran wide it allowed Smith back through.
This set the tone for the whole race with close battles, great overtaking moves, retakes and a few mistakes which meant the race could have been won by a number of different drivers.
At the end of the 15 minutes it was Spike Kohlbecker who took the chequered flag and his second victory of the 2019 season.
Neil MacLennan finished in second, having once again been in the thick of the action including one battle with Jonathan Browne who dropped back down the field and would eventually finish in sixth place. The Stewards looked at the incident, but the result stood.
Third was Oldfield Racing’s Aaron Jeansonne, who was thrilled to score his first FF1600 podium. The young American racer fought hard through the race, pulling off a number of great overtakes having started eighth on the grid.
James Clarke finished in fourth place with he and Cliff Dempsey teammate, Jonathan Browne, being split by Rory Smith who will be disappointed to have just missed out on another podium. However, the B-M Racer is still scoring good points, after a number of technical issues in the first half of the season, which is keeping him in the championship hunt.
Ross Martin came to Brands Hatch on a high after scoring maximum points last time out. Unfortunately, the first race of the weekend did not go well. The Scottish driver started in fourth on the grid but lost a couple of places on the opening lap, before a spin dropped him down the field. Martin kept going but finished in tenth, which will have given his championship rivals a boost. However, expect the Bernard Dolan driver to be back and fighting hard in races two and three.
In the Club Championship returnee Max Marzorati took the win. Henry Chart was second, 13th overall, but he did set the fastest Club Championship lap. Adam Quartermaine failed to finish after a couple of spins and will be hoping for a better second day.
The other driver to retire was Jamie Sharpe who definitely had the pace, having set the fastest lap, but went off as he made his way through backmarkers.
The rookie class winner was Irish racer, Morgan Quinn who finished seventh overall and extended his lead over fellow rookies, Scott Huntley, who has switched teams to Kevin Mills Racing, and Nicole Woods.
Jamie Thorburn finished in ninth after withstanding pressure from Martin. Michael MacPherson finished in 11th with local experienced Formula Ford racer, Jason Down, in 12th on his season debut.
Race Classification: Kohlbecker (NP), MacLennan (NP), Jeansonne (NP), Clarke (NP), Smith (NP), Browne (NP), Quinn (NP), Marzorati (C), Thorburn (NP), Martin (NP), MacPherson (NP), Down (Club, Guest driver), Chart (C), Huntley (NP), Woods (NP) R
Fastest Lap: Sharp (NP), Chart (C),
DNF: Sharp (NP), Quartermaine (C)
NP =National Pro, C = Clubman’s Class, R = Rookie