29, Jan, 2021
ROB’S BLOG – OCTOBER 2020
MSVR Brands Hatch GP, 10 October
It is totally outside our control and it’s been a constant factor in the 2020 club racing season. No, I don’t mean that. I’m talking about the weather. Because this year it seems to be raining every time we race. That was certainly true of the two meetings we attended in mid-October.
It was a real treat for Boss Racing-supported drivers to race on the wonderful Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit but the results of the two all-comers’ races were influenced by the weather.
We were there to support Tim Davis and Colin Watson in their Caterham C400s, Jonny Pittard in his supercharged Caterham CSR and Keith Vaughn Williams in his TVR Tuscan. In addition, Ben Simonds was running a Boss-built 2.4 Duratec in his CSR.
The opposition was a pretty formidable mixture of quick saloons and agile sports racers, like Nick Jenvey’s rapid Gunn TS6. Nick, manufacturer of the throttle bodies we use in our engines, was in a class of its own all day. In qualifying he was the only runner to lap at over 100mph – 102.54 to be precise.
Ben was third on the grid with Jonny in his 2.5 supercharged CSR fourth, Tim fifth and Colin seventh. Further back, Keith was 30th, his car equipped with a rebuilt fuel system.
Rain had been forecast at some point during the day and at the start of the first race it was a ‘will it, won’t it’ scenario. The slicks and wings cars went with slicks whereas we had an easier choice with our Kumhos effectively being an intermediate. Jonny however had brought a set of slicks so popped a couple of brave pills and bolted them on. And then, once the decisions had been made and the cars headed off for the collecting area it rained. Not proper rain mind you but juuuuust enough to make the track greasy; so much so that Keith spun on the warm up lap.
From the start Ben, Tim and Colin made the most of the conditions while the front row pair of the Nick Jenvey Gunn and Barwell Radical SR3 struggled to switch their tyres on. With the playing field now somewhat levelled the Boss supported cars muscled their way to the front, Colin giving the Gunn a love tap on the way through and at the end of the second lap Ben, Colin and Tim were 1st, 2nd and 4th. Nick Jenvey eventually found enough pace to get back ahead ,managed to pull away leaving the Boss Racing trio to fight for second place as they still had the measure of the slick shod SR3. Jonny’s lack of downforce meant he also couldn’t bring his slicks up to temperature which blunted his performance and he slowly dropped away.
Chasing hard, Ben out-braked himself and spun out of the race at Paddock leaving Tim and Colin to dispute second place. On the last lap, however, Tim’s front drive pulley broke leaving him without electrical power Colin to take a good second place.
Jonny finished eighth, while Keith, who started at the tail of the field and quickly gobbled up some of her slower runners, pulled into the pits on lap 8 with his oil warning light glowing. Tim may have posted a DNF but he recorded fastest lap in his class.
The second allcomers’ race was the last on the day’s programme and it was nearly dusk when the field lined up for the start. Again we were at the mercy of the weather, waiting until the last moment to make a decision on tyres much to the displeasure of the officials who were pleading with us to go to the collecting area.
With all our drivers eyeing each other, trying to cover their team mates moves and not wanting to take a risk that would have left them struggling they all chose medium Kumhos rather than the softs. Would the softs have survived? In hindsight quite possibly but when your team mate is your biggest rival the safest option is to go with the same as them. Yes, it is that serious, even in an allcomers race.
What all these machinations did though was to hand the advantage to the cars on race tyres. Colin slipped down the field as cars on wets now came into their own, while at the back, Tim and Ben made rapid progress in the opposite direction. Tim gained 11 places on the opening lap. Jonny however, now on the same tyres as his team mates caught and passed Colin with doing the same a few laps later. Jonny and Ben’s scrap for the ‘Caterham’ lead ended a couple of laps later at Surtees with Jonny having to take to the grass to avoid Ben’s very sideways CSR. Colin again seemed to have the Boss Racing honours in his grasp again but it was not to be.
Keith crowned a dismal day by crashing on the slippery track, damaging his car too badly to continue and on the ninth lap Colin went off at Clearways and his car became bogged down in the gravel. The race was red flagged leaving Ben, Tim and Jonny in eighth, ninth and tenth places. Ben put up the fastest lap in his class.
To watch the full highlights follow these links,
Yet another meeting of weather chaos. Would the next round at Castle Combe be any different