Donington Park was the venue for Rounds 1 & 2 of the 2021 Kumho BMWRDC Championship on May Bank Holiday Monday & it was well worth waiting for. The weather was glorious, the crowds were out in quantity & so were the drivers.
2021 sees the introduction of a new class in the championship, for the BMW Mini & 3 drivers, Andy Langley, Neal Clarke & Gary Papworth all travelled over from East Anglia to join in the fun. Previous champion, James Card, took pole from Brad Sheehan’s “Days of Thunder” lookalike, with two likely championship contenders Michael Pensavalle & Jason West occupied the 2nd row. Long time Kumho driver, Ian Crisp, was 5th with Michael Vitalli alongside him. Bryan Bransom was 7th in his unmistakable orange E36 with Paul Wood for company. Darren Morgan qualified 9th, and young Max Walton was 10th, all these being the faster Class A cars.
Another previous champion, Russell Dack, was 11th, 12th Jas Sapra with Kevin Denwood the first Class C car in 13th & Andy Langley in the first of the BMW Mini’s. Club president Trevor Ford was next alongside Neal Clarke in another Mini. Rob Alman & James Ford occupied the 9th row of the grid, while Peter Miller, Nigel Williams & Gary Papworth completed the grid.
Qualifying was brought to a halt when Russell Dack had a mechanical breakage & had an expensive accident as a result, thankfully emerging unhurt. The race start saw James Card left at the start as electrical gremlins killed his motor & as Brad Sheehan charged into the lead, James car was returned to the paddock. A good race saw Jason West chase Brad over the line with Paul Wood, a fine 3rd with fellow Class A drivers Mike Vitulli, Darren Morgan & Ian Crisp making up the top 6. Kevin Denwood took 7th & was a Class C winner, while Andy Langley was first Mini across the line in 8th place, heading Nigel Clarke by less than 2/10th of a second. Rob Alman, Trevor Ford, Peter Miller & Gary Papworth completed the finishers while a number of “racing incidents” increased the list of non-finishers.
Race 2 saw James Card & Mike Pensavalle start from near the back of the grid due to their race 1 problems, while Brad Sheehan again led into Redgate on lap 1, but with Michael Vitalli giving chase and followed by Paul Wood, Ian Crisp & Darren Morgan. Mike Pensavalle was carving his way through the field and, by Lap 3, was up into 2nd place. By Lap 10, James Card was into 3rd & on the next lap, Pensavalle displaced Brad Sheehan for the lead. Cards challenge faded as his gearbox started to destroy itself, but these were the three to make the podium. Ian Crisp finished 4th with Paul Wood 5th & Jas Sapra winning Class B in 6th. Darren Morgan took 7th ahead of Bryan Bransom in his hastily repaired car, and Kevin Denwood won Class C in 9th, with Andy Langley rounding out the top ten with his class winning Mini.
“No peace for the wicked”, as they say with the Kumho BMWRDC Championship in action again this Saturday, the venue Brands Hatch, see you there.