The penultimate meeting of the 2021 Kumho BMWRDC Championship took to the National circuit at Silverstone which was playing host to the British round of MotoGP the following week. On reflection, this was really good planning because it meant that most of the infrastructure was available in the paddock. Loads of power hook-ups, water taps everywhere, so if we could only get other championship contenders to look at the Paddock plan in advance instead of just parking in the biggest clear area they can find on arrival it would be great!
The weekend got off to a bad start when Trevor Ford had his trailer suffer a compound fracture resulting in a lack of one car in the Paddock. One of the Mini boys had to cry off when his wife was savaged by a dog resulting in several hours on the operating table and resident BMWRDC celebrity chef Paul Brooker was missing, again due to being on the receiving end of a surgeon & his instruments. Best wishes from all at the BMWRDC and get well soon.
The timetable was for qualifying on Saturday afternoon & both races on Sunday, one before lunch &the second immediately after lunch with the weather forecast promising biblical proportions of rain on Saturday, getting brighter on Sunday. The rain came in varying amounts but qualifying was held on a damp but drying track with James Card claiming pole right at the end. 6/100’s behind was Michael Vitulli with Class A leader Brad Sheehan 3rd & Darren Morgan-Owen 4th, all in E46’s. Another Class A driver, Bryan Bransom in his orange E36 was 5th, followed by the Mini’s of Zac Blackwell & Dan Butcher-Lord. Jas Sapra made a welcome appearance, taking 8th place on the grid in another E46. Max Walton was 9th in his E36, ahead of a trio of Mini’s driven by Andy Langley, Neal Clarke & James Goodall. Having tried other championships, previous champion Russell Dack made his much-anticipated return to the Kumho BMW RDC fold and was fastest Class B driver ahead of class leader Kevin Denwood, with the Mini of Steve Kite splitting them. Newcomers Steve Webb & Jamie Going in a Mini & an E46 respectively were 16th & 17th with championship regular Peter Miller next up & newcomers Nick Stott & Alan Hersey completing the grid.
The weather did indeed improve on Sunday & slick tyres were the order of the day for those allowed to use them, albeit on a damp track. Michael Vitulli made a lightning-quick start to take the lead while James & Brad did their chances no good at all with a coming together at turn 1, leaving Brad stranded with a bent track control arm, but James managed to keep going and after a precautionary trip to the pits managed to come from last place to claim 12th overall at the chequered flag. Bryan Bransom finished a distant 2nd with Darren Morgan Owen some way back in 3rd after an initial close tussle. Fellow Class A drivers Jas Sapra & Max Walton were 4th & 5th with the Mini’s of Zac & Dan next to cross the line. Russell Dack took the Class B honours from Kevin in 8th & 9th & Steve Webb in his Mini completed the top ten. The stylish Mini Cooper Coupe of Nick Stott was forced to retire when fumes from a fuel leak
The BMWs took to the track for their second race immediately after lunch on a relatively dry track and both James Card & Brad Sheehan set about making amends for their Race 1 mishap. Bryan Bransom shot off into the lead after pole-sitter Michael Vitulli had a sudden loss of forwarding motion with Darren Morgan Owen taking 2nd place at the end of the first lap. James was already up into 3rd ahead of Jas Sapra and a hard-charging Brad Sheehan in the Capel Tree Surgeons backed car. By Lap 4 James was 2nd and chasing Bryan with Brad 3rd ahead of Darren & Jas. Russell was leading Class B and Dan Butcher Lord was the leading Mini. By half distance, Max Walton had retired from the top ten with a gearbox full of neutrals while a number of other drivers were suffering misfortunes. Kevin Denwood pipped Russell for Class B honors on the last lap of the 20-minute race in 5th & 6th, while Dan was next and took the Mini win from Steve Webb Jamie Going, finished 9th and James Goodall rounded out the top ten.
These results put Darren into the lead of Class A from Brad and James, while Kevin still leads both overall & Class B with Trevor Ford still 2nd in Class B from Peter Miller.
Final meeting is at Oulton Park in Cheshire in October when a closely fought championship will be decided.