Silverstone was the venue for Rounds 1 and 2 of the 2022 Kumho BMWRDC Championship at the end of March. Testing on Friday and qualifying on Saturday were conducted in glorious sunshine.
2022 sees the introduction of two new classes to the championship as the BMW Mini, and a number of drivers were present ready to mix it with the more familiar rear-wheel-drive models.
The previous champion James Card took pole from Jason West, both having suffered from mechanical gremlins during Friday’s testing. Russell Dack has moved up to Class A for this season and was alongside Bryan Bransom in a virtually identically coloured orange M3. Brad Sheehan’s “Days of Thunder” lookalike was only 5th after having to fit a standard motor following pre-season issues! Michael Vitalli was alongside him, and the 4th row was occupied by Ian Crisp and reigning champion Kevin Denwood. Competing the top ten were Jas Sapra and Ronan Bradley, while Chris Walton was 11th alongside the first of the Mini’s driven by Zac Blackwell. Club President Trevor Ford was 13th with another Mini driven by Dan Butcher Lord as 14th, followed by a gaggle of Mini’s belonging to Lee Sullivan, Andy Langley, Rob Austen, James Goodall and Charles Heatley. James Ford rounded out the top twenty, and the grid was completed by Mike Pensavalle, who is having a quiet year in his classic 1800 318 whilst building a new car for 2023, Ionut Carare, Nigel Williams and Peter Miller.
The race start saw James Card make a surprisingly swift start, although a software issue with the throttle control saw him having intermittent power loss throughout the first 3 laps. After that righted itself, he maintained his lead over Brad Sheehan, putting in a powerful performance in his well-sorted but underpowered E46. Brad dropped back after a coming together while lapping a slower car but managed to grab the final podium position behind Michael Vitulli. Russell Dack was 4th, ahead of Jason West and Bryan Bransom, who received a penalty for an incident during the race. Ian Crisp was 7th ahead of the leading Class C protagonists Kevin Denwood and Jas Sapra. Ronan won Class B in 10th, and Zac was the leading Mini, followed by Dan, Andy, James and Charles. Michael Pensavalle took 16th with Ionut and James Ford as the last finishers. A mixture of mechanical issues and on-track contact made for a larger number than usual of non-finishers, but no serious damage was inflicted.
The second BMW race again saw James take the flag with Brad 2nd, ahead of a hard-charging Bryan Bransom and Jason West. Russell Dack was 5th, with Michael Vitulli 6th and Ian Crisp 7th. Ronan won Class B with 8th overall and Kevin Denwood Class C in 9th, ahead of his main challenger Jas Sapra. Zac Blackwell was again the fastest of the Mini’s, ahead of Dan, Rob Austen and Andy Langley. James Ford won Class D from Michael Pensavalle in 16th, and 17th, respectively and Ionut was the final finisher.
The Kumho BMWRDC Championship will be in action again in three weeks’ time, the venue Brands Hatch – see you there.