Rounds 5 and 6 of the 2022 Kumho BMWRDC Championship took place at Snetterton, East Anglia’s home of motorsport, at the weekend. Qualifying took place in blazing sunshine on Saturday, with a number of current and past drivers competing in other races to bolster their track time. Lucky Khera, who started his racing in the BMWRDC Championship before moving onto more exotic machinery, cruised to victory in the 3-hour Endurance race on Saturday afternoon but looked exhausted after his two driving stints, whilst Bryan Bransom, Jas Sapra and Ronan Bradley took part in the Snetterton Saloon Car race with mixed fortunes. Bryan suffered mechanical failure after taking pole position and fighting over the lead with Jas Sapra, who ultimately took the win. Ronan put in a good performance and finished 11th overall whilst getting used to a circuit he seldom visits.
James Card took another pole for the first of the Kumho races with his final lap displacing Russell Dack from 1st. Jason West and Bryan Bransom occupied the 2nd row, with Brad Sheehan 5th alongside Ronan Bradley in the first of the Class B cars. Kevin Denwood and fellow Class C protagonist Jas Sapra were on Row 4, while the Mini’s of Zac Blackwell, Neal Clarke, Rob Austin and Charles Heatley filled the next two rows. Next up was long time Kumho regular Nigel Williams in his E36 and the Mini of Andy Godfrey, followed by Andy Langley in a hired Mini whilst his is still being repaired after damage suffered at Brands Hatch. Carare and Ford completed the drivers having posted times, with Dan Butcher Lord, Chris Walton and Niall Bradley due to start from the back after being unable to take part in qualifying.
The weather was cooler and rain threatened on Sunday, but the race soon brightened up proceedings. Anyone just looking at the lap chart would think the race was fairly settled with James Card leading from start to finish, and after a tight first lap which did see James lead over the line, the battle for the remaining podium places continued apace. Initially, Russell, Brad, Jason and Ronan were mixing it with several position changes throughout the race, but Niall was carving his way through the field in his Invitation Class car; after starting from the back and by half distance had taken 5th place from his cousin Ronan the Class B leader.
Meantime the Mini’s had congregated and were having a real wheel to wheel battle with what seemed like everyone taking a go at the front. Kevin Denwood missed a gear and was rammed by Jas Sapra, who was too close to avoid him, and the resultant loss of cooling fluid from the radiator of Jas’s Car 40 caused a loss of adhesion on a lot of the corners. Jas had to retire through overheating while Charles Heatley lost the lead in the Mini battle, and Russell Dack had a huge moment grass tracking for a good 200 yards before regaining the track. Jason took advantage to seal 2nd place from Russell and Brad, with Niall 5th and Ronan taking Class B in 6th. Kevin won Class C in 7th, and Dan Butcher Lord took the Mini honours from Neal Clarke and Charles, who completed the top ten. Bryan failed to make the grid after breaking his suspension in his earlier track exploits, while poor Chris Walton was having electronic nightmares causing a virtual on/off throttle and did not take to the grid.
After a great BBQ on Saturday evening, the BMWRDC provided a hot and cold buffet for Sunday lunch and then it was back to the racing action. With the cars starting in race 1 finishing order, Niall, in his Invitation Class entry, looked like a good bet for the podium, and so it proved. Jason West got the jump on James from the lights and took a lead he was to hold until half distance when Niall displaced him. James Card finished a close 3rd, while Bryan Bransom had repaired his car and stormed through the pack to take 4th place. Russell Dack was 5th and Brad 6th, hoping his rebuilt race engine will be fitted in time for the next meeting at Silverstone in early June. Ronan and Kevin won Class B and C, respectively, with 7th and 8th overall, with the Mini’s of Neal Clark and Rob Austin completing the top ten. Special mention must go to Neal, who took his first win in the championship and is now taking a break from racing for the foreseeable future as his wife (who was present to see his win) is due to give birth in about two weeks’ time. Congratulations all round, and we hope to see you out again soon?
The next round is a return to Silverstone on the weekend of the Queen’s Jubilee so see you there.