It was a return visit to Snetterton’s 300 circuit for Rounds 9 and 10 of the 2022 Kumho BMWRDC Championship at the weekend. The weather was even hotter than on our previous visit, with cloudless blue skies most of the weekend.

The timetable showed qualifying for Saturday afternoon with both races on Sunday within a 3-hour period to allow time for the afternoon Caterham relay race. This allowed local driver Bryan Bransom in his Simon Green Motorsport E46 to compete in the Snetterton Saloon Car race on Saturday. He was joined by a number of current or past BMWRDC competitors, including Stephen Pearson, Karl Catliff, Jas Sapra in another Simon Green run car, Colin Whitmore and youngster Klaas Kooiker in only his second race car outing. Bryan planted his Beemer firmly on the pole and looked set for a dominant win before fuel vapourization slowed him towards the end, allowing Nigel Innes to take the win in his BMW. Bryan set the fastest lap and won his class. Jas took 2nd in his class, and Colin Whitmore made the top ten. Klaas improved his lap times throughout the race in the Jas Sapra rental car (also run by SGM!) and was pleased to complete the race.

Russell Dack posted the fastest time in qualifying and was joined on the front row by Bryan Bransom, with Brad Sheehan and James Card on the 2nd row of the grid. Kevin Denwood was the 5th and leading Class C driver, followed by a couple of Invitation Class drivers, Stephen Pearson and Colin Voyce, in his eye-catching E36 M3. Jas Sapra completed the 4th row and then a gaggle of Mini’s led by Zac Blackwell, followed by Piers Henderson, Andy Langley, Rob Austin, Neil Clarke and Daniel Butcher-Lord. Wesley Butcher added a touch of variety next in a Z3M. Steve Webb and Ross Alexander were next up, sandwiching Chris Walton in his black/red E46, which is getting gradually more reliable after a character-forming start to the season. The Mini’s of Gary Papworth and Charles Heatley completed the top twenty, with Trevor Ford, Ben Taylor, Nigel Williams, Peter Miller and Klaas Kooiker rounding out the grid.

Most drivers, mechanics and family members enjoyed another of the BMWRDC BBQs on Saturday evening, but the Gee Sport team were hard at work stripping the engine of James Card’s number 32 car, which had launched a piston (amongst other things) towards the end of qualifying. With assistance from many of the other teams and drivers, replacement parts were sourced, and the car was declared fit to race by the team around 2.00am on Sunday morning.

Special mention must go to Ian Foster and Karl Jones, both qualified MOT testers who managed to modify the steering column bushing of Nigel Williams’ car prior to qualifying and convince the chief scrutineer that the car was safe to race. Big thanks to our sponsor Ian, engineer Karl and the scrutineer for being so reasonable.

From the start of Race 1, it was all go with Russell and Bryan dicing for the lead throughout the race. The gap between the pair of them was never much over a second despite fluid on the track and back markers proving a challenge. James Card took a well-deserved 3rd, much to the joy of his mechanics with Brad Sheehan 4th after having to reset the electrics as the flag dropped at the start and losing several places in the process. Colin Voyce took 5th ahead of Stephen Pearson and the Invitational honours, while Denwood beat Sapra for the Class C win. Blackwell, Henderson and Austin were on the podium in the Mini class, with Chris Walton winning Class B. Nigel Williams took 3rd in class after his scrutineering issues, with Andy Langley and a disconsolate Dan Butcher-Lord the non-finishers with a drive shaft and a suspected diff failure the reasons.

The second race was a scant two hours after the first race finished, but a number of the first race casualties were fit to race, with Andy Langley and Charles Heatley both having repaired drive shaft issues. Sadly Dan and Wes Butcher failed to make the grid, Dan with the previously mentioned diff issues and Wes having suffered mechanical damage in race 1.

The race was a reverse of Race 1, with Bryan making a better start than Russ to lead from start to finish in his SGM-prepared car. Brad, in his “Days of Thunder” Capel Tree Surgeons backed car, got the better of James and took 3rd while Stephen beat Colin to the Invitational award. Normal service saw Kevin win Class C from Jas. Piers Henderson beat Zac to the Mini honours with Steve Webb 3rd. Nigel Williams took another 3rd in Class, and Andy Langley made up for his Race 1 disappointment, finishing 4th in the Mini’s. Trevor Ford celebrated his 71st birthday with a brace of 4th in Class C.

The awards went off without a hitch; SGM went home with three undamaged cars, an overall win and 2nd, 2 Class wins, 3 2nd in Class and a 3rd. James Card took two top-four placings with a potentially fragile engine and an early end to proceedings for all concerned. 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.

The next round is a trip to Donington Park in August as the season approaches its latter stages; see you there!