Rounds 11 and 12 of the 2022 Kumho BMWRDC Championship took place on an action-packed Sunday at Donington Park on Sunday 14th August. The weather was hot, the marshals were hot, the drivers were hot, the cars were overheating… you get the idea? The timetable had been adjusted so that a couple of the Kumho drivers could try and add to their Britcar Trophy points haul; best let that one lie!
The BMWs were out first thing for qualifying, and by 9.35, it was all done and dusted. A good entry saw Russell Dack plant his orange E36 on pole, alongside Jason West returning to the series as work commitments allow. James Card was 3rd with another rebuilt engine next to Brad Sheehan in the dayglo pink and white “Days of Thunder” number 28 car (great to photograph, you can see it a mile away!).
Bryan Bransom was 5th on the grid, while a name from the past, Kirk Armitage, was making a return to racing after something like a 5-year sabbatical and was the first non-Class A car in 6th place. Another invitation class driver, Max Walton, took 7th using the car campaigned by his father earlier in the season. Jas Sapra and Kevin Denwood, the leading protagonists in the battle for Class C, were next on the grid with Colin Voyce, another invitation class driver completing the top ten. Teenager Klaas Kookier was 11th alongside one of the longtime Kumho drivers, Stephen Pearson. Zac Blackwell was the first of the Mini’s followed by Rob Austin and Alan Lee. Trevor Ford, the Club President, was next up (in what is supposed to be his final year as a driver!!), followed by the Mini’s of Ross Alexander and Andy Langley. Wes Butcher and Nigel Williams completed the top twenty, while the grid was completed by a clutch of Mini’s in the hands of Charlie Heatley, Steve Webb, Ionut Carare and finally, James Ford and Guiseppe Callari, both previous Class champions making a return.
Peter Miller, who had missed qualifying after failing the noise check in a car that never normally has a problem, made it onto the back of the grid after fitting an additional silencer. He was slow off the line in the first race and had a grandstand view of the coming together of Charlie Heatley and Guiseppe Callari as Callari went for a gap that suddenly narrowed, resulting in a move Paul Swift or James Bond would have been proud of, two-wheeling it over the top of Wes Butcher. James Card made a blinding start to lead at the end of Lap 1. Jason West went with him as Russell slipped to 6th after the first lap, with Max Walton, Bryan Bransom and Kirk Armitage also taking advantage of Russell’s misfortunes. By Lap 4, Russell had taken 3rd spot ahead of Max, Bryan and Kirk, but the main excitement was Brad Sheehan recovering from an appalling first lap which dropped him to 11th and saw him up to 6th by half distance. Bryan retired to save the gearbox after it started to make funny noises; not sure how he could hear them, to be honest. At the same time, the battle for Class C went to Jas Sapra after Kevin Denwood had a monumental high speed off going through the Craner Curves, spearing into the tyre wall on the inside, causing serious damage to his car, the tyre wall and bruising to his ribs from the sudden deceleration.
Kirk Armitage won the Invitation class from Max Walton and Klaas Kookier, with James Ford picking up Class D. Leading Mini had been Zac until a puncture scuppered his chance of clinching the Mini Championship while Rob Austin took advantage to close the point’s gap. Carare took 2nd, his best finish of the year and Alan Lee 3rd ahead of Charlie Heatley, who was probably distracted by the start line incident.
As the grid formed up for Race 2, there was drama as Stephen Pearson had his car pushed off the grid by the marshals. James Card led from start to finish, with Brad Sheehan keeping him honest throughout the race while Russell and Jason initially kept pace at the front. Guiseppe called it a day and retired after spinning at Redgate, clouting the tyre wall on Lap 1, and Russell ran wide onto the grass damaging the splitter and spoiler, losing pace and positions as a result when the bodywork started rubbing on the front drivers tyre on left-hand bends. This meant Jason made it to the podium behind Brad and James, leaving all three happy with their performances.
Zac had started from near the back of the grid after his Race 1 DNF but was making inroads into the Mini racers and was into the Class lead on Lap 5, despite Rob Austin’s best efforts to hold onto the lead. Zac took the Mini class win to tighten his grip on the title with Rob 2nd and Alan Lee a fine 3rd.
Towards the closing stages of the race, James Ford was forced to retire with what looked like a blown engine, but Bryan was hanging onto 3rd, and it looked like his luck had changed until he was black flagged with a lap to go and therefore not classified as a finisher. Kirk took another Invitation class win with Max and Klaas completing the podium.
Trevor Ford took Class C from Nigel Williams, who finally seems to have found some reliability, something that is sadly eluding Peter Miller, who suffered another retirement.
The championship positions remain undecided, with all being resolved at the final two races, which are to be at Oulton Park in October. However, the current championship points tables are available on the BMWRDC Facebook page, as well as on the MVG Photographic.