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Brands Hatch Indy: dramatic 4th & 2nd and new lap record for Tony

An engine problem during testing the week prior to the event meant that the team had a lot of work to do.

Fortunately we had a spare engine built up ready to go, so the old engine removed (and will be stripped down and examined shortly), the spare engine was fitted and Tony did a shake down session on Friday morning to bed in the engine.    The new engine had a misfire and also an oil leak from a crack on an oil gallery at the bottom of the block.

A different set of spark plugs cured the misfire, the exhaust was repacked as it only just passed the noise test and the engine block was cleaned and smothered in sealant in order to try and stop the oil leak.

Tony took pole by 0.285 seconds and was the only driver to drop into the 44 second lap time.   Ben Cater would line up alongside with Chris Hodgen and Dave Gillett behind.

Tony would get a good start, but not as good as Ben, and the two men were level as they drove down Paddock Hill Bend.   Tony had the inside line, Ben on the outside.   Ben ran slightly wide and his car was unsettled at the bottom of Hailwood Hill.  His car swerved right, and despite trying to correct the slide, clattered into Tony who was pitched into a spin.    Fortunately the rest of the field missed him and Tony also avoided the barriers.    Starting from dead last, Tony gave chase, and after a series of fastest laps, breaking the lap record several times, eventually recovered to finish 4th, just 0.294 seconds behind Simon Tate in 3rd position.   Fourth equals 9 points, and 1 for fastest lap (44.607s) means that Tony salvaged 10 points from this race.   Meanwhile, Ben had driven back to the pits and retired the car on the opening lap – his tyre had deflated in the collision.

Despite breaking the lap record, Tony was also driving with a damaged car.  The front steering track rod was slightly bent, and this was repaired overnight.

Race 2 would see Ben claim pole with Tony second.     This would be the finishing result as Ben had the pace advantage as his tyres had done less work than Tony’s tyres had.    Tony was content to claim second and to claim valuable points which may become important later in the series.

Championship standings.

  1. Tony Bishop – 68
  2. Ben Cater – 60
  3. Dave Gillett – 45
  4. Peter Venn – 39
  5. Robbie Watts -32