Brands Results 150809

Brands Hatch 15th August 2009

Continuing the busy Summer schedule, a baker’s dozen of 500s made for Brands Hatch for the inaugural revival of the Lewis-Evans Trophy race. The original event had run at the August Brands meeting from 1957 to 1960 for 500s, being won by Ken Livingstone, Tommy Bridger (twice) and Gordon Jones. The trophy itself was last seen, literally, in the hands of Graham Hill in 1962. After some sterling work by John Furlong to initiate the revival and fruitlessly hunt down the original silver cup, we were still delighted to welcome three generations of Lewis-Evanses, including Stuart’s son, granddaughter and great granddaughter.

The long trip to Kent was too much for our Northern racers, so it was a slightly disappointing thirteen of mainly regulars who came out to play, those who stayed at home missing an excellent day of racing and socialising in the sunshine. Joining them were Kerry Horan making a return and hoping for a quiet return to reliability, and John Potts making his regular Brands Hatch run in the Monaco (quite how he manages Paddock Hill in such a tiny machine remains a mystery).

Making his series debut (and first trip to Brands) was George Shackleton who has bought Nigel Ashman’s tidy Cooper Mk VI, now with a JAP motor installed, and was facing a rather steep learning curve. George was given the traditional 500 welcome and overwhelmed with advice, some of it possibly useful, some even correct! Nigel led him through a few slow laps in practice to demonstrate the lines, although then upping the pace by some 15 seconds a lap and disappearing over the horizon might have dented George’s initial confidence a touch...

Also in the Paddock was Simon Frost and family, Simon bouncing between crutches and wheelchair (craftily equipped with a novice cross by some wag). Simon seemed more frustrated that he could not get his hands dirty in the business end of any of the cars, and wheeled around the Paddock barking orders and advice like Dr. Strangelove, occasionally tempered by the odd practical joke.

John Potts peddling hard. Photo John Landamore


By mid-morning qualifying, the sun had broken through (although a strong breeze remained) and temperatures rose rapidly. Neil Hodges ran a short session and would be caught out as the heat released more grip and times tumbled. Neil would trailed the leading group of six, led by Nigel Ashman and Gordon Russell, followed by the brace of Martins of Roy Hunt and Richard Ellingworth (the latter getting properly comfortable with his car, and now clear of previous gearbox maladies), and Nigel Challis. The group was covered by four seconds, promising an interesting scrap in the race.

Mike Gilbert and John Jones made up row 4, both showing a good turn of speed. Kerry suffered fuel feed problems (a sticking float starving the Vincent motor on all the right hand bends) and proceeded cautiously. Martin Sheppard lost his gearbox after just two laps and hobbled back to the pits. The grid was completed by Paul Hewes, George (engine cutting after six laps with the ignition lead shorting) and John Potts.

Nigel tries to pick up tips from Nigel, it seemed to work ..... Photo John Landamore

A very pleasant lunch, in honour of our guests from the Lewis-Evans family, was arranged by team Challis and hosted by the Sheppard's - less poor Martin who removed, rebuilt and replaced his gearbox as the rest of us ate and drank all around him. Still, the job was completed well in time, and all thirteen cars made the long trip to Assembly.


Nifty work by the marshals and startline team meant a very quick, clean start for all (John Potts may not have actually stopped rolling, so quick were the lights on). Kerry rolled into pit lane, not having turned the fuel on, but once help arrived he rejoined mid-pack and a couple of laps down. From the front, Nigel Ashman got a clear run at Paddock for the lead, followed by Richard Ellingworth, Nigel Challis, Neil Hodges and Roy Hunt. Gordon made a poor start and was playing catch-up for the first three laps. Mike Gilbert held seventh with Martin Sheppard tight behind and John Jones just a second back. Thereafter, gaps opened to Paul Hewes, George Shackleton (taking it very cautiously for the first few laps) and John Potts bringing up the rear.

Nigel Ashman always runs well on the short course, and a 1.5” lead after the first lap was to be expected. But he was not pulling away that quickly, less than a second a lap. Leading the chase was Richard, in a mighty scrap with Nigel, Roy and Neil for the first couple of laps, before ekeing a useful couple of seconds. As Richard moved away, Gordon joined in from behind and whilst positions over the line were static there were several passes and repasses each time around. As the lone JAP, Neil would be aggressive each time the course turned, but would suffer on the long upper and lower straights.

In defending one such attack at the top of Paddock, Roy took a long run through the gravel and dropped six seconds off the pack. Comfortably ahead of Mike and Martin, he eased up to take the finish, but would be thwarted on the tenth lap as the engine died.

So at lap 4, Nigel led Richard by about three and a half seconds, a similar gap ahead of Nigel Challis, Gordon and Neil in the battle of the Mk VIIIs. Roy sat in no man’s land, and then Martin had worked past Mike and was slowly opening the gap by a few tenths a laps. John Jones was drifting off by a second a lap. Then some fifteen seconds back was Paul with George keeping him in sight.

Lap 5, and on the run through the Surtees-McLaren-Clark loop, Gordon dived past Nigel for third, and as Neil went to follow the dark green Cooper shook and threw a driveshaft - at least not locking, and Nigel rolled to retirement. Briefly the race settled down, Richard holding a good advantage over Gordon, and Neil unable to close the two seconds lost passing the stricken Nigel. This changed on lap 7 as Richard was baulked lapping Kerry. Catching him right at the apex of McLaren, Richard lost not only time but speed along the top straight. By Paddock Gordon had him in his sights. On lap 9 Richard got caught in a slide exiting Graham Hill Bend - four wheels into the grass gave Gordon the gap he needed and he was into second. Richard wasn’t the only one to get loose there as it got a bit slippy, and thirty seconds later Mike would be tripped into a lazy spin into the South Bank grass, frustratingly losing the engine and with it a good result.

The flag marshal appears to be out of touch with what JB is up to! Photo John Landamore.

Richard fought back but the gap settled at about 1.5” with Neil the same behind (although these gaps varied significantly as each car & driver showed their strengths at different parts of the circuit). Gordon has Nigel Ashman just five seconds up the road and pushed on. On lap 12 at Druids hairpin it got a bit interesting. Out of sight of most, including the chasers, Gordon “had a moment”, the Cooper going up on two wheels, though quite why is unclear. Gordon was quite sanguine about it, commenting that as a biker he’s used to being on two wheels, but scraped hub caps on both left wheels suggested a hairier story...

Either way, Richard and Neil were through within 100 yards, and with the former slightly more delayed, they were again nose-to-tail. Gordon had in fact bent the steering on landing and would struggle through the next seven laps at a severely curtailed speed. Neil meanwhile got the run through Surtees and sneaked a nose on the Martin, only for Richard to out-power him along the top straight, Neil cut back at Paddock to lead again at the dip. This would continue for the next couple of laps, but always with Neil just holding the position, and eventually establishing a firm grip on second place.

Ellingworth (Martin), Challis (Cooper), Hodges (Cooper) and Hunt (Martin) through McLaren. Photo John Landamore.

And so it would finish, Nigel winning by nearly eight seconds from Neil and Richard. Martin would thank the long race, as he just stayed on the lead lap and pipped the crippled Gordon for fourth. John Jones completed the top six, a slightly rough Triumph engine leaving him unable to have a go at Martin and Mike Gilbert. Seventh and eighth were Paul and George, but credit to the latter. With Paul as a target he knuckled down and closed in. Not only a finish first time out, but a perfectly respectable fastest lap of 1’ 11.0”, some seven seconds better than practice. Last man home was John Potts who came in some five laps down, but happy.

Celebrations then for Nigel Ashman, as the inaugural winner of the Lewis-Evans Trophy Revival, the prize being... a photo of the original trophy, seeing as of how the original went missing. A small tin plate trophy was extracted from the BRSCC as a stand-in, and with no major problems everyone was happy, not least the Lewis-Evanses who supped a beer with all in the Paddock.

The Lewis-Evans Trophy last seen in the hands of Graham Hill in 1962


With his fourth win of the year, Nigel Ashman is now in command in class C. Gordon Russell has slipped back a little and is only three points ahead of the leading JAP, driven by Neil Hodges with Martin Sheppard comfortably in fourth. Richard Ellingworth has taken the lead in class B with his third win but only has a four point lead over fellow Martin driver, Roy Hunt, with Mike Fowler only two points further back, defending Cooper honours so all to play for at Oulton Park.

Post race, many of the teams adjourned to the Frost's for a relaxed BBQ, considerably more fun than sitting on in the M25 car park. Our thanks to Simon for giving orders and Karen for doing all the work.


Classified Finishers

Pos Name Car Class Time Laps Best

Fastest Lap: Nigel Ashman - Cooper Mk XI 1:02.386

DNF: Kerry Horan - Trenberth, Roy Hunt - Martin, Mike Gilbert - Cooper Mk VIII, Nigel Challis - Cooper Mk VIII

Championship Standings

Our thanks to John Furlong, the Lewis-Evans family and the BRSCC

Report by Richard Hodges. Photos by Philippe Giron and John Landamore

1 Nigel Ashman Cooper Mk XI C 19:13 18 1:02.386
2 Neil Hodges Cooper Mk VIII C 19:21 18 1:02.645
3 Richard Ellingworth Martin B 19:24 18 1:03.233
4 Martin Sheppard Cooper Mk XII C 20:21 18 1:06.126
5 Gordon Russell Cooper Mk VIII C 19:17 17 1:02.676
6 John Jones Cousy C 19:57 17 1:07.373
7 Paul Hewes Cooper Mk VIII C 19:51 16 1:12.002
8 George Shackleton Cooper Mk VI B 19:53 16 1:11.089
9 John Potts Monaco A 19.27 13 1:25.840

Behind you! John Potts is about to get a mirror full of action. Photo Philippe Giron.

Nigel Ashman, Neil Hodges and Richard Ellingworth on the Podium for the Lewis-Evans Trophy.

Gordon Russell went well until his escapade at Druids. Photo John Landamore

Neil nips up the inside of Roy at Clearways Photo John Landamore


Multiple generations of the Lewis-Evans family, "Pop", Stuart and Steve then Steve's turn to be the doting grandfather. Photo Roland Lewis-Evans.

A relaxing evening for some. Photos Phillipe Giron