|Brands Hatch Lewis-Evans Trophy 12th June 2010|
Just nine cars turned out at Brands Hatch for the first of June’s events, many apparently eschewing this event for VSCC Cadwell Park the week following. There was certainly scope for a decent race with both of last year’s winners - Nigel Ashman and Neil Hodges - joined by Richard Ellingworth in the Parker-Kieft and Darrell Woods in his Cooper. The balance of the field also looked interesting with four mid-field runners joined by Patrick Morin joining us once more with his Cooper. A healthy group of pushers included three generations of Frosts (Simon now back to full pushing fitness), John Furlong and David Lecoq.
Of course it couldn’t last, and uncomfortably close to race time a broken valve spring was spotted on Nigel’s Norton. With no spares in the Paddock, it looked like a scratch, but once again Frostie came to the rescue. A call home, and directions over the phone turned up the necessary component in the stores. A rather spirited drive from mate John got the part to the gate just as the other cars began the trek over to the Assembly Area. Even so, it was a surprise to see Nigel join them comfortably before the release onto track. So a full nine cars took the start. A fluff from Neil let Richard ahead before Paddock Hill, but a block pass at Druids regained second place. These three quickly pulled away from the field, and the plan to harry Nigel seemed to be working as they remained split by a second or less. On Lap 3, Nigel seemed to be edging away, and along Bottom Bend Richard wound the Kieft-Norton up to pass for second, blocking the inevitable fight back by Neil around the long Clark-Clearways loop.
The Seniors did live up to their promise. A poor start from David Stevenson dropped him to the back of the field some ten seconds adrift. Mike Gilbert led the group, from Kerry and David Whiteside. Mike was looking decidedly racy, notably more aggressive through Surtees than we have previously seen, and he eased away from Kerry at about a second a lap. David W looked comfortable behind Kerry, but after four laps he lit up, passing Kerry, and setting off after Mike some six seconds up the road.
Passed by David W, Kerry slipped back to a recovering David Stevenson. He also dropped below his practice times by a second, and for some laps looked like attacking the cars ahead, but although he passed Kerry the others were too far ahead. He would finish sixth. Kerry motored to the finish, the Vincent sounding slightly sick, but finally completing a meeting with a full complement of pistons - hopefully an end to his troubles. Lanterne Rouge was Patrick Morin - his first run on the short circuit and in the dry (his only other run at Brands being the sodden Iota Trophy on the Grand Prix circuit).
So Nigel retains the Lewis-Evans Trophy, which was presented again by Stuart’s son Steve. Not just gracing us with his presence, Steve had been so kind as to have a new Trophy made, replacing the photo of the original used last year. Many thanks indeed for that generous gesture. As well, congratulations should go to David Whiteside for the drive of the day, missed by most but mighty impressive, to Simon and Johnno for saving the day for Nigel, and to John Furlong for volunteering for a bit of mic duty in the commentary box.