It was the busiest Porsche Club Motorsport race weekend for many seasons at Brands Hatch on July 6th and 7th, with four Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli races and two for the Classic Restoracing Championship field. Kevin Harrison took both the Saturday Porsche Club Championship wins, with Sunday’s two races going one apiece to father and son combo Mark and Jake McAleer.
The Classic Restoracing Championship runners had their own races on the Sunday, Ben McCloughlin winning the first, while Matt Bird handed him his first ever Restoracing defeat with a win in race two.
Harrison won two tightly fought Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship races on the Saturday in his 996 C2, just holding off former champion Mark McAleer to take the opening race of the day. Class two went to series newcomer James Coleman in a new Boxster S finished less that 48-hours earlier, who promptly followed up his maiden win with another in race two.
That second race was a very different affair, the first running having been stopped after an incident which saw the Porsche 996 C2 of Richard Higgins roll at the exit of Graham Hill Bend. After some time the race was restarted as a ten-minute sprint, Harrison this time first home but less than half a second clear of County Classics team-mate Simon Clark.
“Race one was very close,” said Harrison. “I got the car off the line well and after that we had a good battle, it is so close round here especially when we got into backmarkers. It was a hard-fought win, the traffic just fell for me when I needed it to.
“I was on the front row for the first race and was running second when the race was stopped, and got another good getaway at the restart and led all the way. My car is always quick off the line and it was a brilliant day, I can’t remember the last time I had a race day like that!”
“We didn’t finish the car until Friday morning,” said Coleman, “so a great start. We are still learning the car but it has been great so far, some quick lads out there!”
Any hopes that Harrison had of continuing his success in the second day of the meeting disappeared in Sunday’s qualifying session when he was one of a number of cars to go off on oil down in the session, the incident putting Harrison, Craig Wilkins and Paul Seagrave out for the weekend and leaving Matt Kyle-Henney’s crew with a lot of work to get his Boxster on the grid for race one.
The front row for race three saw Mark McAleer on pole and son Jake alongside, and it was McAleer senior who led all the way, Jake slipping behind the 997 C2 of Pete Morris on the opening lap but was back into second on lap eight. Although Jake closed in over the remainder of the race, the lead group working their way through the backmarkers, Mark held on for his first win of 2019.
Behind, Simon Clark closed in on Morris bringing Chris Dyer and Jonathan Evans, on his 2019 Porsche Club Championship debut, with him. These four circulated in close formation for most of the race, Morris holding on for the final podium position.
“I thought I was going to have a nice drive home then Jake started coming out of nowhere,” said Mark McAleer. “There was no way I was going to let him past, he would have to work for that!”
“I knew he was not going to gift me anything,” said Jake McAleer, “and I wouldn’t have it any other way, we had a good battle.”
Coleman took his third class two win of the weekend, Ross Morris with him in the early laps before the class leader managed to put a class one car between them and ease away to take the flag ahead.
The last of the four Porsche Club Championship races of the weekend saw the same front row as race three, but this time with Jake McAleer on pole and Mark alongside. At the start it was again Mark who made the best getaway and took the lead, Jake slotting into second with Dyer, from the third row of the grid, up into third.
It took until early on lap nine for Jake McAleer to find a way past, taking the lead at Paddock Hill Bend as Mark began to slip back towards Dyer’s Cayman. At the front Jake was pushing hard and opened a gap, Dyer into second on lap 11, with Mark McAleer now aware of Andy Toon in fourth place and closing in.
At the end of the 25-minutes Jake McAleer took his maiden outright Porsche Club Championship race win, Dyer second for his second podium finish of 2019 while Mark McAleer held onto third from Toon and Pete Morris.
Coleman led class two until his bonnet flipped up forcing him to pull off, allowing Morris to get past and add to his 2019 win tally, Kevin Molyneaux second with Toby Barlow, another welcome newcomer, third.
“I could see Chris Dyer there so just kept pushing hard to the end, nothing left on the table’ said Jake McAleer. “So good to take my first outright win, a great day for dad and me, four podiums!”
“My car has been good all weekend but I have been in traffic and not had the chance to show it,” said Dyer. “The tyres were good and to be fair I’m pleased with the weekend overall, we have gone forwards race by race, a good two days.”
“I lost a bit of ground early on and when I saw his bonnet fly up I thought ‘a bit of drama here!’ and was careful’” said Ross Morris. “I had to work my way up to first, but it was a fun race we have some very good drivers now in class two, I’m looking forwards to the next one now!”
Although some cars had joined in Saturday’s Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli races, the Classic Restoracing Championship Boxster had their own two rounds on the Sunday at Brands Hatch. Race one was under a safety car almost immediately as a touch on the pit straight at the start saw the Porsche Centre Swindon car spear off into the barriers.
It was the start of their eighth lap with just under 19 minutes left before the field were released to race, Ben McLoughlin heading them into lap nine with Josh Morris and Will Heslop behind. McLoughlin pushed hard and set a new fastest race lap as he opened a gap, the flying Matt Bird closing in on Morris and Heslop.
Racing was interrupted again at the start of lap 13 as the safety car was out with a car off on the edge of the circuit, the cars finally set to race again for a final five lap sprint. McLoughlin again controlled the restart, while behind Heslop looked inside Morris at the first corner before making the decisive move at Surtees on lap 19.
McLoughlin stayed clear for the win, with Heslop second and Morris third.
“It was a shame we had the safety cars out but I could see the incident unfolding in my mirror,” said McLoughlin. ‘I wasn’t so sure about the second one but he was stopped in an awkward position. I got two good restarts and opened a gap, then that is about as quick as I can go and can just hold the gap, you can feel the extra weight working the tyres.”
In race two later in the day McLoughlin led the early laps with Bird right with him, and as they turned into Paddock Hill Bend McLoughlin caught fluid spilled the lap before and was launched off into the gravel bed, Bird close behind suffering the same fate. In a cloud of dust both drivers controlled their cars, Bird managing to emerge ahead as once more the Restoracing field lined up behind the safety car as the fluid had been dressed, Heslop’s car having suffered radiator damage.
It was racing again at the start of lap 13, and Bird set a series of fastest laps to ease away from McLoughlin more heavily ballasted due to his race experience, and went on to take his first Restoracing win, and McLoughlin’s first defeat, with Josh Morris secure in third.
“The car felt great in both races today and I’m still learning it, but I was getting more confident with each lap,” said Bird. “That was where the pace came from. Will Heslop’s car lost his radiator, and apparently there was a slippery surface flag but neither Ben or I saw it.
“We both braked and turned in and I followed him off, hit his car, but was able to get out ahead. The safety car let me get some gravel out the car and made a good restart.”
Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli, Brands Hatch, Race One (25 Minutes): 1 Kevin Harrison (996 C2) 28 Laps); 2 Mark McAleer (997 C2S) +0.148s; 3 Simon Clark (Cayman S); 4 Peter Morris (997 C2S); 5 Craig Wilkins (996 C2); 6 Andy Ton (996 C2). Class Two: 1 James Coleman (Boxster S); 2 Matt Kyle-Henney (Boxster S); 3 Kevin Molyneaux (Boxster S). Class Three: 1 Julian Morris (Boxster S); 2 Alistair Nelson (Boxster S); 3 Wayne Minogue (Boxster S). Fastest Lap: Jake McAleer (996 C2) 52.482s (82.85mph).
Race Two (10 Minutes): 1 Harrison 12 Laps; 2 Clark +0.381s; 3 Wilkins; 4 Chris Dyer (Cayman S); 5 Peter Morris; 6 Jake McAleer. Class Two: 1 Coleman; 2 Ross Morris; 3 Molyneaux. Class Three: 1 Josh Morris; 2 Julian Morris; 3 Alistair Nelson. Fastest Lap: Harrison 52.887s (82.22mph).
Race Three (25 Minutes): 1 Mark McAleer 29 Laps; 2 Jake McAleer +0.447s; 3 Peter Morris; 4 Clark; 5 Dyer; 6 Jonathan Evans (Cayman S). Class Two: 1 Coleman; 2 Ross Morris; 3 Toby Barlow. Fastest Lap: Jake McAleer 51.981s (83.65mph).
Race Four (25 Minutes): 1 Jake McAleer 29 Laps; 2 Dyer +2.66s; 3 Mark McAleer; 4 Toon; 5 Peter Morris; 6 Clark. Class Two: 1 Ross Morris; 2 Molyneaux; 3 Barlow. Fastest Lap: Jake McAleer 52.392s (83.00mph).
Classic Restoracing Championship Race One (25 Minutes): 1 Ben McCloughlin (Boxster S) 21 Laps; 2 Will Heslop (Boxster S) +0.762s; 3 Josh Morris (Boxster S); 4 Matt Bird (Boxster S); 5 Paul Blakesley (Boxster S); 6 Simon Ruffell-Ward (Boxster S). Fastest Lap: Bird, 55.627s (78.17mph).
Race Two (25 Minutes): 1 Bird 23 Laps; 2 McLoughlin +4.909s; 3 Josh Morris; 4 Blakesley; 5 Julian Morris (Boxster S); 6 Ruffell-Ward. Fastest Lap: Bird 54.865s (79.26mph).
Next Races: Snetterton, Norfolk, Saturday 27th July.