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02 May 2023

Photos by Gary Hawkins

Porsche Racers Shine with Big Fields at Brands Hatch GP

Round 2 Brands Hatch GP Results

The Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit hosted two races for the Porsche Club Motorsport Championship with Pirelli  and it was great racing all day. Steve Wood won the first Club Championship round from long-time leader Bill Caley by inches, but Caley had his revenge in race two to take a maiden outright Club Championship race win, Paul Simpson claiming both class two wins.

Porsche Club Motorsport Championship with Pirelli 
Race One
The Porsche Club Championship field started the day’s action with the first race on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix layout for 2023, but the start was red-flagged after two laps with cars off at Paddock Hill Bend and the Druids hairpin. After a delay the cars formed up again, this time for a shortened race over ten minutes. 

From the outside for the front row Bill Caley made a great start to lead, Mark McAleer also coming through from the second row of the grid, only to lose out to pole-sitter Steve Wood  on the opening lap. On lap two McAleer set fastest race lap and was close enough to Wood to look inside as they reached Hawthorn corner at the back of the circuit, but Wood held on.

With Bill Caley a second and half clear after three laps, it was Wood’s turn to up the pace and he started closing on the Cayman, the lead three close as they headed onto the final lap. Into the final corner Wood seized his chance and got alongside Bill Caley as they raced to the chequer flag, Wood just nosing ahead and winning by a narrow margin, McAleer third from Chris Dyer and James Caley.

“I knew it was the last lap and tried to get past earlier in the lap but couldn’t do it,” said Wood, “then I got a good run out of the second to last corner and at Clearways I just decided to send it round the outside and see if I could hold on. I didn’t get away well on the second start but I knew the car was quick round here and it’s great to race guys like these, you can trust them.”

“I did everything but win!” said Bill Caley. “The car was really good, I should be happy with second but all I needed was just a little bit more grunt or something, I know I have the pace, looking forward to race two now.”

Paul Simpson took the early lead in class two, with championship newcomer Christian Walker second and former champion Ross Morris third, Donington Park race winner Andrew Porter was one of the cars out in the red flag incident. Simpson led all the way, with Walker holding off Ross Morris in the final laps to take a fine second place, Oliver Chatham taking fourth. 

“I was able to get past some class one cars,” said Simpson, “and that made all the difference to be honest. The car feels really good after the problems we had at Donington Park, so pleased with the win.”

Race Two
This time Bill Caley was on pole position and made no mistake with another great start, leading the field away with Pete Morris from row two getting inside Wood into the first corner, then holding off a challenge from the race one winner at Druids to emerge in second. Again, Bill Caley pushed hard and opened a gap of over a second after three laps, Morris under pressure from Wood and James Caley behind, Kevin Harrison fifth but with McAleer looking for a way past. 

With two laps to go the chasing pack began to close back in on leader Bill Caley, Morris spotting a gap at Westfield but Caley claimed his line as the lead cars closed right up. Into the last lap the scene looked to be set for another close finish, this time Bill Caley holding on superbly and claimed a deserved win, Morris second from Wood and Kevin Harrison, James Caley going off on the final lap.

“That seemed a very long 20-minutes even though I didn’t know the race had been shortened!” said Bill Caley. “I started to have brake issues at one point and the others were closing in and at the end when I saw Pete Morris right there I was thinking that if the same thing happened again I was going to be distraught. It’s my first outright win so delighted.”

“That was a hectic pace from everyone at the front,” said Pete Morris. “I think maybe Bill’s tyres were going at the end as we closed in and in another couple of laps, I might have been able to get past but he did well. We were all right on the edge for all the race.”

Porter led early on in class two before losing out to Simpson at Graham Hill Bend on lap three, the top four in class running together with Ross Morris third and Walker next up. Walker was into third on lap seven as the group battled amongst class one cars, Porter’s race sadly over after ten laps as he pitted with a power steering issue. Simpson duly claimed his second win of the day, Walker and Ross Morris once more filling out the other podium places.   

“I really enjoyed that,” said Simpson. “Andrew Porter and I were changing places and amongst some of the class one cars. It was really enjoyable, there was never a quiet moment in the race and this is one of my favourite circuits so a good day.”

“It’s been a good day for us,” said Walker, “we were with three or four other Boxsters and we were with some of the class one cars and there was a lots of jostling going on, but a good first time racing here.”

Porsche Club Motorsport Championship with Pirelli.
Race One:
1 Steve Wood (996 C2) 6 Laps
2 Bill Caley (Cayman S) +0.065s
3 Mark McAleer (997 C2S)
4 Chris Dyer (Cayman S)
5 James Caley (997 C2S)
6 Kevin Harrison (996 C2)
Class Two
1 Paul Simpson (Boxster S)
2 Christian Walker (Boxster S)
3 Ross Morris (Boxster S).
Fastest Lap: Wood 1m37.788s (89.57mph).

Race Two:
1 Bill Caley 12 Laps
2 Pete Morris +0.180s
3 Steve Wood
4 Harrison
5 McAleer
6 Dyer.
Class Two:
1 Simpson
2 Walker
3 Ross Morris
Fastest Lap: Bill Caley 1m38.869s (88.60mph).

Next Races: Anglesey Circuit, Wales, May 20th and 21st.