The first round of the 2012 BRCA national championship was hosted by the Wombwell circuit in South Yorkshire. The entry for this circuit is normally low but since this is that start of a new season and with the section having more interest due to the impending 2013 European championships, the entry was around the 50 mark. During the off season, the committee have been busy trying to resolve the issue of tire additives which although we have procedures in place with regards to the policing for non use, further discussions will take place prior to the next round to agree a sensible solution for moving forward.
The biggest talking point gathering pace was with regards to which team the defending Champion, Kyle Branson would race for having decided to part company with Serpent. After testing various cars and having potential interest from numerous manufactures, Kyle’s destination is Mugen Seiki with an official announcement to be released imminently from both parties. Therefore with the defending champion on the move, the competition within the national series will undoubtedly increase between manufactures. Kyle therefore increases Mugen’s presence at the top end of the timesheets and will aid current driver Andy North and also new recruit Neal King.
However, Serpent still maintain a strong team with team leader Mark Green being supported by triple series champion Tim Wood and previous champion Richard Hicklin.
Team Shepherd continue with Pete Hastings, Neil Diver, Andy Hastings and Karl Dransfield who have got the proven ability to push for wins and potentially a crack at the title.
Motonica have Daniel Bancroft and new recruit Alex Thurston who’s raw talent has become evident in recent years having gained valuable experience racing 200mm in Europe and will therefore certainly challenge for the top ten at every national.
Xray have Simon Wood (2011 – 200mm Euro B finalist) and also new recruit Adam Catchpole who’s experience should make him a serious contender at every race.
Saturday morning arrived with bright sky and it was going to be interesting to see who would set the early pace but with the lap counter being at the other side of the track, nobody really analysed their lap times, but generally the pace setters seemed to be the usually suspects of Branson, Green, North, Wood, Hicklin, Diver and the Hastings lads. During booking in, drivers had to present up to 3 sets of tires as per the committees agreed policing procedure. This procedure was introduced to eliminate any potential usage of such additive with the committee well aware that the procedure was to be ‘work in progress’ during the season in order to streamline the process. The outcome was clear that such checking is a very lengthy procedure of which the committee will review before the next event. In addition to this, a pole was signed by drivers to enable an EGM to take place at the next event to allow all the drivers vote on a sensible solution.
Sunday was greeted with misty / damp conditions which prevented the track from being fully dry for the first qualifying rounds. Eventually the tracked dried at a quick rate and by the second round, we had a full dry track giving all the drivers an even chance to set their best time.
In Round 2, Mark Green set the pace with 18 Laps which actually became the TQ run. In Round 3, Kyle was circulating a quick pace but ran out of fuel which cost him the chance of taking over the TQ spot. In the final round, Both Mark and Kyle fought it out at the top with both drivers finishing on almost identical times but 1 second short of the TQ time. In 3rd place was Richard Hicklin who was quick and consistent all day. The top ten was as follows:
1. Mark Green – Serpent / Novarossi – 18 Laps 313 secs
2. Kyle Branson – MugenSeiki / Sirio / Contact – 18 Laps 314 secs
3. Richard Hicklin – Serpent / Novarossi – 18 Laps 317 secs
4. Tim Wood – Serpent / Exceed – 17 Laps 300 secs
5. Andy North – MugenSeiki / IDM/Contact – 17 Laps 302.288 secs
6. Pete Hastings – Shepherd / IDM – 17 Laps 302.289 secs
7. Neil Diver – Shepherd / IDM – 17 Laps 304 secs
8. Daniel Bancroft – Motonica / Vox – 17 Laps 306 secs
9. Karl Dransfield – Shepherd / IDM – 17 Laps 310 secs
10.Andy Hastings – Shepherd / Sonic – 17 laps 312 secs
The final blasted away but due to a long hold on the line, Tim Wood cut and Andy North was slow away due to a rich bottom end setting on his engine. The first casualty was Richard Hicklin who stripped the 2nd gear and had to retreat to the pits. Tim Wood rejoined the race and set about catching up the leading pack. Neil Diver had a cracking start and jumped into 3rd after a great start and followed the leading pack of Mark Green and Kyle Branson and was set for a possible 2nd place finish based upon fuel strategy comparisons to Kyle, but an unfortunate collision in the pits with Andy North broke the rear wishbone of Neil’s car and put him out. This accident could well of been avoided if more care had been taken by pitmen when considering the pit lane is the tightest off all and not being directly under the rostrum considerably reduces visibility. So in the end, Mark Green took the victory ahead of Kyle Branson on his Mugen debut and Tim Wood battling back to take the final podium positions.
The final results were as follows:
1. Mark Green – Serpent / Novarossi – 100 Laps
2. Kyle Branson – MugenSeiki / Sirio / Contact – 98 Laps
3. Tim Wood – Serpent / Exceed – 98 Laps
4. Pete Hastings – Shepherd / IDM – 93 Laps
5. Andy Hastings – Shepherd / Sonic – 92 Laps
6. Andy North – MugenSeiki / IDM/Contact – 88 Laps
7. Daniel Bancroft – Motonica / Vox -69 Laps
8. Neil Diver – Shepherd / IDM – 67 Laps
9. Karl Dransfield – Shepherd / IDM – 65 Laps
10.Richard Hicklin – Serpent / Novarossi – 35 Laps