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21 April 2007 Brands Hatch


The Winners

Photo Report


Race Reports
13 Jan 2007, (2006) Dinner Dance
Championship Results

21 (& 22) April: BRANDS HATCH


27 to 28 May: SNETTERTON

30 June & 1 July: ANGLESEY

21 & 22 July: SILVERSTONE

23 September: MALLORY

20 (& 21) October: PEMBREY
Club Special Events
Snail's Pace Aug 2007

Report by Richard Hollis

A very healthy grid of 21 2CVs lined up for qualifying in the pit lane at the entertaining Brands Hatch Circuit. This was the first meeting of the newly reformatted 2CV Racing Club, with racing now campaigned over longer endurance races. The front runners were out in force with current Champion Pete Sparrow, lining up with Club Chairman Trevor Williams, along side the car of 2004 Championship winner Phil Myatt, (solely piloting the fast Tete Rouge car), and 2003 Champion Gary Adnitt. Last year’s No. 2 in the Championship Simon Leith partnered Christian Callander and the ever consistent Steve Panas was also looking to be a contender in his British Racing Green car with the go-faster addition of Rocket Dog Racing stickers.

Qualifying went well. Up to 4 drivers needed to qualify in the 35 minute session so some such as Team Stinky got only a handful of laps each in the car. Nevertheless, the field was awash with newcomers and rookies slowly learning the art, (and it is an art), of driving a 2CV at race speed. For one such novice, Helen Deeley, things didn’t get off well.

Lap 3 of Friday testing saw the car barrel-rolling in the gravel at Paddock. Fortunately unhurt, Helen had literally seen her race driving dream go down the pan in minutes. The reason for the crash was put down to poor racing advice. Helen’s Dad had suggested she drove “Flat, flat, flat” and Tete Rouge Mechanic Tim had added “drive it like you stole it!”. Which reminds me if I see Helen in a stolen car I’ll turn down the lift. Nevertheless, the new name of Helen ‘Crash Test’ Deeley will probably stick for years to come, the ‘lucky monkey’ toy will probably be removed from the roll-cage to avoid superstitious curses and it gave Tete Rouge something to do, sending for parts to come down from the Retford HQ later that night, yes just like in Formula 1! The 10 hour impromptu rebuild saw the car have more bits replaced than an elderly person with private health care. But come qualifying, it was out on the track and handling like a dream.

This could not be said for Trevor’s car, as even with the Sparrowmeister driving, the car was leaving the road quicker than a hyperactive hedgehog. Panas was particularly annoyed, as he had been sat behind Pete aiming for a tow. 15th on the grid was the reward. A long time since the Sparrow name has been that far down on a time sheet. Further back, self declared ‘Old Man’ Frank Barnard, was struggling to even remember the 2CV shift pattern after several years away from the 2CV Racing scene. In the Hollis hire car, he arrived at Paddock in neutral on cold tyres on his first flying lap! Just surviving the session was the main objective here. This was more than could be said for the Tete Rouge Car No.9 of Sammie Fritchley and first-timer David Sullivan. With the engine sounding increasingly rough with each lap, it finally gave up the ghost entering McLaren on David’s 4th lap necessitating a tow back! Taking 16th On the grid was ‘Mr Perseverance’ himself, Ben Allan, now with a super (only if viewed at long distance) paint job and new shocks. Without any testing, Ben was left to bounce about qualifying.

With qualifying over it was Myatt who gained pole, despite never having actually sat in the car until that morning. Wayne Cowling, Gary Adnitt and veteran 2CV racer David O’Keeffe took 2nd and made sure there would be a fight for victory in the race. Christian Callander flew to grab 3rd, with Panas 4th and 24hr regulars Greg Wheeler and Andy Pirt pulling 5th out of the bag, despite not running the car for a year! Geoff Turrall must have been happy with the Whitwell Motorsport prepared car starting 6th, with less than 3 seconds covering the top 14. A super long break in between meant the rare occasion of finishing all the jobs on the to-do list and actually spending some time chatting to other drivers.

At the start it was the fast starting Gadget car that got past Myatt to take the lead on lap one. Further back, Sparrow had set the special launch control button and slung-shot past several cars aiming for glory from his lowly 15th. This was much more than can be said for the day-glo orange 2CV No. 96, as Nick the experienced driver of the otherwise novice team decided to pull away in 3rd gear, followed by 4th, neutral, 3rd etc. The field cleanly filed into Paddock at full steam. It was to be the exit of this corner that would continue to cause the incidents in this race, starting with the immaculately prepared and road legal Brocklebank car. As the field drifted round, Car 12 appeared to fail to make the turn and ploughed into the gravel sideways at full speed. Instantly the car barrel rolled in dramatic fashion, appearing about a foot shorter at rest beached in the gravel with the 4 wheels in the air. Driver ok, but the damage appeared quite bad and was the result of the bonnet opening around Paddock and made the chance of Aubrey and his team making it for the 24hr in 2 weeks slim.

Back up front Myatt started to pile on the pressure to leader Cowling. 3rd was a straight fight between Panas, Wheeler and the amazing Sparrow who now unbelievably found himself in 4th, after what was possibly the most amazing climb through the pack in 2CV racing history. Christine Thompson had a great start from 10th to 5th and then beaten back to 8th where she sat for much of the race staying out of trouble. It took to lap 17 for Myatt to finally pass Cowling only to be re-passed 4 laps later when held up in back markers. Pirt climbed to a strong 3rd holding back the challenges from Panas, Sparrow and Callander. Further back Allan decides to pit lap 2. No this was not master strategy, but due to the gear linkage working loose. Later they would pit when their shock fell off. Still, at least the paint looked good from a distance.

Three pitstops meant much activity and the race quickly became one of throwing out the old driver and chucking in the new one. On the rise after all the stops had panned out was the Hollis Motorsport Hire Car, with regulars Robin Webb and Glenn Burtenshaw at the wheel, swapping between the now back to great form, Barnard. 18th to 4th was quite a climb for a car that had last turned its wheels at the 1999 24Hr. Glenn enjoyed a great battle with Darren Baker, in the newly acquired ‘Silver Bullet’. Despite it not being for position the constant overtaking proved great entertainment for the spectators. The likely challenger of Panas disappeared from the timing screens on lap 43. The reason? A failed suspension tie rod around paddock almost sent him into Brocklebank’s stricken car like a donkey to a carrot. Despite a tow back and quick repair, only non-classification beckoned. The Pirt/Wheeler car decided to see if running wide at Paddock was quicker. This test was also carried out by Nick Roads of Crisis Racing. Of the two experiments, neither were successful. Wheeler found his ignition did not like the deep gravel and a tow back was ordered. Nick smashed off the fan in dramatic style by force feeding gravel into the cowling. He later defied the laws of physics by racing a 2CV with no fan for 25mins and thus proving that its not only the bad luck they attract.

And so the flag fell after 2hrs, with Myatt in front of Cowling/O’Keeffe/Adnitt to take a clear win after 98 laps. Williams/Sparrow got their hands on the last pieces of silverware by finishing 3rd, whilst Burtenshaw/Webb/Barnard roared to 4th. It was Ben Allan’s car that almost robbed Team Stinky of 5th, when their 4th driver (unknown to the Snails Pace Team) tried a new line into Clark, went off and bounced back into the side of Chris Yates, wiping out the side of the Stinkymobile! Nick Grant took 6th in a welcome return of Paul Taylor’s car, with the excited Peter Rigg finishing 7th in the original but now unbranded Rocket Dog machine. In fact the battle for 7th came down to the wire with Rigg finishing just 2 seconds ahead of both Steve Cowell and Derek Coghill. Derek had been threatening that ‘Nessy the 2CV racer’ would be quicker this year after some long awaited work and he was right. This car in the top 10, and the promise of future small tweeks, such as a new shell etc, meant Derek would be one to watch for the championship, (and that hasn’t been said for many a year/ever?). Simon Leith rounded out the top 10 in the Callander machine, after great qualifying speed, failed to translate to race pace. 11th to 19th was Baker, Roads (with no fan!), Tony Gaymond’s team of drivers, Turrall (with no 4th gear!), Fritchley/Sullivan, Deeley (taking it casual and ‘driving it like she owned it’), Rachel Calvert (sister of Shaun, in her first outing, in a freshly built but smoking ‘Herbie Love Bug’ look alike), Pirt/Wheeler and finally Allan and his secret band of drivers.

Brands Hatch. Endurance Racing. 2CVs. Does life get better?

Richard Hollis



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