Race Reports For The 2006 Season.
Brands Hatch Indy, Saturday May 27th, 17 Laps
Paul Gibson created a piece of Clubmans history when he won the third round of the 2006 Championship at Brands Hatch. Gibson driving the works Mallock, a marque which as owner of Vision and the later through his involvement with Nemesis, had battled against for two decades or more. "For many years Paul was a rival. He's a good driver and it's great to have him on board and winning in one our cars," said a very happy Richard Mallock.
17 cars went to Kent and the promise of a fast run race was reflected when the top three in qualifying were inside Adrian Lester's two year old record. Lester's Mallock Mk35 topped the times again, securing pole from Gibson's Mk30 and Paul Freeman's Ardmore, going better than ever. Unbeaten so far this season, Alex Osborne's Mk30PR was only fourth after a visit to the Paddock Hill Bend gravel trap, which left his crew with a lot of cleaning out to do. The third row was made up of the Mallock's of Howard Payne and Guy Parr, while Jamie Champkin's Phantom shared the fourth with Adrian Brown's Mallock.
Marcus Bicknell's Mallock was ninth quickest, while one of the biggest disappointments was Peter Richings, 1.5secs slower than in Fridays test. "I don't' know why," he confessed. Ian Crombie's Mallock made its seasonal debut alongside Chris Hart on row six, while the grid was completed by the Mallock's of Clive Fidgeon, Martin Mansell, Peter Burnham, Richard Gilmour and Christopher Burnham.
Only 16 cars made it to the grid after Mansell dropped out. The conditions had become very tricky as cloud had given way to steady drizzle and made the track very greasy. To meet championship regulations the race distance was increased from 14 to 17 laps too.
Lester set the early pace with Gibson and Osborne heading the pursuers, until Osborne pulled off on lap three. Gibson sliced past Lester into Paddock on lap four and was soon pulling away to a comfortable win.
Lester was equally untroubled , well clear of what was initially a three way scrap for third. Parr clinched the final podium place, having kept the ever present Bicknell at bay by less than half a second.
Bicknell had earlier pressured Payne into running wide onto the kerbs and grass exiting Graham Hill Bend and surrendering fourth spot. As Payne slipped back, Freeman attacked and wrested away fifth spot around two thirds distance. Payne was left trailing in a lonely sixth, well clear of the rest, which were headed by Brown, Richings, Crombie and Hart who completed the top ten. Champkin was the only other retirement, as Fidgeon, Peter and Chris Burnham and Gilmour all went the distance.
Issued by Peter Scherer for the Clubmans Register on May29th 2006.