MGCC Brands Hatch May 30th / 31st . .

A colourful 27 car grid flew the 'Equipe' GTS flag in entertaining fashion during the course of a hot and sunny week-end, although the first flag was red as an unfortunate MGB visited the gravel trap on the opening lap of practice. This failed to put Tom Smith off his stroke and the MG Motorsport MGB took another pole at the cost of Malcolm Johnson's TVR by half a second. Sussex-based hot shoe Jerry Stock was the only other qualifier to dip under the minute for 3rd, but just two seconds covered 4th to 17th and highlights just why this series is such a popular spectacle. A newcomer to 'Equipe' GTS was the hugely experienced Pete Foster, usually associated with Aston Martin's but pedalling his recently acquired ex-Cambridge Motorsport TR4 up to 10th.


Saturday Race 1 - It is unfortunate when a safety car has to participate, and more so when the racing is so compromised. With Johnson chalking up fastest lap in his harrassment of Smith (see left) in the early stages, a battle royal was on the cards, but after the safety car headed off Smith had been handed a one lap lead. Lady Luck is the curse or the saviour as cars which pitted prior to the safety car lost time to those able to make their stop with the safety car still in action. However, this was not what did for Johnson, and the air must have been as blue as his TVR as he contemplated a 45s margin at the chequered. Rob Cull was elated with a podium spot as he continues to master the TVR Grantura (left), and Ron Cody found more horses than ever under the bonnet of his MGA for 4th (pictured right nearly sliding out of shot). Foster proved a worthy addition as he chased the Class 5 winner and popular ex-publican John Andon for 6th in the TR4 battle, while Trevor Kemp cleaned up in Class 3 and WSM 208 headed Class 2 where the Jim Lowry Lenham Spitfire and Dave Wood Lancia Fulvia were proof of the pudding that there's always somone to scrap with in an 'Equipe' GTS race.

As two of her sister cars (202 and 210) were out to play next day, a gearbox seizure in the paddock after race one necessitated a trip to Bedford on Saturday evening and an engine out for the blue WSM. It was only the fourth occasion in 46 years that more than twoWSM's were on the same grid, but the anticipated tete a tete did not materialise via mechanical woes in the race for all three cars on Sunday.

Sunday Race 2 - The top five panned out as in race one, but Smith's margin was more representitive of the competition from Johnson, with the Jerry Stock / Pete Barnard MGB again breaking the one minute barrier in 5th. Although Johnson put up fastest lap, he gracefully acknowledged there's few better MGB drivers than Tom Smith, and as 'Motorsport' contributor Christophe Wilmart remarked, the 'GTS' in the series title reverts once more to 'Get Tom Smith'. Foster turned the tables on Andon for TR4 bragging rights, and 8th place Mark Way lead the 'B's of David Gardner and John Pearson, and Neil Hardy's Healey 100M in an exciting midfield barny. MGA Sebring-mounted Simon Gurney reversed Class 3 fortunes over Kemp, and Wood deserved the Class 2 plaudits. Clive Cocks, relieving some of the gloom around the WSM camp, was awarded Driver of the Day on Saturday for overtaking eight cars in the scrutineering queue . . .

Pictures courtesy of Paul Webb & Mark Way Click on for TSL Timing results

'Equipe' GTS - rounds 8 and 9 Le Mans July 5th / 6th