The annual Mini Festival at Brands Hatch in Kent celebrated its 10th Anniversary in early August and a landmark feature were the inaugural stand-alone races for Mini-7 S-Class which were arguably the star performers of the meeting.
With qualifying done-and-dusted on the Saturday, the 1275cc S-Class feeder series kicked off the race action on Sunday morning, and from ‘lights out’ it was anybody’s prize as up to half-a-dozen cars vied for the lead. After multiple changes in the running order and with yellow flags bunching the cars towards the end it was series leader Matt Ayres who sneaked ahead when it mattered from Damien Harrington, Michael Winkworth, Frazer Hack and Jonathan Page.
It was pretty much a repeat performance for the afternoon sequel, Harrington reversing the positions with Ayres at the chequered flag once the other three challengers had all succumbed to knocks in the heat of battle, allowing reverse grid polesitter Ben Seyfried to edge out Dave Rees for the remaining podium place.
The 1000cc Mini Se7en heritage formula proved to be a ‘double-or-quits’ scenario for the leading title duo Mike Jordan and Connor O’Brien, with the former stroking home in the first race after the latter dropped out early with mechanical gremlins, the same outcome in the later event although on this occasion Joe Thompson ran the leader close all the way.
Ross Billison and Glen Woodbridge battled frenetically for the runner-up spot in the first, the latter then doubling his podium tally in the second.
A packed grid of Miglias and Libres produced their usual ground-shaking performance, the opening encounter seeing a huge train of 1.3-litre machines dicing around the Indy bowl before Jeff Smith nosed in front when it mattered, ahead of Aaron Smith, Andrew Jordan, series returnee Nick Padmore and points leader Rupert Deeth, with Endaf Owens the unlucky one to ‘fall off’ when lapping a backmarker.
The last race of the day was sadly truncated by several incidents, firstly a red flag for a multi-car shunt into the first corner, and then in the restart for a safety car while ‘beached’ cars were moved out of harm’s way. Through it all however came Jordan to claim his fourth win of the season, ahead of a tightly-bunched train of cars headed across the line by Ashley Davies.
In the up-to-1400cc Libre category, Richard Colburn further extended his points lead with a steady run to victory in the opener, following that up with a 2nd behind Craig Cox in the later runout, with other podium positions falling to Les Stanton, Andy Dickinson and, arguably the happiest chappy of the day, Peter Harries who when asked by the commentator if it was his first podium of the season, replied almost in shock: “It’s my first podium ever…”!
Heading into September and the M7RC pays its first ever visit to the Ty Croes circuit on Anglesey in North Wales, with stunning backdrops of Snowdonia and the Irish Sea to complement what should be yet more fantastic Mini action ●
RESULTS: Brands Hatch 6-7 August 2022
Round 11 S-Class 19 laps
1st 758 M Ayres
2nd 711 D Harrington
3rd 728 M Winkworth
Round 11 Se7ens 21 laps
1st 88 M Jordan
2nd 49 R Billison
3rd 39 G Woodbridge
Round 11 Miglia / Libre 22 laps
1st 46 J Smith – M
2nd 21 A Smith – M
3rd 1 A Jordan – M
14th 219 R Colburn – L
Round 12 S-Class 20 laps
1st 711 D Harrington
2nd 758 M Ayres
3rd 744 B Seyfried
Round 12 Se7ens 20 laps
1st 88 M Jordan
2nd 80 J Thompson
3rd 39 G Woodbridge
Round 12 Miglia / Libre 16 laps
1st 1 A Jordan – M
2nd 87 A Davies – M
3rd 23 R Deeth – M
11th 232 C Cox – L
Full results can be viewed at www.tst-timing-com
For the latest provisional points standings go to www.mini7.co.uk
Words: Rich Williamson