Round 2

Brands Hatch - Festival Italia

16 August 2020

1st R1: Vance Kearney (355 Ch) / R2: Tris Simpson (355 Ch)
2nd R1: Tris Simpson (355 Ch) / R2: Colin Sowter (348 Ch)
3rd R1: Jim Cartwright (328 GTB) / R2: Nick Cartwright (328 GTB)
report by William Moorwood
photography by Klaus Hartleben, William Moorwood

 Sadly this year there was no gridwalk at the Festival Italia but MSV managed to generate a sizeable crowd of spectators and plenty of Italian car clubs taking part which included a good turnout of FOC members and their cars. Race entries were down on the excellent grid which took part in the first race meeting of the season. One potential entrant, ‘the last of the late enterers’ finally outdid himself and was not allowed to race having fallen foul of the Covid 19 protocols. Hopefully a lesson learnt!


There was a single qualifying session in which the two fastest times set the grid for the two races. Judging by the times the track conditions were not good as almost everyone recorded slightly slower times that those achieved three weeks ago.  On pole was guest driver Tim Mogridge in his 355/Ch with Tris Simpson (355/Ch) alongside him despite having a lap time disallowed for exceeding track limits. Vance Kearney, one of the few going quicker, was third also in a 355/Ch. Jago Keen qualified significantly quicker showing he is getting a better understanding of his newly acquired 308 GTB.

Race 1

The weather was not looking good in the afternoon and by the time the cars gathered together in the assembly area it began to rain to the extent that two green flag laps were mandated for the drivers to adjust to the changing track conditions. When the lights went out the race got safely under way despite some faltering starts on the right side of the grid which allowed Tim Walker (355) and Jim Cartwright (328 GTB) to make up places on the first lap.

As the race progressed the conditions deteriorated with Clearways, the long corner before the pit straight being particularly challenging. Everyone completed their quickest laps in the first third of the race and the most noticeable of these was Peter Fisk achieving fastest lap of all in his 550 Maranello fresh from a gearbox change following the last race meeting.

As the race progressed there was some very close racing without any significant movers and then it all happed on the last three laps. Kearney overtook Simpson, Jim Cartwright had been running strongly also overtook Simpson but also incurred a 5 second penalty for exceeding track limits and was classified behind him in the results. Nick Cartwright in his 328 GTB had been pressing Colin Sowter (348/Ch) finally passing him on the final lap to be best in Group 4.

Whilst Mogridge took an easy outright win it was Vance Kearney who was first of the PFfc runners.

Race 2

Kearney was unable to start race 2 due to a mechanical issue but Darren Mills  (355/Ch) who had to retire after 14 laps completed in Race 1 was able to make the grid. Conditions were similar to the first race, possibly a little wetter, making it a tricky surface on which to race with confidence.

As with the first race everyone got safely away albeit with one or two hesitant starts and by the end of the first lap Jim Cartwright was up to third place behind Mogridge and Simpson.  Running in 4th place was Walker whose car set up was decidedly unsuited to the conditions and would steadily drop back.  Peter Fisk was one to make a slow start but picked up his pace and by lap three he was running behind Peter Everingham (328 GTB) for what would become a very close race all the way to the finish.

All was to change on lap 10 when Jim Cartwright came to lap Mills and Chris Goddard (308 GTB) who were in a close race. Contact was made between Cartwright and Goddard resulting in Cartwright becoming stuck in the gravel trap at the top of the Druids hairpin and as a consequence of this the safety car was deployed.

After three laps of the safety car Mogridge and Simpson were able to continue their close race at the front lapping with near identical times, something Simpson attributed to a change in tyres which were giving him better grip. Regrettably Goddard retired on lap 14 after sustaining damage in the incident at Druids. Curiously the safety car seemed to help track conditions and lap speeds all increased over the last 7 laps.

Everingham and Fisk maintained their close race to the end with Fisk overtaking Everingham on the last lap of the race. On the final lap a driveshaft failed Keen’s 308 causing him to retire. Sowter took second place this time ahead of Nick Cartwright.

Race winner was guest driver Mogridge but Tris Simpson crossed the line less than ½ second behind. .

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