COVID Cup - Round 5 - Dull End To An Exciting Race At Brands

Updated: Jun 11, 2020

After the excitement at Lime Rock COVID Cup fans were ready for a thriller as the series hit the track at Brands Hatch. Championship leader Robin Bailes would line up on pole, followed by Dodds alongside him, and his Championship Rival Chaz Cleland who was 3rd in the championship with Bradley and Wood keeping a close eye on them on 4th and 5th on the grid.

Truswell would line up in 11th.

Glen J. Irwin (14th on Grid) arrived at Brands in style (would change later unfortunately)

Drivers Outside 107% Rule (0:55.450)

No Time - Teammie Van Weert

No Time - Kevin Smith

Before the lights would even go out, both Constanduros and Herring would launch too soon - immediately giving both a penalty. The lights eventually did go out, and the rest of the field launched on time, by Graham Hill Bend the grid was organised in a nice, orderly line in the same order as they started up until the tail end of the top 10.

Pearson would gain two places off the start from 8th, Gaffney would make an early move on around the outside of Druids on Honeyman and Verweij would have an incredible gaining 3 places - most notably passing Truswell and Herring on the way into Druids. Up front, Cleland, who was hunting Dodds, knew exactly what he had to do. Catch and Pass Bailes.

Into turn one, Cleland would dummy a move to the outside, Dodds would return to the racing line on the outside, and down the inside Cleland would go...but he had left his braking much, much too late, with Cleland on the inside with no traction, and Dodds on the outside, trying to avoid contact, both would end up the gravel - much to the delight of Bradley.

Bradley would pick up two free positions on lap 2.

Into Druids, Cleland would go wide to allow Dodds back the position he failed to make cleanly. Wood would also look to take advantage, but no such move could be made.

Further back, Constanduros was also making good, early progress as he slipped passed Truswell through clearways, before passing Herring too to get into the top 10.

Dodds early podium spot wouldn't last long however as he'd lose the back end into clearways - he'd hold it for a moment longer, before the car dangerously snapped the other way as the tires would grip, spinning him to the left due to his counter-steer.

For the second time in two races, Wood would be in the wrong place at the wrong time - he'd hit into the rear of the Senna-liveried Skippy, snapping his front left wheel clean off, and breaking Dodds' rear left. Both came into the pits for repairs, where Honeyman was already serving a stop-go for a jump-start.

Wood's (6) Wheel Escapes As Another Severe Crash Hampers His Chances

Avoiding the Calamity, Cleland took to the grass in avoiding action, but in doing so lost traction and momentum. Opportunistic Pearson (1) would use this to propel him self up into the top 3, whilst Canzobre (semi-hidden behind Pearson) would use the slipstream to pass Cleland whilst Gaffney pushed him (Canzobre) along.

Canzobre's 4th place would only last a few hundred meters before he'd put his left wheel on the grass coming into Paddock Hill Bend, sending him sliding through the gravel bed. If he wasn't already having a tough enough day, Constanduros went wayy too hot into Paddock Hill Bend, sliding wider and wider as the track levelled out...with Canzobre in Constanduros' way, a collision was inevitable....

It was a 73mph shunt...

Only position back, in 9th, Herring's chance for a good result would also come to an abrupt end.

Like he did on the many laps before this one, Truswell spotted his braking point. Weather it was braking on the wrong part of the un-even exit to the pits, the fact that car was fully laden with fuel or a combination of both, The Skippy's rear got a little unsettled, so he corrected it with a stab of gas and a touch of steering before I realised the mess I was about to be in...the car slid into the side of Herring' the car slid Truswell was visibly frustrated at himself - he had just crashed someone else out - and ruined both his and Herring's races. Truswell's car lightly hit the wall. The first time this season.

TL: Truswell Slides after original contact TM: In the background, Constanduros and Canzobre have their accident TR: There was significant damage to both cars BL: The dust hadn't even settled when Smith would join the scene. BM: Truswell looks of into the distance as Smith would hit the already damaged barrier.

Just as Honeyman was leaving the pits after his stop and go penalty, there would be an in excess of five Skippy's in the pit-lane from the various opening lap incidents.

After his contact with Dodds, Wood would be the first to arrive, followed by Dodds himself.

The pair of Canzobre and Constanduros would be next, followed by Truswell. Herring would attempt to drive the badly damaged car around but would pin at Graham Hill Bend before giving up and using the back entrance into the pits.

Smith would also spin at Graham hill, but would somehow hobble around to the pit-lane.

Honeyman leaves as the pits fill up...

Next out of the pits would be Dodds...but as he was doing Bailes had just started his 4th lap. With the sheer amount of cars in the pits - traffic would quickly become a problem.

Behind Bailes, was Bradley, followed by the fighting duo of Pearson and Cleland.

Into Paddock Hill Bend, Pearson would give Cleland the position, since Cleland had the inside and racing line.

Closely behind them was Gaffney, who was closing in due to squabbling pair.

Bringing up the rear was Daman, Van Weert and Irwin. Wood would leave the pits as the last trio headed up into Druids. Now it was all about making up as much time as possible. As the leaders were headed to Surtees, (passing the all but broken Smith along the way), down in 4th place, Pearson would go wide at Graham Hill bend and lose another position to Gaffney.

Next out of the pit-lane was Canzobre, who came out as Wood was heading to the line to start his 4th lap. Herring would shortly follow, leaving the pits as Wood was exiting Druids.

Behind Herring was Honeyman and Dodds. This duo was soon to be followed by Truswell who had just left the pits in front of the leaders. Further behind, in 5th place, more drama at paddock was about to take place...Pearson would lose the back end going into Paddock, collect it by using a bit of the grass and kerb on the inside, before being gently collected by Verweij as Pearson slid sideways down the hill.

Verweij somehow made it past - as Pearson hobbled back to the pits. Smith (who'd just left the pits behind the pair on this very lap) would stream past - however Van Weert, who was fighting with Daman, wasn't so lucky and got punted into the air on entry to Druids.

The myth that Red Bull Gives You Wings Was True....

As Van Weert was removing himself from the Druids gravel-bed, Irwin would come along, miss the apex of the same corner and too would fine himself in the gravel bed....unfortunately the very same stones Van Weert was using.

This "Incident" happened after the 9pm watershed...

Irwin would be able to continue, despite a little bit of scratched paint, but after discovering his steering was unusable, Van Weert would retreat to the pits.

Thankfully, before this, Irwin had no such issues, so despite being overtaken by three cars, all of whom were a lap down.

At the start of Lap 7 of the race, the track looked as follows: 1st Robin Bailes - Lap 7 - 15th Robin Truswell - Lap 5 2nd Joe Bradley - Lap 7 3rd Chaz Cleland - Lap 7

4th Sean Gaffney - Lap 7 5th Ronald Verweij - Lap 7

- 16th Kevin Smith - Lap 5

6th Martyn Pearson - Lap 7

7th Nicholas Daman - Lap 7 (passed at start/finish line) - 11th Asier Canzobre - Lap 6

- 17th Ben Constanduros - Lap 5

- 12th Darren Wood - Lap 6

8th Glen Irwin - Lap 7

- 13th Simon Herring - Lap 6

9th Gary Dodds - Lap 7

--Robin Bailes - Lap 8 -- - 14th Ewen Honeyman - Lap 6 Honeyman, Cleland would go up the inside of Bradley at the top of Paddock Hill Bend to claim 2nd place...all he needed to do now was catch Bailes. Daman would claim 6th place from Smith who spun again at Paddock Hill Bend.

Despite the constant lapping of cars, the battles on track were in a difficult situation as the lead car wouldn't be able to pull out a lead, due to getting stuck behind another car, yet the driver behind wasn't exactly in a position to catch the driver ahead as he too was facing traffic.

From starting in 8th, managing to get into the top 5 - before being T-Boned, Pearson had done an absolutely incredible job to get it back into 5th place.

Verweij who was previously 5th had to pit for repairs, which gave Pearson the Position - behind him Daman was set to score his highest finish since Summit Point when the series began! Irwin's day wasn't going to get any easier as he would spin coming out of Clearways. After recovering, he would come into the pits for a fresh set of tires.

Honeyman watches on as Irwin spins

Since the pack had been put on various different laps, the race had been put into a little lull everyone jut doing their best to get past the back-marker in front of them, and make it easy on those trying to lap them.

This lull would be ended by the duo in the picture above. Irwin would lose the back end on the exit of the apex at Graham Hill Bend. After a sizeable slide, he'd save it....Honeyman, who was behind, didn't anticipate Irwin to be so slow after the slide and ran straight into the back of him.

The duo would meet again in incredibly unfortunate circumstances

Both would return to the pit after, losing yet more time, laps and positions on their competitors. Starting Lap 16, Bailes had not a the faintest clue of the horror that was about to hit him - in a race he should have won - and with 10 points separating them in the championship - a race he needed to win.

Going into Paddock Hill Bend....his internet would cut out. With no connection to the internet - and no connection to the iRacing Server Bailes was completely out of luck.

Lap 17. Cleland hears just those 4 words he's been dreaming of all race long "You're In The Lead" his engineer Jeff enthusiastically chime over the radio.

But following this, aside from Dodds managing to get past Daman - not a single overtake for position was made.

For the remaining 17 laps the cars would go around in the same order. Truswell would catch Herring by Lap 23 - but fearing another collision with the man he took out on lap 3, he held back.

For 11th Position (1 point difference to 12th) Truswell the rewards weren't great enough to risk going for a move. Should the move not work out, he'd both undo his own work of catching Herring, but make Herring's come-back completely pointless too. With Truswell having a good bond with all drivers on the grid, Round 6 would be a bad time to make enemies.

Moves during these 17 laps would be attempted - all valid as another, but none would be successful enough to gain a position and keep it.

In the end, Cleland would take the win by and impressive - and somewhat disappointing - 19 seconds. The previous furthest gap being a mere -0.2 seconds.

After a total of 35 laps, the results are:

1st Chaz Cleland

2nd Joe Bradley

3rd Sean Gaffney

4th Martyn Pearson (0.1 Separating him from a podium)

5th Ronald Verweij (-1 Lap)

6th Gary Dodds (Also on Verweij's tail) (-1 Lap)

7th Nicholas Daman (-1 Lap)

8th Asier Canzobre (-1 Lap)

9th Darren Wood (-1 Lap)

10th Teamie Van Weert (-2 Laps)

11th Simon Herring (-2 Laps)

12th Robin Truswell (-2 Laps)

13th Ben Constanduros (-3 Laps)

14th Ewen Honeyman (-3 Laps)

15th Robin Bailes (-5 Laps)

16th Glen J. Irwin (-8 Laps)

DNF - Kevin Smith

Championship Standings After 5 Rounds


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