Yet again the M & C Wilkinson team headed to Brand Hatch for their third appearance at the circuit in 2014. Chris was competing in the HSCC Guards Trophy for the first time since he was crowned the 2013 series Champion last year.
Chris with number 1 aloft from his Championship winning campaign last year
Qualifying was at midday on Saturday and with a field of over forty Pre ‘66 GT and Sports Racing cars the actions was going to be fast and frantic. Chris took to the circuit initially to scrub in a new set of tyres in the early stages and after he pitted to have his tyre pressures stabilised he then set about placing the car as high up the grid as possible in the middle of qualifying.
Chris despite traffic and incident managed to set a time of 1.47.5 with just under ten minutes of the session remaining. With two sectors of the circuit under yellows he decided to come in for a second time during the session to see what position he would be on the grid at that stage. With the news that two cars had managed to push him down the grid and that stage to fifth in the GT class Chris took to the track for one final attempt.
With yellow flags still scattered around the track Chris’s first two laps did not eclipse his previous best time at that stage, with one final attempt remaining Chris pushed a little harder (despite the yellow at Paddock) and sure enough as he crossed the line he managed to move up to third in the GT class on the grid with a time of 1.46.1.
The race was later that evening and as the cars took to the grid, following the formation lap, Chris lined up in position ready for the standing start. A poor get away from the car in front blocked Chris as he left the line dropping him further down the field. From then on Chris delivered the drive of a champion by clawing his way back through the field. After only a few laps he was again third in the GT class and chasing down the TVR’s Griffith in second. A series of Chris’s fastest ever laps at Brands (four lap times of 1.45.1’s to be precise) saw him close the gap to the TVR prior to his compulsory pit stop.
A super quick ‘in lap’ prior to entering the pits helped Chris reduce the gap to second place even further. As he left the pits (with tyres ablaze) following the minute stop he re-joined the circuit in second just ahead of the Spiers TVR. Try as the TVR might he could not live with Chris’s consistency, another couple of 1.45.1’s saw Chris pull away and take second in the GT class and first in class comfortably as the chequered flag fell.