The 2008 Charterhouse Heritage GT Challenge Heritage GT Challenge drew to a close on Sunday (26 October) at a wet Brands Hatch.Andy Jenkinson and John Young won the first race in Jenkinson’s beautifully presented Aston Martin DBS V8, while father and son pairing Arthur and Boysie Thurtle were unstoppable in the later race in their Chevrolet Camaro.QualifyingHeld on Saturday when it was dry, the Thurtles accompanied by Roger Bennington (who would start race one) topped the time sheets with a 52.654s lap. The Class D car was just 0.044s faster than the Invitation class Jenkinson/Young pairing. The Ram Cobra of John Dickson/Myles Castaldini showed a fine turn of speed, en route to being third quickest.
Fourth and best of the Class E runners was the Ian McCallum owned and John Bussell shared Aston Martin DB5 just ahead of the debuting TVR 5000 of former TVR owner Peter Wheeler and Ben Samuelson. Andrew Chalmers and Colin Davids were best of the Class C runners (eighth overall) while Class A promised to throw up some fireworks with the Death brothers, Harvey and Clive, just ahead of the super little Sebring Sprite of Robert Morris and Paul Ringer.
Somewhat surprisingly, acknowledged Brands ace Gordon Streeter was over a second off the pace in Class A. Tim Glover and Rikki Cann in a two-litre engined Ford Escort Mexico topped Class B as an excellent 28-car field took to the Indy circuit.Race oneRobin North (Ford Mustang) took the early fight to Jenkinson, the action getting a little too close as early as lap two, resulting in Jenkinson spinning coming down the hill from Druids. He quickly regained composure and was ahead again a lap later.
With the Wheeler TVR pitting from third spot on lap 10, the place was taken over by Charlie Kemp, racing solo in Conor O’Brien’s Aston Martin DB4. The front two cars both pitted on lap 18 with Young taking over the lead car and quickly resuming where Jenkinson had left off. Such was the leader’s advantage that Young even had time for a spin exiting Graham Hill Bend without losing top spot.Kemp led the chasers, finishing some 41.9s adrift, while Arthur Thurtle positively charged up the order having taken over from Bennington who, without anything like as much experience of the Camaro, had put in a solid first stint.
Thurtle went from sixth to third in the space of a few laps but Kemp, who trying to conserve wet tyres on a drying track, was just beyond his reach. Bob Searles/Tony Jardine (Aston Martin DBS V8) and Wheeler/Samuelson in the TVR, which came back well, but got gradually slower and smokier as the race wore on, completed the top five. Second to fifth places were blanketed by less than seven seconds.The North family Mustang was first of the lapped runners in sixth. Not surprisingly, the Chalmers/Davids Porsche emerged victorious in Class C while Streeter fairly flew en route to turning around qualifying form with the Death brothers in Class A. The Glover/Cann Ford Escort dominated Class B.
Race winner Jenkinson reflected: "I'm upset with Mr North putting me into a spin, but otherwise okay. John did a good stint." Kemp added: "I think as a single driver I had an advantage in knowing the car away from the pit stop. But I was trying to conserve wet tyres on a drying track."Results 1 Andy Jenkinson/John Young (Aston Martin DBS V8) 31 laps in 30m46.141s (72.45mph); 2 Charlie Kemp (Aston Martin DB4) 31m28.048s; 3 Arthur Thurtle/Roger Bennington (Chevrolet Camaro); 4 Bob Searles/Tony Jardine (Aston Martin DBS V8); 5 Peter Wheeler/Ben Samuelson (TVR 5000M); 6 Robin & Zoe North (Ford Mustang). Class winners: Jenkinson/Young; Kemp; Thurtle/Bennington; Andrew Chalmers/Colin Davids (Porsche 911RS); Gordon Streeter (Ford Anglia); Tim Glover/Ricky Cann (Ford Escort Mexico). Fastest lap Jenkinson/Young 55.803s (77.32mph).Race twoThe results of race one set the starting order for the second race later on Sunday. Notably absent was the Wheeler/Samuelson TVR, which nevertheless had put in a fine performance given that the Friday test day was the first time that it had turned a wheel in anger.Robin North was an early casualty when he lost control coming down Graham Hill and spun heavily into the barriers. Second row starter Arthur Thurtle lost little time in setting the pace with Jenkinson slithering in and out of the Druids gravel trap on lap 13 as he strived to stay in touch. When Thurtle pitted at around half distance, the lead was out to 16 seconds, but with Jenkinson delaying his stop for a while, he inherited a 36.9s advantage.
It would count for nothing as Boysie Thurtle was soon in full flow and set about restoring the car’s original advantage and turning it into a winning margin that came close to lapping Young in the latter stages.
For several laps, he sat in behind the Aston but wisely decided against risking a pass that would have been purely academic. Boysie modestly said: "Dad says he’s getting too old – I don’t think so." He also admitted that third gear had gone missing, which added to the scale of the performance.
The third place battle, which was also for Class E honours, went down to the wire and when Kemp got out of shape exiting Graham Hill Bend on the final lap, John Bussell snatched the place away in Ian McCallum’s DB5. Impressed by his co-driver’s pace, gentleman driver McCallum reflected: "He was fifth, then fourth and now he’s got us third. John is some driver!"
The Mini Cooper of the Deaths initially ran just outside of the top six (having started from 14th grid spot) thanks to a superhuman effort by Harvey. Perhaps not surprisingly, their little Mini couldn’t maintain that pace race-long and eventually Class A honours fell to the Morris/Ringer Sprite.
It was involved in its own giant killing act, the nimble Sprite climbing all over the Chalmers/Davids Porsche in the twiddly bits, only too see Stuttgart power deny them on the straights. Patience and effort was finally rewarded, as the Sprite ended up just 1.5 seconds ahead of the Porsche.
With Class B honours again falling to the Porsche pairing, that left only Class B to be resolved and, just as earlier, the Glover/Cann Escort came out tops.Results 1 Arthur and Boysie Thurtle 41 laps in 40m26.097s (72.92mph); 2 Jenkinson/Young 41m23.623s; 3 Ian McCallum/John Bussell (Aston Martin DB5); 4 Kemp; 5 Searles/Jardine; 6 Nicholas King/Tony Worthington (Aston Martin DB4). Class winners: Thurtle/Thurtle; Jenkinson/Young; McCallum/Bussell; Robert Morris/Paul Ringer (Austin Healey Sebring Sprite); Chalmers/Davids; Glover/Cann. Fastest lap: Thurtle/Thurtle 55.952s (77.12mph).