Contrasting fortunes at Brands Hatch
After his race winning debut at Cadwell Park last month, Mark Reade and the Leastone team suffered a number of frustrations over the Monoposto championship rounds on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit last weekend, May 20/21st. Reade was joined for the weekend by Morgan McCourt, who was making his first appearance in the 1000 for 2017 and he enjoyed a very different weekend to his teammate, leaning on his previous experience at the famous Kent circuit.
Both Mark and Morgan would suffer very different fortunes throughout the weekend and this trend began in Friday testing, with McCourt logging solid laps throughout the day and Reade having his running restricted with a tough to source electrical gremlin. Overnight, the team were confident that they had rectified this problem heading into the all important single qualifying session on Saturday morning. With this qualifying session counting for grid positions for races 1 and 2, Reade logged times good enough for 4th and 3rd for the 1st and 2nd races respectively, with Morgan grabbing 8th and 6th.
As the lights went out for Saturdays Race 1, Reade got a solid start and set about harrying for the final podium spot throughout the opening laps, with Morgan jumping up to 6th. Late into lap 3, Reades Suzuki GSXR1000 set itself into ‘limp’ mode, restricting his RPM and sending him tumbling down the order. He managed to coax the car back to the pitlane, where a quick engine reset solved the problem, but unfortunately lost him any chance of a decent result.
With his teammates misfortune, McCourt was promoted to 5th and was enjoyed a tough battle for the remainder of the race for track position, albeit with a competitor from a different class. Undeterred by his earlier issues, Reade set about a charge through the field, using the remaining 6 laps to claw back into the top ten for an 8th place finish, despite being a lap down.
Overnight, the team set about trying to find the root cause of the Race 1 issue but with nothing obvious apparent, and the car running well after the reset, it was assumed to be a simple software glitch. Races 2 and 3 took place on Sunday, and once again Reade got a decent start, jumping up to 2nd on lights out. He defended hard over the ensuing laps but slipped back to 4th by lap 3. He maintained this position until lap 6 of the 11 lap race, when a broken wire forced his Leastone 1000 to grind to a halt.
In contrast, Morgan had held station off the line, and again benefited from his team mates problems to jump up into 5th. The difference this time was that he spent most of his efforts looking in his mirrors, keeping two competitors at bay from early on. Settling into a good rhythm by the mid part of the race, he eked the gap out to just over a second and this was a useful gap that he maintained to the chequered flag.
To compound matters for Reade, the Race 3 grid was decided on Race 2 results, meaning that he would line up 23rd overall. The team worked frantically during the break, having to replace the entire wiring loom to solve the problem. They completed this just in time for Reade to take up his grid slot but unfortunately, the frustration was to continue, when he suffered a suspension failure after running over the Paddock bend kerbing.
The sister car of McCourt proved that it was not unsusceptible to problems, as he suffered a gear shift issue on the opening laps, something that dropped him to the tail of the field. He had just about figured out a way to drive around the problem when the safety car was deployed on lap 4 and by the time the race went green again, time limits meant that there was only time for 2 racing laps and this prevented any real progress for Morgan.
Even so, he still managed to take 7th place, despite his issues and overall was pleased with his weekend. Morgan will return for the second of his Monoposto races at Oulton Park later this year, when the series visits the Cheshire circuit on the 29th of July.
In the meantime, the cars return home for a 5 week break, when Reade will look to bounce back during rounds 6 and 7 of the Monoposto championship, which are scheduled to take place on the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit on July 1/2nd.