Last weekend saw BMRC (Bemsee) at the famous Brands Hatch GP circuit – always a popular meeting as there are limited races carried out on the extended GP circuit compared to the shorter “Indy” circuit.
Lamonde Automation Sponsored Minitwins rookie, #232 Matt Wetherell qualified 8th on the grid for the first race of the weekend for him (race 9) which put him in the middle of row 3 with a qualifying time of 1:42.227, placing him 5 places in front of close rookie rival, Dan Thomas and 8 ahead of Tommy Downes who’d had some issues with his bike.
There was a new guy in town, Tom Stanford who qualified over a second in front of Matt, he wasn’t worried as he was no threat to the rookie championship as he was in the non-rookie side of the championship. Close non-rookie rival, Kevin Lilley was 5th with a QT or 1:40.417, as you may recall from previous reports, Matt is usually one or two positions away from Kevin.
Race 1. (race 9 in the program) was red-flagged on the second lap and restarted about 3 hours later. The re-started race was slotted in between race 14 and 15.
Matt got a good start going into turn 1 in 7th, ahead of Kev Lilley. For the whole race, Matt chased Tom Stanford, Matt was quicker in places than Tom was and planned to put an overtake in on the last lap, however, having missed the last lap flag, the chance was gone and Matt finished 0.347s behind Tom. In the grand scheme of things, it didn’t matter as Matt was the first rookie across the line.
Race 2 was carried over to Sunday due to the delays on Saturday from the incident in Race 1. Matt’s best lap time from the restarted Race 1 was 1:41.024 an improvement of over a second from his qualifying time, placing Matt 8th on the grid with others also improving their times. Matt finished 6th overall, but first rookie.
Race 3, Matt was 6th on the grid. There was a collision on the start line and the race was red-flagged and restarted for 5 laps with Matt finishing 7th overall, and first rookie.
Race 4, with a fastest lap from the previous race of 1:40.684, Matt felt that the rookie lap record was within reach which had stood since 2008 at 1:40.024. Starting 7th on the grid Matt had to change his line to avoid a collision with another rider, close rookie-rival, Tommy Downes capitalised on this and went on to take the rookie win for the race and also smashed the lap record with a 1:39.914, well done Tommy.
A great weekend of racing for Matt, with 3 first-place finishes and 1-second place, however, a dark shadow was cast over the weekend. The incident in race 1 on Saturday, involved Dan Thomas, a talented rider. Dan had beaten Matt in a previous round and was the most improved rookie. Unfortunately, despite the very best efforts of all those involved, Dan sadly did not survive the injuries he sustained in the incident. A statement from Bemsee about Dan is on their website here. RIP Dan, our thoughts are with your friends and family.
You can follow Matt’s racing on his Facebook page here.