BRANDS HATCH GP RACE REPORT
Max Bladon is keen to brush aside the bad luck that has haunted him at Brands Hatch this year and get his season back on track at Oulton Park in a fortnight.
The MINI CHALLENGE JCW Championship’s second visit to Brands in a month brought yet another dose of disappointment for Max, who was once again left rueing mechanical issues that cost him dear.
Having endured a costly driveshaft failure at the MINI Festival event on the Indy Circuit rounds in July, Max was keen to fight back around the lesser-used Grand Prix Circuit, but again was let down by a failures outside of his control.
Qualifying was made trickier when heavy rain lashed the track just before the JCWs were due to go out. All cars switched to wet tyres, but it left little time to get the cars fully prepared for the conditions.
“As soon as I went out my windscreen started misting up badly,” said Max, who struggled to see where he was going for much of the session.
That was the root of an uncharacteristic mistake, when Max locked his fronts into Druids and skated into the gravel. Despite only having his front wheels in the trap, the circuit did not use its ‘live’ recovery process and instead waved the red flags for other cars off around the circuit. With Max stationary at the time of the stoppage, he was not allowed to restart the session.
“I was gutted as it was a single little mistake and the marshals could have pushed me back out, but then the reds came out and they wouldn’t let me rejoin – it was tough to sit and watch,” he said.
Max would start 14th, based on his best time from just three laps, but the early stages of the first race looked promising as Max made up two places from the start, until he was again let down when a driveshaft failed at the start of lap two.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “To have two driveshaft failures in as many meetings is just such bad luck, and this one was the opposite side to the one that failed on the Indy Circuit.”
For race two Max was forced to start 25th, but few up the order early on. He gained 10 places on the opening tour before settling into to 13th spot and started applying the pressure on the pack ahead of him.
Sadly a tangle with Jack Wright at Druids cost Max time, before he suffered a tyre failure that forced him to crawl back to the pits, eventually finishing 21st. The results have left Max seventh in the championship.
“It is what it is sadly, it’s been another disaster,” he said. “I love Brands Hatch, but it’s not been kind to me this season, so I’m just keen to get back in the car for Oulton Park and go again. It’s a track I really like and know well, so I’m heading there ready to get back to the front.”