Arriving at Rockingham near Corby as Championship leader in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge, 18 year-old Brad Bailey put in three strong performances over the Bank Holiday weekend to emerge with his championship lead still in place.
Driving the distinctive bright Orangemachine, the Paul Bailey Car Sales driver qualified a superb 2nd for the two opening races – with the grid for race three decided by the driver’s finishing positions in race two, and in Sunday’s opening race Pole-man Will Burns’ Academy Motorsport car got away superbly, with Bailey,Davenport and Pittard scrapping into the Deene Hairpin.
Bailey was edged wide and lost out to Pittard, and later in the opening laps to Davenport, but a determined drive saw Bailey judge the lapping of female racer Barbara Kubicka perfectly and slice past nearest championship rival Davenport’s Reflex Racing machine to end up a hard-earned third behind Pittard and Burns.
“I got a bit unlucky at the hairpin, but we had good pace and once I had the opportunity I was pastDavenportand away. I’m pleased with that.” Smiled Bailey.
Bank Holiday Monday saw race two and good starts from both the front two rows of the grid….too good in the opinion of the officials as all four drivers, plus Neal Delargy were hit with 10 second penalties for false starts.
The race meanwhile played out with Bailey looking good for the lead until Pittard forced him wide and down to 8th place in the first lap scramble. Scrapping his way immediately back up to fifth place, Bailey pushed Clive Richards hard to the flag, and was promoted to 4th as Basey-Fisher was excluded for exceeding track limits.
“Looking at the pace we had, if Pittard hadn’t pushed me wide I would’ve been in with a shout of winning, or at least a podium, so that was frustrating. But we had a bit of luck with Basey-Fisher getting excluded and I took some solid points so it was ok.”
The final race of the weekend on Monday afternoon saw Bailey get away well and be in the mix, but leader Burns had edged away and Pittard had squeezed up into third.
On lap four the Safety Car boards were shown and yellow flags thrown as Alex Drabble ended up in the gravel, however leader Burns and second placed Pittard continued to lap briskly, withDavenport, Richads and Bailey losing ground.
In the remaining three laps it was clear that Bailey was able to lap at the same pace as leader Burns, and fired-up after the safety car sliced past both Richards and Davenport in two superb moves, working his was closer and closer to Pittard to take his second podium of the weekend, and leave Rockingham with a 10 Point lead over Burns.
“That was a mega last few laps. We didn’t have new tyres this weekend and Burns did, and we were at his pace at the end. Two podiums and a fourth over a tough weekend was a mega result. We lead the Championship so I’m very pleased.”