Vale racers in action at Brands Hatch and Silverstone in 2022's first full weekend of motorsport

By Colin and James Beckett
Tony Coe was in action at Brands Hatch last weekend riding a Suzuki GSXR600 (Photo James Beckett)Tony Coe was in action at Brands Hatch last weekend riding a Suzuki GSXR600 (Photo James Beckett)
Tony Coe was in action at Brands Hatch last weekend riding a Suzuki GSXR600 (Photo James Beckett)

Picture: Tony Coe was in action at Brands Hatch last weekend riding a Suzuki GSXR600 (Photo James Beckett)

The first full weekend of motorsport action officially kicked-off the 2022 season last week, with Vale-based racers on-track in motorcycle and car events at both Brands Hatch and Silverstone, write Colin and James Beckett.

Tony Coe was in action at Brands Hatch for the British Motorcycle Racing Club (BMCRC) opener, while Alex Kapadia and Julian Thomas were both racing at Silverstone in a British Endurance Racing organised British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) event.

Coe rode his Suzuki GSXR600 in rounds of the MRO 600 and Clubman 600 Championship at Brands Hatch. Following a short practice session, Coe's performance on the opening day of the BMRMC race meeting around the venue's 1.2-mile Indy Circuit, was restricted to just one race. Missing his first event, Coe was placed 26th place in his maiden race, before scoring a weekend's best of 19th in his second outing early on Sunday morning. A further finish of 25th was scored in his final race of the weekend, with overall race victories going three times to Dawid Krawiecki (Yamaha R6) and once to Jack Sim (Kawasaki ZX6R).

The BMCRC season continues at Silverstone at the beginning of April, when races around the track's National Circuit layout will take place.

* Alex Kapadia drove a Praga R1T G5 in two races at Silverstone in the opening Praga Cup event of the 2022 season. The former 24 Hours of Le Mans racer shared duties in the Tim Gray Motorsport-entered car with Richard Wells, with the duo placed sixth and fourth in their two races. Kapadia said, "This was an enjoyable weekend, and once again the team did a great job. We didn't score a podium finish, but we had good pace and we are looking forward to the next race."

Julian Thomas, at the wheel of a BMW M240i, raced to a class win, and third position overall, with Chris Overend in their Team BRIT-entered car in the Britcar Trophy. The experienced Thomas was enjoying his first outing in the Britcar Trophy, and after only a short test session prior to the weekend, the podium result was well received. Thomas said, "This was a great result and well-deserved by the team. The race was loads of fun and the BMW was great fun to drive."

* Ross Gunn will contest the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring this weekend - round two of the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship. The famous American race will take place at Florida's Sebring International Raceway, the former USAAF airfield playing host to the 70th-running of the sportscar classic.

Gunn is entered to drive an Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in the GTD Pro class. The Vale-based racer will share driving duties in the Heart of Racing-entered car with Alex Riberas and Maxime Martin. This weekend's race marks the first event for the trio since the Daytona 24 Hours, which ended in retirement for the squad when Riberas was involved in an early race incident.

An overall entry of fifty-three cars will start the race, eleven of which will contest the GTD Pro class. Gunn and his team-mates will be racing against a strong entry of factory-supported GT cars from Corvette, Porsche, Ferrari and BMW.

The Sebring event also hosts the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). The WEC Prologue took place last weekend at the track, and this season's action kicks-off on Friday with the first race of the season. Competitors will ten head to Europe for a race at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, prior to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.