On Saturday 22 May, Paul and John O’Dwyer were invited to Brands Hatch by John and his parents to watch John race in round three of the Ginetta GT5 Challenge Pro Series. There was one race on Saturday and two races on Sunday.
The GT5 Challenge is renowned for producing some of the closest and most exhilarating one-make racing in the UK, and an exciting mix of returning drivers and new talents have come together to battle it out at the front of the field this season. Our sponsored driver, 17 year old John Bennett, racing with Elite Motorsport, has momentum on his side after impressively finishing with three podium finishes in the final four races last year.
In Saturday’s race, John started 2nd on the grid but early in the race, overtook the front runner and led all the way to the finish line to take top spot and top ranking in the championship. John O’Dwyer and myself then met John and his family in the paddock to watch him receive the winner’s trophy and bottle of champagne! Unfortunately, later that evening, a race enquiry concluded that John’s car was not quite in front of the leader’s car as he made his overtaking move after the safety car had been deployed following a crash and as a result, he had to settle for 2nd place. There is no news on whether he had to give back the champagne and trophy.
However, in the first race on Sunday, he made amends by coming home again in first place! With expectations high for the final race of the weekend, John started in pole position but quickly found himself relegated to third and battling with three or four other cars for second spot. John was able to finally make his move and just as he moved into second, the wet track conspired against him and he slid off the track and into the barriers with significant damage to the car. Fortunately, John walked away unharmed apart from his pride.
Overall, it was a very exciting weekend of racing and an understatement to say that it was also one of mixed fortunes.
Written by Paul Feist