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Jim Cameron BMW wins dramatic inaugural Club MSV Trackday Trophy

Sunday, March 28 2010

The BMW M3 of Jim Cameron overcame challenging weather conditions and a late charge from Gary Cole's Citroen Xsara to take the spoils in the inaugural round of the Club MSV Trackday Trophy at Brands Hatch on Saturday (27 March).

An impressive grid of 22 cars took part in the maiden race and, following a delayed start due to a sudden downpour of rain and hail, the pole-sitting BMW E30 M3 of Clive Bailey took the initial lead, with Cameron in second place and Ash Davies' Renault Clio in third.

Dominic Pettit's Ginetta G20 dropped down the order after qualifying in second position, whilst Cole made a storming start to rise from twelfth to fourth place by the end of the opening lap.

On lap four, Cameron dived down the inside of Bailey to take the lead, as Davies capitalised on his BMW E30 rival's lack of momentum to snatch second place and demote Bailey to third.

Cameron and Davies battled for the opening part of the race, going side by side down the start/finish straight at one point, but the BMW M3 maintained the lead as the pair went into the pits on lap eighteen.

Cameron was quickest away after the mandatory three minute stop to edge a sizeable advantage over the Citroen Xsara, which Davies handed over to Paul Abercrombie for the second half of the race. Abercrombie lost out further when a late stopping Gary Cole rejoined in second position, pushing the E30 M3 back to third position.

Following the pit stop window, father and son team Gary and Ben Littlewood rejoined the track in fourth place in their Renault Clio, with the pole-sitting BMW E30 - now in the hands of Chris Fellows - in fifth place, ahead of Kester Cook's VW Golf.

Gary Cole then began a late charge in the closing stages of the race, reducing Cameron's initial twelve second lead by more than a second per lap. On the final lap, Cameron's BMW was caught in heavy traffic, which gave Cole the opportunity to go round the outside exiting Graham Hill Bend and snatch the lead.

However, the Citroen then ran wide over the grass at Surtees, allowing Cameron to regain the lead. Cole rejoined the track and tried to chase down the BMW along the start/finish straight but, with a car length separating the pair, Cameron crossed the line ahead to claim victory in the inaugural Club MSV Trackday Trophy.

"I knew Gary was getting closer as he had a lot more grip than me in the wet conditions, plus my windscreen wipers had stopped working so I couldn't see anything when I was catching the backmarkers," said Jim Cameron. "Gary did get past me on the final lap, but I was celebrating in my car when I saw him rally across the grass at the final bend!

"It was a great race and the whole day was just fantastic. As an introduction to racing, I can't speak highly enough of the Trackday Trophy," he added.

The Renault Clios of Davies/Abercrombie and the Littlewood family held on to third and fourth place respectively, with less than a second separating the pair/ The pole-sitting Bailey/Fellows BMW finished fifth ahead of Kester Cook's VW Golf in sixth place.

Matt Upchurch and Daniel Stuart crossed the line in seventh in their Porsche 924, whilst the VW Golf of Douglas Campbell and Nick Jarvis rounded out the top eight.

There were only three retirements from the inaugural race - Autosport journalists Gary Watkins and Jamie OLeary suffered alternator troubles, whilst the Blakes/Takhar VW Golf and the Porsche 944 of the McHugh family also retired with mechanical problems.

Club MSV Manager Alex Baker concluded: "We were slightly nervous when the heavens opened just before the start of the race, but luckily the skies cleared and the field kept it on for the first lap!

"It was a great race to start the season and we're absolutely ecstatic with what a success the whole day has been. The inaugural Trackday Trophy event has exceeded all our expectations and we're hopeful