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Local racers go for glory at Brands Hatch this weekend

Friday, September 30 2011

Outside of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at Brands Hatch this weekend (1/2 October), there are local names to cheer on in the support races, including a face from the past.

James Dixon from Maidstone is currently second in the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup, which concludes this weekend. Just three points separate him and Aron Smith, whilst Paul Rivett and James Colburn are both behind by a solitary point. Two races will decide who will be the 2011 champion of a series that frequently attracts the attention of the touring car bosses.

Dixon is fired up for the challenge. "I want to win them all", he quipped. "Rivett is a strong competitor, I need to beat him this weekend as I don't expect him to go off or make a mistake. I want to stick it on pole and I'm quite good at winning from pole. Colburn is a real threat, he's definitely looking strong in the second half of the year, and Smith is always there or thereabouts. I think it'll go down to the last lap of the last race."

Dixon's local knowledge gives him a small advantage as he explains: "I actually work at Brands as an instructor, but I don't get to go on the full GP circuit all that much. In actual fact, I wrote the car off there last year! But I've driven Brands a number of times since and I've not had a problem since. Earlier in the year I won here and should've taken a second win had I not been taken out on the first corner."

Should Dixon win this weekend, his ambitions for 2012 are clear. "You see so many Clio drivers going into touring cars", he continued. "Jonny Adam, Tom Onslow-Cole and Dave Newsham have all made it. It's definitely the next step for me; it's just a case of sponsorship. I think this year's crop of Clio Cup drivers could all win in BTCC, there is real talent here, I've spoken to a few teams, but its early days."

Jake HillAlso challenging for championship success this weekend is 17 year-old Goudhurst-based Jake Hill, who competes in the Ginetta GT Supercup. The G50 class title is his target, but with a points deficit to leader Tom Ingram, he knows he will need a strong weekend.

Helping him will be Cranbrook's Angley School, now rebranded K College, where he took part in a vocational college course in Vehicle Mechanics on day release, combining this with work experience at race team JOTA Sport at their workshops in nearby Frant. Jake will be carrying the K College logo on his race car, whilst the college will be represented in the trade stands area, promiting their motorsport and vehicle maintenance courses.

Jake's history at his local circuit should also help, as he explains: "I've won three of the four races I've competed in on the Grand Prix Circuit and been on Pole Position every time so I'm really looking forward to racing this weekend."

In contrast to the young guns, the Ginetta GT Supercup will also provide a BTCC veteran's return to action this weekend. Former works Mazda and Peugeot driver Patrick Watts will line up on the grid with crack squad Total Control Racing, run by Lee Brookes, who once raced alongside his guest driver.

Kentish man Watts is looking forward to his racing return, after years of competing in historics. "It's a great opportunity given to me by TCR and Ginetta but having not raced anything with slicks on for 10 years, I'm looking forward to driving the 2011 Ginetta G55 - which could be different to my 1950 Allard J2!", said Watts.

Tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit (1-2 October) are available on the gate for £12 on Saturday and £30 on Sunday, with free entry for children 12 and under. For more information, call 0843 453 9000 or click here.