Oliver Bryant Racing

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19th July 2007

Mix Fortunes for Bryant at Brands Hatch – One Good Finish

It has been a very trying 2007 British GT season for the Tech 9 Motorsport crew of Oliver Bryant and Matt Harris: the GT3 equalisation seems to have left some more equal than others and an already serious challenge has been further blunted by a series of unrelated problems that have left the Championship’s ‘winningest’ team without a points scoring finish since the opening race meeting of the season.

For the double header of one hour races rounds though, the team was looking to be back to its battling best and the omens were good: after a truly dreadful British summer so far Brands Hatch was bathed in warm sunshine, with a 28 car entry attracted to the fabulous Grand Prix circuit.

After early problems both Harris and Bryant began to find their feet, a top ten qualifying slot for Harris in the first session was followed by (un)lucky 13th for Bryant in session 2. This shows the tendency for the faster drivers to take part in qualifying 2 as a slightly faster time from Oliver posted him further back on the grid.

Saturday afternoon’s Race One saw Matt Harris making some immediate progress: he was already up to seventh place before the end of the opening lap and then grabbed sixth from the very pacey Ferrari 430 of Hector Lester.

It would get better still throughout the first part of the race, with Matt looking set to make further progress, and by the time the pit stop window arrived the Tech 9 man was running in a strong fifth place.

Oliver Bryant was soon back out on track and for a brief moment it looked as if a podium finish might just be on the cards: the #9 car was running strongly and with great track position.

It was right then that page 235 of the Book of Dreadful Racing Luck fell open, the page that reads “Broken Gearlever”.

“It just snapped in my hand,” said a crushed Oliver B. “I’ve only heard of that happening once before and that was in the final hour at Le Mans. I suppose I’m lucky that it happened on a safe part of the track; if it had happened at Westfield, I dread to think what could have happened.” The break was in the worst possible place on the lever, no chance of a quick fix so again, yet again, it was a DNF for #9.

Sunday’s race two would be a bigger challenge still: a mid grid start for Bryant would leave him with a mountain to climb but, in true Tech 9 tradition, Oliver strapped on the crampons and headed for base camp!

Again the #9 car made steady progress, up into the top ten as the half way point approached and as others headed to the pitlane, up briefly into a top three position. Oliver passed the Porsche of Mark Cole and held off Matt Griffin and Nigel Redwood in the RPM Porsches to hold position as the highest placed Porsche throughout his stint.

When the pit stop sequence shook out, Matt Harris was in the top ten with further progress likely, and the race was coming back in Tech 9’s direction.

As the final minutes ticked down he was barrelling along in a strong seventh position and closing fast on Phil Burton’s Ferrari 430 for sixth place. By the flag the two were separated by just tenths of a second, a points finish, after a long, long wait.

“That’s been a long time coming, too long,” said Bryant immediately afterwards. “Those two points almost feel like a win, after our run of bad luck.”

Perhaps though that luck has turned? We’ll find out in four weeks’ time when the championship features its second two hour enduro of the season at Silverstone.