Oliver Bryant Racing

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16th July 2006

News from the Heritage Grand Touring Car Challenge

Father and son team Grahame and Oliver Bryant scored a double victory in the third meeting of the Heritage Grand Touring Car Challenge season at Snetterton (15/16 July). In front of an excellent British F3/GT crowd, the Heritage field delivered two highly entertaining races for the Marston Hotels supported event.


Oliver Bryant (Morgan +8) narrowly beat off the trio of drivers lined up in the Thurtle’s Chevrolet Camaro to set the fastest qualifying time. Boysie Thurtle, Arthur Thurtle plus Roger Bennington all had a turn at the wheel of the American V8. Sharing the driving with Oliver was father Grahame, racing the Morgan for the first time in the 2006 Heritage series.

Chris Williams was pleased with third place as he made it two Morgan +8s in the top three. “No problems for a change,” he reported happily. Chris Scragg’s best lap placed him in an excellent fourth slot in his Aston Martin V8 while the McCarthy clan set about fixing their MGB GTV8 after father Roy suffered a broken rear damper mounting point.

Peter Hallford (Chevrolet Camaro) was trouble-free in seventh which was more than could be said for John Shoesmith and Ray Barrow, who were faced with a drive back to their Kent base to fetch a new door for their Camaro. “It flew off down the back straight,” reported John.

Unfortunately, the Aston Martin DB4 of Jeremy Cooke and Michael Mallock was out after a con-rod failure resulted in a major engine blow-up in qualifying.

Peter Lloyd’s Jaguar E Type led the class B runners just ahead of Ant Scragg who was complaining about the lack of brakes on his first acquaintance with this father’s Aston Martin DBS V8, while Gordon Streeter (Ford Anglia) was miffed to have been piped by Clive Death (Mini Cooper) in their Class D battle.

Race one

Williams started the opening race from pole position and held the lead until the Esses on the opening lap when the thundering Camaro of Arthur Thurtle blasted ahead. Oliver Bryant soon displaced Williams’ Morgan and set about chasing after the leader.

Arthur was the first of the leading runners to stop and hand the car over to his son Boysie on lap 12, promoting the two Morgans to the head of the field.

For Williams his race was soon to end when the exhaust fell off at the end of the Revett Straight. “I thought the engine had blown up,” said a relieved Williams, who then set about trying to find the errant exhaust to re-attach it for race two.

The consistently quick Chris Scragg had a short spell at the head of the field but when he made his pit stop the Thurtle Camaro once more took over at the head of the field.

Coming on strongly was the McCarthy MGB and after Roy had taken over from his son Russell, and he sliced by the Bryant Morgan, with Grahame on board. “The fuel pump was only working intermittently,” explained Grahame for his clear lack of speed. Sadly for Roy McCarthy, he would not see the finish as the MGB ran out of fuel. “We didn’t put enough in,” was the honest explanation.

snetterton 2

Just when it seemed that the race was settled, there was a final dramatic twist. With just six seconds remaining on the race clock Boysie Thurtle set off on his last lap, but he never reached the flag as the Camaro also ran short of fuel, gifting victory to the Bryants! The Morgan’s fuel pump then packed in altogether and Grahame had to get out and give it a whack to restart the car.

Chris Scragg was therefore promoted to a strong second place ahead of the Ian McCallum/John Bussell Aston Martin DB5, which had made excellent progress throughout the race.

Having started from the rear of the grid George Miller/Les Goble were next in their Aston Martin V8 having displaced the Pat Cooke/Richard Cooke Aston Martin in the last few laps. Meanwhile, class victories went to Ant Scragg on his debut run in the Aston, the Pat Thomas/Mike Youles Lotus Elan and Streeter’s Ford Anglia.

Race one – 27 laps:

1 Oliver Bryant/Grahame Bryant (Morgan +8) 37m07.756s (85.16mph); 2 Chris Scragg (Aston Martin V8) + 5.645s; 3 Ian McCallum/John Bussell (Aston Martin DB5); 4 George Miller/Les Goble (Aston Martin V8); 5 Arthur Thurtle/Boysie Thurtle (Chevrolet Camaro); 6 Pete Hallford (Chevrolet Camaro); 7 Pat Cooke/Richard Cooke (Aston Martin Vantage); 8 Ant Scragg (Aston Martin DBS V8); 9 Tony Lees (Morgan +8); 10 Gordon Streeter (Ford Anglia 105E). Class winners: Bryant/Bryant; Ant Scragg; Pat Thomas/Mike Youles (Lotus Elan); Streeter. Pole: Christopher Williams (Morgan +8). Fastest lap: Thurtle/Thurtle 1m 16.689s (91.63mph).

Race two

The second race was interrupted by an early safety car period as the Cann brothers Aston Martin was beached at Riches. This prompted a lot of early driver changes, sparked off by the leading Oliver Bryant handing the Morgan over to his father Grahame.

Roger Bennington had started the Thurtle Chevrolet Camaro this time and came in on the eighth lap to hand over to Arthur leaving Chris Scragg again at the head of the field. It was not until Scragg pitted on lap 12 that the Bryant Morgan re-took the lead.

Arthur Thurtle was trying hard to close down the leader but while he could make inroads on a clear track, negotiating traffic was holding back his enthralling attack on the rapid Morgan.

The same couldn’t be said for Williams who was slicing through the slower cars after starting at the tail of the grid, but his challenge for second place was over when he spun at the Esses dropping him behind the Scragg Aston Martin.

After 25 flat out laps under the hot sun, the Bryant Morgan took the chequered flag by just eight seconds from the Thurtle/Bennington Camaro. “We fitted the old fuel pump back on,” said a delighted Grahame on the podium. “But the starter motor still doesn’t work,” he added with a smile.

The Camaro trailed smoke for the last few laps, explained by Arthur as a slipping clutch. “I did my best but had to change gear for much of my stint without a clutch,” said Arthur, explaining why he had to be more cautious through the traffic.

Chris Scragg was third, delighted with two podium finishes in one day. “My best results so far,” he said of an excellent weekend’s work. Williams recovered from his spin to finish fourth, narrowly ahead of the Miller/Goble Aston Martin.

Ant Scragg had looked quite at home in his second race in the big Aston Martin and finished in a well deserved sixth place which gave him his second Class B victory despite suffering a bit of cramp in the opening race.

Gordon Streeter was also a double class winner with his Anglia and had been running as high as seventh overall until the final laps when the battling Tony Lees (Morgan +8) and Andrew Knight (Ford Mustang) caught and passed the hard-charging 105E.

One of the most entertaining battles of the race was between Tony Jardine, who had started Nathalie Boyd’s Mini Cooper, and the Clive Death Mini. Jardine was trying everything he knew to dislodge his rival until a big grassy moment at Coram dropped him off the boot lid of his rival. “I just couldn’t get by, but it was great fun,” grinned Jardine afterwards.

Sadly the Mike Youles/Pat Thomas Elan couldn’t be fixed in time for race two, when the team found a rear brake problem just moments before the start. This handed Class C spoils to the consistent Austin Healey Sprite of Tim Rhodes and Shaun Rainford.

Pete Hallford suffered head-gasket failure on his Camaro with overheating also knocking out the efforts of McCallum/Bussell in their Aston. The McCarthy MGB was retired with a suspected driveshaft problem and a lack of gears unfortunately stopped Kate Bennington on her racing debut in Ant Scragg’s MGB GTV8.

Race one – 25 laps:

1 Bryant/Bryant 35m36.592s (82.22mph); 2 Arthur Thurtle/Roger Bennington (Chevrolet Camaro) +8.349s; 3 Chris Scragg; 4 Christopher Williams; 5 Miller/Goble; 6 Ant Scragg; 7 Lees; 8 Andrew Knight (Ford Mustang); 9 Streeter; 10 John Shoesmith/Ray Barrow (Chevrolet Camaro). Class winners: Bryant/Bryant; Ant Scragg; Tim Rhodes/Shaun Rainford (Austin Healey Sprite); Streeter. Fastest lap: Williams 1m 17.828s (90.29mph).