Oliver Bryant Racing

07946 524 941 info@oliverbryant.com
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25th June 2006

Rounds 6 & 7 Mondello Park (Ireland)



The drizzle had stopped by the time lunch ended and the BGT field began the first of the two 15 minute qualifying sessions. A strong breeze had begun to dry the track in places, but it was too early for slicks at the start. Team Tiger and Team Aero were both struggling on wet rubber, Chris Beighton’s best of 2:01.454 just pipping Oliver Bryant by two tenths. The Morgan lined up P7 for Race One.

Team Aero had looked at the skies just before first qualifying started and went back to the awning for their slicks. Keith Ahlers started 2nd qualifying on wets, put in a banker lap and then pitted. The uncut rubber briefly propelled the car to second in class before falling back to fourth at the end, much to Ahlers’ delight.


There was racing taking place, and that was occurring back in the GTC class – and usually involved Oliver Bryant.

The young driver was in the thick of it from the start, catching Chris Beighton’s Mantis by lap three. For the following couple of laps, the Morgan was all over the orange car with Bryant trying different lines round Ireland.ie in his efforts to pass. When he finally did make a move stick, he wasted no time in getting after his next prey, this being Matt Harris in the #4 Trackspeed Porsche. The Morgan was challenging the Porsche within a couple of laps, but Harris was to prove to be a tough opponent. The speed of #4 increased in response to the threat and the two car battle became a three car battle as the #96 RPM Porsche of Bradley Ellis was reeled in by Harris. Bryant got into P2 before stopping to hand over to Keith Ahlers.

Keith Ahlers could see the lead Trackspeed car ahead and was feeling confident of at least being able to maintain his track position; but his confidence was misplaced. “I was coming through (turn) 7a,” began Ahlers, “when there was suddenly this huge cloud of oil that covered the car! I couldn’t see a thing and it was obviously a major problem so I had to park it. We’ve looked at the engine and it seems to be okay, so it could be a pipe that’s gone.” It turned out that the oil filter had cracked and released the oil at high pressure; so while it was a great shame that the Morgan was out, at least the damage was a lot lighter than first feared.


Keith Ahlers started race 2 from his strong P4 grid position. He maintained his position throughout the stint behind the Team Tiger Marcos. 15 minutes into the race, an incident involving 2 Porsches brought out the safety car. This bunched up the field and placed the car in a good position for when the opening of the driver-change window at 23 minutes. Oliver Bryant took over at 23 minutes and the leading 5 cars all rejoined in the same positions.

The recovering Exige once more took the Morgan, but the ever-impressive Oliver Bryant was bringing the gap down to the GTC cars ahead. Jonny Lang found himself unable to fend off Bryant (a big twitch for the Porsche out of Ireland.ie indicating how hard the Trackspeed driver was trying) and the Morgan was through with 14 minutes to go; and it was now a case of seeing if the gap to the Marcos could be reduced.

The initial signs were promising for the Marlow driver as his first sector time in the Aero 8 on the next lap was a full second faster than that of the Marcos, and he had found a full two seconds on the orange car by the end of the lap. The gap was now 3.6s between second and third in GTC, but it was possible that the Marcos had lost time while being overtaken by the flying Cadena Exige of Gavan Kershaw.

Oliver Bryant’s progress was briefly delayed for a couple of corners by Gary Eastwood in the Motorbase Porsche – although he himself may have been distracted by mechanical problems that would see the Porsche pull over and retire just a lap later – and this gave Beighton a breathing space. Next time round, however, Oliver Bryant set a personal best of 1:50.697 and was again 1.5s behind the Marcos with six minutes to go.

With four minutes remaining, the gap from first to third was just 2.5 seconds as the Marcos made his way passed Hooker. But worse was to come for Ryan Hooker. Bryant was sensing an opportunity too and also tried at the last corner of the race. The cars were again side by side, but Hooker disastrously missed a gear (on the unfamiliar H-pattern box) and he was unable to get the power down, with the result that the Morgan’s nose was just ahead as the cars crossed the line; Hooker had lost second place by just 0.027s.

Keith Ahlers was similarly delighted with the team’s second place; “I was feeling confident and gave the car to Olly in a tidy condition. He then drove brilliantly and made a great move on Ryan at the end. After losing P2 or even P1 yesterday, we’re delighted with today’s result.”