Oliver Bryant Racing

07946 524 941 info@oliverbryant.com
image description  
13th August 2006

Rounds 9 & 10 Rockingham

Bryant Defies Odds to Snatch Podium After Superb Final Lap


Keith missed Friday practice due to racing commitments at the Nurburgring so Oliver was left with the task of setting the car up for the weekend. The Team performed a back-to-back tyre test with two different compounds and the softer compound put Oliver fastest in class in the afternoon session. Unfortunately, Oliver would have to use this same rubber for qualifying and would not benefit from new tyres that all the other teams would run.

However he improved on his practice time with a 1m26.4s lap, just 1.2s off pole but P7 on the grid. Keith had the huge task of learning the track in the 15 min session but on new rubber he set a time of 1m28.9s lining the car up 10th for Sunday’s race.


Oliver Bryant made a good start and moved up to 5th place, the main battle in the early part of the race was between the two RPM Porsches and the Morgan.

Nigel Redwood had the early advantage, but was soon passed by Bradley Ellis, the Croydon driver moving up to third in class as the Mantis fell back. Frustratingly for Oliver Bryant, he found himself unable to get by Redwood; “He’s a Carrera Cup driver,” said Bryant, “so he knows how to block!”

The main source of Bryant’s frustration was the knowledge that Redwood and Bilimoria could deprive the Morgan of valuable championship points, despite having had no intention of racing in the class. “At one point he locked up,” continued the Morgan driver, “and I couldn’t slow down enough and tapped him (causing damage to the front left wing – much to mechanic Billy Bellinger’s annoyance; “Every time I paint the bloody thing, they hit something!” he smiled.)

“Eventually, I did get past him and then got some good laps in before handing over to Keith (Ahlers).” With both RPM cars pitting, Bryant found himself leading the class for a while. One of the last cars to pit, the Morgan eventually resumed in fifth. Keith Ahlers was struggling for pace and dropped away from the lead battle, he then suffered as a result of the Marcos’s demise; “I had very little grip to begin with as the tyres had gone off, but then I hit the Marcos’s fluid going round the fast double left hander and went straight in to the gravel.” The Morgan was able to recover but had lost two places. The car finished in P6, Keith was disappointed with his stint but the Oliver and himself gained 3 championship points.


This was more like it – good clean racing from start to finish, with some fine individual drives. Adam Wilcox starred in the opening stint, while Oliver Bryant provided some great entertainment at the end. The second RPM Porsche of Phiroze Bilimoria was going well also. Having started in last place after the clutch-blighted qualifying session, the #17 was moving up through the field. He had already passed four GTC runners before catching the Team Aero 8 Morgan on lap nine. Phiroze was through on lap eleven and then set about trying to reduce the deficit to Nigel Greensall.

Keith Ahlers later confessed that he was feeling off form this weekend and made the decision to pit as soon as the window opened, in order to give Oliver Bryant as much of a chance as possible. Bryant would take over (once all the stops were completed) in seventh place and 20 seconds down on sixth.

The Porsche of Graeme Mundy had a gear lever failure and stopped on the edge of the track. Despite local yellows appearing to be enough to warn other cars of the problem, the decision was made six laps later to recover the car and the safety car was deployed: a lorry hooked up the Porsche.

The recovery was so swift that the safety car was back in at the end of that lap and several cars benefited as a result, Oliver Bryant being one of them; “I was chasing Jonny Lang and neither of us lifted when we saw the safety car board because we knew that there was nothing on the track,” he said.

This decision not to lift meant that both cars were now much nearer to Phil Keen, who had himself closed on Phil Burton. Keen made his move with eight minutes to go and was up into second.

The gap came down and down from third to fifth as the last few minutes ran out. Four seconds became three seconds, which became two seconds, until eventually 0.8s separated the three.

Unfortunately for Burton, the lead GT2 cars were racing at full tilt and crossed the line with about ten seconds remaining on the clock. By the time the GTC trio started their final lap, the sixty minutes had long expired. It was now or never for Bryant.