Reading Matters – Motor Racing at Brands Hatch (in the eighties)

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Motor Racing at Brands Hatch (in the eighties) by Chas Parker – Veloce Publishing – £14.99 (+P&P) – ISBN 978-1-84584-214-7

Druids, Graham Hill Bend, Cooper Straight and the wonderfully named Dingle Dell and Pilgrim’s Drop are just some of the legendry noted spots around Brand’s Hatch racing circuit that feature prominently in this 96 page colourful book by Chas Parker. From humble beginnings as a motorcycle grass track, the Kent based facility evolved into a popular Formula 1 stage in the ‘80s. For five consecutive years (1982-86) Brands held Grand Prix including the 1983 Grand Prix of Europe. Official statistics for the 1986 event, the attendance during the course of the three days attracted 186,000 enthusiasts while the corporate sector booked 2,225 helicopter taxi rides to and from the circuit.

Quite a number of Irish drivers cut their competitive racing teeth at Brands Hatch with noteable success such as Kenny Acheson (Mercedes C9-88) in 1989, while Tommy Byrne took victory in the works Van Diemen RF81 in the heats, quarter final, semi final and final of the 1981 Formula Ford Festival.

Martin Donnelly and Eddie Irvine who raced against each other both have connections with Eddie Jordan Racing that continued into early years of Jordan GP. Other Jordan drivers that also raced around ‘Brands’ include Andrea de Cesaris, Jean Alesi, Thierry Boutsen and Bertrand Gachot. More information on www.veoce.co.uk

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