29th September 2005

Jon Barnes proved that he has lost none of his touch on his Caterham R400 return with Hyperion Motorsport at the A1 Grand Prix meeting at Brand Hatch. While the rest squabbled, the Cosworth Caterham Masters Championship front runner got well clear in the first race and stayed there, and it was only engine and wheel bearing problems that prevented him from completing a double.

The returnee took less than a lap to get the lead in Saturday's race from fourth on the grid. By lap four he was one and a half seconds up, and the lead mushroomed to almost four seconds by the end. But behind him there was a manic struggle.

With a lap to go there were five cars arguing over second, with Mike Cantillon leading Ted Murray, Gerry Taylor, Will Mitcham and Jack Newland. When Cantillon messed up at Dingle Dell on the last tour, Murray saw hope at Stirlings. But the Team Parker man got too eager and ran wide on the way out, giving Taylor a run on him heading for the flag.

Murray hung on for a podium spot by just a tenth, with Mitcham fifth ahead of Newland and Nathan Bell.

Sixty five thousand race fans saw Barnes shoot off at the start of race two on Sunday, driving to a sickening three second lead after three laps. Then came the ''Safety car''.

Everyone slowed in obedience to the boards and flags, but the safety car stayed in the pits, leaving the leader to dictate the pace.

A lap later the green flag was out and Barnes surrendered the lead to Murray at Paddock Hill Bend the next time round. But Barnes was snapping away for a chance to come back.

After a couple of laps on the attack, Barnes's engine overheated and the ECU went into safe mode. Barnes slipped back and eventually retired due to wheel bearing failure, leaving a virtual war behind him.

On lap nine Taylor went to the front of the lengthy train at Westfield, with Rachel Green heading towards the podium as Murray kept close watch on Taylor's Foundry Motorsport entry.

Murray tried for the lead at Hawthorn on the last lap, but Taylor's car proved wide enough. Green stayed in control of third with Jack Newland half a second back.

Graham Fennymore took two Roadsport wins: a narrow one over Tony Hawkins and then a dominant one over Malcolm Barnett.


Race report by Richard Asher, Autosport Magazine 29/09/2005

Jon Barnes Racing 2023