Motorsport

Forces Motorsport Drivers Impress At Silverstone's Birkett Six-Hour Race

It is the 68th year that the Birkett race has taken place.

The Army has won an Inter Services title after a successful day's racing for forces teams at the annual Birkett six-hour relay race at Silverstone.

A record entry of seven military teams braved the heavy rain at the Northamptonshire circuit with three emerging in the top ten.

RAF Lightning was dealt a blow when Darren Berris was retired due to a gearbox failure while later in the race, Chris Slator suffered a mechanical problem on his Peugeot.

The Army made a strong start as Ro Barrett, who was Forces Young Driver of the Year, gave them a good platform alongside Mark Saunders.

Meanwhile, the Naval drivers continued to progress up the field in their front-wheel-drive cars.

The race did not quite reach the intended six hours due to a red flag, and the Army eventually edged out the Navy and Marines drivers to take the title.

With the difficult weather, the safety car was called out on a number of occasions.

Army driver Corporal Richard Palmer experienced the positives and negatives of the rainy weather.

He said: "With the spray in the last four laps, I couldn’t see a thing. Unfortunately for me, my windscreen started to steam up a little bit and I had to pull in for safety reasons.

"The rear-wheeled cars were really struggling [with the weather] and it allowed me to catch up."

The Navy’s Lieutenant Commander Richie Scott had some tips in dealing with the weather.

He said: "Get a rhythm for your car and a feel for it. Figure out where the grip is.

"There are some dryer lines on a couple of corners that might not be the best place to put your car. Just settle in a up your speed gently."

Royal Air Force driver Darren Howe was out on track for two hours and 15 minutes in his Volkswagen Golf and enjoyed the long spell.

"The car felt good and I got some good consistent times in there. I’m utterly shattered now but it was an epic drive," he said.