The and Addison Lee Motorbase teams secured early honours in the Jack Sears Trophy as the new Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship kicked off at Brands Hatch.

Six S2000-spec cars are entered into the series this season, with the drivers doing battle for Jack Sears Trophy - named after the BTCC's first champion - over the course of the campaign.

The opening race of the weekend saw the Vectra of Lea Wood and James Kaye's Volkswagen doing battle for top spot throughout, with Kaye eventually coming out on top after securing the lead with four laps still to do.

Kaye, entering his first full season in the series since 2006, then looked set to double up in race two before a gearbox issue saw him lose the lead to Motorbase man Liam Griffin - who clinched his first success of the year at the wheel of his Ford Focus.

The gearbox issue would then rule Kaye out of the final race of the weekend, although he was still pleased with his first weekend back in the championship.

"It's been fantastic," he said, "I don't know what else to say; maybe we just peaked a bit too early! The team did a great job with the car and it was perfect in the opening race, and we looked good again in race two despite the fact that the gearbox developed an issue on about the twelfth lap. Even with that problem, I think I could have still kept Liam behind but the Safety Car messed things up as it closed the field up and we lost out.

"It was the right call not to do race three and risk destroying the gearbox, but I think we can be happy with the way we've performed. We've shown we have the pace amongst the S2000 cars and were able to mix it with some of the NGTC cars as well, which is a good sign for the rest of the year."

Kaye's issue meant the final race became a battle between Wood and Griffin for honours, with Wood crossing the line first in class at the wheel of his Wheel Heaven/Houseman Racing Vauxhall.

However, he was then excluded from the results when the car failed a post-race ride height check, promoting Griffin into top spot for his second success of the day.

As such, Griffin heads the Jack Sears Trophy standings - with the number of trophies being used to determine the winner at the end of the season.

"That was a great weekend. I came back to try and win some silverware and to have a little bit of competition, and that's what the Jack Sears Trophy is all about," Griffin said. "We've got a few really good drivers in there that are fairly evenly matched and I think it'll be quite a good fun season now.

"Ultimately that's what you come racing for - to get on that podium; so to be stood there next to BTCC champions spraying champagne is a pretty special moment!"



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