Rowledge (R Racing) kicked off the weekend in perfect style with a double pole position in qualifying, with Harri Reynolds (Assetto Motorsport) finishing a tenth of a second adrift. Maurice Henry (Fox Motorsport) was a great third, with his team-mate Liam McNeilly fifth behind Joe Warhurst (Elite Motorsport).
The opening race of the weekend saw Rowledge convert pole position into a maiden overall race win in Ginetta racing, though he had to work hard for it. Half a second clear at one stage, Reynolds hunted him down in the closing laps and made a couple of challenges for the lead.
Warhurst, who moved up to third off the start, closed onto them on the last lap as he joined Reynolds in securing a maiden overall Junior podium result. McNeilly finished up fourth, with Tom Edgar (R Racing) grabbing third after some great action in the early stages.
That included a brilliant double move on Henry and Max Dodds (Assetto Motorsport) as they ran three wide down the start finish straight. Dodds went on to lead Henry at the finish in seventh and eighth respectively, with Aqil Alibhai (Elite Motorsport) having overtaken both to finish in the top six.
Ian Aguilera (R Racing) traded places with Henry a couple of times on his way to ninth, while Sonny Smith (R Racing) secured the rookie class win in tenth overall. Max Hall (Assetto Motorsport) and Jacob Hodgkiss (Fox Motorsport) just missed out on a top ten berth.
Six drivers made their first ever Ginetta Junior start in the race meanwhile. William Macintyre (Elite Motorsport) led the group in qualifying and the race, finishing 13th, with Oliver Cottam (Breakell Racing) and McKenzie Douglass (Elite Motorsport) the next best debutants.
Rowledge went on to double his win tally for the day with a dominant lights to flag victory in the second outing. He was challenged by both McNeilly and Warhurst going into Paddock Hill Bend for the first time, but stayed out front and pulled clear to a two second victory.
McNeilly, the runner-up in the main championship this year, ran second throughout for his first podium of the weekend. There was some great action for third behind throughout the race, with Dodds moving into the position on lap one from sixth on the grid.
A stunning double move on Dodds and Warhurst into Paddock Hill Bend on lap two got Edgar the position, which he held for a long spell. A charging Reynolds got past on lap ten though, however Edgar fought back two laps later and they both ran wide at Druids.
This opened the door for Dodds to pass both and ultimately secure a maiden overall Ginetta Junior podium finish in a photo-finish with Edgar – just 0.060s splitting them at the chequered flag. Reynolds had to settle for fifth, with Aguilera taking sixth from Henry on the final lap.
Hall was eighth at the finish, while Jack Sherwood (Elite Motorsport) emerged from a great four way fight in the closing stages in ninth. Part of that group was Warhurst, who recovered to tenth after spinning out of the top five on lap two.
Smith was another to have an early moment at Druids, but he also hit back well to secure a second rookie win in 11th. Joining him on the class podium were Macintyre and Douglass, with fellow newcomers James Wyres (Assetto Motorsport), Luca Hopkinson (R Racing) and Liona Theobald (Assetto Motorsport) completing the finishers.
Heading into one more qualifying session and two races on Sunday, Rowledge has a 20 point lead over McNeilly, with Reynolds one point further adrift. Smith holds a six point advantage over Macintyre in the rookie class
The full results from the opening day at Brands Hatch can be viewed here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/214521
Sunday’s two races will be streamed live on the BARC’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNQVz9KEyro