Brands Hatch, UK

MASTERS HISTORIC FESTIVAL
25 – 26 May 2024

Wrigley, Frieser and Cope are double winners at the Masters Historic Festival

The weather gods once again looked down favourably on the Masters Historic Festival, as its traditional late-May fixture produced an almost traditional set of sunny days at Brands Hatch. The racing brought a smile to our faces as well, as Matthew Wrigley, Keith Frieser and Paul Cope all netted double wins in their respective series.

RACE REPORTS

Masters Racing Legends for 66/85 F1 Cars – Race 1
Wrigley takes lights-to-flag win in Brands’ first Masters Racing Legends race

Matthew Wrigley’s Tyrrell 011 led the entire distance of the first Masters Racing Legends race at Brands Hatch to win from Yutaka Toriba successfully debuting his Williams FW07C in the series. At the finish, Wrigley kept nine tenths in hand to claim a hard-fought victory.

“A great race, and great to be back on the circuit”, said Wrigley. “Just managing the gap as best as possible, but great fun. My first F1 win round here, and my first ever race win round here as well. So yeah, good weekend so far!”

“Monaco was the first time for me in this car, and this is the second time”, said Toriba. “I purchased it in February, so I still need to get used to it. But I love the car and I’m super excited to compete with a guy like that. He’s super fast. He did make just a little bit of a miss, but not a big one, so I couldn’t catch up with him. But I enjoyed it a lot!”

In third, Simon Fish in the Arrows A4 soaked up pressure from Steve Hartley’s McLaren MP4/1 coming from the back, while Mark Harrison (Shadow DN9) and Warren Briggs (McLaren M29) warred over fifth for the full length of the 20-minute race.

Ron Maydon led home a Lec CRP1 one-two in the pre-78 Fittipaldi class, leaving Peter Williams to trail him home by four seconds. In 11th overall, Sergison hauled his troublesome Shadow DN9A into third in class.

“There’s life in the old dogs yet”, said Maydon. “We have been waiting for that battle, haven’t we, Peter? Peter beat me at Paul Ricard, so it’s my turn to beat him here. Fair enough?”

“I got close once or twice. But you know, don’t take any risks or anything”, said Williams. “Ron just drove really well. A bit quicker than me today, so that’s all that matters. There we go.”

“I’m happy to see a chequered flag, but I feel a bit uneasy collecting a trophy for being dead last. But I suppose you’ve got to be in it to win it”, said Sergison. “We’ve found that with the car, we can either make it so I can win it, or we can physically drive it and then it doesn’t handle, or we can make it handle and I can’t physically drive it. So we’ve got to do some testing, I think, and find some happy medium.”

With the sun coming out after an overcast start to the morning, the 1966-’85 Formula One cars of the Masters Racing Legends grid lined up for their first race of the weekend – of the day, in fact, with the second race following later on the Sunday of the Masters Historic Festival. Polesitter Matt Wrigley led away in the Tyrrell 011, chased by Yutaka Toriba’s Williams FW07C and Simon Fish in the Arrows A4, with Mark Harrison’s Shadow DN9A and Warren Briggs in the McLaren M29 while Steve Hartley was making up places in his McLaren MP4/1.

Two laps into the race, Wrigley led Toriba by 1.4 seconds, with Fish a similar amount of time away from the Japanese driver. By lap 4, the Tyrrell had metronomically expanded its lead to 2.8 seconds, as further back, Hartley made up another three places, to be fourth and chasing after Fish. Behind Harrison and Briggs, Maydon led the pre-78 class from fellow Lec CRP1 driver Peter Williams, with Victor Jabouille in the Fittipaldi F8 and Ian Simmonds’ Tyrrell 012 ahead of Ewen Sergison’s third-placed pre-78 Shadow DN9 car.

Three more laps later, Wrigley’s lead had stabilised at 2.8 seconds, while Fish held his own against Hartley who was still five seconds away from the Arrows in third. Harrison and Briggs fought over fifth, 26 seconds down on the leader, while Maydon continued to hold his own against Peter Williams. Behind Jabouille and Simmonds, Sergison’s Shadow DN9 still proved a handful over the Brands Hatch bumps, its driver simply hoping to finish the race third in class.

On lap 9, with seven minutes remaining on the clock, Wrigley remained in command, now leading by 3.1 seconds, as Fish trailed the Tyrrell 011 by 15 seconds. Three ticks now covered the distance between Fish and Hartley, as the latter still attempted to catch his teammate for the final spot on the podium. On lap 10, however, Toriba cut a second of Wrigley’s lead to create some more excitement at the front. Further back, Simmonds had made his way past Jabouille Jnr.

That tenth lap seemed to be a blip on Wrigley’s radar, as he increased his lead over his Japanese rival to 2.5 seconds on lap 11, but one lap later, Toriba hit back to cut his deficit to two seconds. On laps 13 and 14, the same pattern emerged, with Wrigley first adding to his advantage and then Toriba hacking away at it. But Wrigley had done enough to grab a solid lights-to-flag win in the Tyrrell 011, leaving it at 0.926 seconds to Toriba on the final lap.

Fish kept a similar gap in hand over Hartley to claim a well-deserved third, as Harrison and Briggs ended their race-long battle in fifth and sixth, 47 seconds down on the winner. Ron Maydon completed the Lec double in the pre-78 Fittipaldi class, dropping Williams by four seconds towards the end. Simmonds held his own against Jabouille, while Sergison finished the race a lap down but third in the pre-78 class.

Masters Racing Legends for 66/85 F1 Cars – Race 2
Wrigley doubles up with second Masters Racing Legends win at Brands

Matthew Wrigley made it two from two by also winning the second Masters Racing Legends race at the Masters Historic Festival at Brands Hatch. His Tyrrell 011 hit the front after passing Simon Fish’s Arrows A4 and profiting from leaders Steve Hartley and Yutaka Toriba connecting their McLaren MP4/1 and Williams FW07C to end their race on lap 2.

“Not a bad weekend”, said Wrigley. “It’s a shame that really that the two cars came together, but we’ll take them however they come. Now we’re back in the championship after the two DNFs at Paul Ricard, so a good end to a great day.”

Wrigley then pounded in the fastest laps of the race on his way to an emphatic win over Fish and Mark Harrison who in the Shadow DN9 drove a strong race to claim a well-earned final podium spot.

“It was a bit hectic to start with, with what was going on there”, said Fish about the contact between Hartley and Toriba, “and then it was just a question of trying to keep up with Matthew. There was lots of fluid down, but I kept it on. So I wasn’t driving completely flat out, but I couldn’t have caught him up in a way. So I plumbed for second, really.”

“I’ve not seen one of those”, said Harrison about his debut Masters podium, “so it’s a nice feeling, but it was a strange race with a safety car and obviously I benefited from a few people who dropped out ahead of me, but I was there at the end to pick up the pieces, so I’m very pleased with that. We’ve had a good weekend. The car’s been as quick as it’s ever been with me driving it here, so yeah, we’re very pleased.”

Behind Warren Briggs’ McLaren M29, Peter Williams took the pre-78 Fittipaldi class win in his Lec CRP1, making it two Lec class wins out of two races. Ian Simmonds lifted pre-82 Lauda class honours in his Tyrrell 012 while Ewen Sergison once again got his troublesome Shadow DN9A to the end, to claim the runner-up spot in the pre-78 class.

“Where’s Ron?” Williams quipped about his Lec rival not starting the race. “I went one better but I want Ron here. So it’s been straightforward, really.”

In blazing sunshine, Steve Hartley lined up in pole position on the reversed grid for the morning’s race first four, with Simon Fish in the Arrows A4 next to the McLaren MP4/1. Sadly, Ron Maydon’s Lec CRP1 failed to make the race. After a frantic opening lap, Hartley led Fish, with Yutaka Toriba attempting to poke his Williams FW07C into every half gap that Fish left open. Toriba finally got through but then there was contact between Hartley and Toriba at Clearways to bring out the safety car. Behind them race 1 winner Wrigley had pipped Fish for third which then became first as Hartley and Toriba both dropped out.

At the restart going into lap 5, Wrigley powered away from Fish, with Mark Harrison’s Shadow DN9 in third while Peter Williams in the Lec CRP1 was up into a stunning fourth, with Ian Simmonds also moving up in the post-82 Tyrrell 012. Warren Briggs was sixth in the McLaren M29 while Jordan Grogor had swapped his Arrows A3 for the ex-Ron Maydon Amon AF101 that had started from the back but in those first few laps had managed to pass Ewen Sergison’s Shadow DN9A and Victor Jabouille’s Fittipaldi F8.

Next time around, Wrigley produced the fastest lap of the race to clear Fish by 1.2 seconds while Harrison superbly held on third. Briggs was all over Simmonds and Williams, and on consecutive laps hauled himself up into fourth place, 12 seconds down on the leader. Williams maintained his dominant pre-78 class lead, but Grogor was coming through as Simmonds proved to be his next victim. Behind them, Sergison and Jabouille fought over eighth place, Sergison moving ahead on lap lap 7.

Towards the chequered flag, Wrigley continued to walk away from Fish, to eventually win by

12 seconds from Fish. Harrison followed home 7 seconds later, with Briggs up next. Peter Williams took the pre-78 Fittipaldi class win in fifth, while Ian Simmonds won the pre-82 Lauda class in sixth overall. Behind young Jabouille, Ewen Sergison brought his pre-78 Shadow DN9A home second in class, profiting from Grogor’s late demise, as the Amon started to lose oil two laps from the end.

Masters Sports Car Legends - Race 1
Paul Cope gets the job done in Brands Hatch’s first Masters Sports Car Legends race

The John Spiers/Nigel Greensall McLaren M1B was on pole, and the debuting Matt Manderson/Guy Jeynes Ellis GRD 74S led the early part of the race, but it was Paul Cope who came away the winner of the first of two Masters Sports Car Legends races at the Masters Historic Festival. His March 75S took over the mantle when the McLaren dropped out with suspension issues and the GRD lost a lot of time in the pits.

With a string of fastest laps around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, Cope then opened up a healthy gap over James Claridge in the Lola T296, with Manderson and Jeynes Ellis still salvaging third. In fourth, Keith Ahlers and Billy Bellinger notched up another class victory in the pre-66 Hulme class, their Cooper Monaco ‘King Cobra’ profiting from the early demise of the pole-sitting McLaren M1B.

“The race was relatively uneventful for me”, said Cope. “Third place looked secure, first and second were doing a lot of tussling and that helped me obviously stay in touch. Then the McLaren went off and after the pitstops, the GRD was slower than it had been initially, so the chance was there.” And on his string of fastest laps in the second part of the race: “As often when you back off, you go faster…”

“It was quite lonely as you could see, but that car is amazing to drive”, said Claridge. “At Brands Hatch on a day like today when it’s dry, it’s still enjoyable. I really appreciate Gonçalo (Gomes) lending me the car for the weekend and trying to sharpen me up a bit. It gives you time, I haven’t driven the car very much, so it gives you time to improve everything, so next time we come out we’ll be a bit quicker.”

“It was brilliant”, said the returning Jeynes Ellis. “I’m stilllearning the circuit. I’m all right around the Indy circuit, but I’ve never raced on the Grand Prix circuit. So yeah, it was really, really fun. Loved it. I couldn’t believe we’re third. The pit stop didn’t quite go to plan, as we had trouble starting the engine again, so we had to bump start it in the end. But I’m just ecstatic. I haven’t motor raced for 20 years, and to be up here on the first attempt,

having crashed it yesterday…”

“Once the McLaren let me off the leash, I could get away and get going, which was great”, said Manderson. “But yeah, Mr. Cope did really well. He was in the mirrors for quite a long time, so that was great. And just a great opportunity to be involved in this wonderful series.”

Dan Pickett finished a fighting race in fifth, his Chevron B16 winning the Marko class despite a stop-and-go penalty for a start-procedure infringement. In sixth, Charles Allison ran home the Bonnier class win in his Chevron B8.

In continued sunshine, the Masters Sports Car Legends field set themselves up for their first of two 40-minutes races on the Masters Historic Festival weekend. John Spiers in the McLaren M1B gunned away into the lead, with Matt Manderson in the GRD 74S in second, and Paul Cope in the March 75S in third.

Three laps down, Spiers held on by a second from Manderson, with Cope chased by James Claridge’s Lola T296. The top four had dropped Dan Pickett’s Chevron B16 by 20 seconds, which in turn led Charles Allison plucky little Chevron B8 by four seconds. Georg Kjallgren was a strong seventh overall in the Daren Mk2, while Keith Ahlers in the Cooper Monaco ‘King Cobra’ battled Peter Fisk’s Lola T290 and John Sheldon’s B16.

A strong fight for the lead led to Manderson taking over first position but soon after Spiers’ McLaren was seen trundling into the pits with a collapsed suspension, allowing Cope and Claridge to move up. Pickett was fourth now but handed a stop-and-go penalty for not adhering to the yellow-flag start procedure. Into lap 9, Pickett came in for his penalty, which dropped him all the way to ninth.

At the front, Manderson set fastest lap to increase his lead over Cope to 5.4 seconds, while Claridge had fallen away in third, his deficit to the leading GRD now 9.6 seconds. Allison in the little Bonnier-class Chevron now held a surprising fourth overall, while Ahlers had now assumed the Hulme class lead in fifth, chased by Kjallgren’s Daren. In turn, Fisk had closed up on the Swede.

With the pit window now open, Ahlers was the first to come in to hand over to Billy Bellinger, but Manderson continued, now with 7.8 seconds in hand over Cope, who in turn had dropped Claridge by 11 ticks. Sheldon was the next to stop, followed on the next tour by Manderson, who returned the car to its owner Guy Jeynes Ellis. They were joined by Kjallgren and Pickett for his second stop, while on the last possible occasion on lap 14, suddenly everyone else was in, including new leader Cope and his pursuer Claridge.

The formerly leading GRD was stationary for quite a few seconds longer than was necessary, so it would be a long way away now. Now, Cope suddenly led Claridge by seven seconds (and growing), with Jeynes Ellis a distant third, 55 seconds off from the leading March 75S. Bellinger had got the Cooper Monaco up into fourth overall, with Allison’s Chevron B8, Kjallgren’s Daren Mk2 and Daniel Pickett’s Chevron B16 all close. A 14-second gap then separated Peter Fisk from seventh overall, with John Sheldon in the other B16 next up.

At the front, Paul Cope was in a strong rhythm, as the March 75S was flying, setting fastest lap after fastest lap. He now had Claridge trailing by 13 seconds while he was about to lap Jeynes Ellis which would mean that with seven minutes remaining just two cars remained on the lead lap. Further back, Pickett had got ahead of Allison for fifth overall.

As the race clock ticked away, Cope remained in control and went on to complete 24 laps for the win. 13 seconds later, Claridge crossed the finish line in second place, while the Manderson/Jeynes Ellis GRD completed its first run in third. Keith Ahlers and Billy Bellinger were fourth to add one more victory to their impressive tally of Hulme class wins. Despite his stop-go penalty, Pickett was fifth and the winner of the Marko class, while in sixth overall Charles Allison won the Bonnier class. Georg Kjallgren brought the Daren Mk2 home in seventh ahead of Peter Fisk’s Lola T290 and John Sheldon in the other Chevron B16.

Masters Sports Car Legends - Race 2
Cope makes it two from two in second Masters Sports Car Legends race at Brands

Paul Cope doubled up in the pair of Masters Sports Car Legends races at Brands Hatch when his March 75S also notched up the win in Sunday’s bout. Despite a time penalty for speeding in the pitlane, Cope had enough in hand to fend off Nigel Greensall in the McLaren M1B started by John Spiers.

“Yes, it’s a good weekend as they say and the sun’s still shining”, said Cope. “These guys were much quicker in the first stint so no denying that. But I just had to keep up a good speed and be there at the end, you know. Which is what we did.”

“For us it’s remarkable because yesterday we had the rear upright fail and so Jarno then took the upright off and after the TVR race last night he then drove three hours back down to his workshop, spent the night welding it up and then drove back up and arrived this morning at breakfast time to be able to reinstall it and also run the Capri that we’re in the HRDC race”, Greensall beamed. “And so the first time we found out if it was working was when John went out to the grid. And yes, the car is absolutely perfect. So it’s all credit to Jarno and the TT Motors racing team because it’s a remarkable job that they’ve done. It’s real team spirit and it’s what racing is all about. So yes, it’s remarkable.”

Matt Manderson was the early leader in the pretty GRD 74S but a stop-and-go penalty for a startline infringement held the car and its co-driver Guy Jeynes Ellis to third.

“So I read the rules, I watched the video which is very very informative, went into the first race yesterday and this gentleman here [Cope], passed me before we got to the first corner yesterday”, said Manderson. “So I assumed stupidly that it would be okay for this to do the same, so I just held station behind Paul into turn one just now and passed the guy that was in second place, and obviously I got pulled in for that. So I know now for the future but Paul was lucky to get away with it yesterday.”

“It’s a silly rule anyway!” Cope quipped.

Thanks to another pitlane-speeding penalty for Charles Allison in the Bonnier-class-winning Chevron B8, Dan Pickett’s Chevron B16 moved up into fourth overall right at the end while also claiming Marko class honours. The Keith Ahlers/Billy Bellinger Cooper Monaco ‘King Cobra’ ran third early on but slowed towards the end to still take sixth overall and second in the pre-66 class, behind runaway class winners Spiers and Greensall in the McLaren M1B.

Kicking off the afternoon programme of the Masters Historic Festival’s Sunday, the Masters Sports Car Legends grid lined up for their 1.50pm start. Saturday’s winner Paul Cope started from pole in his March 75S, but soon Matt Manderson in the GRD 74S vaulted up into the lead from third on the grid, passing both James Claridge’s Lola T296 and Cope. The Keith Ahlers/Billy Bellinger Cooper Monaco ‘King Cobra’ was fourth but only for one lap, as class rival John Spiers romped through from the back of the grid to get the McLaren M1B into fourth.

Manderson, however, soon picked up a stop-and-go penalty for a startline infringement, and right after that, Claridge pulled off right after Druids in the Lola. So while Manderson continued at the front for the moment, Cope was the virtual leader from Spiers, Bellinger, Georg Kjallgren in the Daren Mk2, Dan Pickett in the first of the Chevron B16s, Charles Allison in the lone Chevron B8, Peter Fisk in the beautiful Lola T290 and John Sheldon’s B16.

On lap 4, Allison nicked sixth from Pickett, which became fifth when Kjallgren ran into trouble, initially grinding to a halt at Graham Hill Bend but continuing once he had dropped to ninth, while Manderson came in for his stop-and-go. So Cope was in the lead on lap 6, with 10 seconds in hand over Spiers, as the pit window of this short 30-minute race opened. Manderson was third, 20 seconds in arrears, with Allison, Fisk and Pickett forming a group some 35 seconds behind the race leader. Sheldon and Kjallgren followed further back, but the Daren would soon disappear into the pits.

On lap 8, the race director came with a pair of announcements – one for Allison for overtaking under yellow, the other a black-and-orange flag for Pickett, as Fisk and Kjallgren were the first to come in for their mandatory stops. At the end of the lap, the first three all came into the pits together, with Allison following them in later on. As they left the pits, Cope rejoined well ahead from Greensall and Guy Jeynes Ellis, the latter now in the GRD vacated by Manderson. Pickett, meanwhile, answered the meatball flag by coming in and having a large object dislodged from the rear of his Chevron while Allison followed in to serve his penalty.

At the end of lap 10, Billy Bellinger was the last one to come in for his stop, as he handed the Cooper Monaco ‘King Cobra’ over to Keith Ahlers. At the front, Cope was actually matching Greensall’s lap times, so the 20-second gap remained in place, as Jeynes Ellis in the GRD lost ground to the McLaren. Behind him, Ahlers fed in right in front of Peter Fisk’s Lola, with Allison a further 27 seconds back. The two Chevron B16s were up next.

All was not well at the front, though, as Cope was slammed with a ten-second time penalty for speeding in the pitlane, slashing his 20-second lead into half of that. Fisk and Allison were also penalised for the same infringement, but with five seconds each only.

With less than five minutes, the gap between Cope and Greensall wasn’t quite slimming down, as the March held its own against the charging McLaren. Jeynes Ellis looked safe in third while Ahlers had nine seconds in hand on both Allison and Pickett, but Allison still had that time penalty hanging over his head. Peter Fisk’s race, meanwhile, was over when he stopped his Lola T290 in a safe spot.

Towards the line, Cope remained in control and had enough in hand to negate his time penalty and take his second win on the weekend. Greensall took second and the pre-66 Hulme class win. Jeynes Ellis pressed on for a second podium finish in two races, while in the closing stages, Dan Pickett took fourth thanks to the penalty for Allison, while Ahlers in the Cooper Monaco dropped down to sixth but still took second in the pre-66 class.

Masters Endurance Legends – Race 1
Frieser romps away to victory in first Masters Endurance Legends race at Brands

In his opening stint, Keith Frieser was still pressured by Jack Fabby in the quick LMP3 Duqueine D08, but after the stops the Canadian romped home to claim a dominant victory in the first Masters Endurance Legends race of the Masters Historic Festival weekend at Brands Hatch.

“The guys here in the P3 car, they chased me so hard”, said Frieser. “I wish I was young again, but I worked very hard and I just had a little more horse power is why I stayed ahead. But it was very fun for me. And then after the pit stops it was a bit lonely, but just tried to keep doing steady laps. So yeah, all good. In race 2, I’m just going to try to do the same!”

“It was a brilliant race from our point of view”, said Fabby. “We had a good start and managed to stay with Keith for the first lap because I thought he was just going to rock it off down the straight and leave us in the dust, but I managed to just stay enough with him through the fast stuff. And then the track conditions were quite a bit different, I’d say, today compared to yesterday, so we had to manage our pushing to stay with Keith and not go over the line and find out the hard way that you’ve done too much. Alfie did a great job bringing the car home and the fact that we had a few issues with our radio and what have you, so I was on the radio trying to, ‘Is anyone talking to me? Can someone talk to me?’ But no, really happy. We did a really good job yesterday and I think it’s nice to consolidate it today.”

With Alfie Briggs at the wheel, the Duqueine went on to snatch second overall and the LMP3 class win, while Mike Newton’s MG Lola EX264 fought back to beat the David Brise/Alan Purbrick Lola B09/80 to third overall and LMP2 class victory.

“Such a good track”, said Briggs. “The elevation changes at turn one. That’s my favorite corner. I had a few moments around the back – probably not best to say what happened! But no, it’s good fun. Good fun in the LMP3.”

“The track conditions were interesting”, said Newton. “For the first few laps it was very, very slippery and by the time we came off the brakes it was weight from the front end of the turn in, but I think it was the same for everyone. And then after the pit stop we had an engine shutdown as I came out of Graham Hill. I started to switch everything on, switch everything on, wait, and fortunately it all came back again, so that delayed me a bit in the second half, but then got my head down and clawed back up to third, so a good day.”

Set to finish fifth overall, Craig Davies and Ron Maydon took second in the LMP3 class in their Ligier JSP3 but Maydon then managed to pip Purbrick to fourth overall on the final lap. Delayed by a pitstop after the opening lap, Andy Cummings and Matt Graham salvaged sixth overall and third in class in their LMP2 Morgan Pescarolo 01.

In the final race before lunch, the Masters Endurance Legends grid came out for their first race of the weekend. Kieth Frieser’s Union Jack-liveried Zytek 09S led away from Jack Fabby in the LMP3 Duqueine who kept the Canadian on his toes into the second lap. Behind them, Mike Newton’s MG Lola EX264 completed a flying opening lap in third, followed through by David Brise in Newton’s class rival, the Lola-Judd B09/80. The third LMP2 car in class, however, the Andy Cummings/Matt Graham Morgan Pescarolo 01, was into the pits after the first lap, but the issue wasn’t terminal, as Cummings went out again. For Neil Glover in the Ligier JSP3, however, it looked like race over, seemingly disallowing Michael Lyons to race the machine for his stint later on. But he, too, went back out after a long stay in the pits.

Three laps into the race, Frieser still couldn’t shake off Fabby, the pair of them having dropped Newton by 8 seconds, with Brise and Craig Davies in the other Ligier JSP3 each trailing by two more seconds, as Colin Sowter in the Ferrari 458 GT3 assumed sixth overall in the leading GT car.

Three more laps gone, and Frieser and Fabby were still circulating almost in unison, but Newton had lost ground to Brise and Davies, as the MG Lola dropped down to fifth. On lap 9, the gap at the front was still the same – Fabby following in Frieser’s tracks but unable to power past the Zytek. Brise in third was 18 seconds down, with Davies a further 7 seconds in arrears.

With the pit window open, none of the runners opted to go at the first opportunity, but Fabby was in next time around to hand over to Alfie Briggs while also serving his 20-second elite-driver time penalty. He was followed by David Brise who made way for Alan Purbrick in the Lola B09/80. On lap 14, Davies came in for Ron Maydon’s second stint, with Sowter also pitting. Frieser then came in from the lead to pit on lap 15, with Newton among the ones still to pit, but that would happen later on the same lap.

When all the stops and penalities had panned out, Frieser held a much more comfortable lead of 32 seconds over Purbrick, with Briggs two seconds behind the Lola, and Newton a further 19 seconds in arrears. Maydon was fifth ahead of the delayed Morgan Pescarolo, with Matt Graham now at the wheel, and the leading GT of Colin Sowter. Neil Glover, meanwhile, ended a difficult morning with the retirement of his Ligier.

Soon, Briggs had reclaimed second place from Purbrick, but even though the Lola initially fought back, Briggs was firmly back in the runner-up spot by lap 18. Ten minutes still remained on the clock, and Frieser now held a sizeable 41-second lead over Briggs, who had dropped Purbrick by five seconds in two more laps. Newton, however, had found a bit of pace in the MG Lola and continued to close of the LMP2 leader in third.

On lap 21, Frieser had got into a true groove to produce the fastest lap of the race with a 1.23.7, lapping two seconds a lap faster than Briggs. With some seven minutes remaining, Newton had cut his deficit to Purbrick to six seconds, and looked odds-on for third overall and the LMP2 class win. Next time around, it was just two seconds. In fifth overall, Maydon was safely in second place in the LMP3 class, behind the Fabby/Briggs Duqueine, as the Cummings/Graham Morgan held third in the LMP2 class with sixth overall.

On lap 24, Newton had done it, outbraking Purbrick into Paddock Hill Bend to claim third overall and the LMP2 class win. At the front, no-one was unable to stop Frieser from claiming a dominant win in the Zytek. In second place, Jack Fabby and Alfie Briggs bagged a strong second overall with the leading LMP3 car, with Newton in third as another class winner. The Purbrick/Brise Lola was pipped to fourth on the final lap by the Davies/Maydon Ligier, with the Cummings/Graham Morgan in sixth. Colin Sowter looked set to claim the GT class but his Ferrari went off into the barriers one lap from the end.

Masters Endurance Legends – Race 2
Frieser gets repeat win in second Masters Endurance Legends race at Brands

Keith Frieser hauled himself onto the top step of the Masters Endurance Legends podium for the second time in one day, as his Zytek 09S LMP1 made if two wins from two starts in the Masters Historic Festival weekend at Brands Hatch. The Canadian was made to work a lot harder for his second win, though, as Jack Fabby in the Duqueine-Nissan D08 started by Alfie Briggs proved to be on fire, the LMP3 car eating whole chunks of time out of Frieser’s initial lead after the mid-race pitstops.

“Yeah, it was very good”, said Frieser, who had been unworried about the Duqueine closing in. “This one was a little bit easier. I just got it into my head to get going right away. So, there was a bit of a gap, so it was quite good.”

Until two laps from the end, the result appeared to be a carbon copy of the morning’s race, but then Fabby ground to a halt halfway into the penultimate tour, seemingly having run out of fuel. This handed Mike Newton second overall and the LMP2 class win in his MG Lola EX264, with the Morgan Pescarolo 01 of Andy Cummings and Matt Graham a close third.

“You know, I knew that it was the tyres that we’d used at Spa last weekend, so I knew I had to pace this all the way through”, Newton explained. “I wasn’t too worried about dropping a couple of places at the start, and just maintaining steady laps all the way through, and the strategy came to me as we got to the end. Great battle with Andy and Matt. That was wonderful.”

“I got a good start, chipped away, got past Ron, then got past Mike, and just got my head down”, said Cummings of his opening stint. “And then I was kind of maintaining the gap to Keith and Alfie, but just couldn’t quite close the gap. But, otherwise, cracking race. Really enjoyed it.”

“Andy did a great first stint and had us in a really great position, and he had pulled a nice gap on Mike”, said Graham, “and I thought, I just put my head down and kept doing the lap time, that we’d be able to maintain the gap. But Mike turned it up, caught me, and then we had a great battle the last few laps there. It was close, clean racing, just what you want in a series like this.”

The David Purbrick/David Brise Lola B09/80 took fourth ahead of the Craig Davies/Ron Maydon Ligier JSP3 which claimed first in the LMP3 class after the Duqueine’s late demise. In seventh overall, Colin Sowter netted GT honours in the Ferrari 458 GT3.

“It was a fairly lonely but very enjoyable race” said Sowter. “No problems, not a lot to report in. I was just very polite to all the prototypes when they came past me, because I wasn’t racing anybody. So I made sure I kept out of their way, kept it all nice and clean. Basically a very smooth, trouble-free race.”

As the final Masters race of the weekend, the Masters Endurance Legends machines came out towards 5.30pm for their second outing at Brands Hatch. Starting from the front, Frieser’s Zytek 09S soon moved away from Alfie Briggs in the Duqueine D08, Mike Newton in the MG Lola EX264, with Andy Cummings in the Morgan Pescarolo LMP2 passing Craig Davies in the LMP3 Ligier JSP3. Behind them, Alan Purbrick in the LMP2 Lola B09/80 held off Michael Lyons in the second Ligier, with Colin Sowter leading the GT class in his Ferrari 458 GT3.

Three laps in, Cummings was on the move as Newton proved to be his latest victim, with Lyons moving ahead of Purbrick. Frieser’s lead had flattened out at 1.5 seconds but Cummings wasn’t far away either. Newton dropped back into the clutches of Davies and Lyons, as Purbrick lost touch. On lap 5, Lyons went through to steal fifth from Davies.

On lap 8, Frieser had cemented his lead over Briggs at around 1.8 seconds, but Cummings was dropping back as the Morgan now trailed the leading Zytek by 8 seconds. In an entertaining battle for fourth, Newton had to work hard to hold off both Lyons and Davies, but the MG Lola driver succumbed to Lyons’ pressure on lap 9.

The pit window was now open, and Sowter proved to be first one in on lap 11. Next time around, Briggs came in to make way for Jack Fabby, who by regulation had to wait for a few more second to serve his elite-driver penalty. Frieser continued to press on in the lead, but Michael Lyons was truly on fire with a fastest lap of the race in the Ligier, having opened up a six-second gap to Newton. But he, too, would have to sit out an additional 20 seconds as an elite driver. Meanwhile, Alan Purbrick handed over to David Brise in the Lola B09/80.

On lap 14, the race leader was in, directly followed by Andy Cummings who would pass on the Morgan to Matt Graham, with Newton also coming in. At the same time, Fabby nicked fastest lap of the race from Lyons, who right at the moment seemed in trouble as the Ligier suddenly slowed and ground to a halt. Davies in the other Ligier made way for Ron Maydon, as we waited for all the stops to pan out.

15 minutes remained, and now Frieser led Fabby by 22 seconds and Graham by six more ticks. Newton and Maydon were close, though, as they were in visual contact with the Morgan. The Canadian in the lead was made to work for it, though, as Fabby took out two seconds off Frieser’s lead, as the youngster went a second and a half than he had managed in race 1!

Behind the leader and the chasing Fabby, the race was on for the final podium spot, as Mike Newton got on song to slash his deficit to Graham, and on lap 21, the older LMP2 demoted the more recent LMP2 for third overall and the class lead. In fifth, Maydon held 17 seconds over Brise and looked secure for second in the LMP3 class.

With five minutes still on the clock, Fabby got within ten seconds of Frieser, which at this rate would mean that it would be close. It wouldn’t be quite enough, though, and then dramatically, Fabby ran out of fuel on the penultimate lap. Newton thus took second, narrowly leading the Morgan Pescarolo across the line, while Brise managed to pass Maydon before the end of the race. Sowter finished the race in seventh overall as the GT class winner.

Masters GT Trophy – Race 1
Wilkins start title Masters GT Trophy title defense with win at Brands

Reigning champion Craig Wilkins held on despite a late surge from the similar Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo of Neil Glover and Aaron Scott to win the first Masters GT Trophy race at Brands Hatch. Behind them, George Haynes and Adam Sharpe looked poised for second place and a GT3 class win but their Mosler MT900 dramatically dropped out on the final lap.

This handed third overall – and third in the Corse class – to Gary Culver’s Ferrari 458 Challenge who leapfrogged Richard Meins’ GT3-class-winning BMW Z4 GT3 by virtue of a 10-second time penalty for Meins’ involvement in a first-lap clash with the Super Trofeo of David McInulty. Vance Kearney’s Ferrari 430 GT3 was sixth while taking second in the GT3 class.

“Well, I was lucky”, said Wilkins. “David McInulty getting a tap from somebody else was part of the job done because I would have struggled with him and Jason. A little opportunistic. Got on with the job, and I enjoyed it. Still can’t qualify a car though! I was aware somebody was there but I didn’t know who it was. I won’t get too carried away with starting my title defense with a win. I think this year, as the year goes on, I won’t be winning all the races this year. Maybe I’ll have to practice some more.

“I don’t know what the gap was in the end, but I just kept pushing on to see what happened”, said Scott. “I was surprised to be honest with the BMW and the Mosler, because I didn’t know, but they were easier to clear than I thought. A fair and good race.”

“Yeah, it was a great race”, Glover agreed, who stoutly defended second place for a long time. “We had a good start and kept them behind as long as I could. It was great. We passed it across to Aaron, and he got the job done. Very pleased.”

In fifth overall, the David Harrison/Nathan Luckey Porsche 991.2 Cup took the Cup class win while Richard Dougall ran a strong race to place the GT4 Maserati GranTurismo in seventh overall to claim GT4 class honours ahead of Dale Albutt’s Aston Martin Vantage GT4 and the Peter Reynolds/Daniel Quintero Ginetta G55.

The Saturday was as bright as it’s almost invariably been in the 18-year history of the late-May Masters Historic Festival as the Masters GT Trophy cars headed out for their first race of the weekend. Dale Albutt’s Aston Martin Vantage GT4 was slow away from the dummy grid but got going, while David McInulty’s Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo spun around on the opening lap, having been tapped by Richard Meins in the BMW Z4 GT3. At the end of the lap, Neil Glover barely hung on against a fast-starting Craig Wilkins, before the champion took the lead into Druids on lap 2. At the back, however, Chris Compton Goddard’s Ferrari 430 GT3 was into the pits already and was soon pushed back into its garage with terminal gearbox issues.

Two laps gone, Wilkins led by 1.6 seconds over Glover, with Meins, Gary Culver’s Ferrari 458 Challenge and Keith Frieser’s Super Trofeo next up. George Haynes had moved up into sixth, the Mosler MT900 passing Jason Wright’s Ferrari 458 GT3 for second in the GT3 class behind the leading BMW of Richard Meins – but on lap 3, they were back in their original order. David Harrison ran eighth overall in the leading Porsche Cup car, ahead of Richard Dougal in the GT4-class-leading Maserati GranTurismo GT4.

Next time around, a 10-second time penalty was awarded to Meins for his first-lap contretemps with McInulty, who now still found himself last, chasing Albutt’s Aston Martin. At the front, Wilkins had walked off into the distance, leading Glover by 9.8 sedonds, while concatenating a string of fastest sectors, to set the fastest lap of the race on lap 6. Meins was now all over the back of Glover’s Super Trofeo, and while Glover defended valiantly, Culver’s 458 Challenge was closing up in fourth. 12 seconds away, Frieser, Wright and Haynes fought over fifth, with Harrison fallen away from that group in eighth. Vance Kearney in the Ferrari 430 GT3 coming from the back was now into ninth, ahead of Dougal’s GT4 Maserati.

On lap 8, despite all his efforts, Glover lost out to his two pursuers, as both Meins and Culver moved past into Graham Hill Bend. Wilkins, however, was now 16 seconds up on the road, having set another fastest lap of the race on lap 7. Right at the back, McInulty had finally caught up and past a rival, as he pushed the pink Ginetta G55 of Peter Reynolds down to 13th overall.

As the pit window approached, Wilkins led his rivals by 20 seconds, with Meins’ BMW and Culver’s Ferrari still tied to an elastic string. Glover had dropped those by four seconds, but behind him Frieser had spun away fifth place. Meanwhile, David McInulty handed over to Jason McInulty, as Wilkins, Culver and Glover was also in the pits for their mandatory stop, with Glover’s car having to remain stationary for longer because of teammate Aaron Scott’s elite-driver time penalty. One lap later, George Haynes was in to hand the Mosler to Adam Sharpe, while Harrison switched places with Nathan Luckey in the Porsche. Peter Reynolds swapped seats with Daniel Quintero in the Ginetta, with Frieser and Albutt also in.

McInulty (J.) and Scott immediately went on to improve on Wilkins’ fastest laps, while the Ferraris of Wright and Kearney were among the last to stop, with leader Meins the absolute last one on lap 14. The pit window having closed, Wilkins still led but Meins was closer because of Wilkins’ longer stop but still far away because of that 10-second time penalty. Culver was third, six seconds down, while Sharpe was fourth, ahead of Wright and a fast-approaching Scott, now 30 seconds adrift from the leader but with another fastest lap of the race, some four seconds than Wilkins’ best. Wright’s fifth place proved shortlived, though, as a Ferrari came into the pits with damaged bodywork at the rear.

This moved Luckey up into sixth overall while Kearney was slapped with a 5-second time penalty for speeding in the pitlane. Dougal was a strong eighth overall in the leading GT4 car, his Maserati leading the two delayed Super Trofeos of Frieser and McInulty. On lap 19, Wilkins had dropped Meins by three seconds, while Sharpe had passed Culver for third overall. In fifth, Scott’s deficit was down to 24 seconds, but only eight minutes remained on the race clock.

As the final minutes ticked away, Scott swiftly dealt with Culver to make up another place, while Sharpe’s Mosler was catching Meins’ BMW that was in a virtual fourth place now, because of that 10-second time penalty. At the front, Wilkins had it all-in hand, though, but in a shock twist on the final lap, Sharpe dropped out of second place to hand the place to the Glover/Scott Lambo. Meins was third on the road, but Culver grabbed the final spot on the podium. Meins did win the GT3 category, with the Harrison/Luckey Porsche in fifth and the Cup class winner. Behind Kearney’s Ferrari, Dougal’s Maserati was a strong seventh as the first GT4 car home. After another spin, Frieser was eighth while the Haynes/Sharpe Mosler was classified ninth and third in the GT3 class, behind Meins and Kearney. Albutt and Reynolds/Quintero completed the top-three in the GT4 class.

Masters GT Trophy – Race 2
Glover/Scott dominate second Masters GT Trophy race at Brands

With a mid-race stoppage all but negating Scott’s elite-driver time penalty at the pitstops, Neil Glover and Aaron Scott ran home to a convincing win in the second Masters GT Trophy race at Brands Hatch. Their Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo was 31 seconds ahead on the finish line, with Adam Sharpe and George Haynes taking a strong GT3 class win and second overall in their Mosler MT900.

“Yeah, it was lucky”, said Scott. “I was surprised they needed it, to be honest, because it looked fairly okay. But obviously that really played into my hands and I just took my time a bit on the restart. The track seemed a bit more slippery than yesterday, but it was a good race.”

Sharpe was the early race leader after a phenomenal run to the front before Haynes consolidated the spot ahead of Richard Meins in the Vitaphone-liveried BMW Z4 GT3. In fourth, Gary Culver’s Ferrari 458 Challenge took second in the Corse class behind the winning Lambo, while in fifth Australians Nathan Luckey and David Harrison took their Porsche 991.2 Cup to the Cup class win.

“We obviously had an amazing start and got up to P1”, said Sharpe. “I started building a gap there for what I hoped would be going to help us with the race, but the safety car and then the red flag was a bit of a problem. But I think if we had had a clean race, we probably would have won overall, I think.”

Daniel Quintero and Peter Reynolds bagged the GT4 win when their Ginetta G55 was handed the class lead as soon as Richard Dougal’s Maserati GranTurismo GT4 was forced to retire.  Saturday’s winner Craig Wilkins and two other Lamborghini Super Trofeo crews – Keith Frieser and David & Jason McInulty – were sadly unable to take the start.

“It was brilliant”, said Quintero. “The rain didn’t come out in the end, and we had a bit of good pace. Peter did a good stint, he was also kind of matching the time, so it was good.”

Following overnight rain, the weather was still overcast when the Masters GT Trophy cars lined up for the first Masters race of an action-packed Sunday of the Masters Historic Festival – and their second of the weekend. But the car that should be on pole went missing, as Craig Wilkins was having fuel issues with his Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo while Keith Frieser’s and the McInulty’s similar machines remained in its garage as well, meaning that Neil Glover was effectively on pole in the sole remaining Lambo.

On the opening lap, Gary Culver had the bit between his teeth, as the Ferrari 458 Challenge passed Glover for the lead, with Adam Sharpe in the GT3 Mosler MT900 and Richard Meins in the BMW Z4 GT3 also coming through. Nathan Luckey was fifth in the Porsche 991.2 Cup, followed by Vance Kearney’s Ferrari 430 GT3 and Richard Dougal in the leading GT4 car, the Maserati GranTurismo GT4, ahead of Daniel Quintero in the Ginetta G55 GT4 and Dale Albutt in the Aston Martin Vantage GT4. Sadly, Chris Compton Goddard was forced to pit his Ferrari 430 GT3 at the end of lap 2, but was back out on lap 3.

At the front, Sharpe relieved Culver of the lead to open up a gap of two seconds to the Ferrari that was now trying keep the BMW behind. Next time around, the gap had increased to 5.8 seconds, as Sharpe truly got the Mosler moving. On lap 5, though, the safety car was out as Compton Goddard’s Ferrari had ground to a halt to stop on a difficult spot on track. This meant that it took a while to sort the issue which resulted in the pit window opening with the safety car still out. So all cars duly peeled into the pits at the first opportunity, with David Harrison in the Porsche started by Luckey moving up a place while the Neil Glover/Aaron Scott Lambo with its elite-driver penalty dropped to last. But with Compton Goddard’s car stuck in such an unfortunate spot, the red flag was out on lap 9, with 20 minutes remaining on the clock.

At the restart, George Haynes in the Mosler remained in the lead from Culver, Meins and David Harrison, and after a single racing lap Scott was already on the back of the Porsche, with Kearney, Dougal and Peter Reynolds in the Ginetta started by Quintero. On lap 2 after the restart, Meins moved ahead of Culver who then dropped another place to Scott, who on lap 3 pounced on Meins and on the same lap had completed all his overtaking moves to grab the lead from Haynes.

On his first ‘free’ lap, Scott blasted round in a 1.29.5 lap that was three seconds faster than the GT3 cars following him, and lowered that to a 1.29.1 on the next lap. It soon left Scott some ten seconds up the road from Haynes, who himself had dropped Meins by three seconds, with similar gaps separating Meins, Culver and Harrison. Behind the top five, Kearney and Dougal were having a nice ding-dong for sixth, but Dougal’s leading GT4 Maserati dropped out after hitting a barrier with six minutes to go, handing the class lead to Reynolds’ pink Ginetta.

With Scott now well out in front, and with a 1.28.6 fastest lap following up on his string of low 1.29s, the Lambo ran home to a dominant win, 31 seconds ahead of the Adam Sharpe/George Haynes Mosler MT900 and a further two ticks ahead of Meins’ BMW Z4 GT3. Culver’s Ferrari Challenge was fourth – and second in the Corse class – with Australians Harrison and Luckey took Cup class honours in their Porsche. Kearney’s Ferrari was next up, with the Quintero/Reynolds Ginetta bringing home the bacon in the GT4 class, some eight seconds ahead of Albutt’s Aston Martin.

Masters Gentlemen Drivers
Eagling killing giants on his way to Masters Gentlemen Drivers win at Brands

In a tale of two halves, TVR Griffiths ruled in the first part of the 80-minute Masters Gentlemen Drivers race that closed the Saturday of the Masters Historic Festival at Brands Hatch, but in the second half, Dan Eagling’s nimble Ginetta G4R came through to beat the all bigger cars led by John Davison’s TVR.

“We’d hoped to get close to a win around here, because we’ve been close at Silverstone and we thought this would suit the car”, said Eagling. “It was about being really patient at the start against some of the bigger engined cars. It was quite difficult because we make up our time at the back where they’re a bit slower. Once we were at the pit stops, the little cars obviously get a small advantage over the bigger ones – that really helped me to get some clean air. I just tred to be as consistent as possible and make it to the end – which which I just. No, I wasn’t managing the gap, that’s what I had! Another lap and I think yeah they’d have been on me.”

“I really enjoyed it”, said Davison. “I was in the lead at the beginning towards the pit stops and able to get a gap each time the safety car went in, but I didn’t have enough car left to catch up after the stops. I tried but I was going to put it in the gravel or the wall if I went any faster!”

A strong comeback run by Andrew Jordan hauled the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé with Roy Alderslade back up to third ahead of two more TVRs, with Mike Whitaker and Harry Barton in a seemingly endless battle over fourth that ended up Whitaker’s way. Giles Dawson looked to be able to run Eagling close but when the throttle cable snapped on his Elan, he had to work hard to even finish and eventually brought the car home in seventh overall, in the process losing second place in the CLP class to the Simon & Cameron Jackson Elan.

“It was a tough race”, said Alderslade, “as it always is in the Cobra – a really hot car to drive so i was quite pleased to hand over to Andrew for more racing. But it was exciting and Andrew has done a fantastic job.”

“Yeah, it was hot!” said Jordan. “I was pleased to we were able to chase down the TVRs but I just ran out of brakes and tyres at the end.”

“I think I’ve got a pair of shoes that are older than Harry, so I’m quite glad that I beat him”, said Whitaker. “He’s got professional aspirations and I’ll be back behind my keyboard after the bank holiday! But yeah, it was fantastic – if you’re not going to win, you just ask for a great race, and I had a great race with Dan Eagling and John Spiers early on and then with Harry later.”

“I was up into second place and then and then the linkage snaps. I was literally pulling the pedal back with my foot!” said Dawson, looking back on a lost opportunity.

In the opening stages, the TVR Griffith of reigning champions John Spiers and Nigel Greensall initially led before Davison came through to lead Spiers, Barton and Whitaker, but Greensall was forced to retire in the second half of the race. Meanwhile in C2, the tale of two halves continued, as Michael Russell turned the tables on his Morgan rivals Calum Lockie/Simon Orebi Gann and Keith Ahlers/Billy Bellinger to move his Austin Healey into a commanding lead in the second half of the race.

Ending a wonderful first day of the 18th Masters Historic Festival, the Masters Gentlemen Drivers field rolled out for their 80-minute race, with two TVR Griffiths grabbing the initiative right from the start, as John Spiers and John Davison got ahead of Roy Alderslade’s pole-sitting Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé. On the second lap, Harry Barton also pushed through, as did Jason Minshaw in Martin Melling’s Jaguar E-type, who then proceeded to grab third from Barton. Behind Alderslade, Mike Whitaker was sixth in another Griffith, with Dan Eagling leading the CLP class from Giles Dawson and Rob Fenn – Ginetta G4R versus Lotus Elan 26R.

On lap 3, we had a change of the lead, as Johns Spiers and Davison switched places, but Minshaw was sitting pretty in third and looked ready to pounce. Barton now had Whitaker to contend with, as Alderslade had lost a place to another TVR, with David Brabham in the Pearsons E-type also coming through, the Australian now having split the CLP-class cars. In fact, on lap 4, that group had relegated Alderslade to tenth overall, where Alex Thistlethwayte showed interest in taking the place. Next time around, his Cobra was promoted into the place automatically, as Minshaw suddenly disappeared from the top-three, the E-type suffering from low oil pressure.

So, on lap 5, we had four Griffiths in the first four, but Eagling was looking to dislodge Whitaker from fourth, with Brabham in sixth, but 2.5 seconds away from the quick Ginetta. Dawson and Fenn were hammer and tongs over seventh overall, with Alderslade and Thistlethwayte in a Cobra war over ninth.

Further back, in 19th overall, Calum Lockie had put Simon Orebi Gann’s Morgan Plus 4 SuperSport ahead of Michael Russell’s Austin Healey 3000 to lead in C2, with Bruce Montgomery and Keith Ahlers involved in another Healey vs Morgan tussle over third and fourth in class. In C1, Massimo Caiselli’s Porsche 911 held the class lead after an early off from the rival 911 of James & Mark Bates but the Italian was into the pits with an engine issue on lap 6, effectively finishing the class fight there and then.

Next up, the B class battle also looked done and dusted when Simone Zainoni’s Triumph TR3 disappeared into the gravel trap to bring out the safety car and leaving the Peter James/Alan Letts Chevrolet Corvette on its own – but the Triumph eventually returned to action. The safety car negated the small gap that Davison had built over Spiers and Barton, but Eagling had managed to pass Whitaker for fourth overall before the race was neutralised. At the same time, David Smithies returned the second Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé to the pits with a big oil leak.

With less than a full hour of racing still left, the green flag was waved to Davison, who produced a stonking opening lap to lead by two seconds from Spiers and Barton on lap 12. For two laps, it was stalemate at the front, but on lap 14, Rob Fenn’s Elan went missing – moments later, it was found in the gravel trap at Stirlings, ushering in the arrival of another safety-car period while promoting the Simon & Cameron Jackson Lotus Elan to third in class.

When green conditions returned, the pit window was still moments away, so no-one was able to profit from the situation. However, Bruce Montgomery came in all the same but that was a mechanical issue as the bonnet was opened as soon as the Austin Healey stopped. At the front, Davison had once again nailed his opening lap, and now cars were allowed to pit for their mandatory stop. Simon Jackson handing over to son Cameron, and Keith Ahlers being replaced by Billy Bellinger were among the first to do so. Next time around, Barton and Whitaker came in for their stop, while Roy Alderslade handed over to Andrew Jordan, and Alex Thistlethwayte handed over to Nick Padmore. The same applied to John & Sam Tordoff in their Elan, and Mark Drain handing a very familiar ex-Mark Martin Elan to Andrew Haddon.

On lap 20, Michael Russell, Charles Allison (with Peter Thompson now in) and Evans (with James Littlejohn in), Calum Lockie (for Simon Orebi Gann) were among the stoppers, while the top three of Davison, Spiers and Eagling continued their first stint. On lap 21, though, Spiers, Eagling and David Brabham dove into the pitlane for their stops, the latter making way for Gary Pearson. Now, Davison and Dawson were the only ones still to stop, but on lap 22, in they went.

As soon as the leaders had fed back in, the two top CLP-class cars had taken charge, thanks to their shorter stops. In fact, Dawson had pipped Eagling coming out of the pits but the Ginetta had soon regained the class lead – and the overall lead! Behind them, three TVRs battled hard for third, Whitaker now just in front of Barton and Davison, but the former leader soon pushed through to be reassume the mantle of fastest TVR driver. Sixth was Cameron Jackson’s Elan, with a fast-approaching Andrew Jordan two seconds down, while both were handed 5-second time penalties for speeding in the pitlane. This effectively promoted Gary Pearson’s E-type and Nigel Greensall in John Spiers’ TVR. Rounding out the top-ten was Haddon’s Elan, but Sam Tordoff was closing on him. Meanwhile in C2, Michael Russell had retaken the lead from his two Morgan-mounted rivals, Bellinger ahead of Orebi Gann.

25 minutes still remained on the clock, as Eagling continued to lead from Dawson, the latter unable to keep up with the Ginetta which now led by 9.8 seconds. While Davison had dropped the other two TVRs, he had also closed on Dawson’s Elan to gain the place on lap 28. Behind the warring Whitaker and Barton, Jordan had passed Jackson for sixth overall, but still eight seconds away from the TVR fight. Greensall in turn was homing in on Jackson, with Pearson, Haddon and Tordoff up next.

Among the leaders, the race was far from over, as Davison now circulated a second a lap quicker than Eagling, and on lap 31, the gap was down to 7.1 seconds. In third, Dawson was losing ground to Barton who in turn was usurped by Jordan on lap 32, the Daytona Coupé leaving Barton to continue his squabble with Whitaker over fourth. In fact, Dawson was Jordan’s next victim, but still with his 5-second time penalty hanging over him. In sixth, Cameron Jackson was aiming to pounce on the TVRs ahead on him. 24 seconds further down the road, Pearson was under pressure from Sam Tordoff and James Littlejohn, and on lap 34, the E-type lost two places to both Elans. Meanwhile, Greensall’s TVR was seen smoking, resulting in a shock retirement for the reigning champions.

With 15 minutes left, Davison’s challenge looked like tailing off, as Eagling managed to stabilise the gap to Davison, with Jordan continuing to approach the top two, but a few minutes later, Dawson lost fourth to Whitaker and Barton in one go, and now had to worry about losing second place in the CLP class to Cameron Jackson. Tordoff, however, wasn’t among Jackson’s first pursuers anymore, as the blue Elan had lost a lot of ground to drop back down behind Pearson and Haddon.

In the final five minutes, Eagling’s Ginetta began to lose a bit of pace after all, making for a finely poised finale, as Jordan continued to close on Davison. 27 down on the leader, Whitaker, Barton and now Jackson warred over fourth, as the latter had demoted Dawson to seventh – and third in the CLP class. As the race clock wound down to its full 80 minutes, Eagling worked with the few seconds that he had still in hand, to eventually win by 1.1 seconds from Davison, with the Alderslade/Jordan in third, their time penalty becoming a moot point because of their 17-second gap to Whitaker, Barton and Jackson. Dawson was seventh ahead of Littlejohn, Tordoff and Haddon, as Pearson just dropped out of the top ten. In C2, Michael Russell held firm against the two Morgans, leading Bellinger home by a massive 50 seconds, with Orebi Gann third in class.

Masters Pre-66 Touring Cars
Tordoff continues winning ways in Masters Pre-66 Touring Car race at Brands Hatch

Defending Masters Pre-66 Touring Car champion Sam Tordoff notched up another win as he got his 2024 campaign off to the best possible start. Around a Brands Hatch circuit basking in the spring sun, the polesitting Ford Falcon held off Michael Whitaker Jnr’s Ford Mustang for a repeat of his 2023 win. John Spiers and Nigel Greensall ended up third in their chase of Whitaker Jnr’s rival Mustang, with John Davison fourth in another Mustang.

“It was good, I really enjoyed that”, said Tordoff. “I think I got lucky with the safety car, because if it had happened before my pit stop I’d have been in trouble, but just after basically gave me the lead back more or less, albeit just Mike in front. We’ve done a bit of work on the car over the winter and it seems to be driving a bit better and just could have done with it being about 15 minutes shorter at the end there, I was getting a bit tired in the heat. But it was important we came here and started as we finished last year and we’ve done that now, so looking forward to Zandvoort in three weeks’ time.”

“I’m not sure I could have done anything about Sam”, said Whitaker Jnr. “The only thing we could have hoped for was not to have had that safety car. But on raw pace I’m not quite there. It was just bad timing on the safety car, obviously he gets the time penalty, but it’s great to be out there driving with the pros and and being in amongst them.”

“We had a pretty good start and I was following Mike for a while and pulling away from John

Davison and feeling pretty good about that”, said Spiers. “Then after about 10 laps I suddenly realised I didn’t see how much the brakes went too good, and I realised my inexperience with this car means you can’t push them as hard as I was, so from there on it became a bit of a management issue.”

Victor Cullen drove a storming race to fifth overall and the Cortina class, with the Cortinas of Roy Alderslade and Paddy & Julian Shovlin ending up eighth and ninth overall after the leading Cortina of Darren Burke/Tim Abbott faltered early on.

Nick Swift produced a similar barnstormer to be the dominant Mini class winner in sixth overall. Phil Bullen-Brown had an entertaining race fighting with Michael Cullen for second place in class, but when Cullen was a late victim in a gruelling race, Ollie Streek was there to pick up third in class.

In bright sunshine, the big grid for the Masters Pre-66 Touring Car race positioned itself for a 60-minute race that had reigning champion Sam Tordoff on pole in his Ford Falcon. Alongside him, John Spiers lined up on the outside front row, fresh from his drive in the Masters Sports Car Legends race. Michael Whitaker Jnr was soon up into second, though, with John Davison and Darren Burke lurking right behind.

Five laps into the race, Tordoff’s lead over Whitaker amounted to ten seconds, but the fastest of the Mustang was chased by Spiers, Davison and Fred Shepherd who had demoted Burke’s Cortina to sixth. Victor Cullen was in the second of the Lotus Cortinas, and he wasn’t even chased by a pack of more Cortinas, but in fact the two fastest Minis – Nick Swift and Joe Ferguson – were up into eighth and ninth overall. Abbey Eaton in the ‘Brustang’ was tenth, chased by Roy Alderslade and Geoff Letts in the third and fourth Cortina.

15 minutes of the race were run when Tordoff completed his eighth lap, and his advantage had gone out to 14 seconds, while five seconds adrift of the lone Whitaker Jnr, a group consisting of Spiers, Davison, Shepherd, Burke and Cullen all contested third place. Eaton had jumped the pair of Minis, the second of which was soon into the pits, Ferguson forced to give up his chase of Nick Swift. This allowed Alderslade into the overall top ten, with Jack Ruddell and Andrew Haddon in two more Mustangs in 11th and 12th. In 19th overall, Harry Barton’s sole THB-class BMW 1800tiSA was chasing a gaggle of Cortinas and Phil Bullen-Brown who now sat on board of the second-placed Mini. Meanwhile, Geoff Letts was another one to drop out, his Cortina retiring to the pits.

On lap 11, Tordoff’s lead had augmented to 20 seconds but then the champion had to counteract his elite-driver time penalty. In the Spiers, Burke’s leading Cortina was back ahead of Shepherd’s Mustang. Outside the top ten, former teammates Paddy Shovlin (Lotus Cortina) and Michael Cullen (in another) were embroiled in a highly entertaining fight for 14th overall as they both chased Bullen-Brown’s Mini.

With the pit window just one minute away, Tordoff was in front by 23 seconds, but he would have sit still for another 20 seconds at his stop. Spiers was the first to come in to hand over to Nigel Greensall (another one with a longer stop), with more cars following straight in. The next time around, the leading Ford Falcon was in for his stop, followed by Abbie Eaton who would hand over Steve Alvarez Brown. At the same time, Burke in the leading Cortina went missing, handing the class lead to Victor Cullen.

In the next few laps, the entire field cycled through its mandatory stops, with Whitaker Jnr making his stop on lap 17. In the meantime, Henry Mann trundled to a halt at the top of Paddock Hill Bend in the Mustang he had literally just taken over from Jack Ruddell. On lap 19, a new picture of the race emerged, especially since the stalled Ruddell/Mann Mustang had caused a safety car. Whitaker Jnr had rejoined in the lead but his five-second lead now looked set to evaporate. Davison was third ahead of Shepherd, Cullen (V.) in the leading Cortina, Greensall and Swift in the leading Mini. Alderslade, Alvarez Brown and Andy Wolfe in the Mustang started by Haddon rounded out the top ten for the moment. Alderslade and Julian Shovlin (in the car started by Paddy) were the two Cortinas chasing young Cullen while Bullen-Brown and Cullen (M.) still disputed second place in the Mini class.

The green flag was waved with 17 minutes remaining on the clock, and within moments beyond the point from where he was allowed to, Tordoff blasted past to reclaim the lead from Whitaker Jnr. Davison held third but soon had Nigel Greensall breathing down his neck as another elite driver who had profited from the safety car bunching up the field. Victor Cullen was a very strong fifth overall in the Cortina, having passed Shepherd, with Swift, Alderslade, Alvarez Brown and Wolfe all following.

Going into the final quarter of our race hour, Tordoff had handed himself a two-second breather to Whitaker Jnr while Davison was inevitably swamped by Greensall. Six seconds further down the road, Shepherd had retaken Cullen who now had to deal with Swift, with Alderslade hanging on at the tail of the group. Just outside the top ten, Bullen-Brown and the elder Cullen continued their argument over second place in the Mini class. However, Cullen was then slammed with a pitlane-speeding penalty, which would give Ollie Streek a look-in for third in class.

On lap 25, two Mustangs dropped out of the chase, both Shepherd and Wolfe reporting to the pits, and this elevated Alvarez Brown into seventh, followed by Alderslade and the battling Minis of Cullen (M.) and Bullen-Brown, the latter now also handed a five-second penalty, meaning that the two were even again. At the front, Tordoff’s lead had augmented to 5.5 seconds while Greensall made some inroads on Whitaker Jnr’s lead over him. But would it be enough in the five remaining minutes?

As the final minutes ticked away, Tordoff had done enough to get his title defense off to a successful start, the Ford Falcon crossing the line six seconds ahead of Whitaker Jnr, who in turn had six seconds in hand over Greensall. Davison was a distant fourth, while Victor Cullen chalked up the Lotus Cortina class win in fifth and Nick Swift won the Mini class in sixth. The Eaton/Alvarez Brown Mustang was seventh ahead of Roy Alderslade and the Shovlins who took second and third in the Cortina class. Mark Drain ended up tenth in another Cortina while Phil Bullen-Brown conquered second place in the Mini class, with Streek in third, as Michael Cullen’s Mini proved to be the final retirement of the race.