Masters News

Sunday 28th May 2023

Beighton takes command in Brands’ second Masters Sports Car Legends race

From the back of the grid, Chris Beighton drove a storming race to hit the front after three laps and take home victory in the second Masters Sports Car Legends race. Making up for Saturday’s disaster when the Lola T70 Mk3B failed minutes from the end while in a winning position, Beighton took no prisoners this time to win by 23 seconds.

“Absolutely!” Beighton said about making up for the previous day’s disappointment. “It was heartbreak for both me and the team. They were deflated, just as I was. So towards the end, I did all the things you do to make sure you finish. I enjoyed it, though, and I particularly enjoyed the chase early on!”

Alex Montgomery was Beighton’s closest pursuer in the first half of the race but a botched pitstop while handing over to Nick Sleep dropped the Lola T70 Mk3 to fifth. Jason Wright took up the chase in the other T70 Mk3B but he was chased all the way to the line by Nigel Greensall in the McLaren M1B started from the back by John Spiers. With mere seconds remaining on the clock, Greensall made it past for second place overall in the Hulme class-winning machine.

“That was wild!” said an excited Greensall. “The McLaren is like an old friend, but it’s like riding a wild lion! John drove a storming stint from the start to get up to P5, I think he drove his fastest stint ever. It’s such a pleasure to join Chris and Jason on the podium.”

“I fell asleep!” Wright said about being pipped by Greensall. “I couldn’t see anybody and couldn’t read the entire pit board, and when I did see him, it was too late. But it’s great to be here, I love the track and love to be back in the Lola.”

Sleep recovered to fourth, harried by Gonçalo Gomes in the Lola T296 shared with James Claridge. Robert Shaw was into the mix as well, until the Chevron B19 spun while defending from Greensall, Shaw ending up sixth. Nick Pink was seventh, one lap down in his Lola T210, while Georg Kjallgren’s Daren Mk2 doubled up on Bonnier class wins as the Swede once again beat the Chevron B8 of Charles Allison.

Lining up for their second race of the weekend, the Masters Sports Car Legends grid would run their race just ahead of lunchtime. Race 1 winner Alex Montgomery ran away into the lead, chased by Jason Wright’s T70 Mk3B, Robert Shaw’s Chevron B19 and Nick Pink’s Lola T210. Georg Kjallgren continued in the lead of the Bonnier class in his Daren Mk2, ahead of Charles Allison driving solo this race in the Chevron B8. Chris Beighton, who lost the win late into race 1, had soon fought his way up to fourth while John Spiers in the patched up McLaren M1B was up into sixth quickly enough. James Claridge in the Lola T296 found himself in a similar position – getting a car that retired in the first race up the order. Sadly, the Keith Ahlers/Billy Bellinger Cooper Monaco King Cobra proved a non-starter.

Two laps down, Beighton had already stormed his way past his fellow T70 Mk3B driver Jason Wright to be second, with Montgomery some three seconds out in front. Behind Shaw’s Chevron, Spiers was up into fifth at the cost of Pink, with Claridge now up to seventh, ahead of the Bonnier class fight between Kjallgren and Allison.

Beighton quickly cut his deficit to Montgomery and sure enough, the orange Lola took the lead going into lap 4. Wright had dropped the lead fight by five seconds, with Shaw a further four seconds down. Spiers was still closing by seven tenths a lap, with Claridge still fighting to find a way past Pink’s older Lola. Meanwhile, Allison had passed Kjallgren for the Bonnier class lead.

Having put the hammer down, Beighton extended his lead over Montgomery to just under ten seconds as the pit window approached. Wright still trailed Montgomery by four seconds while the gaps to Shaw and Spiers remained, each being around three seconds. Nine ticks further down the road, Claridge had finally managed to pass Pink, as Kjallgren had got back on Allison for eighth overall.

The pit window now open, Beighton led by 14.6 seconds, with none of the cars electing to pit just yet. One lap later, however, Claridge was in to hand over to Gonçalo Gomes. The Lola T296 was followed in by Kjallgren’s Daren, but the top-four continued to stay out. John Spiers was in to have Nigel Greensall strapped into the McLaren, though, as the leader’s advantage had risen to 18.9 seconds, with Beighton once again improving on his fastest lap of the race. Wright was in next, and on the next lap – the thirtheenth of this race – the leader was into the pits, followed by Alex Montgomery from second place to hand over to Nick Sleep, with Robert Shaw, Nick Pink and Charles Allison suddenly all following suit. Everything went smoothly for Beighton but Sleep stalled the T70 Mk3 before he was able to rejoin.

So with 12 minutes still remaining, Beighton had completed 15 laps and led Wright by 33 seconds, with Shaw just 1.6 seconds behind in third. Turning up the wick, Greensall had hauled the McLaren M1B up into fourth ahead of Sleep, but behind them Gomes was flying as well. Pink was now a distant seventh while Kjallgren and Allison were still embroiled in that Bonnier class fight.

Now well in control, Beighton slightly backed off his pace, as he consummately led the three-way fight over second place, Wright holding a slender margin over Shaw and Greensall, as Gomes had caught up with Sleep for fifth place. On lap 18, Greensall was all over the back of Shaw’s Chevron which spun in its defense to release Greensall in his chase for second overall. In fact, Sleep and Gomes also profited as Shaw was relegated to sixth. In seventh, Pink was now driving a lonely race, while Kjallgren had managed to put some ten seconds between himself and Allison.

As Beighton headed for victory, the interest in the final minutes was Greensall attempting to pip Wright on the line, while Sleep and Gomes fought hard over fourth place. With 15 seconds left on the official race clock, Greensall moved past Wright to steal second place overall for the pre-66 machine, as Sleep hung on to keep Gomes at bay for fourth. Shaw and Pink took a distant sixth and seventh, while Kjallgren took his second class win of the weekend in eighth, the Swede finishing with 11 seconds in hand over Charles Allison.


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