Curley repeats Masters Pre-66 Mini win to go for two at Brands Hatch
Ian Curley made it two from two in the Masters Pre-66 Mini races at the Masters Historic Festival as he fought off a fierce challenge from Nathan Heathcote. Heathcote had demoted Curley on lap 2 but halfway into the race Curley produced a string of fastest laps to reclaim the lead. He was left a huge advantage when Heathcote was forced to retire five minutes from the end.
Well behind the unleashed pair in front, six cars warred over third place, their order changing around every lap. This became second once Heathcote was out, and in the end their battle was cut short after Dave Edgecombe went off into the barriers to invoke the deployment of the safety car. With three minutes left on the clock, Curley was given the chequered flag as the winner.
Of the remaining five challengers, Ollie Streek eventually came out on top to claim second place ahead of Jonathon Page, Nick Paddy, Jo Polley and Dan Wheeler, in what proved to be another entertaining Mini race.
From the rolling start, Curley and Heathcote were off like pair of scalded cats, with Smith in hot pursuit – but then Smith lost it at the back of the circuit to smash into the barriers. On lap 2, Heathcote surged past Curley but the latter was having none of that, as he stuck his Mini right on the bumper of his rival. Meanwhile, Jonathon Page had made up four places to be third ahead of Dave Edgecombe and Nick Paddy, while Jo Polley had made a flying start to the race to lead both Ollie Streek and Dan Wheeler.
At half distance, as their titanic tussle continued, Curley set fastest lap and surged past Heathcote to reclaim the lead. In third, and seven seconds down on the two runaway leaders, Page now headed a six-car Mini train further comprising of Edgecombe, Paddy, Streek, Polly and Wheeler, their order changing around continuously. Michael Cullen led the next group, having to deal with Kevin O’Connor and Tom Westley.
Now truly on fire, and adding further fastest laps of the race, Curley opened up a five-second lead over Heathcote, and in fact, the latter proved to be in trouble as his Mini coasted into the pits at the end of lap 5. This promoted Page up into second place, even though he soon lost that to Streek, but then, right in the middle of the six-car group, Edgecombe went hard into the barriers – resulting in the release of the safety car.
In fact, with three minutes still on the clock, race control decided on waving the chequered flag. So Curley took his second win of the day, with Streek in second and Page in third, followed by Paddy, Polley and Wheeler.
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