Hazell wins from the front in first Masters Racing Legends race at Brands
Mark Hazell soaked up the pressure all race to win the first Masters Racing Legends race for 1966-’85 Formula One cars at the Masters Historic Festival. Hazell’s Williams FW07B was chased throughout by Nick Padmore’s pre-78 class-winning Lotus 77 and Jamie Constable’s post-82 class-winning Tyrrell 011B but held the fort until the red flag came up for Steve Hartley crashing his McLaren MP4/1 after a storming drive from the back of the grid all the way up to fifth place.
“F***ing hell, that was some pressure!” said an elated Hazell.
“I want a ground-effect car!” said Padmore. “The car was good in a straight line but the corner were difficult. Mark drove so well, I just couldn’t get him.”
“The car was a bit understeery”, said Constable. “Nick was good on the back straight, but in the corners it was just too tight to pass. I had a go a couple of times, but couldn’t do it.”
Ken Tyrrell in the Tyrrell 011 closed up on the lead fight right at the end, the American having dealt with Kiwi teammate Warren Briggs in the McLaren M29 earlier. In sixth overall, Mark Higson (McLaren MP4/1B) decided a lengthy fight with James Hagan’s Tyrrell 011 and Mark Harrison’s Shadow DN9 in his favour.
In tenth overall, Ian Simmonds took second in the post-82 class in his Tyrrell 012, while Ewen Sergison (Shadow DN9A) won the battle for second in the pre-78 class from Peter Williams in the Lec CRP1.
“We had a real good fight”, said Sergison. “Every time I looked in my mirrors, he was there. And every time I made a mistake I saw him do the same, so we were having the same issues!”
“I could have”, said Williams about attempting to pass Sergison, “but it might have ended in tears…”
In bright sunshine, the 1966-’85 Formula One of the Masters Racing Legends lined up for the first of two 20-minute headline races of the Whitsunday. With Mark Hazell on pole in the ex-Alan Jones Williams FW07B and Nick Padmore sitting next to him in the ex-Gunnar Nilsson Lotus 77, the field stormed off into Paddock Hill Bend, with two cars troubled in qualifying right at the back – Steve Hartley’s McLaren MP4/1 and Simon Fish in Hartley’s Arrows A4.
Hazell duly led away from Padmore, Jamie Constable in the Tyrrell 011B, Warren Briggs in the McLaren M29, Ken Tyrrell in the Tyrrell 011 and Mark Harrison in the Shadow DN9. Soon, though, Padmore was right on the back of the Williams but Hazell held his own, with Constable now closing up on the Lotus. At the back, Hartley was up into 14th, with Fish in 15th. Sadly, Bruckner was in with the Arrows A6, the Austrian’s race seemingly over after a single lap.
The top three had broken away from the fight between team mates Briggs and Tyrrell, with Harrison continuing to hold off Mark Higson in the McLaren MP4/1B and James Hagan in the blue Tyrrell 011, followed by Ian Simmonds’ Tyrrell 012 and Neil Glover in the Arrows A5 who now saw Hartley closing rapidly.
With fastest lap of the race, Hazell pulled out a 1.1-second lead over Padmore on lap 3, with Constable less than a second behind in third. Six seconds further back, Tyrrell finally made it past Briggs for fourth, as Hartley was now up to eighth, having passed Simmonds and Hagan. In the pre-78 class, meanwhile, Ewen Sergison in the Shadow DN9A was fighting tooth and nail with Peter Williams in the Lec CRP1, with second place in class at stake. Max Werner, meanwhile, had withdrawn from that particular battle, his Hesketh 308 having lost fuel pressure.
Halfway into the race, the top trio were still tied to a string, now with just half a second in between them, as Tyrrell behind them had eased away from Briggs, now chased by Hartley. 22 seconds down, Harrison, Higson and Hagan warred over seventh, with Simmonds on their tail as the second car in the post-82 flat-bottomed car, with Constable well out in front in class.
On lap 8, Mark Hazell still had no time to breathe easily, but now Constable was harrying Padmore as hard as the Lotus was chasing the leader. As the top three were watching each other, Tyrrell was sneekily approaching the lead battle, now just three seconds in arrears. Hartley, while lapping faster than anyone on track, had taken another spot, now at the cost of fellow McLaren driver Warren Briggs. In the Higson, Harrison, Hagan fight, the former had stolen a march on his rivals to now run a fairly solid seventh.
With five minutes remaining, the leading group was expanded to four, as Hazell continued to soak up the pressure, but for Hartley the fight was over, as he spun away his fifth place, resulting in a crash that brought out the red flag. With racing not resuming, Hazell was declared the winner from Padmore, Constable, Tyrrell, Briggs, Higson and Hagan, with Hartley still classified eighth. Mark Harrison was ninth, ahead of Ian Simmonds who took second in the post-82 class, while Sergison held off Williams for second in the pre-78 class.
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