Brands Hatch, UK

MASTERS HISTORIC FESTIVAL
29 – 30 May 2021

Sunny Brands Hatch welcomed two days of exciting racing at the Masters Historic Festival

Steve Hartley, Steve Tandy and Ian Curley were all hailed as double winners during the 15th running of the Masters Historic Festival, but the true winners at Brands Hatch were the crowd who allowed back to enjoy two days of exciting racing under sunny skies in limited numbers. Alex Brundle, James Cottingham and Julian Thomas/Calum Lockie also triumphed in the three long-distance races on the programme. Andrew Haddon was also awarded the Tyrrell Trophy for Driver of the Weekend for his efforts in the Gentlemen Drivers race.

RACE REPORTS

Masters Endurance Legends – Race 1
Tandy beats Lynn to victory in close-fought first Masters Endurance Legends race at Brands

Steve Tandy started from pole to win the first Masters Endurance Legends race at the Masters Historic Festival, but that wasn’t the full story to this 40-minute all-out sprint. Having lost the lead during a safety-car period that coincided with the mandatory pitstops, Tandy had to fight his way back past Shaun Lynn, his Lola-Judd B12/60 eventually beating the BR Engineering BR01 by seven tenths.

Behind the two main protagonists, a clever Mike Newton came up with third in the AER-engined MG-Lola EX257, as the former Le Mans veteran remained faultless against his early rivals Mark Higson in the ORECA-Nissan 03 and David Brise/Alan Purdrick in the Lola-Judd B09/80. Towards the end, a spin by Higson allowed Ron Maydon’s Ligier-Nissan JSP3-15 into fourth overall.

Richard Meins (Aston Martin DBR9) finished a creditable seventh overall to take a commanding GT win ahead of Colin Sowter’s Ferrari 458 GT3. The Marcus Jewell/Ben Clucas challenge was blunted when the Porsche 996 GT3 RSR was forced to take a stop-and-go penalty for a jump start.

Masters Endurance Legends – Race 2
Tandy doubles up in second Masters Endurance Legends race at Brands Hatch

Steve Tandy took his second win of the weekend in Masters Endurance Legends but was made to work hard for it by Shaun Lynn. Lynn’s Nissan-engined BR Engineering BR01 pushed past Tandy’s Lola-Judd B12/60 in a bold move before the stops before Tandy fought back to reclaim the lead and win by three seconds.

Such was the leaders’ pace that Mike Newton was a lap down in third, but in the opening stages the MG-Lola EX257 managed to keep Lynn’s BR01 behind for three laps. Initially, David Brise closed up to the leaders in Alan Purdrick’s Lola-Judd B09/80 but in the second part of the race Purdrick was forced to retire the car. This elevated Mark Higson’s ORECA-Nissan 03 to fourth.

In the Aston Martin DBR9, Richard Meins turned his GT duel with Marcus Jewell in the Porsche 996 GT3 RSR into a nailbiting affair, the Aston slowing on the opening laps before it got going again and set off to chase after Jewell. Incredibly, having been 30 seconds down, Meins pipped Jewell right on the line to win the GT class by 0.054 seconds.

Masters Formula One – Race 2
Hartley goes two for two in second Masters Historic Formula One race at Brands

Steve Hartley remained unbeaten in Masters Historic Formula One at Brands Hatch when from fourth on the reversed grid his McLaren MP4/1 took the lead on lap 5 of the 18-lap race to also claim victory in the second race of the weekend.

Putting up a fighting race, Lukas Halusa brushed past Warren Briggs’ McLaren M29 and then also squeezed past Mark Hazell’s pole-sitting Williams FW08 to get his hands on a strong second place in his pre-78-class-winning McLaren M23. Hazell and Briggs went on to take third and fourth respectively.

Hazell, meanwhile, claimed post-82 class honours ahead of Ian Simmonds whose Tyrrell 012 finished fifth overall ahead of Phil Hall (Theodore TR1), Mark Harrison (Shadow DN9) and the Tyrrell P34 sixwheeler raced by Jonathan Holtzman.

Masters Formula One – Race 1
Hartley leads all the way to win first Masters Historic Formula One race at Brands

Steve Hartley took a dominant win in the first Masters Historic Formula One race at Brands Hatch, the McLaren MP4/1 driver racing off from pole and never looking back, despite a late safety-car period that allowed Lukas Halusa (McLaren M23) to beat Warren Briggs (McLaren M29) to second place on the final dash to the chequered flag.

The 20-minute race was livened up by three entertaining fights not only between Briggs and Halusa, but also between Phil Hall’s Theodore TR1 and Mark Hazell’s Williams FW08 in fourth and fifth, and between Ian Simmonds (Tyrrell 012) and Marc Devis (Surtees TS16) for sixth and seventh.

Hall had stormed up to fourth from ninth on the grid but was forced to retire when his Theodore gave up three minutes from the end. Hazell was another man on the move, the Williams driver passing class rival Simmonds for the post-82 class win. Behind the first six, Mark Harrison took seventh, the Shadow DN9 driver unable to hold on to his incredible fourth place on the grid.

Masters Gentlemens Drivers
Cottingham prevails in dramatic Masters Gentlemen Drivers race at Brands Hatch

With a well-timed late-race effort, James Cottingham came away with the win in a very dramatic Masters Gentlemen Drivers race at Brands Hatch, his AC Cobra surviving a heartstopping final ten minutes of the 90-minute enduro.

Cottingham, having run in fourth for most of the race, came to the fore in the final part of the race, passing the Alex Brundle/John Pearson E-type and the Andrew Jordan/Roy Alderslade Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé in quick succession, and then was the last one laughing when Olly Bryant was forced to retire his AC Cobra from the lead with ten minutes to go. Bryant had taken charge soon after the stops, after a opening half disputed by Brundle and Jordan.

Alderslade retired his Cobra Daytona Coupé just seconds after Bryant’s demise, but Pearson salvaged second place, having been put under immense pressure by the two CLP-class-leading Lotus Elans of Andrew Haddon and Jake Hill, the latter in the Elan started by Rob Fenn. However, the Elans collided on the final lap, allowing the John Spiers/Tiff Needell TVR Griffith up into third. Hill recovered to take fourth ahead of Mike Whitaker’s TVR Griffith but Haddon dropped down to sixth. But when Hill was handed a 5-second time penalty for avoidable contact, Whitaker and Haddon moved up into fourth and fifth respectively, with Fenn/Hill now classified sixth. This handed the CLP class win to Haddon after all.

The Mark Holme/Jeremy Welch Austin Healey 3000 dominated C2 proceedings, leading home fellow Big Healey competitors Mark Pangborn/Harvey Woods, while in C1, the Ogle SX1000 started by Mark Burnett came to fore with Nick Swift at the wheel, the Mini specialist swooping past Mark & James Bates’ Porsche 911 that in the hands of Mark Bates had led the class early on.

Masters Pre66 Minis – Race 1
Curley holds off Heathcote for first Pre-66 Mini win at Brands

Ian Curley won an exciting first Pre-66 Mini race at Brands, fending off a late challenge by Nathan Heathcote, as the pair got the upper hand on polesitter Jeff Smith.

Curley stole the lead out of Druids on the opening lap after Heathcote hit the grass and wildly slid across the track, yet somehow missing every other Mini around. Recovering from fifth, the youngster soon dealt with Michael Cullen and Ollie Streek to reclaim third before reeling in and passing Smith.

Towards the end, Curley, who initially maintained a two-second gap to Smith, and then to Heathcote, saw his lead diminishing quickly, resulting in a couple of hugely exciting final laps. Despite losing first place for a few moments, Curley hung on to take the win.

Masters Pre66 Minis – Race 2
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.

Masters Pre66 Touring Cars
Thomas/Lockie prevail in lively Masters Pre-66 Touring Car race at Brands

In a true struggle of endurance, Julian Thomas and Calum Lockie brought home their Ford Falcon to win a truly spectacular Masters Pre-66 Touring Car race at Brands Hatch. Battling the Mustangs of Henry Mann/Steve Soper, Rob Fenn/Jake Hill and Dave Coyne early on, the Falcon took command after the stops, as one after the other Mustang began to suffer from brake issues.

Saved by a late safety-car period, Coyne hung on to second place from Mark Sumpter in the leading Lotus Cortina, but when Sumpter was handed a 30-second time penalty for avoidable contact, pushing him down to 12th overall, Roy Alderslade picked up third place and Cortina class honours.

Fortunes swung back and forth among the Cortinas too, with Tom Ingram mixing it with the V8s during his opening stint. Shaun Balfe and Tom Ashton kept it clean to take fourth, and second in class, ahead of Attard having taken over from Ingram. Despite an additional pitstop Richard Dutton still claimed sixth from Mark Martin, as another contender – the Irish Cortina of Patrick Shovlin and Michael Cullen – also dropped places due to a time penalty.

Nick Padmore and Giles Page took a stunning ninth overall on their way to an emphatic win in the Mini class, as the rivalling Ian Curley/Bill Sollis car succumbed to brake problems and a loose bonnet. Nathan Heathcote proceeded to take a strong second ahead of the Matthew & Jonathan Page pairing.

Masters Sports Car Legends
Brundle charges to Masters Historic Sports Car win at Brands Hatch

In a solo effort in Gary Pearson’s Lola T70 Mk3B, Alex Brundle saw off the challenge of multiple open-top 2-litre prototypes to record victory in a highly attritional and confusing Masters Historic Sports Car race, as the WEC and ELMS star leading from start to finish proved to be the only constant factor in the 60 minutes of the race.

Donington Park winner Tom Bradshaw was Brundle’s closest rival but his challenge evaporated when the throttle cable of his Chevron B19 broke as the field was given the green flag after a sizeable crash by Jonathan Mitchell’s similar B19 caused a lengthy safety-car period midway into the race. Along with the Gonçalo Gomes/James Claridge Chevron B23, Mitchell had been one of three 2-litre cars snapping at Brundle’s heels.

The field bunched up by the safety car, Martin Stretton in the Lola T70 Mk3 shared with Nick Sleep was perfectly placed to pick off his rivals in the second part of the race and got up to third before being handed second place when Henry Fletcher’s B19 was forced to take a drive-through penalty that dropped him down to third. Eventually, the Robert Beebee/Steve Brooks T70 Mk3B and the Gomes/Claridge B23 took fourth and fifth respectively.

In seventh overall, and despite making three stops, John Spiers and Tiff Needell (McLaren M1B) beat Hulme-class rivals Chris Jolly and Steve Farthing (Cooper Monaco T61M), while in eighth overall Christian Pittard and Darren Burke (Chevron) proved victorious in the Bonnier class. John Sheldon (Chevron B16) took Siffert-class honours while James & Mark Bates (Porsche 911 RSR) lifted the Pescarolo class.