Brands Hatch, UK

MASTERS HISTORIC FESTIVAL
28 – 29 May 2022

Five Masters grids provided the bulk of the entertainment at the 16th running of the Masters Historic Festival on its traditional late-May fixture at Brands Hatch

Every race amply demonstrating that Masters drivers arrived in full-attack mode at the flowing circuit in the Kentish hills. Miles Griffiths and Steve Hartley shared the Masters Racing Legends spoils, Leo Voyazides and Simon Hadfield made a victorious sports car return, with Steve Brooks/Martin O’Connell and Steve Tandy doing more trophy sharing in the more recent Masters Endurance Legends machines. Two enthralling Masters Gentlemen Drievrs and Masters Pre-66 Touring Car races were won by John Davison and Sam Tordoff respectively.

RACE REPORTS

Masters Endurance Legends – Race 1
Brooks & O’Connell storm through to win first Masters Endurance Legends race at Brands

The Lola-Mazda B12/60 of Steve Brooks and Martin O’Connell came through to win the Masters Historic Festival’s first Masters Endurance Legends race at Brands Hatch, as after the stops O’Connell surged past Duncan Wiltshire’s Ligier JSP2 to never look back. Wiltshire had been battling Steve Tandy’s Peugeot 90X during the first half of the race before Tandy went into the gravel trap at Paddock Hill Bend going into lap 7.

Despite an engine that sounded rough, Mike Newton in the MG-Lola EX257 salvaged third overall and second in the P2 class, even though he ran home fourth on the road. Newton was handed the final podium spot after the Stephan Joebstl/Andy Willis Ligier JSP3 was penalised for missing the pit window for their mandatory stop and driver change. Despite their penalty, the pair did win the intra-JSP3 fight with Marcus Jewell and Jason Green/Neil Glover.

In seventh overall, Jason Wright cornered the GT class win in his Ferrari 458 GT3, having inherited the lead once the Dodge Viper GT3 of Wayne Marrs retired into the pits. Colin Sowter’s similar 458 GT3 took second in class, with Christopher Compton Goddard in third in a Ferrari 430.

On a clouded spring morning in Kent, as a chilly breeze filled the air, Steve Tandy’s Peugeot led away from Wiltshire’s P2 Ligier, with Steve Brooks in third, ahead of Newton, Davies and Brise. One lap later, though, Wiltshire zapped past the Peugeot to claim the lead, while further back, Marcus Jewell moved ahead of the Stephan Joebstl’s similar P3 Ligier, who in turn had Jason Green chasing him in another Ligier. Marrs led the GTs in his Dodge, followed by a Ferrari gang headed by Wright.

After four laps, Wiltshire was two seconds ahead of Tandy, with Brooks’ AER-powered Lola B12/60 six seconds further adrift. The interval to Newton was 11 seconds, but the equally AER-powered MG-Lola EX257 held a slender three-second advantage over Craig Davies in the first of the Ligier JSP3s. Behind Jewell, now 45 seconds down, Marrs was dusting up the Ligiers to take a remarkable seventh overall in his Dodge Viper GT3, while David Brise was forced to pit the Lola B09/80 with a misfiring Judd engine, taking the P2 car out of the equation.

Ten minutes into the race, however, the safety car was deployed, just as Tandy had whittled down the gap to Wiltshire to almost nothing – but all or nothing became nothing at all when the Peugeot hit the gravel bed at Paddock Hill Bend going into lap 7, after a move that some would have deemed overoptimistic. Meanwhile, Marrs’ promising run looked to have come to an end as the Dodge came into the pits with the driver hearing a worrying noise coming from the left rear. It proved to be a gearbox oil leak.

The race was still under yellows when the pit window opened, and Joebstl was the first to take the opportunity, handing over to Andy Willis. That looked like a smart move, as the others waited for another lap but now the field was given green again, allowing Willis to jump the entire field bar Newton and Jewell who had elected to stay out.

Newton came in on lap 13, his AER engine sounding rough, to rejoin in fifth, but Jewell was staying out for not one but two more laps, leaving it very late with just ten seconds left on the pit window. This duly elevated Willis into the lead but in his much faster machine, Wiltshire was closing at a rate of knots – as the clouds grew darker and darker, with the first spots of rain noted by the crowd, the teams in the pitlane and the drivers on their visors. Would it be a wet finale? It seemed to hold back for the moment, with just a few scattered drops here and there.

On lap 17, Wiltshire reclaimed the lead, but the man who was really flying was Martin O’Connell in Steve Brooks’ Lola-Mazda B12/60 – not only did the OC Racing boss pass Willis on the same lap, but his pace was such that he was into the lead on lap 18. Newton was holding on in fourth, ahead of Jewell who after his pitstop had resumed in fifth, while Jason Wright had taken over the GT mantle from Marrs by running a strong sixth overall. Neil Glover in the Ligier JSP3 started by Jason Green still separated Wright from class nemesis Colin Sowter in the other Ferrari 458 GT3.

At the front, with five minutes still to go, O’Connell had broken clear of Wiltshire by some seven seconds, as Willis continued to push above his weight in third, with nine seconds in hand over Newton in fourth – the P2 car approaching the P3 car with two seconds per lap, though. Moreover, it now turned out that Joebstl had actually come in for his driver change with Willis just ahead of the pit window, so what looked like a smart move proved to have been not so clever, with all the others having got it right after all.

So, after 40 minutes of racing, O’Connell took the chequered flag 20 seconds ahead of Wiltshire in the P2-class-leading Ligier, with Newton moving up into third on the penultimate lap but dropping back to finish fourth on the road. However, the penalty applied to Joebstl/Willis still handed him third. Despite the penalty, Stephan Joebstl and Andy Willis still won the battle of the Ligiers with Jewell and Green/Glover, with Wright securing the GT class win from Sowter and Christopher Compton Goddard’s Ferrari 430 in ninth overall.

Masters Endurance Legends – Race 2
Tandy hits back in Brands’ second Masters Endurance Legends race by winning from the back

Steve Tandy came all the way from the back to be victorious in the second Masters Endurance Legends at Brands Hatch, his Peugeot 90X hauling in and overtaking long-time leader Stuart Wiltshire in the Ligier JSP2 on lap 23, in the process making amends for his off in the first race earlier on the day. Race 1 winners Steve Brooks and Martin O’Connell ran the leading pair close to take third in their Lola B12/60.

Mike Newton added a fourth place to his earlier third while also claiming second in the P2 class in his MG-Lola EX257, while in fifth overall Marcus Jewell came out on top in an eventful P3 class battle that saw the rival Ligier JSP3s of Steve Joebstl/Andy Willis and Jason Green/Neil Glover involved in mistakes early on before Jewell prevailed over the Davies/Maydon example that had initially taken the initiative in class.

More reversal of fortunes followed in the GT class, where Wayne Marrs got one back after dropping out of the first race while in the lead. This time, his Dodge Viper GT3 held together while his Ferrari 458 GT3-mounted rival Jason Wright fell foul to a wild spin dropping him down the order. Colin Sowter in the other 458 GT3 had led the class early on but was penalised for stopping short at the stops, allowing Marrs to come through for the win. Christopher Compton Goddard in the Ferrari 430 profited from Wright’s error to take third in class.

With the sun out for the afternoon, the second Masters Endurance Legends race was sent underway with Brooks leading the pack from Wiltshire, Newton, and the Ligier P3 train of Joebstl, Jewell and Green. Tandy starting from the back was up into 11th after one lap, but still had much work cut out for him. On lap 2, Wiltshire was through into the lead, immediately opening up a sizeable gap to Brooks in the Lola B12/60, as Newton valiantly hung on in his nimble but ageing MG-Lola EX257. Joebstl, though, had spun and was forced to continue at the back. Then Green, too, erred to be relegated to the back. Meanwhile among the GTs, Sowter had taken the initiative to lead fellow Ferrari 458 GT3 driver Wright, the Dodge Viper GT3 of Wayne Marrs and the 430 of Christopher Compton Goddard.

Five laps gone, and Wiltshire’s Ligier JSP2 was seen to set a relentless pace, now 16 seconds ahead of Brooks and 18 ahead of Newton. Tandy had navigated through the GTs and other prototypes to be fourth while closing fast on Newton, while David Brise was up to fifth in the fixed-up Lola B09/80. Craig Davies now led the P3 class, his Ligier having moved ahead of Jewell’s example. Sowter still led the GTs but now had Marrs chasing him, as Wright had dropped right down the order after a grass-mowing experience on lap 6. Coming in to have his radiators cleaned, the American resumed dead last.

On lap 8, Tandy swooped past both Newton and Brooks to take second, now 20 seconds adrift of the leading Ligier JSP2, while Newton saw the gap to Brooks widen to seven seconds. On a pace now two seconds faster than the Ligier, the Peugeot set about reeling in the leader, with the pit window approaching fast. But as the next times round the gap actually went up with 1.5 second per lap, was that a lap on which Wiltshire was held up by backmarkers?

With 23 minutes of the race left, Brooks was the first to come in, to hand over to Martin O’Connell. Joebstl was next, followed by Green, the former relieved by Andy Willis, the latter by Neil Glover. The next lap, the leader was in, joined by Newton, Brise (handing over David Purbrick), Marrs and Sowter, while Tandy, Davies and Jewell waited until the final opportunity that came on lap 15.

As the pitstops panned out, Wiltshire led Tandy by seven seconds, while O’Connell had used his first laps in the car to surge into third, 43 seconds down on the leader. Newton was fourth ahead of Maydon in the lead P3 Ligier started by Davies, with Jewell up next ahead of Purbrick. Sowter still led the GTs but then was dramatically hit by a stop-and-go penalty for stopping short during his mandatory stop.

Lapping in the same pace as the Peugeot, Wiltshire looked to be in control with ten minutes remaining, while O’Connell worked hard to chop slices off Tandy’s sizeable lead over him. But from lap 21 onwards, the leading Ligier’s pace was starting to falter, allowing Tandy to near to within two seconds. Two laps later, the Peugeot was through into the lead, as O’Connell improved on fastest lap of the race.

As the clock wound down, Tandy reeled off the laps to win by four seconds from Wiltshire, with O’Connell taking third, just 14 seconds down. Newton took home a lonely fourth and second in the P2 class while Jewell bagged the P3 class in fifth ahead of Davies/Maydon, the P2 Lola of Brise/Purbrick and the third P3 Ligier of Joebstl/Willis. Marrs profited from Sowter’s penalty to take the GT win that got away from him the day before. Behind the P3 Ligier of Green/Glover, Compton Goddard took third in the GTs.

Masters Gentlemens Drivers
Davison has last laugh in thrilling Masters Gentleman Drivers enduro at Brands

Despite incurring a drive-through penalty, John Davison was the last one laughing when he surged past the slowing car of equally TVR Griffith-mounted Mike Whitaker two laps from the end to take an unexpected win in an enthralling Masters Gentlemen Drivers race at Brands Hatch. In fact, just a few laps earlier, the win was fully expected to go to Roy Alderslade and Andrew Jordan in the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé, as Jordan was leading by a country mile when the Daytona Cobra was hit by a puncture that instantly put it out of contention.

The struggle for CLP class honours – and eventually third overall – was even more dramatic, as Sam Tordoff stormed through the field to haul the Elan shared with father John past the Robin Ward/Ron Maydon Ginetta G4R on the final lap. The Ginetta had headed the class for an eternity after Ward took over the mantle when the Martin Angle/Martin Stretton Elan faltered with Stretton driving. However, after the finish Ward and Maydon were declared winners after all when Tordoff was penalised for avoidable contact, dropping him down to third in class behind Callum Grant’s Marcos 1800 GT – meaning that two marques other than Lotus occupied the first two places in class, something that hasn’t happened in a very long time.

Embroiled in a fight with the lone Ginetta for almost the entire race, the AC Cobras of Peter Thompson/Charles Allison and Nick Sleep/Joel Wykeham took fifth and sixth, while in C2, Mark Holme led home an Austin Healey 3000 1-2-3 by heading the Doug Muirhead/Jeremy Welch and Crispin Harris/James Willmoth examples on his way to ninth overall. Michael Boyle’s MGB proved victorious in C1, while Guy Ziser and Oli Webb completed a strong race in 12th overall to win the B2 class in their Jaguar E-type.

As the 38-car field stormed up the hill for the first time, Mike Whitaker was quick to steal the lead from Roy Alderslade who would start the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé that Andrew Jordan had put on pole, with John Davison’s similar TVR Griffith soon through as well at the start of lap 2. Further back, Martin Stretton in Martin Angle’s Lotus Elan was another fast starter, already up into eighth and now the lead CLP car.

On lap 3, though, Davison disappeared off the radar having just set the fastest lap of the race – a spin in Paddock Hill Bend forced him to resume down in 20th position. This moved Alderslade back up into second, with John Spiers reporting in third in the third of the Griffiths, with Minshaw holding strong in fourth despite having been forced off in avoidance of Davison. Methley and Thompson were up next in their regular AC Cobras, now leading Stretton and Robin Ward in Ron Maydon’s Ginetta G4R. In 12th overall, Robin Ellis held third in the CLP class in the Elan Shapecraft.

On lap 7, a thrilling battle up front saw Spiers move up into second place and close down the gap to Whitaker to a mere two tenths. Meanwhile, in C2, Mark Holme was in command in his Austin Healey 3000, keeping some six seconds between himself and Chrispin Harris and Doug Muirhead, both in pursuit in similar Healeys. After a long delay, Mark Pangborn’s Healey was on its way again, having come in for a stop on the opening lap. Guy Ziser’s E-type led the way in B1 while Michael Boyle’s MGB did likewise in C1.

Ten laps gone, the lead battle had incremented to three, as Minshaw joined the TVRs upfront while leaving Alderslade trailing in his wake. The Daytona Cobra was well safe of its nearest pursuers, though, with Thompson now ahead of Methley, some eight seconds down on Alderslade. Stretton and Ward kept on disputing the CLP class lead in seventh and eighth overall, with Nick Sleep’s AC Cobra having entered the top ten. Remarkably, Davison’s Griffith was already back up into tenth! Further back, Philip Buhofer had moved his Elan 26R up into third in class, at the expense of Ellis in the Shapecraft.

On lap 12, Minshaw split the Griffiths to take second, and two laps later, the Jaguar hit the front – and profiting from that, Spiers managed to sneak past Whitaker to claim second. So now, the driver that had led close to half an hour found himself down in third place! Lap 14 proved to be a busy lap on the leaderboard, as in the CLP class the lead changed too, Ward moving ahead of Stretton to run seventh overall. Soon, after Ellis in the Shapecraft was into the pits and out – a sad end for a special machine.

After 30 minutes of racing, Minshaw led from Spiers and Whitaker, the latter slowly dropping into the clutches of Alderslade, with Thompson and Methley eight seconds further back – not gaining but also not losing any time. In seventh, Ward was inching away from Stretton now who in turn could see Davison coming, the TVR having disposed of Sleep. In C2, Holme led imperiously from Harris and Muirhead, his advantage now increased to some 25 seconds. Ziser and Boyle still led their B1 and C1 classes respectively, while Marc Gordon’s Lotus Elite continued to reign in B2.

But then, two minutes later, the safety car was out, as Spiers had hurled his Griffith into the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend to put an end to a heroic drive. At the same time, Stretton was seen exiting the stage with an electrical issue to add to the tally of unrewarded heroics. Then on lap 20, just one minute ahead of the pit window, the green flag was waved, and the bunched-up field got going again, only for Philip Buhofer to pull off in his Elan, in the process handing second in the CLP class to Callum Grant in the Marcos 1800 GT. With John Tordoff a distant third in class in the Elan shared with son Sam, this prompted the unique situation of the first two cars in CLP not being Elans…

The pit window now open, Alderslade, Muirhead and Tordoff were first in, and quite logically so, with their ace drivers waiting in the form of Andrew Jordan, Jeremy Welch and Sam Tordoff. But soon, Whitaker was in as well, as was leader Minshaw, Methley, Davison, Thompson handing over to Charles Allison, and all the rest as the last minutes of the pit window ticked away.

When the dust had settled on lap 25, with late stoppers Nick Sleep (handing over to Joel Wykeham), Callum Grant, and Crispin Harris (changing places with James Wilmoth) also having reported to the pits, Mike Whitaker found himself back in the lead, now chased by Maydon in the Ginetta and Davison in the second Griffith. Allison was fourth but caught at an alarming rate by Jordan who had his additional 15-second ‘elite driver’ pitstop penalty to overcome first. Methley now ran sixth, closely followed by Wykeham, with Grant in the Marcos up next ahead of Holme. As a consequence of all retirements, the Rick & Joseph Willmott Jaguar E-type had moved up into the top-ten, Rick now driving.

At the front, Davison soon restored the TVR 1-2 order by storming past Maydon, but still found Whitaker 16 seconds up the road. On a similar charge, Jordan had whisked past Allison and then Maydon as well to be third, with five seconds separating him from Davison’s second place. Maydon held steady in fourth, while Methley, Allison and Wykeham returned to forming the AC Cobra gang in fifth, sixth and seventh.

Grant was still eighth, as well as second in the CLP in his Marcos, but Sam Tordoff was flying – the former BTCC winner had pushed Rick Willmott back out of the top-ten and now chased after Mark Holme, who continued to lead C2, with his Healey rivals Welch and Willmoth down in 12th and 13th overall. Martin Melling, unable to stick with the pace of his first-stint driver Minshaw, now ran the E-type in 14th – but they would all move up a place when Rick Willmott came in fora n unscheduled stop on lap 31.

With less than half an hour remaining on the clock, the race had settled down for its final march to the chequered flag, but it was far from over. Whitaker’s lead had slowly but surely dwindled to ten seconds and a bit, while Jordan had closed up on Davison and looked set to pounce. Further back, Tordoff Jr’s pace was such that Grant was unable to offer opposition, the Elan moving up into eighth overall and second in class, but ‘only’ trailing Maydon by some 15 seconds, as the Ginetta was swamped by one Cobra after another.

On lap 34, Jordan passed Davison (who was set to take a drive-through penalty for passing under the safety car anyway) for second and immediately after pumped in his fastest lap of the race to cut the gap to Whitaker to just seven seconds. With 22 more minutes left, it was very much game on. It wasn’t for Methley, though, whose Cobra tailed off to retire from sixth place.

Three laps later, Jordan was right on Whitaker’s tail, and on lap 38, the TVR’s fate was sealed. Behind them, Davison had served his penalty but still rejoined in third thanks to the massive gap the leaders had opened up to Charles Allison’s Cobra in fourth. Thanks to Methley’s demise, Maydon was back up into fifth ahead of Wykeham, while Grant had recovered second place in CLP after a delayed lap from Tordoff, but soon the latter would undo his mistake. In ninth and tenth overall, Holme and Welch were duking it out for C2 glory, the former still leading by 21 seconds. Meanwhile, the Willmott & Willmott E-type cried enough when it entered the pitlane on lap 39 with a smoking rear diff.

With Whitaker ostensibly nursing his TVR to the finish, Jordan walked away for what were supposed to be a lonely final 15 minutes at the front – but then the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé was seen trundling into the pits with a puncture… Whitaker found himself back in the lead once again, but all the while Davison was closing fast. Meanwhile, Jordan rejoined in ninth, with just five minutes remaining, so that was victory out of the window. It wasn’t for Davison, though, who despite his drive-through penalty now very much had a sniff of it.

The final minutes taking their toll were also visible with Allison’s Cobra, slowing down enough for Maydon to steal back third in a Ginetta that pushed on like a tank. In fifth, Tordoff had now passed Wykeham as well, with Grant and Holme still holding station behind. Then, on lap 47, with less than two minutes left on the clock, Davison was past, as the last one laughing.

And so, after 49 laps of hard racing, John Davison took the chequered flag 12 seconds ahead of Whitaker’s crippled Griffith, and to everyone’s amazement, it was Sam Tordoff who crossed the line in third overall to snatch CLP class glory from the seemingly firm grasp of Ron Maydon’s Ginetta G4R. The Tordoffs’ joy was short-lived, though, as Sam was hit by a 32-second time penalty for avoidable contact with the Morgan Plus 4 Super Sports of Dominic & Marcus Holland. This relegated them to third in class. The Thompson/Allison and Sleep/Wykeham Cobras were fifth and sixth overall, followed home by Callum Grant’s Marcos 1800 GT now elevated into second place in the CLP class. Jordan recovered to eighth, while Holme duly finished off his masterpiece in C2 by beating Jeremy Welch by 14 seconds.

In a stunning 12th overall, Guy Ziser and Oli Webb rolled up the B2 class in their pre-63 E-type, two places ahead of the Niko Ditting/Sam Hancock Aston Martin DB4GT. Marc Gordon ran home the B1 class victory in his Lotus Elite, taking 20th overall, while in 22nd Michael Boyle completed a lights-to-flag C1 victory in his MGB.

Masters Pre66 Touring Cars
Tordoff sprints to Masters Pre-66 Touring Car win at Brands

Sam Tordoff took everything out of his Ford Falcon Sprint to win a hugely entertaining one-hour Masters Pre-66 Touring Car race at the Masters Historic Festival. Leading the opening stint from the front, the former BTCC star overcame his added 20-second ‘elite-driver’ pitstop time to reclaim the lead from Craig Davies on lap 24. The Mustang driver had only stolen that lead the lap before from fellow Mustang pedaller Alex Thistlethwayte who had assumed his position at the front after the stops.

The fourth car in with a shout, Alex Taylor’s Mustang, was forced to retire on the final lap, handing that place to Marcus Jewell and Ben Clucas, who came through to win the 1600cc class in their Lotus Cortina while in a stunning fifth overall, Nathan Heathcote prevailed in an epic tussle for Mini honours with Jeff Smith. Smith was later penalised for stopping short during the mandatory stops, but Heathcote had his rival covered on the road as well. A long way back, the Jonathon Page/Nick Swift Mini took third in the under-1300cc class.

In sixth overall, Geoff & Alan Letts took second in the Cortina class, leading home the Ford Falcon of Leo Voyazides/Simon Hadfield, while John Spiers and Greensall profited from a time penalty handed out to David Dickenson to snatch third in class. After leading all race, Colin Kingsnorth and Jonathan Hoad cornered the 1600-2000cc class win in their BMW 1800 tiSA.

On a quiet Sunday morning in Kent that wouldn’t remain quiet for long, Tordoff powered away from pole, soon followed by the Mustangs of Alex Taylor, Alex Thistlethwayte and Craig Davies thundering past the Cortina of Jewell, with Geoff Letts in sixth after the first lap – but soon the safety car was out, with Stephen Upsdell ending up in the gravel with his Cortina.

After four laps, the field was set free again, with Tordoff setting fastest laps of the time in his attempts to break free from Taylor, who wasn’t letting the Falcon go as easy as Tordoff wished. Behind them, Davies made it through into third, while Dan Williamson’s Falcon was up into fifth but with a drive-through penalty for an out-of-position start hanging over his head. On the verge of the top-ten, the two main Mini characters were nose-to-tail – almost nose-in-tail! – as Nathan Heathcote harried Jeff Smith for the class lead. In 34th overall, the Colin Kingsnorth/Jonathan Hoad BMW 1800 tiSA led the 1600-2000cc class.

Four more laps gone, though, and Tordoff had indeed started to make his mark, now five seconds away from Taylor, who had Davies chasing him another six seconds behind. Further back, Geoff Letts had jumped Jewell for the Cortina class lead, with Richard Dutton creating a lead trio in class. Next up were the Falcons of Leo Voyazides and Tom Sharp, while Heathcote had taken the lead in the Mini class in 11th overall, now ferociously chased by Smith.

Approaching the pit window, Tordoff led by ten seconds, while Davies had cut down the gap to Taylor to take second just as another safety-car period followed – one that would inevitably last into the pit window. So the cars came indeed pouring in as soon as they could, bar Ollie Streek’s Cortina, Carl Nairn in the Mini and Harry Barton’s BMW, who took their opportunity on the next lap, right at the moment the field was given the green flag.

Now we had Alex Thistlethwayte in the lead, chased by Davies and Taylor, with Alan Letts (in for brother Geoff) in fourth, followed by Smith, David Dickenson whose Cortina had leapt some of the earlier leading Cortinas (as it later turned out by stopping short for which he would be penalised with 30 seconds of added time), while Tordoff was coming back from his ‘elite driver’ pitstop penalty in sixth, but only seven seconds away from the leader. Heathcote was eighth, hunted down by Simon Hadfield who also smelled victory in the Falcon started by Voyazides.

After 17 laps, Thistlethwayte still hung on to the lead but only barely, as he now found Davies breathing down his neck. Tordoff was already up into fourth, having demoted Dickenson, while Hadfield had moved into sixth and was also looking to pounce on the new leading Cortina. In seventh and eighth, Smith and Heathcote had resumed their gigantic Mini battle while being chased by Ben Clucas who was also on the up in the Cortina started by Jewell, and had just demoted Alan Letts to tenth.

With 20 minutes still on the clock, the stage was set for a thrilling finish, with the front six cars running ever closer to each other. Thistlethwayte still wouldn’t break despite Davies now climbing all over him while Tordoff had closed the gap to Taylor and looked to break back into the top-three. Eight seconds further down the road, Hadfield was having a hard time getting past Dickenson, who was driving a great stint but with that time penalty hanging over his head. The same applied to Jeff Smith, so it turned out, which robbed the race of its enthralling Mini lead battle. Meanwhile, Tom Sharp’s Falcon was out with engine trouble.

It was all change on lap 23, when Thistlethwayte’s resistance was finally broken, as Davies swept into the lead, immediately followed by Tordoff who had already found a way past Taylor. Then, on the next lap, Tordoff hit the front again as he charged past Davies to reclaim the lead. The front four had a 15-second gap in hand to Hadfield and Clucas who weren’t looking like closing it, so it would be down to Tordoff v Davies, and Thistlethwayte v Taylor. Dickenson was seventh but with a time penalty while Heathcote in eighth led the Mini class by his own hand despite his rival Smith also being penalised. Two seconds behind, though, Ian Curley was closing in another Mini.

With five minutes remaining, Tordoff inched away from Davies lap after lap to be four seconds clear on lap 28. Thistlethwayte, meanwhile, did more hanging on, but this time for third place, continuing to fend off Alex Taylor’s attentions. Behind them, Clucas nailed a slowing Hadfield for fifth at the start of lap 29, as Heathcote in eighth overall put the matter of the Mini class win beyond discussion by now leaving Smith behind by seven seconds. On the edge of the top-ten, it was going to be tight whether Alan Letts could hold on to third in the Cortina class as Nigel Greensall was approaching fast in the Cortina started by John Spiers, while in 14th overall, the Jonathon Page/Nick Swift Mini ran third in the Mini class.

At the chequered flag, Tordoff won by 5.2 seconds over Davies, with Thistlethwayte 11 seconds down, while shockingly Taylor failed to complete the final lap, his Mustang hit by a misfire. With all the penalties added, Jewell/Clucas took fourth and the Cortina class win, ahead of Heathcote with the Mini class win, and the Letts brothers taking second in the Cortina class. Voyazides/Hadfield ended up seventh, while Spiers/Greensall pipped the penalised Dickenson for the final under-2-litre podium spot in eighth overall. The Richard Dutton/Neil Brown Cortina completed the top-ten. Despite the time penalty that dropped him to 12th overall, Smith still took second in the under-1300cc class, ahead of the Page/Swift Cooper S, while Colin Kingsnorth and Jonathan Hoad cornered the 1600-2000cc class win in their BMW.

Masters Racing Legends for 66/85 F1 Cars – Race 1
Griffiths takes shock win in Brands Hatch’s first Masters Racing Legends race

Miles Griffiths apparently failed to observe that he was in a pre-78 class Formula One car when he took the fight to pre-race favourite Steve Hartley in the first of two Masters Racing Legends races at Brands Hatch. Running nose-to-tail with Hartley’s more recent McLaren MP4/1 for nine laps in a terrific scrap for the lead, the Fittipaldi F5A driver had to finally give way to the McLaren into Druids on lap 10 but moments after, Hartley’s car dramatically lost pace, its Cosworth DFV engine suddenly having developed a misfire.

This handed Griffiths his debut overall victory in a Formula One race for 1966-’85 cars while simultaneously cornering the pre-78 class win. Second, after Hartley’s demise was Mark Hazell in the Williams FW08C, the post-82 class winner running serenely in front of the battle between Steve Brooks and Warren Briggs, with Brooks’ Lotus 91 only towards the end opening up a safe enough gap to the Kiwi in the McLaren M29.

Ian Simmonds, Mark Harrison (Shadow DN9) and Neil Glover (Arrows A5) were having a great fight for sixth, and later fifth, with Simmonds breaking Harrison’s resistance in the end, but similar to Hartley, Simmonds was forced to retire only moments later, the clutch of his Tyrrell 012 having let go.

The Kentish hills lay blessed by perfect spring weather as the cars rolled onto the grid before poleman Hartley set the ball rolling. However, Griffiths in the Fittipaldi soon had the better of him and led the field into its second lap, Hartley in turn chased by Hazell, Brooks, Briggs, Harrison, Simmonds and Glover, while in ninth Williams in the Lec CRP1 was already losing ground.

Next time around, Griffiths still held a slender lead of three tenths as Hartley set a marginally quicker lap, with Hazell’s Williams FW08C now trailing by six seconds, with Brooks in the Lotus 91 and Briggs in the McLaren M29 a further four and six seconds away respectively.

Further improving on his best lap time, Hartley inched even closer on lap 3 but still, Griffiths would not budge, and on lap 4, the Fittipaldi driver himself set the fastest lap of the race so far in a cracking fight for the lead. Meanwhile, eight seconds adrift of Brooks, three cars were just tenths apart, Mark Harrison’s Shadow DN9, Ian Simmonds’ Tyrrell 012 and Neil Glover’s Arrows A5 all contesting the same patches of tarmac.

On lap 6, Griffiths increased his lead to eight tenths with another scorcher of a lap, while further back Briggs was slowly closing in on Brooks in fourth place, the gap now under a second, as Hazell maintained a safe third, 15 seconds behind the warring duo at the front. One lap later, Hartley turned the tables slightly by beating Griffiths’ best lap time, but the Fittipaldi’s time wasn’t far off the McLaren’s, the gap remaining at seven-tenths. At the back, it was obvious that all was not well with Williams in the Lec, as he returned to the pits with a misfire.

Half-distance was approaching now, and the two rivals up front had returned to running nose-to-tail when Griffiths lost half a second on lap 8. Into lap 10, however, the race was robbed of its main interest, as Hartley retired to the pits with a misfire – just after he had taken Griffiths with a great pass into Druids…

Hartley’s ill fortune gave Griffiths a comfortable 27-second lead over Hazell, with Brooks in third, having eeked back out a two-second advantage over Briggs. Meanwhile, Simmonds had finally broken Harrison’s resistance to move up into fifth. Just like Hartley, however, he wouldn’t enjoy the pleasure for long, Simmonds being forced to retire the car with a broken clutch.

As the clock wound down, Miles Griffiths rolled off the laps to secure his first overall Masters Racing Legends win – and that in a pre-78 car! Leading the post-82 class, Mark Hazell took second, 38 seconds down on the winner, with Steve Brooks in third, a further 8 seconds adrift. In fourth, Briggs crossed the line six seconds in arrears of Brooks, with Harrison the last driver on the winner’s lap.

Masters Racing Legends for 66/85 F1 Cars – Race 2
Hartley makes up for loss in second Masters Racing Legends race at Brands

Steve Hartley avenged his retirement of the previous day by coming from the back to win the second Masters Racing Legends race at Brands Hatch. Once up into second place, the McLaren MP4/1 driver reeled off a series of fastest laps of the race in his relentless pursuit of long-time leader and Saturday’s winner Miles Griffiths in the Fittipaldi F5A, who finally succumbed to Hartley’s pressure on lap 14.

Griffiths still took pre-78 class honours while keeping well ahead of a very entertaining three-way battle between Steve Brooks (Lotus 91), Warren Briggs (McLaren M29) and Ian Simmonds (Tyrrell 012). Brooks and Briggs in particular were tied to a string for the entire race but Brooks lost out on the final lap, when agonisingly his gear lever mount came off, handing Briggs third place, with Simmonds snapping at his gearbox in fourth while claiming the post-82 class win.

Mark Harrison was fourth early on and fought valiantly, but the Shadow DN9 faded towards the end to finish as the last finisher on the lead lap in sixth overall, ahead of Neil Glover in the Arrows A5.

After a brief spot of lunch, the Formula One cars went out for their second race of the Masters Historic Festival weekend, with Miles Griffiths leading from the front in the Fittipaldi F5A. Brooks was second ahead of Briggs, Harrison and Glover as they completed the first lap, with Hartley’s McLaren MP4/1 starting at the back due to its low-voltage-induced misfire in the previous race already up to sixth at the expense of Ian Simmonds’ Tyrrell 012.

Griffiths’ opening salvo was majestic, as in a few laps he opened up a stunning nine-second lead over Brooks and Briggs, who were soon joined by Hartley, who had overtaken Harrison for fourth, while behind them Simmonds had passed Glover for sixth.

On lap 4, Hartley snatched fastest lap of the race from Griffiths while demoting Brooks to third, and set off in pursuit of the Fittipaldi, now 11 seconds up the road. Another lap gone, and it was nine seconds, Hartley now freed from opposition was taking chunks of two seconds out of Griffiths’ lead, while behind them, Brooks and Briggs continued the war they waged in race 1.

Eight laps down, Hartley had cut the gap down to less than five seconds, still closing at a rate of 1.5 seconds per lap, while behind Brooks and Briggs, Simmonds had claimed fifth from Harrison’s Shadow DN9, with Neil Glover’s Arrows A9 now seven seconds adrift of the Shadow.

With ten minutes left on the clock, just 1.3 seconds separated Hartley from the lead, so the actual fight for the lead was arriving any moment. Half a minute later, Brooks and Briggs were split by half a second, with Simmonds looking to latch on to that fight for third.

Lap 12, and Griffiths only marginally held on, by 0.023 of a second, and it was the same on lap 13, after another lap of valiant defence, but on lap 14 Hartley was finally through to make up for the day before, immediately stretching out a lead of 1.9 seconds. Indeed, the Jam Baron’s pace was such that the gap had gone up to 3.6 seconds on the next tour.

As the race ran to a close, Hartley prevailed by 7.1 seconds from Griffiths in the pre-78-class-winning Fittipaldi F5A, but there was drama behind them, as Brooks – hampered by a broken gear lever mount – lost his spot to both Briggs and Simmonds, while the McLaren only narrowly held off the Tyrrell for third, both cars finishing 55 seconds down on the winner. 1 minute and 16 seconds down, Harrison took sixth ahead of Glover as the first lapped runner.

Masters Sports Car Legends
Voyazides/Hadfield relive good old days with Masters Sports Car Legends win at Brands

Leo Voyazides and Simon Hadfield hadn’t seen the top step of a Masters Sports Car Legends podium for a number of years but on their return to the series immediately relived the good times by claiming a victory at Brands Hatch. The race was robbed of an exciting fight for the lead, however, when Tom Bradshaw’s Chevron B19 retired from a 21-second lead shortly before the pit window, leaving the crowd with a feeling of ‘what might have been’.

Chris Beighton in the other Simon Hadfield Motorsport-run Lola T70 Mk3B took a distant second, especially after Hadfield whittled down the fastest lap of the race in a string of blistering tours towards the end, while James Claridge and Gonçalo Gomes ran home in third in their Chevron B23. From the back, the Mark Hazell/Martin O’Connell Chevron B19 delivered an impressive charge up to fourth, with the Nick Sleep/Alex Montgomery Lola T70 Mk3 completed the top-five.

In sixth overall, John Spiers and Nigel Greensall bagged the Hulme class win in their McLaren M1B, while in a severely battered and bruised Chevron B8, Christian Pittard and Darren Burke survived an unfortunate contretemps with teammate Stephen Nuttall and the subsequent stop-and-go penalty to still claim Bonnier class honours with eighth overall, Burke’s relentless pace too much for David Forsbrey’s B8 to repel.

As the third race of the day before a very late lunch, the Masters Sports Car Legends got on their way with Bradshaw taking over command from Voyazides almost immediately. Henry Fletcher, however, had already blotted his copybook by spinning off and hitting the barriers on the warm-up lap. With the Chevron B19’s rear chassis broken, it was out before the race had even started.

So after the opening lap, Bradshaw led Voyazides, Claridge in the Chevron B23, Beighton in another T70 Mk3B, Willis in the Lola T212, the latter two gaining places at the cost of Gary Culver’s Mk3B and Nikolaus Ditting in the T70 Mk3. Eighth was John Spiers, leading the Hulme class in his McLaren M1B, ahead of Nick Sleep in another T70 Mk3, while Stephan Nuttall had displaced Christian Pittard as the Bonnier class leader, their Chevron B8 switching places in 10th and 11th overall, while David Forsbrey in another B8 was eyeing Pittard’s spot as well. Further down the road, the fight for Hulme class victory was effectively over by lap 5 when Chris Jolly retired the Cooper Monaco T61M with a broken driveshaft, leaving the Spiers/Greensall McLaren as the class’ single remaining representative.

At the front, Bradshaw was trying to open up a gap large enough to defend from Voyazides’ teammate Simon Hadfield later in the race, leading by eight seconds on lap 4. Behind Voyazides, Beighton had jumped Claridge to be third, while at the bottom of the top-ten, change had changed very quickly in the Bonnier class: Forsbrey now led while running in ninth overall, with two cars between himself and the B8 of Phillip Nelson in 12th overall, with Nuttall in 13th overall recovering from an earlier mishap with Pittard, who as a consequence had dropped right down to 17th. Although damaged, the two cars from the same team lived to see another day and continued the fight.

Putting the pedal down, Bradshaw had increased his lead to some 15 seconds after 7 seconds, maintaining an average pace that was two seconds faster than Voyazides who, on the next lap, saw Beighton usurp him for second. Claridge, Willis, Culver, Sleep, Spiers and Forsbrey all held station in positions four to nine, separated by varying margins, while Nuttall was back in the top ten, having passed Ditting and Nelson. Meanwhile from the back, Mark Hazell was slowly lifting his Chevron B19 up the order, now in 11th overall, also having passed Ditting.

20 minutes into the race, Bradshaw led by 21 seconds, with Beighton and Voyazides running in tandem, 12 seconds in front of Claridge. Now in tenth overall, Nuttall was back to where he was before the unfortunate contretemps with his teammate, having just repassed Forsbrey for the Bonnier class lead while seeing Hazell storm into ninth by passing both Chevrons.

On lap 13, though, disaster struck for Bradshaw, as the Chevron was seen heading back to the pits leaking fuel… Shortly after, it was confirmed that the B19 was out of the race. Almost at the same time, Gary Culver was out as well, his Lola T70 Mk3B having run out of brake fluid. So now, just short of the pit window, Beighton led Voyazides by 1.7 seconds, with Claridge a further 20 seconds adrift.

The first ones into the pits included Voyazides, Claridge, Spiers and Hazell, all three handing over to quicker relief drivers Simon Hadfield, Gonçalo Gomes, Nigel Greensall and Martin O’Connell. They were joined by Sleep (changing places with Alex Montgomery), Pittard (Burke taking over while the front of the car was patched up with duct tape), Forsbrey and Ditting. Nuttall, however, had exited stage left, the car too damaged to continue after its unintended clash with the Pittard/Burke machine. If that wasn’t enough, the stewards added insult to injury by forcing Burke to take a stop-and-go penalty for his car causing that collision…

On the next lap, the rest was in, while only Andy Willis hung on for another lap before handing over to Stephan Joebstl, but when that was done, Hadfield had already reclaimed the lead from Beighton. Gomes was third, 20 more seconds down, with Joebstl in fourth, close to a minute in arrears. Montgomery was fifth, ahead of a flying O’Connell and an equally charging Greensall. Forsbrey now looked like an unchallenged Bonnier class leader in eighth, running ahead of Ditting and class rival Darren Burke, who despite all the setbacks was still in tenth and matching the pace of the bigger prototypes at the front. Andy Newall, in Nelson’s B8, was 11th and third in the Bonnier class.

At two-thirds’ race distance, Hadfield led Beighton by 7 seconds while running at a pace that was roughly 1 to 1.5 seconds quicker than the other T70 Mk3B that he was also running as a prepaper. Gomes wasn’t making any inroads into the two while Montgomery had swamped Joebstl for fourth on lap 26, with the Austrian about to lose another place to O’Connell. Greensall was in no man’s land in seventh, his direct competition half a minute away, both in front and behind. Forsbrey still held the Bonnier class lead in eighth, but Burke’s pace was relentless, the gap now down to 21 seconds, from what was close to a minute after he took his penalty.

With 13 minutes still remaining, Hadfield demonstrated how much he was enjoyed himself back out in the old warhorse, lowering the fastest lap of the race to a low 1.31, while increasing his lead over Beighton to 17 seconds, and over Gomes to 34 seconds. Montgomery’s fourth place was under threat from O’Connell, though, who had stormed through past Joebstl, and on lap 29, the Chevron B19 was up into P4. In the Bonnier class, Burke had whittled down the deficit to Forsbrey to a mere four seconds – this win looked like going the damaged B8’s way after all. Indeed, on lap 31, Forsbrey’s fate was sealed with Burke catching and passing his adversary for eighth overall. Behind them, Newall had made it into the top-ten at the cost of Ditting. On the same lap, Greensall took Joebstl for sixth.

As the clock ran out, it became apparent why Ditting had been losing places, the T70 Mk3 retiring with a broken gearbox with less than five minutes remaining. At the front, Hadfield circulated imperiously, just like in the golden days, now again improving on his best lap time on lap 35, and crushing that on lap 36 with a 1.30.7, before going into full gallery-play mode with a 1.30.1 on the penultimate lap. Beighton came home second 44 seconds later, with Gomes taking third 53 seconds down on the leader. O’Connell was a lapped fourth ahead of Montgomery, Greensall and Joebstl, while Burke completed a heroic comeback drive to win the Bonnier class from Forsbrey and Newall.