Brands Hatch, UK

MASTERS HISTORIC FESTIVAL
27 – 28 May 2023

Six Masters Grids Woo the Crowd at Sunny Brands

The Brands GP circuit on a sunny spring weekend – what more could you wish for? That was the overall sentiment after a glorious weekend of racing at the Masters Historic Festival. With all six Masters grids making their appearance, the bumper crowd was treated to the full works of Masters Historic Racing, from Formula One to Pre-66 Touring cars, and based on the number of spectators staying until the very end of the meeting, they enjoyed it to the maximum!

RACE REPORTS

Masters Endurance Legends – Race 1
Brooks makes it three in a row in first Masters Endurance Legends race at Brands

Steve Brooks continued his winning ways in Masters Endurance Legends by winning the first MEL race of the Masters Historic Festival at Brands Hatch. Having already won both races at Hockenheim, the Peugeot 90X driver made it three out of three while fending off a challenge of fellow Peugeot pedaller Stuart Wiltshire.

“It was a great race, great fun”, said Brooks. “A sunny day at Brands, what more do you want? Actually, I lost fifth gear towards the end, so it got a bit exciting – I was praying for the flag!”

“It’s the third time for me in the car, I don’t have his pace yet”, Wiltshire admitted. “Whatever fuel they have in the car, I want that too!”

David Brise was all over the back of Richard Meins in the third Peugeot in the opening stages before the gearbox of his Lola-Judd B12/60 seized. At the midway point, Meins himself was involved in an incident with Jason Green’s Ligier JSP3 at Paddock Hill Bend, taking them both out.

This elevated the Marcus Jewell/Ben Clucas Ligier JSP3 to third overall while the pairing also bagged the P3 class win from the similar JSP3s of Craig Davies/Ron Maydon and Stephan Joebstl/Andy Willis, as Maydon passed Willis a couple of laps from the end. James Hagan and Chris Atkinson were sixth in the ORECA FLM09 while Colin Sowter’s Ferrari 458 GT3 took GT honours while also managing to keep ahead of Mike Furness in the Courage LC75 coming second in the P2 class to the Hagan/Atkinson ORECA.

“We lost a bit with the safety car, but to get a P3 car in the overall top-three is just great”, said Jewell.

“Marcus did a brilliant job”, said Clucas. “I just brought it home!”

“Great fun! I thought it was going to be very lonely, but I managed to mix it up with the prototypes which was very exciting!” said Sowter.

On a bright Whitsunday in Kent, the Masters Endurance Legends lined up for their first of two races on the day. After the two-by-two rolling start, the Peugeots took off on full power, Brooks leading Wiltshire, Meins and David Brise all over the back of the last of the turbo diesel LMP1s. On the opening lap, Brooks opened up a 1.1-second gap over Wiltshire, with Brise continuing to pressure Meins. Marcus Jewell led the Ligier P3 train from Stephan Joebstl, Craig Davies and Jason Green, with James Hagan the interloper in the ORECA FLM09. At the back, Mike Furness in the Courage LC75 had got past Colin Sowter’s Ferrari 458 GT3.

At the front, Wiltshire had the bit between his teeth, aiming to not let Brooks get away, and indeed he closed to within a second on lap 2. His tyres now properly hotted up, Meins was the quickest around Brands for the second tour in the race. On lap 3, though, Brooks put the hammer down with a big fastest lap to increase his lead over Wiltshire to 1.5 seconds. Meins and Brise quarrelled over third four seconds further back, with Marcus Jewell in fifth well out on front of the second group of cars, as Hagan passed Joebstl to pull clear of the remaining JSP3s. Immediately after, Davies also challenged the Austrian and after going side by side for a while, he took the place. Further back, Furness gained a spot on Jason Green.

On lap 5, sadly, Brise was seen to lose speed in a smoking Lola, and he wisely parked the car in a safe spot on the Cooper Straight, the gearbox of the Judd-engined machine having seized. So now, the three Peugeots found themselves alone in front, now separated by gaps of some four seconds. In traffic, Brooks increased that to five seconds, while Meins lost a further two ticks to Wiltshire. Jewell now trailed the leader by 48 seconds.

Another fastest lap of the race helped Brooks be 7.4 seconds out in front into lap 9, while at the far end of the top ten, Sowter’s GT Ferrari managed to pass Green’s Ligier JSP3. Hagan and Davies continued to war over fifth place, as Davies got onto the grass at Clearways but with Hagan sliding wide into Paddock Hill Bend, the Ligier still jumped the ORECA.

As the pit window opened on lap 11, Joebstl was the first to come in to swap places with Andy Willis. Actually, the race leader was in next, electing to stop early, having built a 12-second lead during his opening stint. His stop, however, seemed too short. Next up, Jewell came in to hand over to Ben Clucas, but not after the 20-second elite-driver penalty for Clucas was effected. Straight after, Davies was in for Ron Maydon, and Hagan for Chris Atkinson. But at the same time as Wiltshire, Sowter and Furness came in as well, two cars were off in the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend, Green in the Ligier JSP3 and Meins in the third Peugeot 90X, the incident calling out the safety car.

With debris on the circuit, some time was needed before the caution period could be ended, but once the green flag was waved at the start of lap 18, Brooks still led Wiltshire, with Clucas now in third, a lap down, ahead of Atkinson, Willis, Maydon, Sowter and Furness. Some nine minutes of racing were left, and on the first time around, Brooks found a space of 1.6 seconds to put between himself and Wiltshire, while further back both Willis and Maydon lunged past Atkinson’s ORECA to be fourth and fifth respectively. Behind them, Sowter’s GT car continued to lead the Courage that he had managed to pass just before the stops.

On lap 21, Brooks dipped under the 1.20s to record another fastest lap of the race, his cushion over Wiltshire now at 3.9 seconds. The top three Ligiers JSP3s of Clucas, Willis and Maydon continued to circulate with Clucas having ten seconds in hand over Willis, but Maydon was just two ticks in arrears of Willis and catching him.

In the final minutes, though, Brooks dropped a few seconds in traffic at the back of the circuit, but he still kept six seconds in hand. Next time around, the same happened, though, and the gap was down tot 4.4 seconds. Behind them, Willis went off in his defense of fourth place, with Maydon nipping past. Brooks had it all under control, though, with Wiltshire now baulked by the same traffic, resulting in a winning margin of 7.8 seconds. A lap down, Clucas took third overall and the P3 class win from Maydon and Willis. Atkinson finished sixth in the ORECA FLM09, with Sowter winning the GT class while staying in front of Mike Furness in the Courage LC75.

Masters Endurance Legends – Race 2
Wiltshire gets the win in second Masters Endurance Legends race at Brands

Stuart Wiltshire made it one each for Peugeot 90X drivers in Masters Endurance Legends, as he romped to victory in the day’s second race at Brands Hatch. Unchallenged by race 1 winner Steve Brooks whose 90X succumbed to gearbox maladies, Wiltshire took a clear win from Marcus Jewell and Ben Clucas in the P3 class-winning Ligier JSP3.

“Nothing to say, it was quite lonely”, said Wiltshire. “We got a win, but we haven’t got the car dialled in yet.”

Jewell and Clucas came out on top of a three-way fight for ultimate Ligier glory, prevailing over Craig Davies and Ron Maydon, while the Stephan Joebstl/Andy Willis fell by the wayside after succumbing to brake problems halfway into the race.

“It was good, two wins in class”, said Clucas, “and Marcus had a good battle in his race.”

Mike Furness took fourth in the Courage LC75 while Colin Sowter bagged a pair of GT wins in his Ferrari 458 GT3. The James Hagan/Chris Atkinson ORECA FLM09 dropped out early on, the former Formula Le Mans car stopping out on the circuit at Westfield on lap 6.

“I had a spin at the beginning”, said Sowter, who thus missed out on fighting with the prototypes. “After that, I was playing catch-up…”

After a hard and damaging first race earlier on the day, a smaller field of prototypes and GTs lined up for the second Masters Endurance Legends race of the Masters Historic Festival. Race 1 winner Steve Brooks was out with a broken gearbox while Richard Meins’ Peugeot 90X and the Jason Green/Neil Glover Ligier JSP3 could not be fixed in time after their off in the morning. The same sadly applied to the Alan Purbrick/David Brise Lola B12/60.

This left Stuart Wiltshire as the only driver to fly the Peugeot colours, as it led a trio of Ligier JSP3s, Marcus Jewell in front of Craig Davies and Stephan Joebstl. Behind those, James Hagan in the ORECA FLM09 battled Mike Furness in the Courage-Judd LC75, followed by Colin Sowter’s Ferrari 458 GT3.

At the front, Wiltshire was churning away at lowering his lap times further and further, while Jewell, Davies and Joebstl were still nose to tail, 19 seconds down with five laps gone. Mike Furness was now up into fifth, as Hagan’s ORECA had stopped out on the circuit at Westfield, right at the back. One lap later, Davies was seen diving right inside Jewell to snatch second place overall, and soon after, Joebstl was through into third.

15 minutes into the race, Wiltshire led Davies by 41 seconds, as Davies got a breather thanks to Joebstl having an excursion through the grass, as Jewell came in at the first opportunity after the pit window had opened, handing over to Ben Clucas. Next in was Joebstl, but Andy Willis wasn’t taking over, as the car was pushed back into its garage, brake issues having been the cause of the earlier off. Davies then handed over to Ron Maydon, with the leader now coming in as well for his stop. On laps 14 and 15, Furness and Sowter were the last to pit.

All pitstops done, Wiltshire was in front by a full lap, and close to making it two, while Clucas led Maydon by 12 seconds and increasing. Furness was fourth, and this time Sowter was unable to make an impression on the last of the prototypes but still running well in fifth.

Circulating at a controlled pace, Wiltshire rallied off the remaining laps to complete 28 of them to see the chequered flag for his third win of the season. Clucas took second for himself and Marcus Jewell, finishing a lap down, as well as the Craig Davies/Ron Maydon Ligier in third. Both Furness and Sowter were two laps down in fourth and fifth.

Masters Gentlemens Drivers
Spiers/Greensall prevail in fraught Masters Gentlemen Drivers race at Brands

The John Spiers/Nigel Greensall TVR Griffith survived a tense race interrupted – and determined – by three long safety-car periods to take their second Masters Gentlemen Drivers win of the season. Spiers had a sensational lead fight with fellow Griffith driver John Davison in their opening stint, but Davison’s challenge was blunted by an off and a resulting unscheduled stop, although he fought back to finish fifth.

“That was probably the most enjoyable stint I’ve ever had”, said a beaming John Spiers. “I had a great fight with John, as I can trust him – we’ve been racing each other for years. At the back of the circuit we were often almost side by side. What else can you ask for on a summer’s day at the Brands Hatch GP circuit?

Giles Dawson took a sensational second overall while also cornering the CLP class win, as his Lotus Elan finished a mere two seconds adrift from the winning TVR. Mike Whitaker made it two TVRs on the overall podium, with the Robin Ellis/Nick Padmore Lotus Elan 26R Shapecraft claiming a fighting fourth and second in the CLP class. John and Sam Tordoff claimed a similarly fighting sixth overall and third in the CLP class after having been thwarted by the first safety-car period.

“And I led overall!” said a delighted Dawson about finishing a close second. “I think if it hadn’t been for that second safety car, we would have won overall… But it was still a great race.”

“He was stuck to my bumper after the third safety car”, Whitaker said about Padmore harrying him for third. “I had just opened up a small gap, and then I threw off the road, and had to start all over again!”

“I couldn’t do anything about it”, said Padmore. “Those TVRs have so much grunt… But still, happy days!”

“Yes, we got caught out by the safety car”, Sam Tordoff admitted with the knowledge of hindsight. Father John was equally philosophical about it: “One lap later, though, and it would have been perfect. But that’s what happens.”

In C2, Billy Bellinger and Keith were the leaders for almost the entirety of the race but their Morgan SLR was pipped right at the end by James Wilmoth in the Austin Healey 3000 started by Crispin Harris. In C1, the Malcolm Paul/Rick Bourne TVR Grantura led from start to finish.

All Masters Gentlemen Drivers action was packed into a single day, the 90-minute race following the 40-minute qualifying session in the morning. Closing off the Masters Historic Festival’s Saturday, the top two TVR got away but Giles Dawson made a storming start to be third after three corners and lead the CLP class in his Lotus Elan, while John Tordoff dropped back in the Elan that had started from the second row.

Davison and Spiers continued to war over the lead, with Dawson in third, while Jason Mishaw had fought his way up to fourth in Martin Melling’s Jaguar E-type. Whitaker and Harry Barton were two more Griffith drivers in fifth and sixth, with Nick Sleep in seventh in the ‘Hairy Canary’, the first of the Cobras, but soon the safety car was out, with Minshaw returning to the pits with a smoking Jag – which turned out to be a gearbox issue. The actual reason for the safety car wasn’t that, though – it was Larry Tucker’s Shelby Mustang GT350 and Paul Ingram’s Austin Healey 3000 getting stuck in a gravel trap because of oil on the circuit at Surtees.

The cars took quite a while to retrieve and the oil trail on track quite a while to cover, so the racing only resumed on lap 10, with 68 minutes remaining on the clock. When the field was released again, their brakes cooled right down, Davison, Spiers and Dawson took off once again, with Whitaker assuming fourth place after Minshaw’s early demise. Sleep and Barton were up next, ahead of Robin Ward in the Ginetta G4R, David Smithies in the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé and Robin Ellis in the Elan 26R Shapecraft, while Shaun Lynn had entered the top ten in another Elan. Further into the lap, though, Ward snatched sixth from Barton and began to hurry Sleep’s Cobra which subsequently lost the place on the following lap.

In C2, Billy Bellinger led in the Morgan SLR, with Martin Stretton giving chase in Jim Chapman’s Austin Healey 3000 and Calum Lockie in third in Simon Orebi Gann’s Morgan Plus 4 Super Sport. Malcolm Paul led in C1 in the TVR Grantura shared with Rick Bourne, with Neil Fisher in second place in class in the MGB.

Davison and Spiers now almost ran side-by-side, with Dawson having a grandstand view on the lead tussle. Whitaker trailed the leaders by six seconds, having been baulked at the restart by a lapped car, and now had Ward all over the back of him. Further back, Mark Farmer broke into the top ten at the cost of Shaun Lynn’s similar Elan.

Meanwhile, the fight for the C2 class lead between Bellinger and Stretton raged on but Simon Orebi Gann was into the pits with battle damage on his Morgan, handing third in class to Crispin Harris in another Healey. Malcolm Paul continued to imperiously lead the C1 class.

On lap 14, Whitaker succumbed to Ward’s pressure to give up fourth while Sleep and Barton were still not far away. Meanwhile, on the edge of the top ten, Farmer lost ground to Peter Thompson’s Cobra and Robin Ellis in the Elan Shapecraft and eight more cars after a spin at the top of the hill. Harry Barton, meanwhile, halted his TVR Griffith at the pit wall, the front right corner having collapsed.

35 minutes into the race, the pit window opened to allow the first cars in for their mandatory stops. John Tordoff set the example to hand over to son Sam, duly followed by John Spiers who would now have Nigel Greensall attempt to recover his elite-driver pitstop penalty. But with Barton’s TVR still stuck in a dangerous place, it was decided to dispatch the safety car after all, resulting in an avalanche of pitstops…

This played into the hands of Spiers and Greensall since the latter’s penalty was now all but undone, Greensall only separated from Davison and Dawson by the cars in between them in the safety-car queue, but John & Sam Tordoff were rather more unlucky, as their elite-driver penalty cost them a lap, with Sam getting stuck behind the safety car. In contrast, Max Lynn, now in the Elan started by Shaun Lynn, had profited the most, as he found himself in fourth ahead Whitaker, Alex Montgomery (in the ‘Hairy Canary’ started by Sleep), with Nick Padmore looking very dangerous in seventh as well as second in the CLP class in the Shapecraft started by Robin Ellis. Charles Allison’s Cobra, Ron Maydon in the Ginetta started by Ward, and Keith Ahlers in the SLR initially raced by Bellinger completed the top ten, with Ahlers still leading the C2 class.

After the restart, Davison continued to lead from Dawson, but Greensall was already flying, lapping a whopping five seconds quicker than Dawson. Whitaker, meanwhile, made short work of Max Lynn to make it three TVRs in the top three, with Padmore also moving up a place, but then Davison was seen going into the gravel, relinquishing the lead to Dawson and seeing Greensall slow right up – and if that wasn’t all, the safety car was out yet again, as Mark Farmer’s Elan went off in a massive way at a Paddock Hill Bend that will still very slippery.

After his off-road excursion, Davison seemed to be dragging an object from behind his Griffith while Sam Tordoff couldn’t believe his luck after he was waved through by the safety car. With less than half an hour remaining, the safety car kept controlling the pace for lap after lap when Davison came into the pits after all to have that object (a cooling duct, as it transpired) removed, allowing Greensall up into second, as the marshals worked to further clear the oil at Paddock Hill Bend. Davison rejoined in 15th, at the back of the queue.

A mere 13 minutes remained when the green flag was finally waved, and right on the line Greensall was already side by side with Dawson who cleverly forced Greensall to choose the cement-dusted line through Paddock Hill Bend or tuck back behind. But it didn’t take long, though, since three corners later Greensall was through anyway. Behind them, Padmore was right behind Whitaker in the fight for third. Lynn (M.) was fifth ahead of Montgomery, Allison and Clarkson (in the Daytona Cobra started by Smithies) while a flying Sam Tordoff was already up into ninth ahead of Philipp Buhofer in another Elan started by Stephan Joebstl. Davison was making up places as well, having just passed the C2-class-leading Morgan SLR of Keith Ahlers for 11th overall. Ahlers, meanwhile, was pushed for the class lead by James Wilmoth in the Healey shared with Crispin Harris.

Out in front, Greensall was drawing away from Dawson who held his own four seconds ahead of the fight between Whitaker and Padmore. Davison, meanwhile, was up to eighth, causing Tordoff to remain stuck in ninth for now, with eight minutes left on the clock. With Greensall stringing together fastest laps of the race, his lead was soon up to 4.7 seconds but Padmore stopped making inroads on Whitaker, but a small mistake by Whitaker allowed Padmore to catch him again while he lost the ground that he had won on Dawson. Behind Lynn and Montgomery, Davison was up into seventh, with Tordoff following him through in eighth. Meanwhile, in 13th and 14th, Wilmoth had made his way past Ahlers for the C2 class lead, while Rick Bourne continued to lead in C1 in the Grantura started by Malcolm Paul.

As they raced to the chequered flag, Greensall slowed his pace to conserve the Griffith on his way to another win, with Dawson taking a spectacular second place overall in the class-winning Lotus Elan. Whitaker was third as Padmore was unable to stay with the second Griffith, with Davison coming through to take fifth ahead of Sam Tordoff who just pipped Max Lynn to sixth overall and third in the CLP class. The top ten was completed by the Cobras of Sleep/Montgomery, Thompson/Allison and Smithies/Clarkson. In C2, Crispin Harris and James Wilmoth (Austin Healey 3000) nicked the class win from the Keith Ahlers/Billy Bellinger Morgan SLR.

Masters GT Trophy – Race 1
Wilkins triumphs in first Masters GT Trophy race at Brands Hatch

Craig Wilkins led home a Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo 1-2-3 as during the mandatory stops he turned the tables on his rival Jason McInulty who had led during their opening stint in the 30-minute race. Aaron Scott fought back to snatch third in the Huracán started by Neil Glover.

“We’ll see how long it lasts!” said Wilkins about returning to winning form after winning the first race at Donington. “The team pulled a masterstroke by pitting me early. And winning here means a lot to me as it’s a hard choice between the Brands Hatch GP circuit and Spa for my favourite circuit.”

“First time out in the car”, said McInulty. “I managed to keep the lead in my opening stint, we set fairly similar times, even though I suffered a bit from a little bit of understeer going in and oversteer on the way out. We thought we were on time at the stops but still lost 12 seconds, so we will have see what happened there.”

“It was good, everything was just fine”, said Scott. “I just pushed, but there was not enough time to get back to people. It’s good exercise for Neil, though, that’s the main thing, pushing him on and improving.”

Behind the Lambos, Cup class winner Sam Tordoff and GT4 class winner Ray Harris fought hard over fourth overall, with the Porsche 997.2 Cup prevailing over the Ginetta G55 by 4.7 seconds at the end.

Craig Davies brought his Huracán Super Trofeo home in sixth ahead of the Marcus Jewell/Dallas Carroll Porsche 991.2 Cup, George Haynes and Adam Sharpe in the BMW M3 GT4 and David Harrison in a 991.1 Cup.

Blessed by beautiful spring weather, the Masters GT Trophy field lined up for their first race of the weekend, Neil Glover leading away from pole, but two more Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evos soon found a way past with a pair of brave moves on lap 1, with Sam Tordoff’s Porsche 997.2 Cup also passing Glover at Druids into lap 2. Craig Davies was fifth in the non-Evo Super Trofeo, with Marcus Jewell’s Porsche 991.2 Cup leading Ray Harris in the Ginetta G55 in sixth and seventh, followed by Adam Sharpe in the BMW M3 GT4 and David Harrison in the 991.1 GT3 Cup.

At the front, Wilkins was taking the fight to Jason McInulty, closing the gap down to seven-tenths, with Tordoff in the relatively quiet Porsche now trailing by eight seconds. On lap 3, Davies had passed Glover for fourth, and now Glover was fending off Jewell, with Harris not far away either.

Two laps later, Wilkins improved on McInulty’s fastest lap of the race to cut his deficit to sixth tenths, as both Tordoff and Davies now found themselves in no man’s land, but after a fierce battle, Harris snatched sixth from Jewell.

With 20 minutes still to go and the pit window opening, it continued to be too close to call at the front, as McInulty and Wilkins went on to set almost identical lap times. No-one looked eager to come in soon, but on lap 7 Jewell was in to hand over to Dallas Carroll. Next time around, Wilkins pulled his joker card for his early stop, but McInulty responded on the next lap. He was followed in by Glover who would hand over to Aaron Scott, but Scott would have to wait 15 seconds longer because of his elite driver status.

Stopping seven seconds longer than it needed to be, McInulty had handed back the virtual lead to Wilkins, as temporary leader Tordoff now also entered the pits, along with Harris, while Adam Sharpe changed places with George Haynes in the M3 GT4. Now Davies was the only one still out there who was yet to stop, but he was in at the start of lap 11, allowing Wilkins to reassume leading responsibilities at the front.

Due to McInulty’s longer stop and a fair bit of speed of his own, Wilkins now led by 12 seconds, with late stoppers Harris and Davies seemingly having done the smart thing to be third and fourth. Tordoff had dropped to fifth ahead of Scott, but the latter was flying, and on lap 12, both Tordoff and Scott passed Davies for fourth and fifth respectively, with Scott now chasing the Porsche for another spot.

With another fastest lap of the race, Wilkins eased away to a 13.5-second lead on lap 13, while about a minute behind Harris still led Tordoff and Scott by seven seconds, but soon Scott was up into fourth and lapping two seconds faster than the Ginetta that he was chasing. On lap 15, Scott had it done to snatch third and make it a Huracán 1-2-3.

Once again lowering his own mark, Wilkins improved on fastest lap again on lap 17, but next time around Scott beat that by eight-tenths. However, Scott trailed the leader by over a minute, and McInulty by some 50 ticks, so the podium places remained locked in until the chequered flag. Tordoff and Harris battled hard for fourth, but Tordoff sealed the place two laps from the end before eeking out a 4.7-second lead towards the end. They were followed home by Davies, Jewell/Carroll, Haynes/Sharpe and Harrison.

Masters GT Trophy – Race 2
Wilkins doubles up with second Masters GT Trophy win at Brands

Craig Wilkins completed a dominant weekend in the Masters GT Trophy by also winning the fledgling series’ second race at the Masters Historic Festival. Leading home a Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo 1-2-3, Wilkins romped off to a win by 39 seconds over Jason McInulty who came from the back to second place.

“I was looking forward to a bit of a tussle with Jason”, said Wilkins, “but it was a very good weekend, I’m very pleased with it.”

Sam Tordoff tried hard to get his Porsche 997.2 Cup onto the overall podium, but could do nothing about the Neil Glover/Aaron Scott Lamborghini coming back at him. In fifth overall, Ray Harris also doubled up on GT4 honours, with the George Haynes/Adam Sharpe BMW M3 GT4 taking second place in class in ninth overall.

In seventh and eighth, Nathan Luckey and Dallas Carroll enjoyed a race-long battle for second place in the Cup class behind Tordoff, with Luckey’s 991.1 prevailing over Carroll’s 991.2 towards the end.

The final Masters race of the weekend, the Masters GT Trophy started off with race 1 winner Craig Wilkins in the lead from Neil Glover’s similar Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo, with Wilkins immediately pulling out a gap. Tordoff in the Porsche 997.2 Cup was hurrying Glover while being chased by Ray Harris in the Ginetta G55, while from the back, Jason McInulty in the third Super Trofeo Evo was up into fifth on lap 2. Sixth was Dallas Carroll driving solo in Marcus Jewell’s 991.2 Cup, with Nathan Luckey up next in the 991.1 Cup, Ron Maydon in the regular Super Trofeo and George Haynes in the BMW M3 GT4.

Going into lap 4, Wilkins had created a big lead of 17 seconds over Tordoff while McInulty had already made it past Glover for third. Harris trailed the Lambos four seconds down on Glover, while Carroll was defending from Luckey and Maydon.

One lap later, McInulty braked really late for Paddock Hill Bend, and climbing the hill side by side Tordoff got back on the Lamborghini into Druids. The next time around, though, McInulty was through. Meanwhile, the fight for sixth proved to be entertaining, with Maydon getting ahead of Luckey to set after Carroll.

The pit window now open, McInulty was the first to blink, with Luckey following him in, as the rest elected to stay for the moment. On lap 8, race leader Wilkins was coming in together with George Haynes handing the BMW over to Adam Sharpe. The next ones to pit were Neil Glover to have Aaron Scott take over the Lamborghini, and Ron Maydon with Craig Davies waiting to take his place. On lap 9, it was Tordoff’s turn, with only Harris and Carroll carrying on, but they were in on lap 10 and lap 11, respectively. With Tordoff being forced to stay in the pits for longer because of his elite-driver penalty, Aaron Scott was able to pip the Porsche before it rejoined.

was still the clear race leader, now 30 seconds clear of McInulty on lap 12. Harris in the Ginetta G55 was third but not for long, as Scott was closing rapidly, with Tordoff a further seven seconds back. Davies trailed Tordoff by 15 seconds, with Luckey now up into seventh spot, having demoted Carroll to eighth.

Still in the groove, Wilkins continued to increase his lead, as Scott got fastest lap of the race down to a 1.28, cutting his deficit to McInulty to 20 seconds. Ten seconds behind the Lambo top-three, Harris saw Tordoff closing in fast, and going into lap 16, the Porsche stormed past on the start-and-finish straight.

At the chequered flag, Wilkins completed a pair of strong runs with another dominant win, leading home Jason McInulty and Aaron Scott by 39 and 45 seconds respectively. Tordoff was fourth and the Cup class winner while Harris took GT4 honours in the Ginetta G55. The Davies/Maydon Lambo took sixth ahead of the Luckey and Carroll Porsches and the Haynes/Sharpe BMW.

Masters Pre66 Touring Cars
Tordoff charges to Masters Pre-66 Touring Car victory at the Masters Historic Festival

Sam Tordoff overcame his elite-driver pitstop penalty to win the Masters Pre-66 Touring Car race at Brands Hatch, his Ford Falcon coming back from behind to vanquish Mike Whitaker’s Ford Mustang by 3.6 seconds. 19 seconds in arrears, John Spiers and Nigel Greensall battled their way up to third in their Mustang.

“A great race, really enjoyed that”, said Tordoff. “I knew Mike was going keep me honest, with the penalty. He was close to me at Donington and even closer here. It was a case of creating a gap without destroying the tyres too much. In the end it was just managing and not doing anything stupid.”

“I gave myself a penalty by putting it in the gravel once”, said Whitaker. “I thought I maybe try and stay with him, but in the end I decided to stick with second place.”

“It was busy with BTCC drivers past and present, and I have had no time in the car, but loved it!” said Spiers.

“It was fantastic, the driving standards on track were fantastic, and everyone was very respectful”, said Greensall.

A topsy-turvy fight for Cortina class was won by John Cook, closely followed by David Dickenson, Michael Cullen, Ambrogio Perfetti and Paddy Shovlin, while Jeff Smith dominated the Mini class to finish 12th overall. Phil Bullen-Brown led the Ian Curley/Aaron Smith Mini for second in class almost the entire race, but Aaron Smith pipped his rival on the final lap.

“I knew I had to get away well but the guys who have done more racing in this did well”, said Cook. “These guys were really close at the end. But really pleased, it was really hot in there, but the car held together.”

“When I came out of the pits I saw the number 57 in my mirrors and that gave me a boost!” said Dickenson. “But then he got passed me in traffic after all…”

“We had a great battle, three, four, five cars at times – it was all very close. Happy days!” said Cullen.

Right after the lunch break, the 40-strong Masters Pre-66 Touring Car field assumed its positions on the grid, with Sam Tordoff’s Ford Falcon on pole, joined by John Spiers/Nigel Greensall Mustang, with Spiers starting. On the second row, Josh Cook would race Mike Gardiner’s Cortina solo, with an additional elite-driver penalty as a result. In fourth, Steve Soper would start the Alan Mann Racing Mustang.

After a fraught opening lap, Tordoff led from Cook, Soper, Michael Whitaker Jr’s Mustang, Spiers, Michael Cullen in the second Cortina leading two more Cortinas pedalled by David Dickenson and Ambrogio Perfetti, with Alex Thistlethwayte and Dave Coyne with two more Mustangs completing the top ten for now. In the Mini class, Jeff Smith had some five cars in between himself and Tom Bell who was fighting Phil Bullen-Brown and Ian Curley.

Whitaker Jr was the man on the move, passing Soper for third, while Perfetti nicked seventh from Dickenson. Moments later, Soper went off, allowing Spiers, Cullen and Perfetti through, with Craig Davies now also slowing in his Mustang. Thanks to a storming few opening laps Tom Sharp was up to seventh in his Mustang, chasing and then passing Perfetti for sixth, with Dan Williamson’s Mustang now also into the top ten, but as soon as he was there, he was seen coming into the pits, handing the spot to Paddy Shovlin’s Cortina.

At the front, Tordoff led by four seconds over Cook and Whitaker Jr, with Spiers 11 more seconds further back, leading a train of rivals consisting of the seemingly unstoppable Tom Sharp, Cullen, Dickenson, Thistlethwayte, Perfetti and Shovlin. Among the Minis, Tom Bell proved to be another casualty along with Mark Burnett, the Mini engine suffering from overheating. This meant that Ian Curley took up the chase to Jeff Smith in 14th overall, still with three bigger cars acting as a cushion.

Whitaker Jr having made a mistake on lap 5, Cook now was in a safe second place, six seconds ahead of the Mustang but trailing Tordoff by some eight ticks of the clock. Next time around, though, it was 11 seconds, as Tordoff put in a storming fastest lap of the race. In the lower half of the top ten, Thistlethwayte nicked seventh from Dickenson. Soon after, they both moved up a spot, as Sharp was seen trundling into the pits. After both passed Cullen, Thistlethwayte and Dickenson found themselves in fifth and sixth, while further down the order Matt Neal who had started from the back saw his progress stalled by retiring to the pits with overheating brakes.

15 minutes gone, Tordoff’s lead had accumulated to a massive 17 seconds, as Cook saw Whitaker Jr make up for lost terrain, the Mustang now just four seconds down on the fastest Cortina. Spiers held his own in fourth, with Thistlethwayte, Dickenson, Perfetti all following four seconds further down the road. Former car-sharing team mates Michael Cullen and Paddy Shovlin ran in eighth and ninth, their order changing on lap 10, as Martin Melling now ran tenth in the second Falcon in the race. In 11th, Roy Alderslade’s Cortina was chased by Mini class leader Jeff Smith, who himself had Marcus Jewell and Neil Brown in a pair of Cortinas snapping at his heels. Behind Pete Chambers’ Cortina, Curley, Bullen-Brown and Jonathon Page debated second place in the Mini class.

The pit window now open, Sam Tordoff was among the first ones in, along with Jewell who would hand over to Ben Clucas. Spiers was in next, his Mustang now taken over by Nigel Greensall, as Whitaker Jr took his stop at the following opportunity on lap 13. With Tordoff having served his elite-driver penalty, Whitaker Jr vaulted him at the stops, the Mustang now leading the Falcon by seven seconds. On lap 14, Cook came in along with Mini class leader Jeff Smith. The BTCC star was obliged to serve a time penalty similar to Tordoff’s, and as a result he rejoined behind Whitaker Jr and Tordoff.

The front six cars of Dickenson, Shovlin (hit by a time penalty for exceeding track limits), Cullen, Thistlethwayte, Melling and Bullen-Brown then all pitted, with only Perfetti staying out one more lap. Once the Norwegian Italian was out of the way, Whitaker Jr assumed the actual lead, four seconds in front of Tordoff, but next time around the gap was already down to 1.6 seconds. Meanwhile, on lap 18, Cook moved past Dickenson and Perfetti, as the Cortinas were chased by the Mustangs of Cullen and Shovlin, with Nigel Greensall approaching fast in eighth, having already dealt with Thistlethwayte and Alderslade. Mini class leader Smith was now 11th overall, 13 seconds ahead of Bullen-Brown, with Aaron Smith in the Mini started by Curley a further three seconds back.

On lap 19, Whitaker Jr found Tordoff right on his tail, but for the moment he hung on. Next time around, though, the Falcon was through to find itself back into the lead. Cook now trailed by 25 seconds, with Dickenson, Cullen and Perfetti still at close quarters, but Greensall in seventh looked poised to pick them all off one by one. Two laps later, it was job done, with Greensall now showing himself in Cook’s mirrors. On lap 23, the Mustang was through into third.

Going into the final quarter of the race, Tordoff’s lead over Whitaker Jr had grown to 5.4 seconds, with Greensall trailing by 25 seconds. Cook now headed a royal train of Cortinas, with Dickenson, Perfetti, Shovlin and Cullen all enjoying a wonderful tussle. Thistlethwayte followed that group by eight seconds, with Alderslade four more seconds adrift. Still in 11th overall, Jeff Smith continued to dominate the Mini class, as his nearest rivals Bullen-Brown and Aaron Smith warred over 14th and 15th overall.

With ten minutes still to run, Whitaker Jr who had dropped behind by ten seconds clawed back some of his deficit as Tordoff had a bad tour around Brands on lap 27, as the multiple BTCC winner went into save mode. Greensall was slightly quicker than the both of them, but was looking at an unassailable 19-second gap to close. Cook, Dickenson, Shovlin, Cullen and Perfetti continued to have their Cortina ding-dong in fourth to eighth.

As the clock wound down to zero, Tordoff continued to give away time to Whitaker Jr while Greensall now failed to make any further progress. Behind them, Perfetti had moved back up into seventh by passing Shovlin who would be hit by a time penalty anyway. Among the Minis, Smith (J.) was down to 12th overall as Ben Clucas had got ahead of him, but he was in still control, leaving Bullen-Brown and Smith (A.) to pick up the Mini crumbs.

Tordoff had it all under control, though, and the Falcon took the win by 3.6 seconds over Michael Whitaker Jr. Greensall was third, 19 seconds down, while the Cortina top-three consisted of Cook, Dickenson and Cullen, with Perfetti and Shovlin up next. Thistlethwayte and Alderslade made up the rest of the top-ten, with Clucas up next ahead of Mini class winner Jeff Smith. Right at the end, Bullen-Brown failed to keep Aaron Smith behind for second place in class.

Masters Racing Legends for 66/85 F1 Cars – Race 1
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.

Masters Racing Legends for 66/85 F1 Cars – Race 2
Padmore profits from Hartley’s demise to take overall win in second Masters Racing Legends race at Brands

For the second time this season, Nick Padmore recorded a shock overall win for a pre-78 car, the Lotus 77 driver profiting from Steve Hartley’s demise six minutes from the end

From the reverse pole, Hartley had led the second Masters Racing Legends race for 1966- ’85 Formula One cars from the front before it all came to an end at the same spot where he was forced to retire in race 1.

“On the opening lap I got past two cars, and after the safety car I was just fully lit!” said Padmore. “It’s been all right this weekend, from the Mini to the Lotus…”

Padmore then ran home the win ahead of a strong Ken Tyrrell in the Tyrrell 011 and race 1 winner Mark Hazell in the Williams FW07B. Warren Briggs did well to take fourth in his McLaren M29, with Mark Higson yet another man to rack up his best finish in the series with fifth in the McLaren MP4/1B.

“Nick was little tough to catch, but what an experience, with these great competitors on a great track”, said Tyrrell.

“They did really well”, said Hazell of his fellow drivers on the podium. “Jamie went off on cold tyres, and after that I just hung on.”

“I was really pleased to hang on to Mark – great track, great place, great weather”, said Briggs.

In sixth, Ian Simmonds’ Tyrrell 012 claimed post-82 class honours, as Jamie Constable’s Tyrrell 011B spun off on the opening lap, while Max Werner stormed through the field to capture second place in the pre-78 class in the Hesketh 308, with Peter Williams once again coming third in class in the Lec CRP1.

“It was amazing here at Brands Hatch, such an iconic circuit. It was a great race, I’m super happy to be here, on the podium for the first time”, said Werner.

A second highlight of the Masters Historic Festival Sunday, the Masters Racing Legends lined up their 1966-’85 Formula One cars for the second time, and it was Steve Hartley whose repaired McLaren MP4/1 found itself on pole position on the reversed grid for the first five, ahead of Ken Tyrrell’s Tyrrell 011, Jamie Constable’s Tyrrell 011B, Nick Padmore in the Lotus 77, Warren Briggs in the McLaren M29 and race 1 winner Mark Hazell in the Williams FW07B.

Three corners into the race, however, Padmore dived inside of Constable who came under pressure of Hazell and subsequently spun into the grass at Sheene Curve. Hartley still led from Tyrrell, but Padmore was now also harrying the American, and on lap 2 he was up into second place to set after Hartley in the lead. Meanwhile, Ewen Sergison was out of the race as well.

Hartley and Padmore continued to fight into lap 3 while pulling a gap of three seconds to Tyrrell, who found Hazell all over the back of him. Briggs and Higson were up next, after which a seven-second space opened up to Mark Harrison in the Shadow DN9, who was chased by Ian Simmonds in the Tyrrell 012. Simon Fish (Arrows A4), James Hagan (Tyrrell 011) and Max Werner (Hesketh 308) fought over ninth, with Fish coming through.

Four laps gone, Hartley had eeked away to a 1.2-second lead, as Padmore began to drop Tyrrell who on his turn had left Hazell behind by two seconds. With Constable now plum last after having rejoined, Simmonds led the post-82 class in ninth, with Arthur Bruckner’s Arrows A6 second in 15th overall. Behind Padmore, Max Werner was second in the pre-78 class, leading Peter Williams in the Lec CRP1 and Paul Grant in the March 761.

Hartley now truly put the hammer down, leaving Padmore to chase him by 2.7 seconds. Tyrrell continued to move away from Hazell, who now saw Briggs closing in on him, with Higson a further six seconds behind. Harrison and Fish warred over seventh, 27 seconds down, with Simmonds still just ahead of Hagan.

A new fastest lap of the race followed on lap 6, as Hartley further widened the chasm between himself and Padmore to 4.8 seconds. Further back, Fish got the better of Harrison to take that seventh spot, but then suddenly, Hartley had gone! He had stopped at the same spot where he found his nadir in race 1, and the McLaren being parked in a dangerous position, race control was forced to employ the safety car.

Padmore was the new leader, followed by Tyrrell, Hazell, Briggs, Higson, Fish, Harrison, Simmonds, Hagan and Werner. As the field was bunched up again, Hartley got going under his own power but he retired to the pits after a weekend to forget. So it was going to be three-minute sprint to the line. Upon the green flag Padmore powered away to create a safe gap, leading Tyrrell by 1.5 seconds after their first hot lap, with Hazell down four seconds, with Briggs looking for the place. Behind them, Fish lost power to see Harrison, Simmonds and the rest fly past with just one more lap to go…

So Padmore brought home the win from Tyrrell, Hazell, Briggs and Higson, with Harrison and Simmonds inheriting sixth and seventh. Simmonds took post-82 class honours, while Werner and Williams in eighth and ninth overall took the remaining spots on the pre-78 podium.

Masters Sports Car Legends – Race 1
Sleep/Montgomery steal the win in Brands’ first Masters Sports Car Legends race

In a bitter race of attrition, Nick Sleep and Alex Montgomery came through to claim a surprise win in the first of two Masters Sports Car Legends bouts at Brands Hatch’s Masters Historic Festival. Their Lola T70 Mk3 inherited the lead when Chris Beighton’s T70 Mk3B seemed on course for victory, only to falter with three minutes still to go.

“We just heard that he had a flat rear tyre”, said Montgomery. “Hard luck for Chris, but it’s good to be here!”

Jason Wright moved up into second place with another T70 Mk3B, 7.5 seconds down on the winners, while Robert Shaw salvaged third place in his Chevron B19 despite coming under intense pressure from the Stephan Joebstl/Andy Willis Lola T212, which then expired on the final lap. Nick Pink took fourth in the Lola T210 after a race-long fight with Paul Allen’s T212 that also failed to make it to the end. Meanwhile, the pole-sitting James Claridge/Gonçalo Gomes Lola T296 proved to be an early retirement.

“My HANS device was very uncomfortable in the race, especially in the second part of the race”, said Wright. “I would have liked to have been closer to Alex towards the end. But they had a big accident in practice, so I’m happy to see them here.”

“It was looking like a bit of a tussle with Andy at the end”, said Shaw, “but then it looked like an engine issue, and the pressure was off…”

In the Bonnier class, Georg Kjallgren gave the Daren marque a win over the Chevron B8 shared by Peter Thompson and Charles Allison while the Hulme class failed to see a winner: around the midway point, both the John Spiers/Nigel Greensall McLaren M1B and the Keith Ahlers/Billy Bellinger Cooper Monaco King Cobra succumbed to mechanical issues.

The Masters Sports Car Legends cars lined up for the late-afternoon start of their first race of the weekend, the series uniquely having two 40-minute races instead of one 60-minute race. In brilliant spring weather, with the sunshine glinting off the cars, James Claridge stormed off into the lead but Beighton was on it into the opening lap and soon found himself in the lead. Before the end of the lap, Nick Sleep in the T70 Mk3 also found a way past Claridge before John Spiers got the T296 going into lap 2.

So now, Beighton in the T70 Mk3B led Sleep in the earlier car, 2.2 seconds ahead, with Spiers and Claridge giving chase and Jason Wright up next in the other T70 Mk3B. Stephan Joebstl was sixth in the Lola T212, leading Robert Shaw’s Chevron B19, Nick Pink’s Lola T210 and Paul Allen in another T212. Georg Kjallgren led the Bonnier class in the Daren Mk2, ahead of Peter Thompson and Paul Ingram in the Chevron B8s. Splitting the Daren and the Chevrons, Keith Ahlers ran 11th overall in the Cooper Monaco King Cobra that was second to John Spiers’ McLaren M1B in the Hulme class.

Four laps into the race, Beighton had increased his lead over Sleep to 3.9 seconds who was coming under pressure from Spiers, while Claridge and Wright fought over fourth place, the American handed the position when Claridge’s Lola T296 was seen grinding to a halt into the next lap. Thanks to quick work from the marshals, the issue was resolved without requiring a safety car. Meanwhile, on lap 7, Paul Ingram returned his Chevron B8 to the pits and into the paddock, hit by brake issues.

As the clock ticked down to the pit window, Beighton led Sleep by five seconds, with Spiers continuing to harry Sleep for second place. Wright was three seconds in arrears of the Sleep/Spiers battle but finding more speed with every lap, while Shaw trailed Wright by 19 seconds. Joebstl looked at a 7-second gap to Shaw but had eight seconds in hand over the fight between Pink and Allen. Half a minute further down the road, Kjallgren, Ahlers and Thompson were nose-to-tail.

On lap 10, Spiers was the first one in to hand over to Nigel Greensall, and he was soon joined by Joebstl, with Andy Willis taking the Austrian’s place. With his elite driver penalty effected at the stops, Greensall rejoined in tenth overall, with Willis a further 30 seconds adrift. Next in were Kjallgren, Allen and Thompson, the latter handing over to Charles Allison, but the big news was Greensall returning to the pits after a single lap around Brands Hatch. Now two laps down, he rejoined the race plumb last. But it was worthwhile as also in the pits, but seeming staying there, was the Ahlers/Bellinger Cooper Monaco King Cobra with an engine that had mysteriously cut out, meaning that Greensall had reassumed the lead in class.

While Beighton, Shaw and Pink continued to circulate, Nick Sleep was now in as well, swapping places with Alex Montgomery. On lap 13, Beighton put in the fastest lap of the race before coming in for his mandatory stop, and Shaw and Pink duly followed him in. As he exited the pits, Beighton still held his ten-second lead over Montgomery, but now Wright was third, profiting from Greensall’s mishap, the McLaren having been in for a third stop. Shaw was fourth but now chased by Willis, while Paul Allen and Nick Pink were again duelling over the same stretches of tarmac. The same applied to the Bonnier class fight between Kjallgren and Allison, now just two seconds apart.

With ten minutes still to go, Beighton had slowly but surely enlarged the gap to Montgomery to 13.9 seconds, with Wright now 25 seconds behind the leader. In fourth, Shaw was rapidly losing ground to an Andy Willis on fire in the Lola T212. Meanwhile, the Allen/Pink and Kjallgren/Allison fights continued to entertain.

But then drama unfolded, as Beighton hobbled into the pits with a puncture, with Greensall returning for the fourth time to now retire with a loose front-left wheel nut. So now, Montgomery was the new leader, with nine seconds in hand over Wright while Willis continued to approach on Shaw, now just a second adrift. Meanwhile, Allen had also stopped out on track, releasing Pink from his war over fifth place, while Kjallgren had managed to drop Allison by ten seconds.

As the final seconds ticked away, Montgomery took the Lola T70 Mk3 home for a surprise win ahead of Wright, but instead of claiming third Willis agonisingly stopped out on track too, helping Shaw to keep his spot on the podium. Pink was fourth ahead of Bonnier class winner Kjallgren and his rival Allison, with just six cars making it to the chequered flag…

Masters Sports Car Legends – Race 2
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.