Donington Park, UK
MASTERS RACE WEEKEND
15 – 16 April 2022
Sensational races and stunning weather at the Masters Race Weekend, Donington Park!
From freezing Barcelona to sunny Donington – it wasn’t anyone’s bet when the calendar for the 2022 Masters European Tour was set, but it happened all the same, the Masters Race Weekend at Donington Park delivering lots of exciting races blessed by glorious Easter weather. The wins went to Steve Hartley, Martin Stretton, Andy Willis, Craig Davies and Julian Thomas and Calum Lockie.
Masters Racing Legends for 66/85 F1 cars – Race 1
Hartley steals last-gasp win from Stretton in first Masters Racing Legends race at Donington
It took Steve Hartley 22 fighting laps to cut down the gap to long-time leader Martin Stretton, but at the start of lap 23 – the penultimate lap of the first Masters Racing Legends race at Donington Park – the McLaren MP4/1 passed the Tyrrell 012 on the start-and-finish straight to steal the win from Stretton.
“I think Martin had the pace over me today”, said a magnanimous Hartley. “A couple of times I thought I was reeling him in, and some backmarkers played to my advantage, but at the end he was weaving. I think he was running out of fuel.”
“No, it was a fuel pick-up problem”, Stretton explained. “We thought we’d solved it, but it was great while it lasted.”
Greg Thornton took third in the Lotus 91, having fought his way back up after losing out at the start. His final scalp was surprise polesitter Ken Tyrrell in the Tyrrell 011, who ended up in fourth, two seconds down on Thornton and 14 seconds on winner Hartley. Steve Brooks was fifth in the Lotus, winning a race-long fight with Mark Hazell, who behind Stretton took second in the post-82 class.
“At the start I got stuck behind several people, so I had to fight back past them”, said Thornton. “But that Ken Tyrrell can pedal, he was driving the wheels off of it! He was faster on the straights and kept breaking the tow, but we got there in the end.”
In the Lec CRP1, Ron Maydon battled all race with Marc Devis for the pre-78 class win, the Belgian getting ahead on lap 18 before his Surtees TS16 suddenly cut out on the next lap, handing Maydon the class victory.
Having moved from chilly Barcelona to sunny Donington, the F1 field got underway in the most ideal of spring conditions, with on this occasion Ken Tyrrell leading away into Redgate. However, fellow front-row sitter Martin Stretton had soon pipped Tyrrell for the lead, while David Shaw in the Arrows A4 was doing everything to hold off Steve Hartley in fourth. Kubota, Hazell, Thornton, Brooks and Briggs were up next, with Ron Maydon leading the pre-78 class in the Lec CRP1.
Next time around, Stretton’s lead had increased to 2.4 seconds, as Hartley had found a way past Shaw and was now harrying Tyrrell going into lap 3. Shaw now had to deal with Kubota’s Lotus 91, while Thornton’s 91 had moved ahead of Hazell in the Williams FW08. Maydon was still keeping Marc Devis’ Surtees TS16 at bay for the pre-78 class lead.
On lap 4, Stretton led Hartley by 4.2 seconds, leaving Tyrrell to fight over third with Shaw, but on the next lap, Hartley set fastest lap of the race to inch closer to the leader while Shaw was relegated to fifth by an attacking Kubota. Stretton answered on the following lap by beating Hartley’s best, lifting his lead back up to 4.4 seconds. Further back, Briggs’ McLaren M29 had lost two places to drop behind Brooks’ Lotus 81 and Maydon’s Lec CRP1, while the race was all but over for Shaw, his Arrows A4 heading into the pits, only to come back out dead last, four laps down. A lap later, Briggs followed Shaw in, his Cosworth overheating.
Eight laps into the race, Stretton’s lead over Hartley was down to 3.8 seconds, Ken Tyrrell having dropped eight seconds to the pair of them, while Kubota’s attack began to falter, as fellow Lotus 91 driver Thornton nipped past for fourth. 23 seconds down, Hazell and Brooks continued arguing over sixth place.
Hartley now connecting a string of fastest laps, the gap to Stretton had steadily dropped to 3.4 seconds, as Thornton closed down on Tyrrell in third, 13 seconds down on the leader. Behind them, Kubota’s Lotus had seriously lost pace, allowing Brooks and Hazell to move up into fifth and sixth, and they were soon followed through by Maydon and Devis who still squabbled over the pre-78 class lead, the two separated by less than a second. Meanwhile, Mark Harrison’s Shadow DN9 pulled off at the back, with Kubota also failing to complete the lap.
13 laps gone, and with ten minutes left on the clock, Stretton continued to keep some 3.5 seconds in hand over Hartley. Ken Tyrrell was still keeping Thornton at bay, while Brooks and Hazell were similarly tied by a second-long string, but some 27 seconds further down the road. Maydon and Devis formed the fourth pair of cars battling for position, the Lec still leading the pre-78 class, now just three tenths ahead of the Surtees in eighth overall. On lap 18, however, the Belgian finally did it to take command of the class.
A lap later, however, Hartley having cut down his deficit less than two seconds, Stretton was slowly getting into trouble, desperately weaving across the track to get the fuel in while losing yet more of his advantage the next time around, while behind them Thornton had finally taken Tyrrell to move up into third place. Meanwhile, Devis’ tenure in the pre-78 class lead had lasted a mere lap, the Belgian guiding his Surtees into the pits at the end of lap 19.
Going into lap 23, and with just 20 seconds remaining on the clock, Hartley pounced on the straight to grab a hard-fought lead. And so, after 24 laps, Hartley came home as the victor, Stretton having given up to follow the McLaren home 4.4 seconds later, with Thornton in third, 14 seconds down on Hartley and with two ticks in hand on Tyrrell. Brooks and Hazell were fifth and sixth, while Maydon in seventh took the pre-78 class win.
Masters Racing Legends for 66/85 F1 cars – Race 2
Stretton wins from the pitlane in second Masters Racing Legends race at Donington
A pitlane start failed to prevent Martin Stretton from winning an exciting second Masters Racing Legends race for ’66 to ’85 Formula One cars at Donington, his Tyrrell 012 hitting the front with three minutes to spare. Greg Thornton, who had taken over from early leader Ken Tyrrell, took a close second in his Lotus 91.
“I wasn’t going for the win, as I was sort of only testing the car, so the win is a bonus”, said Stretton, before reflecting on the lost win the day before. “It made up for yesterday, though.”
“I had an inoperative radio”, said Thornton, “so I was happily moving along when I looked in my mirror and he was there! I tried to stay with him, but you know, he can drive…”
In two similarly thrilling battles, Steve Brooks’ Lotus 81 held off Katsu Kubota’s Lotus 91 to take a fighting third, while Marc Devis in the Surtees TS16 headed the pre-78 class when it that mattered – across the finish line. Battling Ron Maydon’s Lec CRP1 all the way, Devis went side-by-side with the Lec one lap after the other and in the final few yards did just enough to steal fifth and the pre-78 class win from Maydon.
“It was this close about five times!” said an exhilarated Brooks about his nip-and-tuck battle with Kubota.
“It was fun but it was hard work!” said Maydon, still smiling.
Yesterday’s winner Steve Hartley was out on lap 1 when his clutch went straight to the floor. A similar fate befell Ken Tyrrell’s Tyrrell 011, as he dropped out from the lead on lap 7.
From the reverse grid for Friday’s first four, with Martin Stretton’s Tyrrell 012 starting from the pitlane, polesitter Ken Tyrrell dove into Redgate first, followed by Thornton, Hartley and Brooks, but Hartley’s was soon in with a smoked clutch. At the front, Tyrrell’s Tyrrell 011 set fastest lap to move slightly clear of Thornton’s Lotus 91, with Brooks’ 81 following by four seconds ahead of Katsu Kubota’s 91, Ron Maydon in the pre-78 class Lec CRP1, and a resurgent Stretton, already back up to sixth, leading Devis in the Surtees TS16 and Dave Abbott in the Arrows A4.
On lap 4, however, the safety car was out when David Shaw’s Arrows A4 stopped at the back of the circuit while Warren Briggs in the McLaren M29 came in to also retire, but after two laps the field was set loose again. This time, Thornton swiftly moved into the lead, while Tyrrell was forced to come into the pits, his clutch gone. Brooks, Kubota and Stretton were up next, followed by Maydon, Devis and Abbott.
Past the halfway mark, Thornton had broken free of Brooks, who was hounded by Kubota and Stretton, the latter attempting to strike on the Japanese. Ten seconds behind them, Maydon and Devis were fighting all-out for the pre-78 class lead.
By lap 11, Stretton was up into third and on the next lap Brooks had to let go of the Tyrrell as well, Stretton now trailing Thornton by 6.5 seconds. On lap 13, though, and with eight minutes left, the gap was down to 4.5 seconds. Lap 14, and it was 3.1… Meanwhile, Brooks looked safe in third, eight seconds down on Stretton but four seconds up on Kubota. Half a minute behind the leader, Maydon was still holding against Devis, with Abbott a further 15 seconds adrift.
The win was still very much achievable, especially now that Stretton got to within a second of Thornton. Behind them, Kubota had closed in on Brooks again, so the battle for third wasn’t over after all, while in fifth and sixth Maydon and Devis were side-by-side as they went into lap 18.
That was the lap in which Stretton managed to hit the front, with less than three minutes remaining on the clock. Slowly easing clear, the Tyrrell 012 crossed the line in first, keeping three tenths in hands at the finish. In more photo finish material, Steve Brooks narrowly clinched third from Kubota, while Maydon and Devis were split by a whisker, the Belgian clinching it on the line! In a race of attrition, Dave Abbott was the last of the runners in seventh, a lap down on Stretton.
Masters Gentlemens Drivers
Thomas/Lockie romp to dominant Masters Gentlemen Drivers victory at Donington
Julian Thomas and Calum Lockie finished the Masters Race Weekend at Donington Park in style by claiming a dominant victory in their Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé. Leading almost from start to finish, the pair romped home with a 51-second lead over the TVR Griffith of Nigel Greensall/John Spiers, with Mike Whitaker clinching a close third in another Griffith.
“Julian did all the hard work, really”, said Lockie. “He’s driven immaculately all weekend long. I was just cruising, no risk, take our first win of the weekend.”
“First time I’ve been on the top step this weekend, so I’m happy with that”, said Spiers. “Thanks to my co-driver for a fantastic opening stint!”
“It was hot and long!” quipped Whitaker. “I was looking faster than John in the end but Nigel had made a good break in the beginning. I’m happy with the podium, especially against all these amateur/pro line-ups!”
The John Pearson/Alex Brundle Jaguar E-type and the Andrew Jordan/Roy Alderslade Daytona Cobra took a distant fourth and fifth respectively, polesitter Jordan having challenged Thomas initially before the latter began stretching his legs. In another Daytona Cobra, Irishmen Michael Cullen and Paddy Shovlin ended up sixth, just in front of a thrilling battle for CLP class honours won by Robin Ward and Ron Maydon in the Ginetta G4R.
Nick & Eddie Powell stormed up into second place in class before their Lotus Elan began developing a brake problem, allowing father-and-son duo John & Sam Tordoff in a similar Elan to snatch the place right at the end. Andy Willis led the CLP class before the stops but team mate Stephan Joebstl couldn’t hold on to that, their Elan dropping to fourth in class.
“I would like to say that I played with Tordoff for a bit and then put the hammer down”, Maydon joked, “but Robin gave me a great lead and I just needed to bring it home.”
“I really enjoyed it!” said Sam Tordoff. “It’s my dad’s first race with Masters, and our first race together in the Elan. We’ll now be trying to make dad faster and faster – that’s the plan!”
“We did well to catch second,” said Eddie Powell, “but then we had a serious brake problem that cost us a lot of time. I think I could have stayed ahead if that hadn’t happened.”
David Smithies and Chris Clarkson cornered the C2 class in their Austin Healey 3000 while Andrew Walton took C1 honours in his Porsche 911.
Ending a gloriously sunny Easter meeting, the 22-car Gent Drivers grid got going for their event-closing 90-minute race, with Andrew Jordan performing the opening stint in Roy Alderslade’s Daytona Coupé – but it was Julian Thomas’ similar car that crossed the line in first after the opening lap. John Pearson’s E-type was third ahead of Mike Whitaker’s TVR Griffith, Michael Cullen in the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé shared with Paddy Shovlin, and Nigel Greensall in John Spiers’ Griffith. Soon after, though, Greensall demoted Cullen, with Nathan Dod in another TVR following through.
Andy Willis in the lead Lotus Elan was eighth ahead of class rival Robin Ward in Ron Maydon’s Ginetta G4R, with Mark Shaw in 12th overall occupying third place in the CLP class. The Elans of Nick Powell and John Tordoff were up next. David Smithies was the early C2 class leader, heading Mark Pangborn’s similar Austin Healey 3000.
After three laps, Thomas had eeked out a two-second lead over Jordan, while Whitaker had usurped Pearson for third, as Greensall chased the pair of them. Two laps later, Cullen fought back to regain sixth from Dod, who proceeded to also drop a place to Willis in Stephan Joebstl’s Elan. The reason was soon apparent, as Dod entered the pits with a damaged front left and a flat tyre, just as lap 6 was started with Thomas now five seconds ahead of Jordan. Whitaker had gone three seconds clear of the battle between Pearson and Greensall, the latter snatching fourth on that very lap.
In the second half of the top-ten, Ward had moved up into seventh by passing Peter Thompson in the AC Cobra, while Shaw entered the top-ten having overtaken another Cobra, this one belonging to David Methley.
Continuing his seering pace into lap 10, Thomas led Jordan by nine seconds, but Greensall and Pearson had both moved up places at Whitaker’s cost, to run third and fourth. Sadly, Shaw was into the pits with a brakeless Elan, denying star teammate Dario Franchitti the chance of driving the Lotus in the race.
Lap 13 was completed with Thomas again improving on his fastest lap of the race, the blue-and-silver Daytona Cobra now leading… Nigel Greensall in the TVR! Jordan was suddenly lapping two to three seconds slower than Thomas, but for now looked safe from Pearson and Whitaker, both setting similar lap times. Further back, Andy Wilis had gained another overall place by passing Cullen’s Cobra Daytona Coupé and was sixth overall while leading the CLP class Ward in eighth and Powell in tenth. Meanwhile, Methley’s Cobra pulled off at the back of the circuit, his engine smoking heavily.
Approaching the half-hour mark, Thomas maintained his commanding lead over Greensall who was equalling the Daytona Cobra’s laptimes but not bettering them, as he trailed Thomas by 14 seconds. Jordan had dropped away, now 13 seconds behind Greensall but leading Pearson by a similar margin, Whitaker following the E-type three seconds further down the road. Willis, Ward, Cullen, Thompson and Powell were next, the latter chased by Niall McFadden’s E-type. In C2, Smithies continued to lead Pangborn, while C1 and B1 competitors Andrew Walton (Porsche 911) and Robert Ingram (Lotus Elite) fought over 18th overall.
Little change occurred in the next ten minutes as the pit window drew ever nearer. Greensall did knibble away at Thomas’ lead, that went down from 14 to 10 seconds, while Whitaker got ahead of Pearson to be fourth. Jordan in third now trailed the leader by 40 seconds. Several of the shared crews with ‘elite’ and ‘elite plus’ drivers would have to make longer pitstops, so the order would certainly be looking very differently in the ten minutes that the pits would open for all the mandatory stops. Meanwhile, McFadden E-type pulled off at the Craner Curves.
On lap 32, Pearson opened the series of stops by handing over to Alex Brundle, with Cullen following to make way for Shovlin and Nick Powell switching places with Eddie Powell. Next, Jordan was in for Roy Alderslade while father John Tordoff handed their Lotus Elan to son Sam who on the cusp of the top-ten was surely looking to make up positions. Past the halfway mark, Ward handed over the Ginetta to Maydon, and soon after Whitaker was in for his stop. Then, on lap 35, the leader came into the pits to be relieved by Calum Lockie, immediately followed by Greensall who would hand over to John Spiers, and Andy Willis handing the reins to Stephan Joebstl.
As the pit window came to an end, we now had Lockie leading Spiers by 13 seconds, with Whitaker in third, 54 seconds down on the leader. Next up were Alderslade, a lap down already, followed by Brundle and Maydon – now in the class lead ahead of Joebstl. Shovlin was eighth ahead Eddie Powell, as Charles Allison completed the top-ten. In C2, Chris Clarkson in the Healey started by David Smithies led class rival Pangborn by two seconds, with the Ian Pearson/Callum Grant Marcos 1800 GT squeezed in between, Pearson driving.
On lap 38, Brundle’s pace was such that Alderslade was demoted to fifth, as Lockie increased his lead over Spiers to 22 seconds, with Whitaker still some 30 seconds adrift from second place while Brundle needed to overcome a similar gap to third – the start of another more static phase in the race, as the one-hour mark approached. Having said that, Sam Tordoff did make his way into the top-ten by passing Allison’s Cobra, but his nearest CLP class rival, Eddie Powell, was still 45 seconds up ahead and setting similar times.
On lap 49, Lockie having increased his lead to a massive 32 seconds, Eddie Powell moved past Stephan Joebstl to take eighth overall and second in the CLP class, the Austrian now having look in his mirrors for the fast-arriving Sam Tordoff. Maydon was still leading the class, though, now in seventh overall, with 42 seconds in hand over the Powells. Meanwhile, Mark Pangborn had been forced to give up the C2 class fight when he retired his Austin Healey 3000 to the pits on lap 45.
With ten minutes to go, now into lap 58, Lockie was well away as Spiers now looked at a 50-second deficit, with Whitaker continuing to gain on him. Brundle and Alderslade were locked solid in fourth and fifth, a lap down, leading Shovlin in sixth. Maydon still led the CLP class, increasing his lead over Powell, but the younger Tordoff behind him was flying, that massive 42-second lead now reduced to just four seconds. Two laps later, and with five minutes remaining on the clock, Powell’s fate was sealed as Tordoff moved up into second place in class.
As the race drew to a close, Lockie switched to cruise mode to nurse the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé across the finish line with a 51-second lead over Greensall, Whitaker following 14 seconds further back. Behind Brundle, Alderslade and Shovlin, Maydon secured the CLP class win ahead of the Tordoffs and the Powells, with the Allison/Thompson Cobra rounding out the top-ten. In 14th overall, David Smithies and Chris Clarkson took C2 class honours while Andrew Walton’s Porsche 911 won the C1 class in 16th overall.
Masters Pre66 Touring Cars
Opportunity knocks for Davies in Masters Pre-66 Touring Car win at Donington
Craig Davies had the last laugh as the Ford Mustang driver trumped the two fastest Ford Falcons in the field, the Julian Thomas/Calum Lockie example and Sam Tordoff’s machine at one time dominating the race well ahead of the rest of the field. However, a late safety car put Davies back into contention, after which he didn’t let the opportunity go to waste, as he passed Lockie on lap 31 of 41 to win by 1.3 seconds. Soon after the stops, Tordoff was forced to retire with a broken manifold.
“I never thought the car was good enough to win today”, said Davies, surprised by his own win. “I was lucky with the safety car, as the car was only really good just after the start. After that, it was anywhere but straight. But it was a very enjoyable race. I loved those opening laps fighting all the guys.”
“We just really struggled with oversteer”, said Lockie about his inability to fight back after the safety car. “Just massive oversteer! I thought, let’s take P2, it’s better than falling off… But Julian drove a fantastic first stint.”
In a massive fight that included some six Lotus Cortinas, the John Spiers/Nigel Greensall example prevailed at the end, the pair among the only ones not to be hit by track-limits penalties – some of them multiple. The Paddy Shovlin/Michael Cullen Cortina ended up in fourth and second in class, having profited from the time penalties suffered by Peter & Guy Smith and Justin Law. In ninth overall, the Jonathan Evans/Tom Bradshaw Mustang followed home six Cortinas to take third in the over-2-litre class.
“It was all about track limits!” said Cortina class winner Greensall about keeping his penalty nose clean. “It was a fantastic race with all the Cortinas, it really was. We may have taken some scratches here and there but it was worth it!”
On a lovely spring afternoon, the 22-car field stormed off into Redgate, with polesitter Soper leading, but from fourth Julian Thomas in the Falcon stormed into second place to lead Davies’ Mustang, Tordoff’s Falcon and Shovlin’s Cortina, but on lap 2, Tordoff was up into third, with Tom Bradshaw making up lots of places in Jonathan Evans’ Mustang to be fifth. At the back, sadly, Harry Barton’s BMW 1800 tiSA was out before the start.
The top-four settling into a rhythm, 1.1 seconds separating all of them, Bradshaw was on no man’s land between Davies in front and Alex Taylor’s Mustang behind him, who in turn led Shovlin, Justin Law’s Cortina, Dan Williamson’s Falcon and Dan Dickenson’s Cortina. In 17th, Marcus Holland led the Mini class while in 19th Robin Ellis was now the sole BMW runner.
On lap 4, Thomas used the superfluous grunt of the Falcon to surge into the lead, as it looked like Soper’s car was faltering, Tordoff and Davies moving ahead on the next tour, with Bradshaw catching Soper fast. Ten minutes had now gone, and Thomas wasn’t having it alone at the front. In fact, both Tordoff and Davies were chipping away the tenths, while Bradshaw had moved up into fourth, Soper taking to the pits, joined there on the same lap by another Mustang – Alex Taylor’s example. Both proved to have been hampered by gearbox issues.
On lap 8, Thomas led the other Falcon by just half a second, with Davies 1.7 seconds adrift. Bradshaw’s lonely race continued in fourth, seven seconds down, but leading Shovlin by nine seconds, the Irishman in turn having four seconds in hand over Law, Williamson, Dickenson and the Cortina of Peter Smith. John Spiers’ Cortina now completed the top-ten.
Fifteen minutes into the race, and with 10 laps done, Tordoff had closed the gap and proceeded to snatch the lead from Thomas, with Davies hanging back some two seconds. Bradshaw’s deficit on the leader had increased to nine seconds, while his own lead to Shovlin was up to 11 seconds. Further back, Peter Smith was gaining places, the Cortina now up into eighth to be third of the Cortinas. Meanwhile, Holland and Ellis continued to lead their classes.
Approaching the pit window, Tordoff and Thomas remained tied to a string, the Falcon pair having dropped Davies to the tune of ten seconds, with Bradshaw eight seconds further back. The rest of the top-ten remained unchanged as well, Shovlin, Law, Williamson, Smith, Dickenson and Spiers separated by gaps of one to four seconds. In 16th overall, though, Carl Nairn had hunted down Marcus Holland to snatch the lead in the Mini class. Meanwhile, Ellis was out of the race, leaving it without any BMW competitors.
25 minutes into the race, the pit window now open, the Falcons had decidedly broken free of Davies who was now looking at a 22-second deficit, as the Mustang was losing two seconds every lap, the same applying to Bradshaw’s similar ‘stang. John Spiers and Dan Dickenson were the first to come in for their mandatory stop, their Cortinas soon followed on the next lap by Davies and Michael Whitaker Jr (handing over their Mustang to father Mike).
On lap 20, Bradshaw pitted to hand over to Evans, with Peter Smith changing places with former Le Mans winner Guy Smith. Shovlin came in on the next lap to swap with Michael Cullen, while Tordoff, Law and Williamson made their stop on lap 23, Tordoff handing the lead back to Thomas, who was setting purple sectors in an effort to have teammate Calum Lockie get back out in the lead. Thomas stopping on his final opportunity on lap 24, it failed to prove nip-and-tuck after all, as Tordoff had dropped behind Davies after a long stop, and soon returned to the pits. The manifold had come off the engine…
The result was that on lap 25 Lockie led Davies by 15 seconds, with Michael Cullen now up into third but a long way behind – 45 seconds to be precise. Law was fourth, Evans fifth, the two separated by two seconds. Williamson and Dickenson fought over sixth, over a minute down, while Mark Martin’s eighth place proved shortlived, as his short stop was penalised by a stop-and-go penalty. This moved Nigel Greensall one place up, the man who had taken over from Spiers now the fastest man on the circuit. Guy Smith was ninth, with Martin now tenth.
Soon, though, all gaps would evaporate, as the safety car was out for a brief period of time to clear debris off the track. After the field was released, Davies smelled blood and set about chasing after Lockie, the pair leaving Cullen and Law’s leading pair of Cortinas well in their wake. Evans was fifth, chased by Dickenson who had now passed Williamson. Greensall, Guy Smith and Mark Hales completed the top-ten places, while Dominic Holland had snatched back the Mini lead from Billy Nairn.
On lap 31, Davies was through, setting lap times that could only be approached by Guy Smith in ninth, who was at the back of a long train of cars led by Cullen. Dickenson was soon fifth, having usurped Evans, while Smith swapped places with Greensall in their battle of the pros.
Ten minutes still remained on the clock, and Dickenson was the man on the move, Law also falling victim of his charge. Next target: Cullen in the Cortina class lead. At the front, Davies was inching away from Lockie, and further back Dan Williamson retired his Falcon to allow Mark Martin back into the top-ten. But suddenly, on lap 35, Dickenson was gone, having fallen to the end of the queue formed by Mark Hales’ Cortina. So now Cullen was again chased by Law, who as the prime chaser was quickly replaced by Guy Smith, with Greensall following on the next lap.
On lap 37, the old switcheroo was performed, as Law now found himself in third, followed by Smith (who now faced a 5-second time penalty for exceeding track limits one time too many), Cullen and Greensall, the four Cortinas going at it hammer and tongs. Trailing them were Evans and Hales, but Dickenson was on the way back up and soon passed Hales for eighth. On lap 38, Smith duly took third but with that time penalty hanging over his head, Law, Greensall and Cullen could all still be ahead of him after the chequered flag, that would drop after just two more laps. Having said that, not Justin Law though, as he was awarded a 30-second time penalty for track limits.
At the front, however, Davies was safe, leading home Lockie by 1.3 seconds. The Spiers/Greensall Cortina kept its nose clean to snatch third and the Cortina class win, ahead of Shovlin/Cullen, Peter & Guy Smith, Dickenson, Ross-Jones/Hales and Martin. That massive Cortina phalanx was followed by the Bradshaw/Evans Mustang that took third in the big V8 class, with Law rounding out the top-ten. In 12th overall, Marcus & Dominic Holland won a hard-fought battle with Carl & Billy Nairn to take Mini class honours.
Masters Sports Car Legends
Willis grabs Masters Sports Car Legends spoils at Donington as Bradshaw stumbles
Andy Willis’ Lola T212 was there to pick up the spoils in the one-hour Masters Sports Car Legends race at Donington Park when runaway leader Tom Bradshaw failed to get his pole-sitting Chevron B19 going again during his mandatory pitstop. Having built a lead of over half a minute, Bradshaw found himself two laps down when he finally rejoined.
“I’ll take it!” said Willis about inheriting the lead after Bradshaw’s misfortune. “I was struggling with the brakes a bit, but it was good. Towards the end I tried to manage the gap.”
Initially, Willis had to keep Marc Devis in the Chevron B19 at bay but when the Belgian’s car faltered, the Jamie Thwaites/Dean Forward B19 took over on their Masters debut. Forward got to within seven seconds but Willis remained in control. In another B19, Mark Hazell and Martin O’Connell took a distant third ahead of Bonnier class winners Stephen Nuttall and Darren Burke in their Chevron B8.
“It was a good race!” said Forward. “This was our first time we did the Masters together, with Jamie as the owner of the car, and it was brilliant!”
“I’ve only been racing two years”, said Thwaites, “so I’m really pleased with the result.”
“I was getting fifth instead of third going into Macleans”, said Hazell about getting his time penalty. “I must still learn to drive it properly. Because I wasn’t driving it properly, I’m exceeding those track limits!”
Despite Greensall incurring a stop-and-go penalty for a jumped start, he and John Spiers still took fifth overall in their Hulme-class-winning McLaren M1B, leading home two more Chevron B8s shared by Philip Nelson/Andy Newall and Julian Thomas/Calum Lockie. The latter example was delayed by an ignition issue, but still plugged on to take third in class.
On a glorious spring morning as sunny as the one the day before, the Masters Sports Car Legends field was sent on its way, Bradshaw immediately opened up a gap from Nigel Greensall starting in John Spiers’ McLaren M1B. Jamie Thwaites remained third in the second Chevron B19, followed by Andy Willis driving solo in Stephan Joebstl’s Lola T212, Stephen Nuttall in the first of the B8s, chased by Julian Thomas’ similar example, who in the first three laps continued to exchange positions with Marc Devis in his B19. Mark Hazell in another B19, David Forsbrey in the third B8 and John Sheldon’s Chevron B16 were up next. At the back, Steve Seaman’s Lola T70 Spyder was an early retirement.
After five laps, Bradshaw led by 11 seconds but Greensall was slammed with a stop-and-go penalty for jumping the start. Thwaites and Willis fought over third, 13 seconds down, Nuttall following them three seconds further down the road. Further back, Charles Allison’s B8 made it into the top-ten at the cost of Sheldon. Behind the B16, Philip Nelson’s B8, Robert Shaw in another B8 and Canadian Peter Hallford’s Corvette disputed 12th place.
On lap 6, Greensall took his penalty, promoting the warring Thwaites and Willis up into second and third, while Devis – who had just passed Nuttall – made up three places in one go, as Thomas also pitted for an ignition issue in his B8. Eventually, Greensall emerged in eighth, sandwiched by Forsbrey and Allison. Thomas rejoined in 14th, a lap down on Bradshaw.
Fifteen minutes gone, and Bradshaw’s lead had increased to 22 seconds, but now Willis was his main rival, having threatened to pass Thwaites for several laps. Behind them, Devis was gaining on both of them, with Nuttall in fifth, five seconds behind, and Hazell in sixth. Making up for his error, Greensall was back up into seventh, having passed Forsbrey. Sheldon and Allison kept going at it, the former having pinched back his spot to be ninth overall.
On lap 14, Devis had cut down the gap to Thwaites while Greensall had relieved Hazell from sixth. For two more laps, though, Devis couldn’t find a way past his rival B19, but by way of a 5-second time penalty for Thwaites for exceeding track limits, the Belgian was now virtually up into third place. Further back, Allison and Sheldon had yet again swapped places.
Approaching the pit window, Bradshaw’s lead over Willis now amounted to half a minute, as Thwaites and Devis continued to battle for third, nine seconds down on the Lola T212. Nuttall was a lonely fifth in the class-leading B8, with Greensall in sixth only making a minor impression on him. Hazell (also hit by a 5-second time penalty for track limits), Forsbrey, Allison and Sheldon continued in their positions inside the top-ten, while Thomas had moved into 13th at the cost of Hallford’s big Corvette.
On lap 21, Hallford along with Hazell were the first ones to pit, handing over to Josh Cook and Martin O’Connell respectively, with Andy Newall taking over from Nelson in the B8 that ran in 11th overall. On the next lap, Thwaites stopped to hand the Gunston-liveried B19 over Dean Forward. On consecutive laps, Nuttall swapped with Darren Burke and Allison handed over to Peter Thompson, while Willis, Devis and Forsbrey also came in for their stops. The leader waited until lap 27 to come in, joined by Greensall who would change places with John Spiers.
Something was not quite alright with the runaway leader, though. As Spiers rejoined, Bradshaw was seen still standing in the pits, the complexion of the race now completely changed, as his B19 simply refused to restart. Willis now led Devis by 8 seconds, with Forward 12 seconds further adrift. Spiers was fourth, but Burke and O’Connell were closing on him fast, while Forsbrey was seventh, ahead of Bradshaw, who had re-emerged but was now two laps down. Newall and Sheldon completed the top ten runners.
Bradshaw’s first full lap in anger was the consummately fastest lap of the race, and he duly took seventh from Forsbrey but the leaders were a long way up ahead. Willis’ margin to Devis had decreased slightly because of backmarkers but he still had some six seconds in hand with 15 minutes remaining on the clock. Forward held station in third while Spiers had been passed on the road by a flying O’Connell who had already usurped Burke for fifth. Burke was still easily the Bonnier class leader, though, now chased by Newall in eighth who had just got in front of Forsbrey, while Lockie (now in the B8 started by Thomas) was chasing down the pair of them, Forsbrey falling victim of Lockie’s pace on laps 38.
With ten minutes remaining, Willis was in control, his lead over Devis back up to eight seconds, but Forward had been gathering pace and despite his time penalty was beginning to threaten the Belgian for second place. Close to a lap behind, O’Connell had now done enough to undo the time penalty handed to his teammate Hazell and was fourth ahead of Spiers, Burke and Bradshaw, the latter still two laps down. Newall was eighth, ten seconds up on Lockie, but the latter was hauling him in at a rate of two seconds per lap.
On laps 40 and 41, disaster struck for David Forsbrey and Marc Devis, both retiring to the pits. The Belgian had been rewarded for his trouble by a fuel pressure issue and was out, but Forsbrey rejoined well down, having suffered from a slipping clutch.
As the final minutes ticked away, Willis maintained a 7-second advantage to Forward to the chequered flag. O’Connell took a distant third ahead of the Bonnier-class-winning Chevron B8 of Nuttall and Burke, the latter passing Hulme class winner Spiers’ McLaren M1B in the dying stages. Bradshaw was a sorely disappointed sixth, ahead of the Nelson/Newall, Thomas/Lockie and Robert Shaw B8s. Sheldon’s B16 rounded out the top-ten.