MILLS MAKES IT A LEG­ENDS FI­ESTA

Motor Sport News - - Racing Reports -

Af­ter six hotly con­tested races in the Na­tional Leg­ends Cars Cham­pi­onship, it was Con­nor Mills and John Mickel who emerged as the stand­out driv­ers of the week­end at Brands Hatch.

Mills was in dom­i­nant form on Sun­day, claim­ing a hat-trick of wins to take max­i­mum points from the first three rounds of the sea­son. How­ever, he was met with stern op­po­si­tion on Mon­day, as John Mickel hit back in the first two races with a brace of vic­to­ries, the sec­ond of which came af­ter a me­chan­i­cal prob­lem for Mills cur­tailed his chal­lenge for the race win. Mills then re­sponded with a dom­i­nant win in the fi­nal race of the week­end to sig­nal his cham­pi­onship as­pi­ra­tions to de­fend­ing cham­pion Mickel.

Mills, the rookie cham­pion from last sea­son, fought ini­tially with Will Gib­son at the front, be­fore a mis­take by Gib­son left him trawl­ing through the gravel trap at Pad­dock and handed the lead to Mills. Mills then es­tab­lished an im­pe­ri­ous fivesec­ond ad­van­tage and cruised to vic­tory de­spite a safety car stop­page near the end.

Chris White­man and Rod Bir­ley shared the hon­ours in the Quaife/can­nons Tin Tops Cham­pi­onship, with both driv­ers tak­ing a win apiece in two hard-fought races. Ar­guably the star of the first race was Chris Bas­sett, who re­cov­ered from a first-lap spin into Mclaren cor­ner to claim third, just two tenths of a sec­ond be­hind Bir­ley, while White­man, who took the lead head­ing into Clear­ways at the end of the sec­ond lap, held on to win the open­ing round of the new sea­son.

Af­ter tak­ing the lead on the out­side line into Pad­dock dur­ing the sec­ond race, White­man spun his Honda Civic head­ing through the left-han­der at Sur­tees and could only re­cover to third. Bir­ley even­tu­ally claimed the win af­ter suc­cess­fully de­fend­ing from Bas­sett in the lat­ter stages, hav­ing built an ad­van­tage fol­low­ing a safety car restart.

Bir­ley was also on hand to claim the first race of the week­end in the Saloon Car Cham­pi­onship as he edged out Mal­colm Wise in his trade­mark Ford Es­cort WRC. Dale Gent diced his way through the ma­jor­ity of the field in the sec­ond con­test and posed the only se­ri­ous threat of the week­end to Bir­ley, but the two made con­tact head­ing into Pad­dock Hill Bend and the for­mer ended up mak­ing a trip through the gravel, while Bir­ley con­tin­ued to score vic­tory and be­gin the de­fence of his crown in the strong­est pos­si­ble fash­ion.

Bir­ley con­tin­ues to chase down an­other land­mark in his club rac­ing ca­reer as he ap­proaches 600 vic­to­ries across all cham­pi­onships he’s raced in.

Chris Brock­hurst was de­clared the win­ner of the sec­ond Scrapco/avon Tyres In­ter­mar­que Cham­pi­onship race fol­low­ing a red flag stop­page as a re­sult of cars off at Clear­ways and the wors­en­ing wet weather con­di­tions.

In the ear­lier race, Mal­colm Black­man emerged as the win­ner of a thrilling con­test. Af­ter ini­tially los­ing the lead to Lewis Smith on the open­ing lap, the two es­tab­lished a three-sec­ond mar­gin ahead of the rest of the field. Fol­low­ing a safety car restart due to in­ci­dents for Michael Thur­ley and Paul Adams, Smith closed to within three tenths of Black­man but was un­able to make a move for the lead.

The bat­tle for third took to both the Tar­mac and the grass, but Keith White was able to de­fend from Brock­hurst to claim the fi­nal podium slot.

Ginetta racer Carl Board­ley kicked off his cam­paign in the Pickup Truck Rac­ing Cham­pi­onship with a fault­less dou­ble vic­tory, with Fred­die Lee fin­ish­ing sec­ond in both con­tests. Af­ter Board­ley claimed the first race of the day with a mar­gin of over four sec­onds, the fi­nal race of the week­end proved a much more dif­fi­cult chal­lenge. The lead changed hands sev­eral times, but a move by Board­ley at Druids en­sured he emerged vic­to­ri­ous. For­mer BTCC driver Lea Wood en­dured a mixed week­end in the se­ries, re­tir­ing from the first race be­fore cap­ping off the week­end with a strong fifth placed fin­ish.

The theme of dou­ble win­ners con­tin­ued in the BARC Mini Tro­phy, as both Paul Inch and Jamie White claimed a brace of vic­to­ries in the A and B classes re­spec­tively. A late mis­take by Greg Jenk­ins al­lowed Inch through to claim the first con­test, be­fore a thrilling con­clu­sion to the sec­ond and fi­nal race of the week­end. A mis­take by Jamie Young through Pad­dock Hill col­lected Stu­art Coombs and left the for­mer rest­ing on his side in the gravel trap. Inch es­caped the in­ci­dent un­scathed and was de­clared the win­ner af­ter the sub­se­quent red flag stop­page.

A move at half-dis­tance dur­ing the first B class event al­lowed White to es­tab­lish a clear mar­gin of vic­tory ahead of Scott Ken­dall, and he re­peated the feat by just over four sec­onds from Neven Kirk­patrick in the sec­ond race.

Photos: Gary Hawkins

Mills (left) took a quad of vic­to­ries in the Leg­ends races, but was pushed hard in each

Bint (left) and Smit fought hard over

Class B Truck glory

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