MILLS MAKES IT A LEGENDS FIESTA
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.
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