HUGE RE­PORT FROM THE MAS­TERS FES­TI­VAL AT BRANDS HATCH

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - Photos: Rachel Bourne

Nick Padmore adapted su­perbly to the de­mands of Max SmithHil­liard’s Wil­liams FW07C and scored two im­pres­sive FIA His­toric F1 wins.

Loic De­man (Tyrrell 010) was keen to em­u­late his re­cent Zolder tri­umphs, but a too-quick start earned ex­clu­sion from the first race, although the Bel­gian hotly dis­puted the lead for the whole dis­tance, only los­ing out when Padmore lunged through at Sur­tees.

Steve Hart­ley de­fended third de­spite an overnight en­gine change to a less po­tent unit in his Ar­rows, but a last­lap drive­shaft fail­ure dropped him to eighth. The man who should have ben­e­fited from this, Si­mon Fish, was al­ready slip­ping back af­ter his En­sign lost fifth gear.

Sec­ond was taken by Michael Lyons, whose Mclaren stopped in qual­i­fy­ing. Father Frank handed over the fam­ily Hes­keth and Michael charged up the order, helped by a cau­tion pe­riod and some brave over­tak­ing. Mike Wrigley (Wil­liams), Greg Thorn­ton (Lo­tus), Fish and Rob Hall (Ligier) com­pleted the top six.

Padmore was in a class of his own in race two, while De­man be­haved him­self to se­cure sec­ond, with Hart­ley third. Fish didn’t reap­pear, his car suf­fer­ing low oil pres­sure, and Lyons’ ex­pected charge from the back row didn’t ma­te­ri­alise as the Hes­keth broke an in­put shaft on lap one.

The Canam In­ter­serie Chal­lenge pro­duced few pukka Canam cars, but Andy Ne­wall’s dom­i­nant Mclaren M8F and Frank Bradley’s mighty March 717 rum­bled round ahead of a rather thin sup­port­ing cast. A self-con­fessed mo­ment of brain fade cost Bradley the run­ner-up spot in race two when he shed the car’s front body­work at Stir­ling’s.

A trio of GT40S, which topped the timesheets in qual­i­fy­ing for the Mas­ters Three Hours, were still ahead af­ter 76 laps of a trun­cated race. Andy Wolfe led much of the first half, but co-driver Ja­son Wright slipped to third. James Lit­tle­john took over from Roger Wills and de­fended a shrink­ing lead as Martin Stret­ton made a late charge in the car started by Tony Wood. The Andy Wil­lis/rob Hall Co­bra was best of the rest in a class-win­ning fourth po­si­tion.

Craig Davies (Ford Mus­tang) headed the Pre-66 Tour­ing Cars with Andy Wolfe’s Lo­tus Cortina in his wheel­tracks. These two plus Mark Sumpter’s Cortina, Roger Wills’ Mer­cury Comet and War­ren Briggs’ Mus­tang dom­i­nated, but Sumpter re­tired with a bro­ken half­shaft and Briggs lost time in the pits. A lap-one in­ci­dent at Clark Curve elim­i­nated the Mi­nis of Nick Swift and Ron May­don, with May­don’s car rolling in the gravel trap.

Philip Walker (Lo­tus 16) over­came mod­er­ate op­po­si­tion among the HGPCA pre-1965 GP cars. His job was made eas­ier when a stick­ing throt­tle in race one forced Ju­lian Bron­son’s Scarab out for the day.

A three-way bat­tle for the 70s Cel­e­bra­tion lead was a lit­tle fraught near the end, split­ting the trio who fin­ished in the order Stephen Dance (Capri), Si­mon Watts/roberto Gior­danelli (Dat­sun 240Z) and John Fin­nemore/chris Beighton (Tiger), who reck­oned brake fad­ing is­sues cost a pos­si­ble win.

Richard Tar­ling (Crossle 32F) won Sun­day’s long cir­cuit Clas­sic FF1600 race, but faced un­re­lent­ing pres­sure from Ben Mitchell’s Mer­lyn, which briefly took the lead in traf­fic. Glen Medeiros (Van Diemen) stayed in touch de­spite a mis­fire, but a fourth to ninth place bunch fin­ished well astern.

Ac­tion switched to the Indy Cir­cuit on Mon­day, and Tar­ling only had Medeiros to deal with in an­other tense FF1600 en­counter. The ab­sent Mitchell missed a fine bat­tle, which the Crossle driver won by a length.

The first Quaife/can­nons Tin Tops race ended early af­ter a multi-car in­ci­dent at Gra­ham Hill Bend. Rod Bir­ley (Honda In­te­gra) won, but only af­ter a tap from be­hind pushed him into con­tact with Chris White­man’s Civic, spin­ning the early leader at Druids. Bir­ley was on the re­ceiv­ing end of a bump in race two, send­ing him down the order, and then the car fell sick. White­man started sev­enth and took the lead on lap five.

Dale Gent (Subaru Im­preza) added two more Quaife Saloon wins to his tally, helped by the Bir­ley’s Ford Es­cort blow­ing its turbo in qual­i­fy­ing. A re­place­ment was sourced in Bas­ingstoke and fit­ted for race two, in which the lo­cal man reached sec­ond from the back of the grid. Mal­colm Wise was sec­ond at the first at­tempt but his Es­cort lost its turbo on the last lap and didn’t reap­pear. Tony Skel­ton (Clio) and Dan Cowan (Sierra) each had a third and a fourth place.

Michiel Cam­pagne’s bru­tal Corvette had more than enough in hand to get the bet­ter of his ri­vals in the first Dutch His­toric GT and Tour­ing Cars race. But whether or not it was a tad ar­ti­fi­cial, the out­come made for grip­ping view­ing. Cam­pagne missed race two, and Richard Evans streaked clear. How­ever, the mis­fir­ing Mar­cos 1800 GT was caught and passed by Bob Stevens (Elan).

It was a case of six of the best when the Mini Chal­lenge ar­rived at Sil­ver­stone, pro­duc­ing a scin­til­lat­ing week­end of MSVR rac­ing.

A fine de­fen­sive dis­play gave Unitec Mo­tor­sport’s David Grady a hard-fought brace of JCW wins as he twice held off the charg­ing Chris Smith, but three vis­its to the podium for Nathan Har­ri­son drew the lat­ter level on points with Char­lie But­lerHen­der­son at the head of the cham­pi­onship.

“I had a bad qual­i­fy­ing se­sion, but then I couldn’t have asked for more”, said But­lerHen­der­son af­ter he turned his ninth-place in qual­i­fy­ing into two podium fin­ishes. “It’s such a level play­ing field.”

Jono Brown fended off the charg­ing But­ler-hen­der­son in race three, Har­ri­son pro­moted to his third podium by Henry Neal’s de­mo­tion from third af­ter a time penalty for dis­re­spect­ing track lim­its.

In the Open, Cooper and Cooper S cham­pi­onship, Steve Cocker once again ap­peared out of luck from pole po­si­tion on Satur­day, as ECU is­sues for the Oak­field Mo­tor­sport man reared its head again in the open­ing two races.

Scott Jeffs took full ad­van­tage, eas­ing clear of a fierce fight for sec­ond in race one be­fore dou­bling up in the sec­ond de­spite a slow start drop­ping him to fourth. His fourth win of the sea­son was fol­lowed by Cocker’s sec­ond in race three, the lat­ter sur­viv­ing a lap nine at­tack from Rob Austin by re­tal­i­at­ing at Copse two laps later.

Max Blay­don was again in a class of his own in the Coop­ers, bag­ging a sec­ond hat-trick in two out­ings.

It was sim­i­larly close in the GT Cup, the visit to Northamp­ton­shire show­cas­ing the brew­ing duel be­tween Jor­dan Witt’s Bent­ley Con­ti­nen­tal GT3 and the strik­ing Porsche 935 of Richard Cham­ber­lain.

A dam­aged ex­haust caused a fiery exit for the Mclaren 650S GT Sprint of Stu­art and Lewis Proc­tor in race one, although the sub­se­quent de­lay did not de­ter the fast-start­ing Cham­ber­lain, who hung on for vic­tory.

Witt hit back in more for­tu­itous cir­cum­stances, tak­ing what he called a “bit­ter­sweet win” af­ter erst­while race two leader Cham­ber­lain suf­fered a shock ab­sorber fail­ure while de­fend­ing the top spot.

Af­ter a supreme re­pair job of his own to fix the 935, con­tact with Witt on lap 12 at Beck­etts ended Cham­ber­lain’s fight pre­ma­turely in the 50-minute en­durance race, Witt’s win ex­tend­ing his cham­pi­onship lead from the BMW M3 par­ing of Tom and James Webb.

In the Mono Cham­pi­onship’s F3/2000/ Clas­sic se­ries mean­while, the un­beaten run con­tin­ued for Rob­bie Watts at Sil­ver­stone. The Dal­lara F302 has graced the top step in all four races he has en­tered af­ter two lights-to-flag vic­to­ries at Sil­ver­stone, while en­gine fail­ure in race one forced Tony Bishop to sur­ren­der his Mono F3 se­ries lead to Ben Cater.

The sec­ond Mono­posto grid was dom­i­nated by the Dal­lara F399 of Jeremy Timms in the Moto 1400 class, beat­ing Chris Wood­house and Craig Hur­ran com­fort­ably in the re­spec­tive out­ings.

BMW E46 M3 driver Richard Brom­ley fought to Track­day Cham­pi­onship suc­cess from Mark Flower, while cham­pi­onship leader Big Skidz Rac­ing suf­fered re­tire­ment in the 45-minute en­counter from fourth with a drive­shaft prob­lem. Fifth was An­drew Ball’s Porsche Boxster S, which ear­lier that Sun­day was vic­to­ri­ous in the Track­day Tro­phy af­ter pounc­ing on Gary Burstow’s BMW 328i with 13 min­utes re­main­ing.

BOSS Ire­land com­pleted the set of Ir­ish tracks with two cham­pi­onship rounds at Kirkistown, hav­ing al­ready raced at both Mon­dello Park and Bish­op­scourt.

Cian Carey was on a mis­sion to reel in se­ries leader Noel Robin­son. He put his For­mula Re­nault on pole with Jonathan Fildes along­side in his Ralt RT4 sport­ing a new liv­ery. Twenty years had passed since Fildes last raced at Kirkistown, back then it was at the wheel of an Opel Lo­tus.

Fildes led from Carey, but on lap two his race ended with a clutch prob­lem. Robin­son at­tempted to reel in Carey but to no avail.

Carey led race two from pole, with Barry Rab­bitt briefly mak­ing a chal­lenge, be­fore Robin­son fought back to gain sec­ond then, in the clos­ing laps, made a ma­jor ef­fort to take the lead. He pres­sured Carey, but Carey kept ahead to close within four points of Robin­son in the cham­pi­onship.

Paul Conn pro­duced a su­per start in the first Road­sports race, but it took just four laps for Jim Larkham to take the lead. Conn kept in touch of Larkham’s Rad­i­cal but had to be con­tent with sec­ond. Mark Fran­cis broke away from the Class B pack to win. Larkham fell back to fourth af­ter a poor start to race two, but lap by lap he again picked cars off and closed in on leader Conn be­fore mak­ing his move to take his now cus­tom­ary race win.

Jim Hutchi­son gave his Ford Es­cort-gm its first ap­pear­ance of the year in the Saloons, Ask Su­per­cars and GT race. A few tweaks and the re­moval of the power steer­ing were the only changes since Hutchi­son’s last ap­pear­ance and, not sur­pris­ingly, he had pole and com­manded pro­ceed­ings while Peter Barrable broke clear of the Su­per­car pack with An­drew Arm­strong best of the saloons in third.

Dou­ble Britsh Tour­ing Car cham­pion Colin Turk­ing­ton made a guest ap­pear­ance in the Keogh’s Celebrity Su­per­car but it failed to start; even­tu­ally he man­aged just a sin­gle lap.

Hutchin­son was swal­lowed up at the start of race two as Ralph Jess led briefly in his BMW M3 be­fore Andy O’brien worked his way past in his Su­per­car as his race one ri­val Barrable re­tired. Hutchin­son had to fight his way through the traf­fic, which he did to snatch the lead from O’brien. Turk­ing­ton’s al­ter­na­tor was re­placed and this time he com­pleted the race fin­ish­ing fourth in class.

Noel Robin­son had pole for the first For­mula Ford en­counter from Alan David­son and the lat­ter led for the open­ing two laps while Stephen O’con­nor held sec­ond briefly. A race-long bat­tle be­tween Robin­son and David­son en­sued, with the ver­dict go­ing to Robin­son. The fight for third was just as fraught be­tween O’con­nor and Ryan Camp­bell. O’con­nor went off at the Hair­pin as Camp­bell slot­ted into third.

Robin­son in­creased his cham­pi­onship lead with vic­tory in the sec­ond race two, as all those around him strug­gled. O’con­nor was pinged for a jumped start and Kyle Young stalled off the line. David­son and Robin­son con­tested the lead be­fore Robin­son took the ad­van­tage at Debtors and never looked back.

Twenty four Fi­esta Zetecs were a recipe for in­ci­dents and that was the case as sev­eral driv­ers at­tended the stew­ards’ of­fice. Ben Mccully kept it clean to take the win. The sec­ond race was a much calmer af­fair with pole-sit­ter Jonny Forsythe tak­ing the hon­ours.

Greg Speight topped two of the XR2 races

Padmore (cen­tre) was star of His­toric F1

Ne­wall (l) topped Can-am

Grady held off Chris Smith in Mini JCW thrillers, Smith spun in race two

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