Brands Hatch was bathed in glorious sunshine for the annual Masters Historic festival which ran over the weekend of 25-26 May.
We take a look at the race highlights:
Rob Fenn and Jake Hill took Masters Pre-66 Touring Car honours at Brands Hatch, Hill in the Ford Mustang passing Mark Sumpter’s Lotus Cortina for the lead on lap 20. Third went to Craig Davies, whose Mustang led until a frantic pitstop phase coinciding with a safety-car period that shook up the order.
“Rob did an amazing stint to keep it up there, even though he got caught up between all the Cortinas”, said Hill. “And then we boxed at the perfect time! I came out in second and for two laps had a good little fight with Mark. We’re so happy to take our first Masters win with the Mustang here at Brands.”
Behind Davies, Julian Thomas and Calum Lockie took fourth in the Ford Falcon, having been second behind Davies early on, with poleman Ambrogio Perfetti coming in fifth in the second of the Cortinas. The Tom Ingram/Marco Attard Cortina grabbed third in class.
At one time running third overall, Tom Bell and Joe Ferguson took a brilliant win in the Mini class, ahead of Jonathan Lewis and Ian Curley/Bill Sollis. Curley led the class early on before the Bell/Ferguson Mini asserted its authority.
Martin Stretton prevailed in a tense first FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at Brands Hatch, the Tyrrell 012 driver keeping young guns Michael Lyons and Matteo Ferrer-Aza at bay the whole race.
Lap after lap, Stretton, Lyons and Ferrer ran flat-out, nose to tail – or even side by side – in the first three places. Cantillon was running a lonely fourth while Christophe d’Ansembourg popped ahead of Steve Hartley on lap 1, only to lose fifth place back to the McLaren on lap 4.
In the pre-78 class, Henry Fletcher initially led Jason Wright, but on lap 5 the Shadow dropped down the order, having spun at Surtees. This left Phil Hall’s Theodore second in class, with James Hagan’s Hesketh in third. On lap 7, though, Fletcher’s March was very slow across the finish line, and now Hall was in the lead of the class.
Steve Hartley delivered a corker of a race to win the second FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at Brands, his McLaren MP4/1 passing early leader Jamie Constable (Tyrrell 011) and keeping Martin Stretton (Tyrrell 012) at bay until the safety car came out on lap 12 after an off by Mike Cantillon in the Williams FW07D. The race finished under the safety car.
Christophe d’Ansembourg (Williams FW07C) took fourth – and effectively third because Hartley’s McLaren was still in the invitation class – ahead of Matteo Ferrer-Aza (Ligier JS11/15). The Belgian had been chasing Constable in the early laps before succumbing to pressure from Hartley and Stretton on lap 9.
In a shortened FIA Masters Historic Sports Car race punctuated by three safety-car periods, Robert Beebee and Martin O’Connell emerged victorious, their Lola T70 Mk3B beating stablemate Henry Fletcher in his Chevron B26. Fletcher had moved into the lead on lap 2, but on lap 25 couldn’t keep O’Connell behind. “It can go both ways”, said O’Connell. “Today we were lucky with the safety car, next week it could happen to us.”
Third and fourth came the Jason Wright/Andy Wolfe Lola T70 Mk3B and the Joaquin Folch/Nick Padmore Chevron B19. Both cars were hurt by the second safety car, that came right in the pit window, and were denied a shot at victory when the race was redflagged with five minutes still on the clock, Paul Allen having beached his Lola T212 in the Paddock Hill Bend gravel.
The Keith Ahlers/Billy Bellinger Cooper Monaco King Cobra looked like it had won the pre-66 class after a huge fight with the Chris Jolly/Steve Farthing Cooper Monaco T61M. When Farthing slowed after running out of fuel, Bellinger was home free for the class win – but then Ahlers was penalised for overtaking under the safety car, the result of which was that Jolly and Farthing won the class after all.
“Chris and I were really close in our opening stints, but it was a very messy race”, said Ahlers. “Any car could have won today.”
Julian Thomas and Calum Lockie made it two out of two in Masters Gentlemen Drivers as the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé repeated their Paul Ricard win by another victory at Brands Hatch. In his opening stint, Thomas fought the Elans of Jake Hill and Steve Soper before Hill made a break towards the pitstops. With Lockie at the wheel, however, Soper and Rob Fenn in the Elan started by Hill had no answer against the Daytona Cobra.
Fenn duly finished second, 52 seconds down on Lockie, but Soper was out while trying to remove Fenn from second place in the midst of the pair dealing with a couple of backmarkers. Soper’s evasive action on the Cooper Straight proved costly, resulting in his premature retirement.
Third overall went to the Jaguar E-type of Mark Donnor and Andrew Smith, the latter chasing Marco Attard down in the Corvette started by Tom Ingram. In a dash towards the chequered flag, Smith got the place by 0.131s… Following them home were Nick & Eddie Powell’s Elan and Ron Maydon’s Ginetta G4R, in second and third in the CLP class.
For full reports visit: http://www.mastershistoricracing.com
Photographs by John Retter Photography