Rain hits play

The Masters racers had to contend with typical British weather at Brands

For the second time in a month the British weather delivered its worst upon the Masters Racing Series. What should have been a glorious weekend of historic racing turned into a battle against the elements on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit in May.

For the first time, the Masters Organisation turned out the full range of its racing classes within a single weekend; on Saturday the lower-key classes took to the Indy circuit before the big guns tackled the GP circuit on Sunday and Monday.

Monday was the big day, but torrential rain and heavy winds deterred all but the hardiest fans and came close to forcing the abandonment of racing. Eventually, two hours late, a reduced programme went ahead, but conditions largely negated close racing and some drivers simply elected not to risk their cars.

Among the cars staying parked was the ex-Jacky Ickx Ferrari 312B2, winner of the 1972 German Grand Prix, although James Hanson had given the car its first race for over three decades in Sunday’s Grand Prix Masters event. On Monday, the bravado of Richard Meins earned his McLaren M23 victory after early pacesetter Manfredo Rossi di Montelera (Brabham BT42) was badly delayed by a spinning backmarker.

Frank Sytner had borrowed a March 761 from Peter Dunn to beat Abba Kogan’s Williams FW06 on the Sunday, but Sytner took no part in Monday’s programme.

Michael Schryver’s Lotus 27 was on target for a double HGPCA win until a spin at Surtees dropped him down the order on Monday, allowing the irrepressible Nigel Bancroft through to win in his Cooper T51, as ex-F1 racer Ian Ashley challenged in the rare LDS.

Other notable winners included Andrew Smith (Lola T70Mk3B), who twice topped the World Sportscar Masters field, and Leo Voyazides (Lola T280) who splashed home ahead in the Proto 70s race. But the real victor was the British spring weather.
Paul Lawrence