HSCC SuperPrix, Brands Hatch
Finally unshackled from a date clash with the Goodwood Festival of Speed, one of Britain’s finest staples still struggled to pull in a significant crowd – a quirk science is powerless to explain. One or two classes were short on numbers, but there were still 360-odd entries for 14 categories and 18 races. The meeting commenced in receding fog and passed via glorious sunshine to brief, teeming rain before the weather regained its composure.
Historic F2 Championship and Derek Bell Trophy double-headers were the headline events, but their thunder was pinched by Tim Davies (Lotus Cortina) and Neil Brown (Ford Mustang) during Sunday’s Historic Touring Car Championship race.
Mike Gardiner put his 1.6 Lotus Cortina on pole, but Davies led away in his 2.0-litre version while Brown worked his way through from fifth to second by lap two. It took him another five laps to challenge the leader and the pair engaged in a wonderfully clean fight, swapping places several times before Brown eventually got the verdict by 0.887sec. “It was absolutely brilliant,” Davies said, “but I’m a bit cross with myself for giving him a tap at the hairpin because we always try to leave each other just enough room…”
Michael Lyons (Eagle FA74) won both DBT races. The first was red-flagged when Michael Whatley crashed his Surtees TS8 heavily at Paddock – it had sustained a tweaked front wing shortly beforehand. Andy Smith (March 742) was second in the opener, but was tripped by a backmarker in the second and retired after a spin. That allowed Ian Flux (March 79B) to take a class-winning second after passing Greg Thornton, whose Chevron B24’s rear wing was beginning to sag. Thornton had finished third in the opening race, ahead of Flux, after driveshaft failure sidelined Neil Glover (Lola T300-332).
Martin Stretton (March 742) won both Historic F2 races from Richard Evans (March 79B), although Mark Dwyer (742) separated the pair until his engine seized in the first.
In addition to his sparky DBT performances, Flux won both Martini Trophy races in Sean Walker’s Osella PA3, while Honda Accord drivers Stuart Whyte and James Dodd scored one win apiece in feebly supported Super Touring races. David Methley (Merlyn Mk14A) and Nick Padmore (March 783) took Historic & Classic F3 honours, while Graham Fennymore (Reynard SF81) came through from sixth to win the Historic FF2000 race. Ian Jones (Lotus 59) got the best of Saturday’s tightest contest, for Classic Racing Cars, beating Antony Ross’s similar car by a tenth. The Schryver family dominated the Guards Trophy – Will and Michael (Chevron B6) beating James (B8) – and Jon Milicevic (Cooper T59) was top dog in Formula Junior. Sam Mitchell led for most of the Historic FF1600 race, but fellow Merlyn driver Michael O’Brien won after Mitchell collected an errant tail-ender at Paddock.
Andy Shepherd (Lotus 7) and Jim Dean (Lotus Europa) won the Historic and ’70s Road Sports races. The latter took place without 2013 champion Oliver Ford, who crashed his Europa during qualifying. Simon Arron