May 27 - 28 2017

Masters Historic Festival



May 27 - 28 - 2016

Masters Historic Festival




It was another great weekend at Brands Hatch for the 11th running of the Masters Historic Festival.  We saw some great racing throughout the weekend amid blue skies (well for most of the weekend anyway!)Thanks to everyone who took part!


Henry Mann and Steve Soper storm to Masters Pre-66 Touring Car win at Brands

The pole-sitting Ford Mustang of Henry Mann and Steve Soper led from start to finish to win a thrilling Masters Pre-66 Touring Car race at Brands Hatch. While Mann and Soper kept their cool at the front, lots was going on behind them in a race punctuated by several safety-car periods. Mann was given a fight by Craig Davies’ Mustang in the early stages, Davies closing up to four tenths after 10 laps, but one lap later he dropped out after losing third gear.

“Yeah, Craig really gave me hard time, it was a shame to see him go”, said Henry Mann

“Henry did a great first stint, he really did all the work”, said Steve Soper, who claimed that he wasn’t bothered by the safety-car periods at all.

In the end, the Cortinas of Mark Sumpter and Geoff Letts prevailed to take second and third overall, ahead of the Julian Thomas/Calum Lockie Ford Falcon. Sumpter and Letts had been fourth and fifth for most of the race, giving chase to a fierce Kiwi battle between Roger Wills’ Mercury Comet Cyclone and Warren Briggs’ Mustang. But the two Cortinas suddenly came to the fore in the final eight minutes after the second safety-car period had ended. Sumpter quickly charged past Wills (who had been illegally passed by Briggs under the safety car) and one lap later breezed past Briggs. Then, two laps from the end, Letts was past Briggs as well, while Wills retired a Mercury hampered by alternator problems.

“It was planned!” said Sumpter. “We decided to try and keep a healthy car for the last 20 minutes, so I still had tyres and brakes for the end.”

Asked if he had applied the same strategy, Letts said, “No! It was full ball from the beginning!”

Warren Briggs finished fourth on the road but dropped to fifth after being given his time penalty for overtaking under the safety car. Third of the Cortinas and sixth overall was the Mark Hazell/Martin Stretton example, after profiting from another time penalty, this one handed out to the Carlos Monteverde/Gary Pearson Cortina.

Several other contending Cortinas were out before the end: Mark Martin and Andrew Haddon retired with engine problems after five laps, while Andrew Beaumont/Nigel Greensall and Norwegian Martin Strommen each caused a safety-car period by going off at Surtees.

In the battle of the Minis, Matt Kelly held a massive lead in the early stages in the car he shared with Ian Curley but the first safety-car period wiped that out to give the Ron Maydon/Nick Swift car a run for victory, which Swift duly grabbed by overtaking Curley five laps from the end.

The first safety-car period also put an to end to René de Vries and Jonathan Lewis’ chances in the Mini class, as they were put a lap down. The pair finished a distant third, having fought Mark Burnett’s Mini for the entire race.

Michael Gans takes hard-fought solo win in Stena Line Gentlemen Drivers race at Brands

Michael Gans (AC Cobra) had to do it all by himself but upon hearing that team mate Andy Wolfe had dislodged his thumb during his off in the preceding FIA Masters Historic Formula One race he knuckled down to hold off a charging Mike Whitaker (TVR Griffith) and win the Stena Line Gentlemen Drivers race at Brands Hatch.

“That was quite a surprise when I heard, ‘You’re finishing the race!’”, said Gans, still bathing in sweat. “I’m knackered, I’m in awe of Mike [Whitaker] doing the full race on his own.”

“I think I could have caught him”, Whitaker said of his late-race charge, “but I’m not sure if I could have passed him. I know Michael, he’s quick. I was actually glad that the safety car came, it allowed me cool my brakes.”

Julian Thomas and Calum Lockie took third in their Jaguar E-type, Thomas having fought Gans during his opening stint. The Jag having lost its starter motor, it dropped back to fourth when the car had to be push-started after the driver change from Thomas to Lockie, who then repassed Roger Wills’ Bizzarrini 5300 GT for third.

“That was brilliant, I loved that”, Julian Thomas said about his tight battle with Gans during his stint. “We lost the time during the driver change because the starter motor went. We had to push-start the car.”

The drivers were given a bit of relief at the end when a beached Cobra caused the safety car to come out some ten minutes before the end of the 90-minute race, which was subsequently red-flagged right after the restart when the Michael Schryver/Will Schryver Elan went off and got stuck as well. The opening phase had also seen a short safety-car period for Martin O’Connell going off in his E-type.

Gans took a lights-to-flag victory having fought the Julian Thomas/Calum Lockie Jaguar E-type hard during the first part of the race. The pole-sitting Cobra of Karsten Le Blanc and Nigel Greensall was out after six laps, handing the chase to Thomas who had closed right up to Gans when after 23 laps the pit window opened. After the driver change, however, Lockie ended up in fourth, behind Whitaker’s Griffith and Roger Wills’ Bizzarrini 5300 GT. While Lockie took care of Wills on lap 37, there was nothing he could do about Whitaker, who in fact was chasing after Gans, closing a 32-second gap right after the pitstops to 18 seconds when the safety car came out. Gans’ lead was eliminated but the red flag that immediately followed the restart made the whole issue academic.

Wills finished fourth, ahead of the Rob Hall/Andy Willis AC Cobra and the Carlos Monteverde/Gary Pearson E-type. Next up was the battle for CLP class honours, the two leading Lotus Elans beating the Chris Chiles Sr & Jr Cobra and the Martin Melling/Jason Minshaw E-type across the line. In the end, Mark Martin and Andrew Haddon narrowly beat John Davison and Ed Morris in their intra-Elan tussle.

“I got him at the start of the GP circuit”, Haddon said about his last-gasp move on class rival Ed Morris, “and then five corners later, a Cobra is in the gravel trap and the safety car is out!”

Davison and Morris had been leading the entire race up until that moment, initially chased by the Ron Maydon/Brian Johnson Ginetta G4R and the Rick Carlino/Martin Donnelly Lotus Elan. Another Lotus Elan in with a chance dropped out right at the end when Nigel Greensall returned to the pits with an oil pick-up issue. This handed third in class to Michael and Will Schryver, but in the end their beached car wasn’t classified. Instead, Maydon and Johnson were given third place in their Ginetta.

Keith Ahlers and Billy Bellinger (Morgan SLR) led the C2 class from start to finish, but saw the Martyn Corfield/Jeremy Welch Healey 3000 close up right at the end. Early challengers Chris Clarkson and David Smithies in another Big Healey dropped away to retire after 14 laps. This gave the Simon Orebi Gann/Mike Bell Morgan Plus 4 SS third place in class.

Mark and James Bates (Porsche 911) held off Malcolm Paul and Rick Bourne (TVR Grantura) for C1 honours while Carl Richardson and Andrew Bentley (Morgan Plus 4) were the only survivors in B2. The same applied to Andrew Beaumont/Andy Middlehurst (Lotus Elite) in B1.

Dominant win for Michael Lyons in first FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at Brands

Michael Lyons wasn’t bothered by a safety-car period between laps 11 and 13, as the polesitter charged to a dominant victory in the first of two FIA Masters Historic Formula One races at Brands Hatch this weekend.

The RAM Williams FW07B driver twice pulled out a comfortable gap on his rivals, that included Andy Wolfe (Tyrrell 011) and Steve Hartley (Arrows A4) until the pair made contact in Druids fighting over second place, both ending up in the gravel trap. This handed second place overall to pre-77 class winner Nick Padmore, whose Shadow DN5 keeps an unbeaten record in the class, Max Smith-Hilliard having won twice in it at Barcelona. Padmore kept Simon Fish (Ensign N180) at bay all race, with Christophe d’Ansembourg (Williams FW07C) slightly further back after a fairly lonely race.

“There’s not much to talk about”, said Lyons. “It all happened behind me!”

“It was brilliant”, Padmore said about his race-long battle with Fish. “He was quick around the fast stuff, I caught him in the slower bits. Thank God that the safety car came out since my rear tyres were going off.”

“I kept him busy”, agreed Fish, who couldn’t find a way past.

“I saw these cars out”, D’Ansembourg said, referring to Wolfe and Hartley’s beached machines, “and I thought, shit, I’m third!”

Greg Thornton took an unchallenged second in pre-77 class, his Lotus 77 finishing fifth overall, ahead of Joaquin Folch’s Brabham BT49. Max Smith-Hilliard – now in the Fittipaldi F5A – took a fighting third in class, edging out a train of cars led by his team mate Phil Hall (Theodore TR1). Martin Bullock finished on Hall’s heels on a fine Historic Formula One debut in his Williams FW06.

“I missed the same gear three times in Graham Hill Bend”, Smith-Hilliard explained. “It made it quite eventful but it was good to claw my way back.”

“Yes, it was a fairly quiet race”, Thornton agreed, “but I did have to keep Joaquin behind me.”

The race got off with a clean start for Michael Lyons, but Martin Stretton was challenging Andy Wolfe for second place. The two Tyrrells touched, resulting in Stretton being pushed down to 19th place. Further back, Max Smith-Hilliard missed a gear in his Fittipaldi F5A, dropping down to sixth in the pre-77 class.

At the front, Lyons used the first ten laps to romp away to a 15-second lead over Andy Wolfe, who was increasingly under pressure from Steve Hartley. On lap 11, the two touched going into Druids and went off. The battle for fourth became a battle for second, but Padmore and Fish didn’t get to fight for it until the ensuing safety-car period ended two laps later. With a couple of backmarkers between himself and Padmore, Lyons quickly established another comfortable lead to finish nine seconds ahead of Padmore, with Fish two more seconds down.

Meanwhile, Smith-Hilliard fought his way back from sixth in class to pass Bullock and Constable seven laps into the race. At the restart, he then passed team mate Phil Hall to take the final step on the pre-77 podium.

Martin Stretton wins second FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at Brands, but Steve Hartley takes maximum points

Martin Stretton won the second FIA Masters Historic Formule One race of the weekend at Brands Hatch, but as his Tyrrell 012 was in the invitation class Steve Hartley took maximum points from the race. His Arrows A4 kept Stretton honest from start to finish, which came under the safety car after Max Smith-Hilliard and Mark Hazell collided into Stirlings, ending a race-long fight prematurely. Polesitter Michael Lyons had retired after just one lap, driveshaft broken on his Williams FW07B.

“It was great”, said Stretton. “Steve was pushing quite hard, he had the edge on me in the really quick stuff, in the slower bits I was able to pull away again. I was just making sure he was out of the firing zone, even though he got really close a couple of laps. I drove every lap like a qualifying lap!”

“The car went soft a little bit”, said Hartley about his inability to threaten Stretton after an initial couple of fastest laps of the race. “The funny thing is that I was trying hard to catch him but I didn’t need to catch him [for maximum points].”

Nick Padmore finished third to win the pre-77 class in his Shadow DN5, trailing the leading pair by five seconds before the safety car came out. I tried my hardest to keep with Martin and Steve”, said Padmore, “so if there was an opportunity I’d be able to nick their spots. But it didn’t happen.”

Padmore finished ahead of Simon Fish (Ensign N180), Christophe d’Ansembourg (Williams FW07C) and Joaquin Folch (Brabham BT49). After the opening crunch, Fish had a lonely race in the gap between Padmore and the pursuing group that apart from Folch and D’Ansembourg also included Greg Thornton (Lotus 77). Initially, the Belgian was at the tail end of this group but took care of Thornton and Folch on two consecutive laps midway through the race.

“I couldn’t get the gap down to Nick”, said Fish, “and that’s when it became lonely. But even driving by yourself is a challenge on this track!”

“I was surprised to be third”, D’Ansembourg said about his podium placing in the ground-effect class. “It was a good race, not alone like yesterday, and I had a great fight with Joaquin and Greg. I took my chance and got past both of them.”

Meanwhile, Charles Nearburg (McLaren M23) looked to have grabbed eighth overall and second in the pre-77 class by overtaking Greg Thornton’s Lotus 77 and Jamie Constable’s Shadow DN8 in the final dash to the chequered flag, the safety car having retreated to the pits on the final lap. However, as the rule book clearly states that the race is neutralised until the lap is completed, Nearburg was afterwards given a two-place penalty. This handed back second and third places in class to Thornton and Constable.

“I just kept my foot in until the chequered flag”, said the American. “I believe you’re supposed to race until the finish and that’s what I did!”

Thornton was kept busy by Folch and D’Ansembourg the entire race but wasn’t impressed.

“There wasn’t much to do”, said Thornton. “They were in the ground-effect class, so I wasn’t fighting either of them.”

In their wake, some twenty seconds down by the time they clashed, Max Smith-Hilliard (Fittipaldi F5A) and Mark Hazell (Williams FW07) were separated by mere tenths for the entire race, until Hazell tried a lunge into Stirlings. The two collided, leaving Smith-Hilliard with a punctured left rear and Hazell stationary in a dangerous position. The safety car allowed Jamie Constable (Shadow DN8), Charles Nearburg and Jason Wright (Shadow DN8) to close up, after which Nearburg illegally stormed up the order in the final run to the line.

Dave Abbott (Arrows A4), Ian Simmonds (Tyrrell 012) and Frank Lyons (McLaren M26) were out before lap 1 was over, while Phil Hall returned his Theodore TR1 to the pits with gearbox problems after just two laps.

O’Connell dominates FIA Historic Sports Car Race

On a wet but drying track after a deluge hit the Brands Hatch circuit shortly before the start, Martin O’Connell was in a class of his own in the FIA Historic Sports Car race. From the start, O’Connell never looked back, winning by 36 seconds over Robert Oldershaw (Lola T212) who passed Gary Pearson’s Lola T70 Mk3B for second one lap before the race was cut short three minutes from the end.

“It was a bit tricky, with a lot of oil on the track at the end, but it was a good race”, said a phlegmatic O’Connell.

After two laps behind the safety car, the winning Chevron B19 grabbed the initiative right from the start, as he got the drop on the pole-sitting B19 of Max Smith-Hilliard and Nick Padmore, the former at the wheel. Smith-Hilliard was subsquently squeezed by Oldershaw and Michael Gans’ Lola T292 as the three cars braked for Druids. As a result, Smith-Hilliard went wide and dropped down to 11th.

With lap times that were still 20 seconds down on Padmore’s pole time, the cars tiptoed around on the slippery surface, with especially Mark Owen in the Chevron B8 and Aaron Head in the Porsche 911 RSR making good use of their light weight and superior traction respectively. As O’Connell disappeared into the distance, with Paul Gibson in a lonely second place, his Lola T70 Mk3B lapping three seconds slower than O’Connell, Owen and Head had moved up to third and fourth by the time pit window opened. They were followed by Oldershaw and Nick Pink’s Lola T210

Meanwhile, Michael Gans, Gary Pearson and Jason Wright all had spins to drop back to the lower half of the top-ten, Pearson having run in third during the opening laps. Then, the Smith-Hilliard/Padmore Chevron spun out near the end of the pit window to cause a safety-car period. With most of the pitstops already done, no-one really profited from it.

At the restart, O’Connell stormed away again, leaving the chase to Gibson, Pearson, Oldershaw, Andrew Owen and Gans. With 24 laps gone, Gibson began to drop away, and retired after two more laps at a slower pace. In the meantime, Gans had been putting in fastest laps of the race to set up a showdown for second place, Pearson narrowly leading Oldershaw, with Gans closing in fast. However, it was Oldershaw who first did the passing, taking second place on lap 27. Gans was right up with Pearson on lap 28 but when Keith Ahlers spun out on a big oil spill on lap 29 the red flag came out, the race result declared on countback to lap 28.

Mike Whitaker’s Lola T70 Mk2 Spyder fought with the Keith Ahlers/Billy Bellinger Cooper Monaco King Cobra all race before easing away to win the Hulme class with eighth overall. Laurie Bennett was a close third in class in his McLaren M1B.

“It was really slippery at the start”, said Whitaker. “As it started to dry, Keith and Billy’s car caught me, but as soon as a dry line appeared I was able to pull away.”

The Bonnier class was won by Mark and Andrew Owen, Mark starring during his stint as he hauled his Chevron B19 up to third overall. Andrew brought it home in ninth overall, ahead of Georg Kjallgren’s Daren Mk2 and Graham Wilson’s B8, Wilson driving solo this time.

The Pescarolo class also saw an early star, Aaron Head charging up to fourth overall before the pitstops, his Porsche 911 RSR proving a magnificent tool in the wet. A long delay during his pitstop handed the lead and the eventual class win to the 911 RS of Mark Bates, who similarly rose through the ranks in the first half of the race to finish a superb seventh overall.