Six incredible Legends Cars Championship with MRF Tyres races provided huge excitement as part of the 10th anniversary American Speedfest at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit over the weekend, 17th/18th June, where consistent scoring ensured Will Gibson (Camberley) remained atop the points table.

While Gibson didn’t take a race win, somewhat unusually, his performance throughout the event ensured he picked up a hefty haul of points to go into the championship’s summer break with the advantage over Marcus Pett (Boston) who climbed into second position.

Pett took his third win of the season in Heat One on Saturday, before adding his fourth of the championship campaign in the round three Final. Andy Bird (Calne) claimed his third victory of 2023 in the opening day’s second Heat.

On Sunday in round four, Luke Simmons (Lingfield) took his maiden Legends Cars victory with a terrific performance in Heat One, Jack Parker (Wolverhampton) bagged the win in Heat Two and Connor Mills (Upminster) starred in the rain-hit Final after a superb see-saw battle. In the Rookie class, Tyler Read (Weedon) claimed four wins with Andrew Rogerson (Maidenhead) taking two.

Double Rd3 victory for Pett and another win for Bird
Race one of the weekend on Saturday afternoon began with a great battle at the front between Mills, Parker and Nathan Anthony (Horley). The Safety Car appeared on lap four due to a couple of competitors in the gravel, Parker having just taken the lead, and then the action was red flagged.

Re-started over six laps, Parker led away but Mills took the lead into Druids before Parker then responded at the end of the lap. Simmons and Pett moved into the picture and on lap four Simmons led. On the final tour, though, Pett grabbed the win by just 0.086 seconds from Simmons, with Parker 0.041 seconds further shy. Gibson, meanwhile, charged to fourth from 17th on the grid.

Rogerson started Heat Two from pole, but Gibson rocketed from eighth on the grid to lead by the end of the opening lap. Bird soon joined the points leader at the sharp end, as did Pett, and there was nothing between them all at mid-distance. Drama was just around the corner, though, when a heavy rain shower on lap seven caused chaos at Surtees.

Gibson was the first on the scene and ran off track due to the lack of grip, Pett and Bird doing the same. Bird managed to recover and went on to win by 1.5 seconds from Parker with Chris Needham (Altrincham) third and Charlie Budd (Henley-on-Thames) fourth. Pett was 11th, Gibson 16th.

Saturday evening’s Final started with an action-packed opening lap, Anthony caught-up in dramas at Druids, and through it all former champion Rob Fountain (Boston) led from Ben Higgins (Abermule) and pole-starter Paul Musselle (Buckingham). Higgins impressively hit the front on lap two, before Mills moved into contention and passed him on lap three – then stretching away in the lead.

Mills looked well placed but began to be reeled in by the advancing Pett, Simmons and Parker as the finale built to a crescendo. Pett grabbed the lead on lap 11 and held firm to take an excellent second win of the day on lap 14, a fraction ahead of Mills with Simmons pipping Parker for third by a mere 0.001 seconds. Higgins finished fifth from impressive Rookie class victor Read.

Maiden win for Simmons, victories for Parker and Mills too
Sunday’s first Heat delivered a fantastic maiden Legends Cars race win for Simmons, following a great battle at the front throughout. Mike Schlup (Cuckfield) led initially before Mark Beaty (Gosforth) took over, the latter staying there until lap four when Simmons challenged over the line and sealed the move up to Druids. Gibson then rose into contention before a lap eight Safety Car.

When racing resumed there was only time for a dash to the flag and Simmons held on by 0.178 seconds to claim a richly deserved victory. Gibson and Parker managed to edge past Beaty over the last 1.2 miles to complete the podium, but fourth was still a good result ahead of Schlup and Higgins.

Heat Two brought another tremendous battle for victory, this time with Parker, Mills and Gibson duking it out for the win. Parker headed Mills initially, with the latter moving ahead at Druids, but Parker hit back into lap two over the line. Mills, though, wouldn’t relent and stayed glued to his rival lap after lap with Parker soaking up immense pressure.

Gibson moved more into the picture on lap seven and by lap nine it was three for the lead, with Parker just ahead. Mills dived out of the draft into Paddock to hit the front once more but into the final lap, Gibson had moved ahead. Parker, though, was able to get the run to win on the line from Gibson as Rookie star Read pinched third from Mills, with Pett almost stealing fourth at the flag.

Heavy rain arrived for the round four Final and Mills and Parker reveled in the conditions. Bird, too, was impressive and he led early on – streaking away to build an incredible lead of around five seconds by lap five. Mills had moved into second around the same time and he duly began to take chunks out of Bird’s advantage before a Safety Car period on lap seven.

Bird had difficulty hearing when the re-start would be over the RACEceiver system, so he lost out to Mills who wasted no time in taking the lead on lap eight. Parker soon passed Bird for second, before then challenging Mills, and the pair battled hard. Parker led onto the 14th and final lap but Mills was able to hit back, taking the win from Parker, Oli Schlup (Cuckfield), the unfortunate Bird and Gibson.

Marcus Pett – Rd3 Heat One and Rd3 Final Winner:
“Really, really happy to get a couple of wins. It was a weekend of two halves really, good on Saturday picking up the two wins but our pace was strong all weekend even if the results weren’t quite as good on Sunday. I’m really pleased with the work we’ve done over the winter so we need to keep building on that, and keep the reliability hopefully.”

Andy Bird – Rd3 Heat Two Winner:
“Overall, I probably didn’t capitalise fully on the speed I had all weekend but it was good to get the win in Heat Two on Saturday. In the Final I had to avoid accidents, without that I should’ve been up there with Marcus [Pett] and the others. I was over ambitious in Sunday’s first race, Heat Two was fast with all the quick guys near the front and then I lost out sadly in the Final with the Safety Car.”

Luke Simmons – Rd4 Heat One Winner:
“It’s really great to get the first win, and to do it so soon as well – only a year and a couple of events since we started racing Legends. This is definitely a huge booster for me and the team, it makes us want it even more and hopefully wins can be like London buses! We’re heading to Croft next for the Elite Cup, I’ve never raced there so there will plenty to learn but hopefully it’ll be a great weekend.”

Jack Parker – Rd4 Heat Two Winner:
“It’s been a great weekend, five podiums from six and I’m over the moon with the performance of the Mickel Motorsport car. It was great to take a win as well, a shame I got pipped in the wet last race but we came away with no damage which is a bonus! After this I’m looking forward to the next round of the Elite Cup now at Croft, it’s one of my favourite circuits so have high hopes.”

Connor Mills – Rd4 Final Winner:
“It was a close race, the Safety Car came at a bit of a bad time for me but you go with the cards you got don’t you? I haven’t had a win for a while so this is great, and I can’t thank Team HARD enough for their support – it’s nice to reward them with a win, nothing beats that. It was tricky out there in the torrential rain, but they’re my conditions – it brings it down to the driver and I like that.”

There will now be a very long break over the summer for the Legends Cars Championship with MRF Tyres, the category resuming in the autumn at Snetterton 300 Circuit in Norfolk over the weekend 7th/8th October. In the meantime, the standalone Legends Cars Elite Cup with JLM will get back underway on 29th/30th July at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire alongside the British Touring Cars.

The Legends Cars Championship is supported by MRF Tyres, allgrowth Ltd, Carless, Vital Equipment and JLM Lubricants.

Provisional 2023 Legends Cars Championship with MRF Tyres Points (after Rd4):
1st Will Gibson, 1760pts; 2nd Marcus Pett, 1645pts; 3rd Chris Needham, 1445pts; 4th Oli Schlup, 1350pts; 5th Andy Bird, 1350pts; 6th Luke Simmons, 1325pts