Irish eyes were smiling, and then some, at Donington Park on Sunday, 30th June, after a superb showing in round eight of the Legends Cars Championship season from the POB Racing team – star wins for Robert Barrable (Dublin) and Jamie Moylan (Naas), plus the squad’s first podium lock-out.

On a magnificent day at the Leicestershire venue’s National Circuit, Barrable headed home Moylan and Peter Barrable (Dublin), a mere 0.1 seconds covering the trio, in Heat One and Moylan went on to finish runner-up again in Heat Two to reigning Legends Cars Champion Will Gibson (Camberley).

In the round eight Final, a last corner pass enabled No.44 Team Car driver Moylan to take his first outright victory in the series as he and Robert Barrable took the flag side-by-side. Eighth for Gibson, and a non-finish for erstwhile championship leader Jack Parker (Wolverhampton), mean the 2023 title winner departs Donington with a slim 25 point lead.

On Saturday, 29th June, reigning Legends Cars Elite Cup Champion Connor Mills (Upminster) claimed his first win of 2024 in round seven Heat One, while Parker grabbed his seventh victory of the season in Heat Two. The Final, though, was cancelled due to timetable congestion resulting from an incident in one of the other categories.

Nick Bridgeman (Baldock), who raced to his first overall podium of the year in the round eight Final with third place, remains in the lead of the Masters Cup with an advantage of 430 points – heading the class in four of the five races, with Nathan Anthony (Horley) winning the other. In the Rookie division, Eric Boulton (Grantham) Ben Mahoney and Harri Musselle (Buckingham) were winners.

Mills and Parker share Saturday wins in round seven
Saturday’s opening race was unfortunately halted with a red flag stoppage midway around the first lap, a series of barrel rolls for the #2Mater car, piloted by Toby Broome (Lindfield), triggered after he tagged the rear of Chris Needham (Altrincham). Steve Whitelegg (Bury) led at the time from Andy Bird (Calne) and some 20 minutes later, at the re-start, No.94 Team Car racer Whitelegg led again.

Parker and Gibson made great progress through the order, Gibson in particular scything through from 24th to 13th by the start of lap two, while at the front Bird, Robert Barrable and Moylan diced over the lead. Moylan came to grief at McLeans on lap four, dropping him out of contention, and into the latter stages of the race Bird and Barrable were reeled in by the chasing pack.

Into the eighth and final lap Bird led Parker, Mills and Barrable – the latter having been hung out to dry into the chicane just before – with Parker moving to the front at McLeans. Almost four abreast into the chicane for the final time, Mills had to cut the turn but emerged with the win by half a second with Bird second from Barrable, Parker, Gibson and Oli Schlup (Cuckfield).

Heat Two was breathtaking from lights-out, Tyler Read (Weedon) led away from the front of the grid with Gibson taking second at Redgate and Needham moving up into fourth, from eighth, behind Luke Simmons (Lingfield). Gibson took the lead into lap two before Parker hit the front next time around, but Needham soon sliced past into first place at McLeans.

The lead pack of five had grown to seven but a trip through the Redgate gravel for Read on lap six, after issues with brakes, ended podium hopes. Needham too went wide shortly after at the Old Hairpin, meaning Parker re-assumed the lead from Gibson and Mills. Gibson hit the front again into lap seven and he fended off his rivals into the final tour.

Still leading out of Coppice for the final time, Gibson was mugged into the chicane with Parker darting past on the inside and Mills ahead on the outside. On the sprint to the line Parker just did it by a mere 0.057 seconds from Gibson, Mills, Moylan, Simmons and Needham.

Outstanding day for the Emerald Isle with Donington double
Following an immense effort overnight, involving the support of almost the entire paddock, the rebuilt #2 Mater entry unfortunately ground to a halt on the green flag lap of Heat One on Sunday morning, meaning a delayed start. When the racing began, Daniel Pooley (March) led from pole but it wasn’t long before Robert Barrable hit the front and he was then joined by Moylan.

By lap four Peter Barrable was all-but with them and the trio then ran almost as one to the finish, working brilliantly together. Moylan grabbed the lead into the chicane on lap seven, but Robert replicated the next time around to take the win by a fraction. Moylan and Peter Barrable made it a memorable POB podium lock-out, with Parker coming through to fourth from Schlup and Gibson.

Heat Two was also red flagged early, due to three cars coming to grief at the Old Hairpin on the first lap. When the race re-started, Whitelegg initially led away before Matt Knight (Shoreham by Sea) and Schlup made their presence felt. The latter led for a couple of laps before Moylan moved by, then Gibson moved into contention as the lead group ran nose-to-tail.

Gibson led with a lap and a half to go and into the final tour he looked well placed – especially with yellow flags present at the chicane. In the end Gibson took his sixth victory of the season by an enhanced 0.6 seconds, with Moylan second ahead of Parker, Schlup, Bird and Robert Barrable.

Round eight’s Final began with drama for then points leader Parker with an opening lap retirement, as Chris Dewey (Wisbech) stormed into an early lead of 1.6 seconds from Whitelegg and Pooley. The Safety Car was required soon after, Whitelegg now leading, and racing then resumed on lap five. Into the second half of the encounter Robert Barrable hit the front, but Whitelegg did fight back.

Barrable moved into the lead again on lap eight with Bridgeman passing team-mate Whitelegg for second. Bump-drafting the leader into lap 10, Bridgeman momentarily moved ahead at Redgate but Barrable responded immediately and Moylan soon made his way into second.

Into the 12th and last lap it was a close copy of the previous contest with Barrable and Moylan glued together across the line. The latter made his move into the final chicane and ran side-by-side with Barrable past the chequered flag, Moylan winning by 0.037 seconds – a remarkable drive from 25th on the grid. Bridgeman was a well deserved third ahead of Needham, Read and Whitelegg.

Connor Mills – Rd7 Heat One Winner:
“It started off OK this weekend with the win, then everyone realises how fast you are and you end up with incidents with people coming after you. We don’t come here for fourth or fifth in the championship, we’re here to win but we’ve had nothing but bad luck and incidents this year.”

Jack Parker – Rd7 Heat Two Winner:
“It was very eventful out there, I was just trying to pick my time really. The slipstream here is so massive, you really don’t want to be leading on the last lap. I managed to get alongside Will [Gibson] and get the corner, it’s just picking your moments – make sure you’re in the right place at the right time. It’s a great result.”

Robert Barrable – Rd8 Heat One Winner:
“The first one, two, three for POB Racing – it’s quite an emotional moment! I kind of broke away at the start, me and Jamie [Moylan] got the gap and then Peter [Barrable] reeled us in. We always work together and try and raise the bar each time, when it goes well it’s really good. It’s great to get a one, two, three for team Ireland!”

Will Gibson – Rd8 Heat Two Winner:
“We learnt a lot last year winning the championship, we’re trying to pace ourselves – not putting the car in stupid places. All we need to do is match Jack [Parker] and take it to the last round, we’ve pulled back a large amount of points here and now have a slight lead which is great. The whole team have worked their socks off all weekend, massive thank you to them again – we’re really happy.”

Jamie Moylan – Rd8 Final winner:
“I’m happy with that! We started at the back of the grid, picked our way through and I’m absolutely ecstatic. I worked my way through the field with Will Gibson, then I pulled away from him and worked with Rob [Barrable] then who was leading, and I got him at the chicane. I’m really happy to get another one-two for the team.”

There is now a lengthy break of six weeks for the Legends Cars ahead of rounds nine and 10 of the season at Knockhill in Scotland, taking place on 10th/11th August. The event, running as support to the British Touring Car Championship, will also be the final two rounds of the Legends Cars Elite Cup.

Provisional 2024 Legends Cars Championship Points (after Rd8):
1st Will Gibson, 3225pts; 2nd Jack Parker, 3200pts; 3rd Andy Bird, 2935pts; 4th Oli Schlup, 2865pts; 5th Connor Mills, 2860pts; 6th Tyler Read, 2675pts