Two months since the Legends Cars Championship with MRF Tyres was last in action ahead of a lengthy and well-deserved summer break, the all-action pocket rockets make a very welcome return to the track next weekend, 20th/21st August, as the 2022 season resumes at Donington Park.
Rounds 10 and 11 of the Legends Cars campaign will form part of the annual ‘Convoy in the Park’ festival at the East Midlands venue’s National Circuit, and ahead of the sixth race meeting of the season it is reigning champion Miles Rudman (Sutton Coldfield) who holds a significant advantage.
Some 595 points clear of nearest challenger John Mickel (Horsham), a five-time former champion, Rudman is well on course to scoop a memorable third Legends Cars crown but, as everyone knows, things can change very quickly indeed in the world of the 5/8 scale Fords and Chevys.
With 200 points available for a race win, and six races over the course of the Donington weekend, it is very easy to see how the championship landscape can alter dramatically – particularly with such a large grid packed with talent.
As things stand, Rudman is charging away at the front in the championship battle and last time out at Anglesey in North Wales in mid-June he bagged another two race victories to take his season’s tally to nine.
Ever-consistent Mickel has claimed five wins so far while third placed contender Will Gibson (Camberley) is level pegging with Rudman in terms of victories with nine. That underscores what a rollercoaster season it’s been so far for Gibson, with great speed hampered by dreadful misfortune.
Fourth in the driver standings is Steve Whitelegg (Bury), the category’s most senior competitor and a driver riding the crest of a wave after claiming his maiden 2022 victory at Anglesey. Not content with that, he added a second and is very much moving further into contention as the year progresses.
Marcus Pett (Boston), a race winner this season, and Jack Parker (Wolverhampton) complete the current championship top six, with a very closely matched group behind. Just over 400 points cover Parker and competitors like Paul Simmons (Lingfield), Nick Bridgeman (Baldock) and 10th placed Charlie Budd (Henley-on-Thames).
One of the absolute highlights of the season has been the fantastic Rookie class scrap, with Oli Schlup (Cuckfield), son of Legends mainstay Mike Schlup, presently leading the way in 12th position in the overall championship. Schlup Jnr is 205 points ahead of Luke Simmons (Lingfield), son of Paul, and Ben Higgins (Powys), the latter’s father Mark a three-time British Rally Champion.
Of course, there are many other drivers all capable of big results at Donington a few days from now including the likes of 2000 Champion Rob Fountain (Boston) and Nathan Anthony (Horley) in his trusty Se-Van, the only ‘van’ in the series.
Keep an eye out for racing brothers Mark Beaty (Gosforth) and Kieran Beaty (Hexham), their business Parc Lane Cars sponsors the Legends Cars television coverage, and the maiden appearance of Dr Dan Clarke (East Keswick) who is the Global Head of Science and Technology at Legends partner SulNOx. Clarke will be piloting the SulNOx liveried car owned by Rickie Leggatt.
“Everyone is itching to get back to action after such a long summer break, and where better than Donington Park which always provides great racing”, said Legends Cars Championship with MRF Tyres owner, Phil Cooper, “We’re set for a fantastic grid of cars and with only three race meetings left in the 2022 season it’s a vital time for those trying to catch Miles Rudman at the top of the table.
“As well as the battle for the championship, the lower half of the top 10 is very hotly contested and the Rookie class fight between Oli Schlup, Luke Simmons and Ben Higgins is incredibly close. We’re also looking forward to welcoming Dr Dan Clarke from our partner SulNOx to the grid for his first races in Legends Cars. SulNOx has been a fantastic addition to the championship, helping us make our racing cleaner and greener with their class-leading fuel conditioner which reduces emissions.”
Qualifying on day one at Donington Park, Saturday, 20th August, will get underway at 09.10 with Heat One of round 10 starting at 12.00, Heat Two at 14.35 and the Final at 18.15. On Sunday, 21st August, qualifying will begin at 10.20, Heat One will follow at 12.15, Heat Two at 15.30 and the round 11 Final will close the weekend’s track action at 18.05.
2022 Legends Cars National Championship Points (after Rd9):
1st Miles Rudman, 4605pts; 2nd John Mickel, 4010pts; 3rd Will Gibson, 3825pts; 4th Steve Whitelegg, 3560pts; 5th Marcus Pett, 3385pts; 6th Jack Parker, 2645pts