Jack Parker (Wolverhampton) leads the way as the Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres prepares for its second event of the new season this Easter weekend, 16th/17th April, with the first of three 2022 visits to Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent.
Just over a week ago at Oulton Park in Cheshire, Parker – whose partner is currently expecting their first child – was the form driver with a fantastically consistent series of performances to claim a pair of second place finishes in the Heats and a top four finish in the round one Final.
Opening up a 70 point lead at the top of the championship, the series mainstay will arrive at Brands Hatch seeking his first win of the year and a similarly reliable run of scoring to try and stay ahead of the pack after the upcoming six races around the venue’s 1.2-mile Indy Circuit.
His closest challengers currently are Marcus Pett (Boston) and last year’s Gerard McCosh Napoleon Award winner Sean Smith (Marlow), second and third in the standings respectively, with reigning champion Miles Rudman (Lichfield) fourth.
Rudman was the only one of those four to claim a race victory at Oulton Park, in the round one Final, while John Mickel (Horsham) made history during the season-opener with his 150th Legends Cars National Championship race win – racing to success in Heat Two. Earlier in the day, Team Car driver Matt Isherwood (Mold) claimed his maiden car racing victory in Heat One with a stellar drive.
Mickel is sixth in the standings heading to his local track, just 10 points behind Steve Whitelegg (Bury) who was another to consistently rack up the scores at Oulton Park and is a driver who will be firmly in the mix once again at Brands.
The championship top 10 is completed by Andy Bird (Calne), the 2021 Rookie Champion, Isherwood, fellow Team Car driver Chris Needham (Altrincham) and Kieran Beaty (Hexham) – the latter sponsoring this year’s Legends Cars television coverage, along with brother Mark Beaty (Gosforth), through their Parc Lane Cars business.
Others didn’t have the most straightforward of outings at Oulton Park just over a week ago, the likes of title contender Will Gibson (Camberley) – who experienced a luckless excursion in race one and then a misfire in race two – going into Brands Hatch an unthinkable 17th in the championship. Just behind him, level on points, is 2020 champion Daniel Clark (Darras Hall) – similarly unexpected.
Much could change in rounds two and three, and the action will be as fast and furious as ever with a super-strong grid of around 30 cars expected to take on the Indy Circuit. The track is tailor-made for terrific racing from the 5/8 scale cars, powered by 1250cc Yamaha motorcycle engines, which – for the first time this year – are utilising SulNOx fuel conditioner as Legends push for a greener future.
This year’s crop of Rookie class drivers has huge promise, with several of the group having starred at Oulton Park and all-but certain to do so again next weekend. Oli Schlup (Cuckfield), who made a handful of outings late last season, heads the Rookie battle and is also some 90 points ahead of his father Mike in the overall championship.
Schlup Jnr’s overtaking prowess at Oulton was impressive, passing more cars than anyone else with 44 successful moves – all Rookie drivers having to start each race from the back of the grid. Second in the class is Ben Higgins (Powys), son of Mark Higgins, the three-time British Rally Champion, and he too starred with his overtaking skills and pace on his Legends bow, passing 12 cars in each Heat.
Luke Simmons (Lingfield) also performed impressively on his debut and is third in the Rookie class standings, another driver competing alongside his father this season with multiple Masters Cup winner Paul currently 15th in the overall standings.
“After a fantastic start to the season at Oulton Park, with some sensational action throughout the field, we’re all very much looking forward to Brands Hatch this weekend”, said Phil Cooper, Legends Cars National Championship owner, “Brands is the perfect place for Legends racing, providing superb bump-drafting and plentiful overtaking, plus we’re expecting a fantastic grid once again.
“Jack Parker’s consistency at Oulton delivered a deserved points lead, and it’ll be intriguing to see if he can continue the momentum or whether others will come to the fore. With three race winners from the three races so far, the competitiveness is as strong as ever. It was great to see so many of the Rookies doing so well in round one as well, I’m sure we’ll see more of the same at Brands.”
Qualifying at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit ahead of round two will take place at 09.00 on Saturday, 16th April, with Heat One starting at 11.35, Heat Two following at 14.10 and the Final set to begin at 17.10. On Sunday, 17th April, Heat One of round three will start at 12.00, Heat Two at 14.10 and the Final at 17.10.
Provisional 2022 Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres Points:
1st Jack Parker, 520pts; 2nd Marcus Pett, 450pts; 3rd Sean Smith, 410pts; 4th Miles Rudman, 375pts; 5th Steve Whitelegg, 370pts; 6th John Mickel, 360pts