Maximum action and excitement was delivered by the Legends Cars Championship and Elite Cup across six sensational races at a gloriously sunny Brands Hatch over the weekend, 11th/12th May, with Jack Parker (Wolverhampton) emerging as the new points leader.

Getting the first of two visits this season to the Indy Circuit off to a perfect start, Parker won Heat One of round three on Saturday before Oli Schlup (Cuckfield) raced to his first ever victory in Heat Two. Robert Barrable (Dublin), who endured a very tough outing at Donington during the season opener a fortnight ago, charged to his first win of 2024 in the round three Final.

On Sunday Parker won again in Heat One, his fourth success of the campaign so far, while reigning Legends Cars Champion Will Gibson (Camberley) claimed the win in an incredibly close Heat Two, which was broadcast live on ITV4 and ITVX, where less than 0.2 seconds covered the top five.

The best really was saved for last though with the televised round four Final, a jaw-dropping contest even by the all-action standards of Legends and possibly the greatest race in the series’ 30-year history. Gibson, who was third just metres from the finish, dived out to grab the win on the line by a mere 0.044 seconds – a race in which as many as 10 drivers were in the hunt onto the last lap!

In terms of the Masters and Rookie class battles, the retuning Steve Whitelegg (Bury) was the winner of the Gerard McCosh Napoleon Award on Saturday with Nick Bridgeman (Baldock) taking those spoils on Sunday. Eric Boulton (Grantham) was the top Rookie for rounds three and four.

Maiden win for Schlup Jnr, Parker and Barrable also victorious
Reigning Elite Cup Champion Connor Mills (Upminster) took the early lead in race one of the weekend on Saturday morning, surging into first place around the outside of Paddock Hill Bend from a front-row start, before being usurped by Jamie Moylan (Naas) on lap three. By the start of lap five there were five drivers battling over the lead, with Schlup moving to the front on lap six.

Building to a fantastic crescendo with some classic Legends action, with a couple of laps to go Parker had managed to get into the lead from Schlup and Gibson and that’s how the top three finished with Parker sealing his third victory of 2024 by just 0.033 seconds, Gibson only 0.1 seconds shy of Schlup. Tyler Read (Weedon) finished fourth, just edging out Moylan and Peter Barrable (Dublin).

Whitelegg made the most of third on the grid in Heat Two, slicing past fellow returnee Chris Dewey (Wisbech) on lap one and then sling-shotting past pole starter Matt Knight (Shoreham by Sea) into Paddock at the beginning of lap two. By lap four Knight had hit back to retake first place, and Parker moved ahead of Whitelegg as well into second.

Parker then passed Knight on lap five and held an advantage of 0.5 seconds, but Schlup closed in and was all over the leader into the eighth tour. Grabbing the lead around the outside at Paddock, Schlup was able to keep his Mickel Motorsport team-mate at bay to secure his maiden win in Legends by just 0.040 seconds. Gibson came through to third again, from Robert Barrable and Whitelegg.

The round three Final was another corker, even though racing did fall under Safety Car conditions fairly early on. Mike Schlup (Cuckfield) led initially in the No.3 Team Car, before Boulton moved ahead in the No.62 Team Car prior to a Safety Car period – the action resuming on lap six.

Boulton led from Robert Barrable and Andy Bird (Calne), with Barrable quickly making his move to grab first place. Boulton raced impressively, before slipping down the order as the race wore on, while Bird and Parker moved up into second and third. Barrable seemed to have enough in hand onto the 13th and final lap, 0.4 seconds ahead and with Oli Schlup – a lap down – as a further buffer.

Bird did all he could and after getting past Schlup’s car, he dramatically closed on the leader who just held on for his deserved first win of the year by a mere 0.018 seconds. Parker was sensational once again, scything through from 23rd on the grid to third and setting fastest lap. Read put in a similarly outstanding performance, rising from 21st to fourth, with Peter Barrable fifth and Boulton sixth.

Spectacular Legends provide amazing Sunday action on ITV4 and ITVX
Dewey started on pole for round four Heat One on Sunday morning but fellow front-row starter Parker surged into the lead around the outside at Paddock Hill Bend. Peter Barrable hit the front at the beginning of lap two, with his brother Robert close behind Parker, but as the field headed across the line into the third tour Robert had worked his way into the lead with Peter down to third.

Mills closed in to make it four for the lead, then taking third from Peter Barrable before the Safety Car was deployed. At the resumption on lap nine Robert Barrable led away well but Parker put him under huge pressure and, on the 13th and final lap, Parker went through at Druids to grab the win by just 0.064 seconds with Mills finishing third. Luke Simmons (Lingfield) won a terrific scrap for fourth.

Heat Two was screened live on ITV4 and the Legends starred from start to finish. Read held the early lead from pole but as the pack headed to Druids, third placed Bird made unintentional contact with the rear of Read’s car under heavy braking. Boulton, therefore, emerged at the head of the pack from Gibson before the latter swept past and Moylan followed.

The top three ran nose-to-tail, with Stephen Treherne (Islington) not far behind in fourth, but Bird soon made his way back through after the lap one incident and he was joined by Oli Schlup and Robert Barrable into the latter stages. With two laps to go the top three was Gibson, Moylan and Bird and into the final tour it was five for the lead. Gibson held on to win from Moylan with 0.187 seconds covering the winner back to Schlup in fifth. Bird managed to just pip Barrable for third.

Lenny Woodcock (Chichester) started from pole in the round four Final, but sixth placed starter James Newbery (Burgess Hill) made a stunning launch and rocketed into the lead around the outside at Paddock. In the mid-pack at Druids, though, a multi-car tangle led to the deployment of the Safety Car and officials soon decided on a red flag stoppage.

The race re-started a short time after and one of the very best, if not the best, encounters in the category’s long history unfolded. Treherne and Moylan swamped Newbery into Paddock Hill before Parker moved to the front into Graham Hill Bend on lap two. Moylan dived into the lead on lap four and by lap six the top 10 were all line astern – positions changing with every blink of the eye.

Moylan did look well set at the front but, with two laps to go, Read and Mills bump-drafted past into Paddock to go first and second. Read led onto lap 11 and it seemed his debut win was assured but on the run to the line Gibson – who started 25th on the grid – darted out from third and pinched the victory by 0.044 seconds with 0.065 seconds covering Gibson, Read and Mills. Robert Barrable was only a tenth of a second further back in fourth, from Moylan and Parker.

Jack Parker – Rd3 Heat One and Rd4 Heat One Winner:
“I could not have asked for a better weekend, two wins and four podiums is great – points make prizes. Mickel Motorsport do a brilliant job, making the consistency, so I’m just glad I can do the job in bringing the results and all the podiums we can have. It’s a team effort out there, touch wood we can keep it going like this and keep it consistent.”

Oli Schlup – Rd3 Heat Two Winner:
“It was such a close finish, it’s great to see how close we are together and a fantastic result for Mickel Motorsport. It took me a couple of laps to get him [Parker], then I thought ‘you can push me and we’ll go together’. The car felt great, we didn’t get to test on Friday but in quali it was quick straight away.”

Robert Barrable – Rd3 Final Winner:
“I wanted one less lap there, I knew Jack [Parker] and Andy [Bird] were coming hard so I had to keep the head down. It was a difficult start to the day, but a great finish. I’m just delighted to get the win, just delighted. I hope it’s not going to be a year of what-ifs or what could’ve been, we do have a mountain to climb after Donington but we’re focused on moving forward.”

Will Gibson – Rd4 Heat Two and Rd4 Final Winner:
“I didn’t think the win was on [Rd4 Final], that was one of the best Legends races I have ever had. I didn’t pass anyone conventionally as I went around the outside at every corner – what a race! It’s been fantastic, we’ve put on an amazing show for the fans this weekend. Brands is very dear to our hearts, the last time I saw my brother Tim before he passed away was here, so it’s always very emotional. To win on live TV, you can’t beat it.”

There is now a four week break in the Legends Cars calendar with the fifth and sixth rounds of the Championship taking place on 8th/9th June, also at Brands Hatch, as part of the Kent venue’s yearly celebration of all things Americana – American Speedfest 11. Rounds five and six of the Legends Cars Elite Cup, the conclusion of the sister series, will take place in mid-August at Knockhill in Scotland.

Provisional 2024 Legends Cars Championship and Elite Cup Points (after Rd4):
1st Jack Parker, 1755pts; 2nd Will Gibson, 1570pts; 3rd Tyler Read, 1550pts; 4th Andy Bird, 1520pts; 5th Connor Mills, 1400pts; 6th Oli Schlup, 1335pts