Fast and furious Legends Cars Championship action at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit over the weekend, 8th/9th June, delivered six expectedly brilliant contests and produced another richly deserving first time winner – second year racer Tyler Read (Weedon).

Emerging victorious in the red-flagged round six Final at the American Speedfest event on Sunday evening, Read entered the history books as a Legends Cars Championship race winner having been in tremendous form since the start of his sophomore campaign.

Jack Parker (Wolverhampton) continues to lead the standings after the third meeting of the 2024 campaign, his highlights being victory in the first Heat on each day, while reigning champion Will Gibson (Camberley) also took a win on Sunday – in a car rebuilt overnight after a monumental effort from his team and Matt Roach Racing – and has more than halved Parker’s points advantage.

Robert Barrable (Dublin), who again experienced mixed fortunes, bagged his second victory of the season in Heat Two on Saturday while Oli Schlup (Cuckfield) added to his tally with his second win of the year in the round five Final. In the Masters Class, Nick Bridgeman (Baldock) was the top finisher in five of the races. Harri Musselle (Buckingham) and Ben Mahoney (Surrey) shared Rookie honours.

Action-packed Saturday delivers three star winners
Heat One on Saturday provided a perfect start to the American Speedfest race action, a fantastic battle throughout which was ultimately won by Parker – a tenth of a second ahead of Gibson who just shaded Andy Bird (Calne). Bird led out of Druids on lap one with the returning Chris Needham (Altrincham) right there, the latter taking the lead briefly before the start of lap two.

Parker moved past Needham, before Gibson hit the front on lap three out of Paddock, and as the race progressed a train of five lead cars developed. Gibson continued to head the way but at the start of lap eight Bird struck and he led the train into the 10th and last lap. Parker, third at that point, timed it all to perfection to beat Gibson and Bird, with Peter Barrable (Dublin) fourth from Needham.

Robert Barrable had pole for Heat Two and he well and truly made the most of it, leading each of the 11 laps on his way to a superb second win of 2024 – an extra tour was added on after an early Safety Car. The Irishman had led away at the start from Nick Price (March) and Connor Mills (Upminster), but out of Druids some tangling led to several cars spinning – including the unfortunate Price.

Racing resumed on lap four and Barrable and Mills pulled clear, Nathan Anthony (Horley) taking third at Paddock just behind with fellow Masters contender Bridgeman also moving into podium contention. The two leaders worked together smartly and Barrable didn’t put a wheel wrong at the front, managing to keep Mills at bay to win by 0.1 seconds.

Gibson delivered a customary star drive from 18th on the grid to take third, just ahead of Read with Peter Barrable again in the big points with fifth. Anthony rounded out the top six while Parker had to settle for 11th after the early skirmishes.

Bridgeman made the early running in the round five Final, a race which turned out to be possibly his best of the season so far. Leading from Paul Musselle (Buckingham) into lap two, Bridgeman saw off the attentions of Matt Knight (Shoreham by Sea) on lap three but fell prey to an attack from Read.

He couldn’t shake Bridgeman off initially, but their battle soon became a four-way with Schlup and Bird joining the party. Schlup led into lap 10 with nothing to separate him from Read and Bridgeman, and by lap 13 Bird was right there. Schlup wasn’t going to be denied, though, and he took the win a lap later by 0.1 seconds from Read, Bird a mere 0.046 seconds further back with Bridgeman fourth.

It was a race to forget for not one, but three of the championship’s quickest competitors. Gibson and Robert Barrable both retired with damage after a lap five incident and Parker experienced more frustration with troubles of his own, requiring two pit visits and a finish of 24th, two laps down.

First win for Read as Parker and Gibson also add to season tallies
Parker took pole position in the grid ballot for Heat One of round six and unsurprisingly held the lead through Paddock Hill Bend at the start, although on lap two he slipped back on the run to Druids with Schlup taking the lead and Luke Simmons (Lingfield) following him into second place. Parker soon hit back to second and then remained tight behind Schlup before passing him on lap four.

Staying at the front, with Robert Barrable and Gibson moving into the group as well, Parker was then passed by Barrable on the ninth tour at Paddock with Gibson taking third. Into the final lap Barrable was a fraction ahead over the line but on the sprint to the flag Parker took the win by 0.047 seconds, Barrable pipping Gibson to third. Mills snatched fourth from Schlup, with Bird sixth.

High drama at the start of the final lap of Heat Two accounted for the two lead contenders for victory, an unfortunate tangle between Robert Barrable and Read resulting in both ending up in the gravel at Paddock. Read had started on pole and originally led Needham, prior to and also after an early Safety Car period.

Racing resumed on lap five and Needham quickly moved through, he and Read working together well to try and gap the others. At the start of lap 11 Read had nosed ahead again over the line with Barrable second and Needham third, but the next time around it was curtains for the lead duo.

Gibson came through it all to pinch victory, a superb result in a car rebuilt overnight by his tireless team, from Needham and Mills. Fourth was returning two-time Legends Cars Champion Lawrence Davey (Crawley) in the #2Mater ‘Team Car’ – great stuff on his first weekend back racing Legends since 2012. Parker and Bird completed the top six.

Read started the round six Final at the head of the field and led the pack into Paddock, but Knight went with him and applied plenty of pressure while Needham made his presence felt too. Knight nosed ahead over the line into lap five, but Read soon assumed his position back at the front as Robert Barrable began to come into contention. He took the lead on lap six with Read tight behind.

They worked together to pull clear of the rest and Read then moved back into first place on lap 10, his maiden victory looking evermore likely. Still ahead as the duo crossed the line at the start of lap 12, fluid deposited on track at Paddock resulted in several cars spinning and so the result was taken back to lap 10 – Read’s win assured. Barrable took second with Davey third, the first ever podium for the #2Mater car, ahead of Knight, Mills and Schlup.

Jack Parker – Rd5 Heat One and Rd6 Heat One Winner:
“We had some ups and downs this weekend but to come away with two wins and plenty of points is what we needed. We had to make a few tweaks here and there with the car all weekend, the rubber the NASCARs were putting down made the circuit very slippery for us so you had to drive differently to normal, being much more tentative. It was a shame about the Sunday Final with the red flags, the car was coming on and it would’ve been nice to finish on a high.”

Robert Barrable – Rd5 Heat Two Winner:
“When it’s good it’s good, but when it’s bad it’s a bit of a nightmare for us! I’ve never had five or six non-finishes in my career but, realistically, it’s good to get another win and when we have finished the races we’re on the podium. We know the pace is there, it’s very good, we just need the rub of the green. It’s enjoyable though, the racing is good and when we get the results they’re good. We need to pick our battles a bit.”

Oli Schlup – Rd5 Final Winner:
“Saturday was the strongest day overall for me, tied on points for first on the day, and it’s obviously great to have taken another win. We were fifth on points for Sunday and we’ve moved up a couple of places in the championship as well. I’m starting to get the hang of it more this year, the team has helped to push me on, and I’m definitely aiming for the top three in the championship – if I can fight for the championship I’ll be delighted.”

Will Gibson – Rd6 Heat Two Winner:
“I’m the most tired I’ve ever been after a race weekend! After the damage in the last race on Saturday, we drove down to Matt Roach’s place and worked throughout the night until 6am Sunday morning to get the car rebuilt. I genuinely can’t say thank you enough to everyone involved, it was an unbelievable effort and I don’t think anyone has done anything like that in Legends before – especially then taking a podium and getting a win without even having a shakedown first!”

Tyler Read – Rd6 Final Winner:
“Everyone is buzzing with the win, the whole team is so happy! It all feels a bit surreal really, I didn’t expect last season to be as good as it was and I didn’t expect this season to go as well as it has. With all the second places we’ve been taking I knew the first win was only a matter of time, but it’s still a surreal feeling. I always go out there and do the best I can, you need some luck as well, but we’re going well in the championship and I can’t wait for Donington.”

Legends Cars return to race action just three weeks from now, over the weekend 29th/30th June at Donington Park in Leicestershire for the seventh and eighth rounds of the season.

Provisional 2024 Legends Cars Championship and Elite Cup Points:
1st Jack Parker, 2505pts; 2nd Will Gibson, 2430pts; 3rd Andy Bird, 2330pts; 4th Connor Mills, 2265pts; 5th Oli Schlup, 2205pts; 6th Tyler Read, 2205pts