Six long weeks since the MRF Legends Cars National Championship departed Cadwell Park after an outstanding third event of the season, the category will make its long-awaited resumption just eight days from now when the best in big grid racing arrives at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire.
Always a popular challenge for competitors, the 2.1-mile track has a fantastic mix of straights and challenging corners and will undoubtedly deliver some terrific ‘bump drafting’ and classic Legends Cars action next weekend, 1st/2nd July, which will mark the halfway point of the season.
Ben Power (Guilsfield, Powys), the most successful driver thus far in 2017 with no fewer than seven victories from the 18 races contested, leads the championship standings by an enhanced 130 points following the previous event at Cadwell Park and will certainly be the driver to beat at Croft.
Having moved into pole position in the title race on ‘home’ ground at Anglesey in Wales during round two in April, Power further increased his advantage last time out with a fine blend of great speed, terrific racecraft and all-important consistency.
Reigning champion John Mickel (Horsham) is, unsurprisingly, right in the thick of the action as he seeks to claim yet another Legends Cars crown. Currently holding second place in the championship, the series stalwart – like Power – has been a race winner at each of the three rounds this year.
Starting off the season with a hat-trick of victories at Brands Hatch in late March, Mickel then had mixed outings at both Anglesey and Cadwell Park, due to mechanical dramas and illness respectively, but is still Power’s closest challenger.
Third placed Jack Parker (Wolverhampton) is something of a growing force in MRF Legends Cars and after a stellar weekend at Cadwell, where he took a pair of fantastic wins to increase his tally for the year to three victories, he has charged into the championship top three to put some early season mechanical difficulties behind him.
Fourth in the driver standings is Steve Whitelegg (Bury), the erstwhile championship leader following round one at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit, and the WTBS Motorsport driver will be looking to hit back after missing out on a win at Cadwell – having been victorious at Brands and Anglesey.
Just 15 points further adrift in fifth position is top Masters competitor Paul Simmons (Lingfield), who is putting together an extremely competitive and consistent campaign, with lead Rookie class runner Miles Rudman (Sutton Coldfield) rounding out the top six as he continues to impress in his first season on full circuits.
Others from the championship top 10 to look out for include Sean Smith (High Wycombe), Gary Whitelegg (Handforth) and Nathan Anthony (Horley), while Belgian trio Jean-Michel Poncelet and Guy and Marc Fastres will all return to action to add some terrific international flavour.
As the most northerly venue the MRF Legends Cars will visit all season, Croft will act as the ‘home’ circuit for York-based Robert King who goes into the fourth race meeting of the season in 11th place in the driver standings.
Situated even nearer to the Croft-on-Tees venue, only 20 miles up the road in Bishop Middleham, is County Durham racer Mike Bourner (Bishop Middleham), whose daughter Kerrie is a key part of the MRF Legends Cars National Championship administration team.
Looking ahead to the resumption of the 2017 season, championship owner Phil Cooper said: “It’s been a very long break since Cadwell Park so everyone has had a wonderful chance to recharge their batteries, get their cars working in perfect order and prepare for a great weekend of racing at Croft.
“We really have seen some fantastic racing so far this year at Brands Hatch, Anglesey and Cadwell, with lots of different race winners and podium finishers. While Ben Power is the driver to beat at the moment, any number of competitors are capable of winning and the standard is particularly high. I can’t wait for Croft to see what the next instalment of MRF Legends Cars action brings!”
Qualifying at Croft Circuit will take place at 09.55 on Saturday, 1st July, with Heat One of the day following at 12.00, Heat Two at 14.25 and Saturday’s Final getting underway at 16.35. On Sunday, 2nd July, Heat One starts at 12.00, Heat Two at 15.10 and the Final at 17.10.
Provisional MRF Legends Cars National Championship Points:
1st Ben Power, 3070pts; 2nd John Mickel, 2940pts; 3rd Jack Parker, 2665pts;
4th Steve Whitelegg, 2340pts, 5th Paul Simmons, 2325pts; 6th Miles Rudman, 2060pts
Provisional MRF Legends Cars National Championship Masters Leader:
Provisional MRF Legends Cars National Championship Rookie Leader: