Rounds five and six of the Legends Cars Championship with allgrowth Ltd at Snetterton over the weekend, 7th/8th October, delivered a series of absolute star performances – not least a winning hat-trick from Mickel Motorsport’s Jack Parker (Wolverhampton).
Claiming victory in Heat Two of round five on Saturday, Parker added two more victories to his 2023 tally in both of the round six Heats on Sunday. The increasingly impressive Ben Higgins (Abermule) took his maiden Legends Cars win during the event’s first race, before adding a second in the round five Final. Luke Simmons (Lingfield) then secured his second career victory in the round six Final.
Championship leader Will Gibson (Camberley) approached the weekend with the mindset of safely accruing as many points as possible and staying out of trouble as much as he could. In that sense it was a great success, with Gibson extending his advantage at the top of the table to 430 points.
In the Rookies, overall podium finisher Tyler Read (Weedon) and Andrew Rogerson (Maidenhead) shared the spoils with three wins apiece. Mike Schlup (Cuckfield) was the highest scoring Masters Cup runner in round five, while in round six Nathan Anthony (Horley) was top Master.
Maiden victory for Higgins and Parker back on top too
Daniel Pooley (March) drew pole from the grid ballot for Heat One on Saturday and he led away well at the start, before coming under pressure from Parker and Higgins – up from seventh and fourth respectively. Parker soon grabbed the lead early on lap two and Higgins passed Pooley for second a short while after, with Anthony then moving into third on lap three.
Into lap five Parker had opened an advantage of 0.9 seconds but Higgins had other ideas and set-up a grandstand lap six finish after taking the lead into Riches. Parker tried to hit back at Agostini but Higgins re-challenged and went on to claim his maiden win by 0.1 seconds from a flying Chris Needham (Altrincham) with Simmons third, Parker fourth and Anthony fifth.
After the highs of the earlier race, Higgins experienced the polar opposite at the beginning of Heat Two when a tangle in the mid-pack resulted in his car and the Se-Van of Anthony retiring mere yards from the grid– and also led to a red flag stoppage. When the race re-started, Oli Schlup (Cuckfield) swiftly grabbed the lead from pole-starter Rogerson but Parker was soon with him.
Into lap two Parker was ahead of team-mate Schlup and they began to work together well, opening an advantage of two seconds over Rogerson by lap three. Gibson, who picked up steering damage at Riches in an incident at the original start, was up to third from the back with Simmons close behind. Then, on lap four, an oil leak ended Schlup’s hopes and he slipped to an eventual seventh.
Parker went on to win by 3.5 seconds with a true photo-finish determining second in favour of Simmons, a mere 0.001 seconds ahead of Gibson. Rogerson was top Rookie in fourth after a strong drive, with Charlie Budd (Henley-on-Thames) fifth and Matt Knight (Shoreham-on-Sea) sixth.
Saturday concluded in unusual fashion, and much earlier than expected, when a local power cut impacted the preceding GT Cup race and then meant the round five Final for the Legends Cars couldn’t take place. Instead, it was rescheduled to Sunday morning and Nick Price (March) made the early running, before Rob Fountain (Boston) and Read moved through.
Working together smartly, Fountain and Read pulled away from the rest before Read made the pass on lap four. Around the same time Higgins started to move into contention and after taking second from Fountain on lap six, he grabbed the lead a few corners later into Brundle. Higgins went on to win on lap eight by 0.8 seconds with Read, Simmons and Oli Schlup almost as one over the line.
Parker and Simmons on top of round six podiums
The opening Heat of round six, Sunday’s second on-track action for the Legends Cars, began with Rogerson on pole from Read but all eyes were on an electrifying start from Parker, up to third from 10th by the time the field headed to Agostini, and Schlup who was right with Parker from 14th. By the start of lap two Parker was making his move to take first place and Read went with him.
Higgins and Simmons, with Schlup right there as well and setting fastest lap pace, ran a slight gap off the lead duo. Higgins moved to the front late on lap four but Parker hit back at Riches. Into the sixth and final lap Parker had enough in hand to win with nothing to split his pursuers, Read and Simmons second and third again with Schlup fourth, Bird fifth and Gibson sixth from 17th at the start.
Anthony lined-up on pole for Heat Two on Sunday afternoon with Gibson alongside and the Se-Van driver held the lead initially, before being passed by the championship leader at Wilson Hairpin. Two corners later Needham moved into second and Parker moved up the order from 11th at the start, by the beginning of lap two he was almost with the top two while Anthony remained in touch in fourth.
Needham led the train over the line into lap three while Schlup had moved into contention ahead of Parker. Little more than a lap later Parker had hit the front and he was able to see off all challengers to claim his third win of the weekend. Needham looked nailed-on for a podium, but a last lap tussle meant he and Higgins dropped to fifth and fourth. Gibson claimed second place with Bird third.
James Newbery (Burgess Hill) started the round six Final on pole alongside Pooley, the latter taking the lead at Agostini before Fountain moved ahead down Bentley Straight. He led until the start of lap four when Simmons drafted past, with Needham working his way through the lead contenders to join Simmons at the front on lap five.
Glued together over the remainder of the eight-lapper, changing places a few times, it all came down to the drag to the flag. Needham led out of the chicane, but Simmons was able to use the slipstream to his advantage to claim victory. Higgins added another podium to his tally in third, with Gibson working his way through to fourth sensibly and expertly from 18th on the grid.
Ben Higgins – Rd5 Heat One and Rd5 Final Winner:
“It feels really, really good to be honest. It’s been long coming, last year it was looking like we might get a win a few times but it didn’t happen. This year we’ve managed to be on the podium quite a lot, so it’s nice to finally get the win. The competition has just gone up and up, even compared to last year. It’s been a very good weekend, two first places is great for us – Legends are so great.”
Jack Parker – Rd5 Heat Two, Rd6 Heat One and Rd 6 Heat Two Winner:
“I got a good start [Rd5 Heat Two], got to the front and led from there. It’s a shame Oli [Schlup] had the oil leak as it would’ve been nice to have a one-two for the team. We had to put a new engine in the car [for Rd6 Heat One] but it performed great and then for the third win I just picked my moves, slowly got to the front. The long lap at Snetterton helps to pick your way through the grid.”
Luke Simmons – Rd6 Final Winner:
“That was a really close battle, working with one another to try and get away from the rest of them. I had to take over from pushing Chris [Needham] as he had a broken back bumper, you’ve got to know who to push and when to push so it’s great to win again. I can’t fault the car this weekend.”
The decisive final two rounds of the Legends Cars Championship with allgrowth Ltd will take place over the weekend 4th/5th November at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent, running as part of the annual British Truck Racing Championship ‘Fireworks Finale’ event.
The Legends Cars Championship is supported by allgrowth Ltd, JLM Lubricants, Carless, Vital Equipment and MRF Tyres.
2023 Legends Cars Championship with allgrowth Ltd Points (after Rd6):
1st Will Gibson, 2655pts; 2nd Luke Simmons, 2225pts; 3rd Oli Schlup, 2150pts; 4th Ben Higgins, 2130pts; 5th Andy Bird, 2090pts; 6th Chris Needham, 1995pts