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Brands Hatch celebrates Brabham and F1 at Masters Festival

Sunday, May 25 2014

Brands Hatch celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first Grand Prix in fine style on Sunday with a pair of FIA Masters Historic Formula One Contests, whilst the life of three-time World Champion Sir Jack Brabham was celebrated by a moving parade of cars originally built and raced by his eponymous team.

Sir Jack's son David led the tribute, at the wheel of a Martini-liveried Brabham BT45, whilst his own son Sam also took part in a 1967 Brabham BT24. The ensemble of Brabham machines took to the track for a flying lap of the Grand Prix circuit, on which Sir Jack was a winner in 1966, before coming to a halt on the grid for a special photo shoot.

The circuit's own Formula One history was celebrated in fine fashion by a pair of Historic Formula One races, both of which were won by Steve Hartley in his Arrows A4, who was forced to fight hard for success in both races.

Hartley led the first of the two contests from lights to flag, despite constant pressure from the chasing Ensign, capably piloted by Simon Fish. The chasing Ensign driver attempted to outmanoeuvre Hartley as they entered Paddock Hill Bend on the second lap, however the Arrows driver stood firm on the inside line to defend his position. The lead battle endured throughout the race, with the gap between the top two being maintained at less than a second for the latter half of the race.

Mike Wrigley's Williams was left in a lonely third position, but behind him a terrific battle was ensuing for fourth position. Richard Barber's Williams FW08C led the scrap in the early stages before dropping out with a car issue, with Gregory Thornton eventually taking the spot in his Lotus 91/5, following a close scrap with the Ian Simmonds' Tyrrell and Mark Dwyer's March.

FIA Masters Historic Formula One - Part 1
1, Steve Hartley, Arrows A4, 17 Laps
2, Simon Fish, Ensign N180, +0.362s
3, Mike Wrigley, Williams FW07B, +16.798s
4, Gregory Thornton, Lotus 91/5, +31.495s
5, Silvio Kalb, Arrows A4, +31.947s

Fish immediately underlined his intentions at the start of the second Historic Formula One Race, overtaking Hartley before druids and maintaining an advantage for the opening five laps. Hartley stole the lead back as they headed onto the Grand Prix loop for the sixth time, a lead which he would retain until the end.

There was major drama on the eighth lap as Mark Dwyer rolled his Ensign into the Clearways gravel trap, causing a safety car period. The second half of the race was dominated by Silvio Kalb's charging Arrows as he hunted down Mike Wrigley's third placed Williams. Kalb did eventually get past the Williams but fractionally too late, as Wrigley held on to take his second podium of the weekend.

FIA Masters Historic Formula One - Part 2
1, Steve Hartley, Arrows A4, 16 Laps
2, Simon Fish, Ensign N180, +0.477s
3, Mike Wrigley, Williams FW07B, +9.703s
4, Silvio Kalb, Arrows A4, +9.762s
5, Gregory Thornton, Lotus 91/5, +10.316s

The FIA Masters Historic Sports Cars provided one of the most exciting contests of Saturday and it was Martin O'Connell in the Chevron B19 who once again took the early lead from yesterday's Lola T70, this time driven by Leo Voyazides. O'Connell was unable to make the most of his early advantage however, as he was forced into a retirement by a damaged gearbox. Voyazides eventually brought his car home, almost 40 seconds ahead of Jason Wright's similar Lola. Voyazides was also victorious in the Pre-66 Touring Cars as well as the Gentleman Drivers contest, alongside his regular driving partner Simon Hadfield.

FIA Historic Sports Car Championship
1, Leo Voyazides, Lola T70 Mk3B, 20 Laps
2, Jason Wright, Lola T70 Mk3B, +39.351s
3, Manfredo Rossi Di Montelera, Abarth Osella PA1, +42.803s
4, Emanuele Benedini, Chevron B16, +1m17.135s
5, Charles Nearburg, Lola T212, +1m21.376s

Chris Ward drove his Lister Costin to victory in the Stirling Moss Trophy, for classic sports and GT cars, whilst James Murray took victory in the second of the weekend's FIA Lurani Trophy races for Formula Junior machines. One of the most eclectic grids of the weekend came in the Netherlands-based NKHTGT race, which featured everything from Chevrolet Corvettes to a Fiat Abarth 1000. Michiel Campagne won the race in one of the former.

The next major event at Brands Hatch will be American Speedfest II. For more information click here.