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MSV’s sporting heroes of 2015

Tuesday, December 29 2015

In a season filled with great racing and bold performances at MSV circuits and in MSV-run championships, we've picked ten of our heroes from a fantastic 2015.

The drivers and riders on this list, which appears in alphabetical order, have helped make this year another great one for MSV. Many have won races and championships, wowing the crowds along the way. Everyone featured here will have much to celebrate over the holiday season and we look forward to seeing many of them back in 2016!

Giacomo Agostini

The 15-time World Champion graced two MSV circuits in 2015, starting with a much-anticipated appearance at Snetterton's MCE BSB round. The legendary rider also christened the corner that named in his honour when the circuit was transformed in 2011. Giacomo also returned to Cadwell Park, scene of former glories, in July alongside many other past masters, including fellow World Champion and MV Agusta rival Phil Read. The pair entertained visitors with tales of their battles on and off the track, whilst the sight and sound of Ago on a period MV at the circuit where he faced off British rivals in the 60s and 70s was something to behold indeed.

Josh Brookes

For several years fans of fearless Aussie Josh Brookes would be forced to watch their hero gallantly try and ultimately fail to beat the MCE Insurance British Superbike Champions to title glory, and at the beginning of the year it seemed as though it would be another season of hurt. But this all changed at Brands Hatch in July when the Milwaukee Yamaha rider started a run of victories that left rivals reeling, including Shane Byrne, despite the reigning champion promising to take the title right down to the wire. By race one of the Brands Hatch finale the title was in Josh's hands, and his legions of fans were every bit as delighted as him.

Alex Dowsett

Cadwell Park has crowned many two-wheeled heroes in the past, but on this occasion the winner crossed the line under their own power. Alex is no stranger to race circuits; his father Phil was a Touring Car racer in the 80s and cousin Oly Collins manages Motorbase's BTCC operations. His victorious performance in the British Cycling Time Trial at the Lincolnshire venue and its surrounding roads in June came just a few days before he was confirmed as part of the Movistar team's Tour de France attack, where, as a national champion, he would wear his country's colours in the Time Trial sections. Whilst that challenge ended early, Alex is unlikely to forget June 2015 in a hurry.

Jeffrey Earnhardt

Jeffrey Earnhardt flew over the Atlantic, taking a break from his busy schedule of NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series races in the USA to try his hand at the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series as it visited Brands Hatch for American SpeedFest III. As the grandson of all-time NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr, expectations were high, and despite Jeffrey not having sat in the car or ever driven a European road course before the event itself, he impressed with competitive showings throughout the weekend. The North Carolina native ran well in both races and was a genuine contender for a podium place in the main race of the event, before he dropped down to eighth following a late race restart - not bad for a European racing rookie!

Bradley Philpot

Bradley spent most of the year helping PalmerSport guests get the most out of the driving event's high-performance vehicles, whilst being hurtled around Bedford Autodrome at terrific speeds. Then after winning a public vote and driving duel in November, he appeared at the Race of Champions as a wild card entry, beating five-time Motorcycle World Champion Mick Doohan in the main event, after seeing off illustrious rivals including Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg from motor racing as well as Sir Chris Hoy and Sir Ben Anslie from the wider sporting world. Bradley hopes it will help him find a regular race drive in 2016 - fingers crossed.

Andy Priaulx

Andy wasn't the 2015 BTCC champion, but he didn't fall too far short. And considering that this was his first season in a comparable car since 2010, and his first in the BTCC since 2002, it was an impressive year for the triple World Champion. One that started with a spectacular pole position on his comeback, and a photo finish with Shedden that proved he'd lost none of the fighting spirit that his fans remember him for. That weekend alone is enough to include him on this list.

Will Palmer

As the 2014 Winter Series Champion, Will was favourite for the 2015 BRDC Formula 4 title, yet even with the weight of expectation his performances were something else this year. He made his intentions clear at the opening Oulton Park event, then bounced back from a tough weekend at Rockingham to dominate the remainder of the season. With half of the season's victories he was the clear champion, then followed this up with an impressive debut in the Formula Renault Eurocup, and sealed a memorable year by claiming the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver Award. A bright future beckons for the 18-year-old.

Gordon Shedden

The 2012 British Touring Car Champion just held off Andy Priaulx at the line to record the first win for the new Honda Civic Type R at Brands Hatch in April, barely two weeks after its testing debut at the Kent circuit. From then on Gordon established a title challenge that survived a trying weekend at Snetterton and he returned to Brands Hatch in October as championship favourite. Rival Jason Plato did his best to steal the honours, but the Scotsman responded to the spectre of defeat with a storming charge through the field in the championship finale on the Grand Prix circuit.

Mat Summerfield

Mat was already a truck racing legend when he started the 2015 season; three consecutive titles is a tough ask in a championship with reverse-grids and one-point increments between finishing positions. It's even tougher when your chief rival is Stuart Oliver, a man who has ten British titles and one European championship to his name. Yet Mat survived all of this to win his fourth in a row, just two points ahead of Oliver in the final reckoning. An honourable mention must also go to West Kingsdown's double British Truck Racing Division Two Champion, Steven Powell.

Laurens Vanthoor

Laurens may have been victorious in the Blancpain GT Series in 2014, but he was anxious to win at Brands Hatch, a circuit that he waxed so lyrical about in the event programme, he could have been mistaken for being 20 years older than his tender age. However his second practice session didn't last long before he stuck the car in the barriers, and it looked as though Laurens would have to wait another year for his dream result. But he bounced back to take pole position by almost half a second and converted this to a brace of victories, with his and team-mate Robin Frijn's winning margin never less than 14 seconds.

You can watch many more heroes on track in 2015 with MSV's range of Season Passes, available from £79. Click here for more information or to purchase a pass.











Additional images courtesy of Az Edwards, JDH Motorsport Photography, Jonathan Reeves and Karl Bowdrey.