With competitors celebrating success every weekend of the
season at MSV's four circuits and in a variety of
championships, there were many fantastic moments this
year. It's been hard to pick ten of the best, but here's
our top ten, in chronological order.
Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold visits Brands
The season hadn't even got underway when former Brands Hatch
employee Lizzy Yarnold claimed Great Britain's only gold medal at
the Sochi Winter Olympics in February. The Skeleton champion
returned to her childhood home of West Kingsdown the following
month after a bus tour which stopped off at Brands Hatch, where she
was reunited with former boss Mandy Scott.
The Sochi venue would prove to be a lucky talisman for MSV in
2014; eight months later Jolyon Palmer secured the GP2 title there;
2010 F2 Champion Dean Stoneman won one of the GP3 races; and former
PalmerSport instructor Lewis Hamilton took another step closer to
his second F1 crown.
Zanardi returns to Brands Hatch in the Blancpain
Top-line international GT racing returned to Brands Hatch in
2014, and the Blancpain GT Series brought a multi-million pound
grid that sounded every bit as good as it looked. There was a
fantastic sense of occasion enhanced by the return of Paralympic
hero Alex Zanardi to the scene of his double gold medal success.
After retiring from the qualification race, Zanardi stormed to
fifth in the main event, driving solo unlike all of his rivals,
whilst the Lamborghini of Hari Proczyk/Jeroen Bleekemolen completed
a double victory. The GT Cup Championship provided another helping
of supercar action and a stunning display of machinery made Colin
Chapman Way look more like Kensington High Street.
Sir Jack Brabham tribute parade at the Brands
Hatch Masters Festival
David Brabham had already announced his participation in this
year's Masters Historic Festival at Brands Hatch when the sad news
emerged that his father, F1 legend Sir Jack Brabham, had passed
away. Displaying the sort of Aussie grit that his compatriot Mark
Webber is famous for, David refused to cancel his commitment and
with his son Sam, led a parade of cars built by the famous
marque that formed part of Sir Jack's considerable legacy. It was a
fitting tribute, for the Masters Festival also marked the 50th
anniversary of the first World Championship Grand Prix at Brands
Hatch, a race that Brabham Sr won in 1966.
Super Touring Car Championship supports the BTCC
at Oulton Park
The Super Touring Trophy was one of the delights of 2013 and the
series for 80s and 90s BTCC machinery became a fully-fledged
championship this year. The highlight of the year was a one-off
appearance on the TOCA bill at Oulton Park, with reigning BTCC
champion Andrew Jordan lapping the Cheshire circuit in a Vauxhall
Cavalier and Renault Laguna during the build-up. BTCC legend John
Cleland took pole position in his 1998 Vauxhall Vectra, but only
lined up on the grid after a frantic cross-country dash to obtain a
replacement suspension component. He led the opening laps but lost
out to James Dodd's Honad Accord, and the pair finished the second
race in the same order. Cleland's fellow BTCC veteran Patrick Watts
also showed plenty of fighting spirit as he battled further down
the top ten.
Cadwell Park 80th anniversary
The Lincolnshire Wolds circuit celebrated its 80th birthday in
2014, with a meeting that fittingly showcased motorcycle racing. A
host of two-wheeled heroes attended, including Phil Chatterton,
Steve Plater, John Reynolds and Jack Machin. Local racer Guy Martin
popped in to see a venue filled with spectators paying tribute to
their favourite venue and enjoying racing, bike and car displays,
and live music.
Formula One comes to Cadwell Park
Cadwell Park may have a big reputation amongst motorbike fans,
but that didn't stop motorsport enthusiast John Reaks from lapping
the tight Lincolnshire circuit in a 1990 Benetton Grand
Prix-winning car at Modified Live in August. Cadwell Park has
witnessed a wide range of machinery in its 80-year history, but
this was the first time anyone could remember a winged F1 car
attacking the Mountain.
Turkington takes his second BTCC title at Brands
Seven British Touring Car Champions lined up on a grid of 31
cars this year but no-one was a match for Colin Turkington, who
took his WSR-built BMW 125i M Sport to the next level at Oulton
Park, securing a title lead that he would not relinquish. Such was
his dominance, with eight wins, that he had the championship
wrapped up in the opening race at the Brands Hatch finale. Chief
rival Jason Plato spoiled the chance of a final head-to-head when
he attempted a lunge best described as 'optimistic' in the second
race, but it added plenty of drama to the occasion.
Shakey scores four MCE BSB titles at Brands
Shane Byrne was on a mission to avenge his 2013 MCE Insurance
British Superbike Championship defeat to Alex Lowes when the 2014
season kicked off at Brands Hatch. His winning streak lasted
throughout spring but by the time the Showdown was on the horizon,
fellow three-time champion Ryuichi Kiyonari had rediscovered his
mojo, re-igniting the 'War for Four'. The pair were nip-and-tuck
heading into the finale, held on the Brands Hatch GP circuit, and
when Kiyo fell off in practice, injuring his shoulder, Shakey was
handed a golden chance. But he crashed out in the opening race,
giving his rival an extra day to recover. Race two began without
the Japanese rider, however, and a fighting performance from Shakey
brought him another race win and a record fourth title.
Jolyon Palmer's GP2 Championship
Jolyon Palmer had proven to be the man to beat in the closing
rounds of the 2013 GP2 season, and with a transfer to the crack
DAMS team, was tipped for the 2014 title along with former
Carlin team-mate Felipe Nasr and McLaren protégé Stoffel Vandoorne,
who was driving for multiple category champion team ART Grand Prix.
Jolyon was instantly on the pace, taking pole position in Bahrain,
and won the sprint race. From then on he pulled ahead in the title
race, with Nasr proving to be his closest challenger. The pair
clashed in Hungary but by now the Brazilian was firmly on the back
foot. Further wins for Jolyon at Monaco, Monza and Sochi, combined
with scorching qualifying pace and assertive overtaking manoeuvres,
secured him the title with a record-breaking score.
George Russell wins BRDC F4 Championship and
McLaren Autosport BRDC Award
George Russell arrived in BRDC Formula 4 with an outstanding
karting record, and took a win on the opening weekend of the
season in changing conditions at Silverstone to establish
his title charge. He was fully in command until the latter stages
of the season, when he faced the possibility of losing the title.
He entered the final round at Snetterton behind on points but
fought back to take the title. He then impressed in his GP3 prize
test for Carlin, and emerged victorious from the McLaren Autosport
BRDC Award assessment process to join a roll of honour that
includes sporting greats David Coulthard, Dario Franchitti, Jenson
Button and Anthony Davidson.
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