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MSV’s ten great moments of 2014

Wednesday, December 31 2014

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 Hatch

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 GT Series

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 meeting

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 Hatch

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 Hatch

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 title

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.

You can enjoy many more great moments with MSV's range of Season Passes, available from £89. Click here for more information or to purchase a pass.

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Images courtesy of BMW, Gary Hawkins, Az Edwards, Mark Lees, MJP Media and jakobebrey.com