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Sunny start to the Superprix on the legendary Grand Prix circuit

Saturday, July 12 2014

The HSCC Superprix roared into life on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit today (Saturday) with a mixture of thrilling battles and impressive drives on a sunny day in Kent.

Retro GT and sports cars kicked things off in the Historic Road Sports, with Kevin Kivlochan starting from pole position in his Morgan Plus 8. He was immediately subjected to pressure from Andy Shepherd and Jonathan Stringer in their Lotus Seven S2s, Shepherd's more nimble Caterham-predecessor slipping into the lead on lap two. The new leader never looked back, eventually going on to win ahead of Kivlochan and Barry Ashdown's Lotus Elan.

Historic Formula 3 cars contested the first single-seater race of the weekend, with David Methley controlling the race from start to finish in his Merlyn Mk 14A. Francois Derossi shadowed him in the early stages but was forced to retire on the third lap with an oil radiator issue. Peter Thompson and Steve Smith completed the podium in their Brabham BT21 and Chevron B15 respectively.

1970s sports-prototype racing was recalled in the Martini Trophy, as a grid of Lola, Chevron and Osella beasts took to the track. Former TVR Tuscan Challenge champion Ian Flux was imperious at the front in his Osella PA3, building a commanding lead in the early stages, before controlling the remainder of the race. Robert Oldershaw guided his Lola T212 to second place, nine seconds adrift of the winner, with Jonathan Loader completing the podium in a Chevron B19.

Martin Stretton was another commanding performer as he steered his March 742 to victory in the Historic Formula 2 International Series. Richard Evans did well to finish less than seven seconds behind in his March 79B, with James Claridge third in his Brabham BT36.

The 70s Roadsports grid was a treat to behold as classic British Lotuses and MGs faced off against an evocative European contingent, which featured Alfa Romeo 2000 GTVs and a Lancia Monte Carlo. British engineering prevailed with James Dean's Lotus Europa crossing the line first. He was followed closely home by Peter Shaw's TVR Tuscan, whilst Charles Barter spoiled the European party by carrying his Japanese Datsun 240Z to third.

The BTCC's 90s halcyon days were revisited in the Super Touring Trophy, which featured several iconic machines from that era. Stewart Whyte led the race from start to finish in his Honda Accord but had to resist constant pressure from James Dodd's similar machine. Dodd was right on Whyte's tail for much of the race but brake issues forced him to back off for a while and prevented him from attacking late on. There was another close scrap for second with Graeme Dodd eventually finishing ahead of the Richard Meins Ford Mondeo, following a race-long battle. Further down the order Harry Whale and Mark Smith remained in close proximity to one another in their BMW M3s, whilst Mark Wright entertained in his unique Zakspeed Mk2 Escort.

The most fiercely contested battle came in the seventh race of the day, for the wingless single-seaters in the Classic Racing Cars category. Experienced campaigner Ian Jones eventually prevailed in his Lotus 59 but he was unable to rest for even a second as Antony Ross pressurised him from the off in his identical machine. Ross was unable to find a way past, despite making a strong getaway, and found himself staring at Jones' gearbox until the final corners of the last lap. He fell just short with his final attempt at the lead, just an excruciatingly small tenth of a second behind the victor. Andy Jarvis was the best of the rest in his Palliser WDB 2.

It was a family affair in the final race of the day with Will and Michael Schryver claiming a one-two in the Guards Trophy in a Chevron B8 and B6. Charles Allison completed an all-Chevron podium in his own B8, at the end of a thrilling 40-minute contest which featured pit stops and driver changes.

Formula 5000 and Formula 2 cars also qualified today, ahead of tomorrow's Derek Bell Trophy races. A 35-strong entry took to the track today, featuring several notable competitors. Prolific historic racer Michael Lyons claimed pole position in his Gurney Eagle FA74, from Andrew Smith in his March 742 and Neil Glover's Lola T330. Ian Flux qualified fifth in a March 79B, as he splits his duties between sports cars and single-seaters this weekend. Ex-Formula 1 driver Ian Ashley put his Lola T300 ninth on the grid as he makes his first appearance in an F5000 machine for a number of years. Ashley was a front-runner in the class in period so it will be interesting to see how he progresses in the races.

Track action commences tomorrow at 10:00 with Historic Formula Ford, which is also the first race of the day at 12:10.

Tickets for the HSCC Superprix at Brands Hatch on 13 July are available on the gate for £22 , with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click  here.