Excitement surrounding the MRF Legends Cars National Championship is reaching fever pitch as the all-action series gets ready to visit Rockingham’s International Super Sportscar Circuit next weekend, 30th September/1st October, for the penultimate event of the 2017 season.
After six fantastic events so far this year the length and breadth of the UK, the battle for the hotly contested championship has all-but come down to an intriguing see-saw contest at the top of the standings between John Mickel (Horsham) and Ben Power (Guilsfield, Powys).
Reigning and multiple champion Mickel holds the advantage with a reasonably slim 90-point lead over Power but with 200 points on offer for a race victory and with 12 races still to go, six next weekend and six during the Brands Hatch finale in November, things can change very quickly.
Unsurprisingly, Mickel and Power are the drivers with most wins this season and in-keeping with their very tight championship battle they are almost inseparable – Power having 13 victories to Mickel’s 12. The title is almost certain to be claimed by one of them, but there are actually four competitors still in with a realistic chance and eight in total with a mathematical opportunity.
Race winners Steve Whitelegg (Bury) and Jack Parker (Wolverhampton), third and fourth in the standings, are well placed but they need some serious luck on their side if either one is to usurp Mickel or Power. It would take a run of victories combined with some dire misfortune for the top two, but this is the MRF Legends Cars National Championship where anything can happen!
Masters class leader Paul Simmons (Lingfield) arrives at Rockingham fifth in the championship, with star Rookie Miles Rudman (Sutton Coldfield) rounding out the top six. Behind Rudman, things are extremely tight with Nathan Anthony (Horley), driver of the only Se-Van in Legends racing, seventh and just 90 points shy.
Anthony is also only 10 points ahead of Gary Whitelegg (Handforth) with Sean Smith (High Wycombe), who won his first ever race last time out at Snetterton, ninth and just 45 points clear of Robert King (York).
Others to look out for include Mike Schlup (Cuckfield) Neil Shenton (Middlewich), Daniel Budd (Bicester), Paul Simkiss (Rochdale), Mike Bourner (Bishop Middleham) and Bill Read (Oldham). There is also a familiar name back on the grid next weekend – James Hall-Morton (Cleckheaton), son of former Masters World Finals Champion Peter Morton, will make a welcome return to the series.
“I think I can speak for everyone in the championship when I say how much we’re looking forward to being back at Rockingham, especially with the unique characteristics of the ISSC layout – it provides some incredible MRF Legends Cars racing”, said Phil Cooper, championship owner.
“The run around the Oval banking through Turn One is perfect for slipstreaming and there are so many overtaking opportunities through the infield too. It’s obviously very tight at the top of the standings between John [Mickel] and Ben [Power], this one really does look like it could go down to the wire at Brands Hatch – just how we like it!”
Qualifying for the MRF Legends Cars at Rockingham will get underway at 09.30 next Saturday, 30th September, with Heat One beginning at 11.35, Heat Two following at 13.50 and the Final taking place at 16.05.
On Sunday, 1st October, Heat One of the day is scheduled for 09.35, Heat Two will commence at 12.35 and the Final will follow at 15.25.
Provisional MRF Legends Cars National Championship Points:
1st John Mickel, 5860pts; 2nd Ben Power, 5770pts; 3rd Steve Whitelegg, 4900pts;
4th Jack Parker, 4790pts; 5th Paul Simmons, 4385pts; 6th Miles Rudman, 3930pts
Provisional MRF Legends Cars National Championship Masters Leader:
Provisional MRF Legends Cars National Championship Rookie Leader: