Miles Rudman (Sutton Coldfield) and Jack Parker (Wolverhampton) both enjoyed well-deserved double success at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire over the weekend, 7th/8th August, as the Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres season reached its halfway point.
Parker took the spoils in a red-flagged Heat One on Saturday morning, before championship leader Rudman raced to victory in Heat Two. In the round seven Final, which was impacted by the arrival of rain, Rudman won again to continue his fantastic 2021 form – his seventh victory of the season.
Round eight’s first Heat also took place on Saturday where John Mickel (Horsham) headed home Rudman and reigning champion, and Croft local, Daniel Clark (Darras Hall). Parker took another win in Heat Two on Sunday, before the consistent Will Gibson (Camberley) starred to win the Final.
First year Legends Cars racer Chris Brockhurst (Westgate) was very close to making it onto the podium in the last race of the weekend, and with erstwhile Rookie class points leader Scott Bourne (Worthing) not in action at Croft it means Brockhurst has now moved ahead in the title battle from Andy Bird.
Twin success for Rudman and more wins for Parker and Mickel
Race one of the weekend took place under overcast skies and the early running was made by Paul Simmons (Lingfield) who opened a big advantage of 1.5 seconds on lap one alone from Bird, Brockhurst, Mickel and Parker.
Edging away by another tenth on lap two, Simmons’ lead was then slashed by the rapidly advancing Parker. With fastest lap on the third tour, Parker closed up and then passed for the lead the next time around. Mickel went with him, Simmons down to third, but on lap five the red flags were flown.
The combination of a slowing Lee Bourner (Bishop Middleham) due to engine troubles, and no space to react for Mike Schlup (Cuckfield), led to a worrying collision – thankfully both were uninjured. The result was taken from lap four with Parker winning from Mickel, Simmons and Brockhurst.
Heat Two was a straight fight throughout between Rudman and Gibson, with the championship leader winning out by just 0.1 seconds on the run to the flag. Rudman led every lap, but Gibson was there as an ever-present threat as the top two drivers in the title race dominated.
Mickel was on the podium again with third place, albeit nearly six seconds behind the lead battle, with Chris Needham (Altrincham) fourth, Parker taking fifth after a strong drive through the pack and Steve Whitelegg (Bury) rounding out the top six.
Rain arrived over Croft before the round seven Final and continued throughout the eight-lap race, which provided a second win of the day for Rudman. Charlie Budd (Didcot) led early on before Bird moved to the front on lap two, the latter driving well and staying in the lead until Rudman sliced through on the fifth tour.
Gibson, who had run second to Bird earlier in the race, re-took second on lap six as a repeat of his Heat Two battle with Rudman looked on the cards. This time, though, wet-weather specialist Parker had a say and set a series of fastest laps before moving past Gibson on the eighth and final lap.
Rudman won by 0.6 seconds from Parker with Gibson pipped to the runner-up spot by just a tenth of a second. Whitelegg claimed fourth position after another strong drive, Bird ultimately finished fifth and Mickel took sixth place.
While the third race of the day wrapped up the round seven action, due to racing at Croft on a Sunday only being able to take place from midday because of local restrictions, the opening Heat of round eight followed on Saturday evening.
On a damp track, beneath overcast skies once more, Bird led the way early on and put up a terrific battle when challenged by Mickel into lap four. Although Mickel managed to get by, Bird ended the next tour only 0.076 seconds shy but he was shuffled back to fourth by the conclusion.
Mickel took the chequered flag on lap six a second clear of Rudman for his fifth win of the year, with 2020 title winner Clark making a very welcome return to the podium at his ‘home’ track, just 0.3 seconds further shy. Some way behind Bird, Gibson and Sean Smith (Marlow) completed the top six.
Parker adds another success as Gibson takes fourth win of season
Heat Two of round eight began Sunday’s track action and Parker delivered his second victory of the weekend, third of 2021, after a terrific battle with Whitelegg. Parker led Smith initially before Whitelegg moved into contention on lap two, the latter then taking the lead the next time around.
As Gibson broke into the podium placings, second-placed Parker set about re-taking the lead and duly did so on the fifth and penultimate lap. Following a dramatic shake-up just behind on the final tour, Smith came through to finish a distant second, Gibson held onto third but Whitelegg had to settle for a frustrating fourth. Needham and Mickel profited from dramas to take fifth and sixth.
In the round eight Final, Legends rookie Brockhurst led the first half of the eight-lapper and was in contention for the podium race-long with a great drive. Heading Budd initially and then Bourner, when Rudman moved into second on lap three he wasted no time in passing Brockhurst a lap later.
Mickel and Gibson came through to run second and third and into the last lap there was nothing to split them. Gibson, setting fastest lap on the final tour, smartly worked his way to the front to take a first win of the weekend with Rudman 0.6 seconds back in second and Mickel third. Brockhurst was fourth, Smith fifth and Parker moved into the top six as brake issues accounted for luckless Bourner.
Miles Rudman – Rd7 Heat Two and Rd7 Final Winner:
“It’s been another strong weekend, some good results, a couple of wins and plenty of podiums. In the first Heat on Saturday I felt I struggled a bit, so we changed a few things on the car to find some extra pace and after that we were much better. We’re getting the points and the wins each weekend which is what we need to do. It’s all going to plan.”
Jack Parker – Rd7 Heat One Winner and Rd8 Heat Two Winner:
“We’ve had a strong weekend, it’s always good to take a couple of wins. We kept it clean, picked up plenty of points and had some good races. I always take each circuit as it comes, you only know from qualifying what sort of pace you’ve got so until then you can’t really know. It’s been a good points earner for us this weekend, we could’ve done a bit better maybe but overall I’m very pleased.”
John Mickel – Rd8 Heat One Winner:
“It was a busy weekend for us, and some difficult conditions, but I can’t really grumble with the results. There’s not much difference points-wise between the top drivers, nothing in it, so I think we’re about where we were. The team did a great job to get Mike [Schlup] back out after his big accident on Saturday, it was a lot of hard work but everyone did a fantastic job.”
Will Gibson – Rd8 Final Winner:
“I’m very happy with the weekend, this was the track we were least looking forward to coming back to so it’s great to have taken a solid weekend’s results – the win was the icing on the cake. This is the big push now for us, if we want to win this championship we need a solid Donny, solid Snett and then see what happens at Pembrey and Brands. Heads down now to focus on the next two events.”
There are just two weeks to wait until the second half of the Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres season gets underway, over the weekend 21st/22nd August, at Donington Park National Circuit in Leicestershire.
Provisional 2021 Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres Points:
1st Miles Rudman, 4220pts; 2nd Will Gibson, 3665pts; 3rd John Mickel, 3550pts; 4th Jack Parker, 3125pts; 5th Sean Smith, 2990pts; 6th Steve Whitelegg, 2305pts