Seven months since the MRF Legends Cars National Championship got underway at Brands Hatch, the fast-paced series heads back to the famous Kent venue for the grand finale of a superb season this coming weekend, 4th/5th November, and it’s still anyone’s guess who will be 2017 champion.
For the final six races of the season a bumper entry of no fewer than 33 cars are currently scheduled to line-up at the 1.2-mile Indy Circuit, ensuring a memorable conclusion to what has been a classic year of the very best in Legends Cars action.
Last year’s title winner John Mickel (Horsham) heads the driver standings going into the eighth race meeting of the campaign but erstwhile championship leader Ben Power (Guilsfield, Powys) is hot on his heels and there are a maximum of 1200 points still up for grabs.
Bearing that in mind, third placed Steve Whitelegg (Bury) can still upset the apple cart in terms of the title fight but he needs an immense weekend – which is certainly more than possible – combined with all sorts of drama for his two chief rivals.
Mickel and Power have the lion’s share of victories, 14 wins a piece so far, with the former holding an advantage of 210 points going into the final weekend. Whitelegg, meanwhile, has climbed to the top step of the rostrum on seven occasions this year but arrives at Brands more than 1,000 points adrift of the top of the table.
Looking ahead to the series finale, MRF Legends Cars National Championship owner Phil Cooper commented: “With 42 races down and just six to go at Brands at the weekend, we’re still none the wiser as to who will be our 2017 champion! It’s been a wonderful season with some incredible racing and tremendous sportsmanship, and I’m sure there are still more twists in the tale to come.
“We’re absolutely delighted to have such a strong and varied grid for Brands Hatch, with at least 33 cars – almost grid capacity – the spectators are set for some absolutely incredible racing throughout the field. It doesn’t get much better than 30-plus Legends Cars on a 1.2-mile track. We can’t wait.”
Behind the lead trio, Jack Parker (Wolverhampton) is striving to break back into the top three of the championship and easily has the pace to do just that – he’s a four-time winner this year – while top Masters class racer Paul Simmons (Lingfield) and lead Rookie competitor Miles Rudman (Sutton Coldfield) both have a mathematical possibility of ending the season in the bronze medal position.
Gary Whitelegg (Handforth) and Brands Hatch local Nathan Anthony (Horley) are next up in the standings in seventh and eighth respectively, while ninth placed Sean Smith (High Wycombe) will be keen to add to the victories he has taken at the last two events – Snetterton and Rockingham.
Robert King (York) completes the current MRF Legends Cars National Championship top 10 and has 600 points in hand over the chasing Marcus Pett (Boston) with Mike Schlup (Cuckfield) rounding out the top 12 leaderboard.
Adding some extra spice to the weekend’s proceedings will be a very familiar name to fans of Legends Cars, former category Vice-Champion James Holman (Risby) who makes his first outing of 2017 in the National Championship.
Brands Hatch will also mark a welcome return to action for Belgian aces Jean-Michel Poncelet, Guy Fastres, Sebastien Kluyskens and Gilles Verleyen – the latter pair impressing on their UK debut at Snetterton last month. The quartet will be joined in the season finale by Maxime Lieutenant.
Donington Park race winner Will Gibson (Camberley) will certainly be one to watch, racing as always with the #ForTim hashtag on his car in memory of his late brother. Legends Cars stalwarts Glenn Burtenshaw (Forest Row) and Robin Webb (Three Bridges) both return as does Scottish ‘legend’ Gerard McCosh (Biggar).
Mick Mercer (Wakefield) and Jonty Norman share one of two ‘Team’ cars entered for the finale, where the drivers contest one day of the race meeting each, with the other piloted by Paul Groves (Welwyn Garden City) and Nick Bridgman (Baldock).
Add in the ever-improving Bill Read (Shaw, Oldham), Mike Bourner (Bishop Middleham), Paul Simkiss (Rochdale), Cheshire-based Neil Shenton, Dan Budd (Bicester), Essex racer Connor Mills, Daniel McKay (Edinburgh) and James Hall-Morton (Cleckheaton) and you have an exceptional grid guaranteed to deliver.
Qualifying for the MRF Legends Cars will begin the weekend’s track action at Brands Hatch at 09.00 on Saturday, 4th November, with Heat One beginning at 10.45, Heat Two starting at 12.40 and the day one Final following at 14.40. On Sunday, 5th November, Heat One will get underway at 11.05, Heat Two at 12.55 and the Final, the last race of the season, at 15.25.
Provisional MRF Legends Cars National Championship Points:
1st John Mickel, 6915pts; 2nd Ben Power, 6705pts; 3rd Steve Whitelegg, 5855pts;
4th Jack Parker, 5585pts; 5th Paul Simmons, 5055pts; 6th Miles Rudman, 4905pts
Provisional MRF Legends Cars National Championship Masters Leader:
Provisional MRF Legends Cars National Championship Rookie Leader: