Two more race victories for Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres points leader Miles Rudman (Sutton Coldfield) at Pembrey in South Wales on Sunday, 6th October, helped to boost his advantage at the top of the standings to a huge 560 points with just one event now remaining.
Winning the first of Sunday’s Heats and going on to add victory in the second day’s titanic Final, Rudman goes into the finale of the championship’s 25th anniversary campaign at Brands Hatch in Kent a month from now well and truly in the box seat in terms of the title battle.
On Saturday, 5th October, Sy Harraway (Weston-super-Mare) largely dominated the rain impacted action with a masterful series of performances to win Heats One and Two and he was also the on-the-road victor in the Saturday Final.
Post-race, though, the result of race three was overturned after a last corner tangle and so second placed Will Gibson (Camberley) was elevated into first position. The event’s other winner was Jack Parker (Wolverhampton), who claimed victory in Sunday’s second Heat.
Harraway and Gibson celebrate success on wet day one in Carmarthenshire
From the outset on Saturday there was no doubting Harraway was on the pace, lapping fastest in qualifying by almost 0.3 seconds from an impressive Nick Bridgeman (Baldock) with Parker third and Rudman fourth.
In the dry first Heat, Paul Simmons (Lingfield) made the early running and was 1.8 seconds clear of Rudman and Harraway by the end of lap one. While they closed in over the next couple of laps, Simmons remained ahead until lap five when Harraway, who edged Rudman to third, took the lead.
With fractions separating the podium battlers, the trio pulled well clear of the pack and by the end of the race on lap 10 they were some 10 seconds clear. Harraway’s bid for victory was threatened when Rudman moved into the lead on the penultimate tour, but the former hit back and went on to win by 0.5 seconds with Rudman edged back to third by Simmons. Parker headed the rest in fourth.
Rain arrived for Heat Two and Gibson led at the end of the opening tour by just under a second from Rudman and Pett. Following an early Safety Car period between laps three and five Harraway, who was sixth at the start of lap two, broke into the podium placings and into the seventh tour he had nosed ahead of Gibson with Rudman down to third.
Harraway went on to open an advantage of 0.5 seconds and the lead trio were unchanged for a couple of laps until Rudman got ahead of Gibson. At the flag on lap 10, Harraway wrapped-up his second win on the trot – sixth of the year – by 0.3 seconds with Rudman second and Parker stealing third from Gibson after also posting the fastest lap. Sean Smith (Marlow), in fifth, led the next pack.
Weather improved for the Saturday Final and all eyes were on Harraway and whether he could make it an incredible hat-trick of wins. Marcus Pett (Boston) was the early leader, holding an advantage of 1.5 seconds at the end of lap one from Harraway with Simmons in third position.
Harraway moved to the front on lap three ahead of Pett while Gibson, who passed Simmons on lap two, started to rapidly close-in with a series of fastest laps. Gibson usurped Pett for second on the fifth tour and he then moved into the lead as a terrific scrap with Harraway began.
Trading first place during the second half of the 12 lapper, Gibson led into the final tour but at the last corner Harraway squeezed back ahead to seal his third win on the bounce. Post-race, though, officials demoted Harraway to second as a result of some contact and so Gibson was awarded the victory. Parker completed the podium after passing Pett with a couple of laps to run.
Super Sunday produces wins for Rudman and Parker
Reigning champion John Mickel (Horsham), who had a very quiet opening day by his standards, set out his stall in qualifying on Sunday morning by lapping fastest a full 0.9 seconds clear of Harraway and Mike Bourner (Bishop Middleham).
Heat One got underway on a drying track and Rudman quickly hit the front, the top three of Rudman, Gibson and Nathan Anthony (Horley) unchallenged throughout the 10 lap contest. Rudman led every lap, but a dramatic finish looked to have given Gibson his second win of the weekend when he was initially credited with victory in a near dead-heat by 0.022 seconds.
Moments later, though, the timing screens updated with Rudman taking his first win of the event by 0.065 seconds while Anthony sealed a very welcome return to the podium in third. Parker headed the next group in fourth from Pett and Mickel, a shake-up on lap five proving decisive in the battle for ‘best of the rest’ with Simmons dropping down the order and Harraway heading to the pits.
Heat Two began on a dry track and Mickel led for the first four laps, before Pett moved ahead and began to control proceedings. Pett looked strong and on course to claim the victory, opening a lead of 1.4 seconds by the start of the final lap, but a moment on the last tour meant he slipped to fifth.
Parker came through to win by just 0.036 seconds from Rudman, with Harraway battling back to third – having dropped outside the top five early on. Mickel finished the race fourth, incredibly only 0.9 seconds shy of winner Parker, with Simmons rounding out the top six behind Pett.
Sunday’s Final delivered another sensational race, with just 0.2 seconds covering the top four at the chequered flag in a classic grandstand finish. Harraway opened up a huge, by Legends standards, lead of 2.2 seconds by the end of lap two but at the halfway point he was just a couple of tenths clear of Rudman with Mickel in third, 3.5 seconds further adrift.
Rudman moved ahead, before Harraway hit back on lap seven, and the pair fought superbly to the dramatic finish. As the lead duo battled, Mickel and Parker did manage to close in and at the finish on lap 12 Parker snatched second place just 0.037 seconds shy of winner Rudman with Harraway edged back to third and Mickel right there in fourth. Pett completed the top five, seven seconds shy.
Miles Rudman – Sunday Heat One & Sunday Final Winner:
“It’s been a great weekend, exactly what we were looking for. Obviously, it’s fantastic to take a couple of wins and with a lot of good points it’s great for the championship, Sunday was better than Saturday for us but it was still a strong weekend overall. Going into Brands I’m just going to stay focused, get as many points as I can and see what happens!”
Sy Harraway – Saturday Heat One & Two Winner:
“Winning all three races [on Saturday] in tricky conditions was the highlight of my season so far, although race three then became P2. On Sunday we started off with a DNF after losing a bumper, but managed another two podiums with a very tired engine. Unfortunately, I think we’ve given away the championship…maybe next year!”
Will Gibson – Saturday Final Winner:
“If it wasn’t for the fact we’ve had such a good run of late, I’d be really happy with the weekend. We were making headway on the top three in the championship until a couple of issues on Sunday, but it’s still all to play for at Brands. It’ll be hard for Miles to lose the championship now, but I think the other positions are, literally, up for grabs for anyone. Fingers crossed we can get that top three.”
Jack Parker – Sunday Heat Two Winner:
“I’m very pleased with the performance of the car and the results we’ve taken this weekend. In the dry and the wet the car handled well and we didn’t have any problems, other than the fifth race when the header came off so we struggled for pace after that but still managed to win. Hopefully we can be competitive again at Brands and have a strong finish to the season.”
Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent will host the final two rounds of the fantastic 25th anniversary Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres season over the weekend 2nd/3rd November.
All of this weekend’s action from Pembrey, filmed by Digitex Television and sponsored by 24hr Solutions, will be broadcast at a future date on Amazon Prime, BARC TV, Motorsport.tv and the Front Runner channel.
Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres Points (after Rd12):
1st Miles Rudman, 5470pts; 2nd Sean Smith, 4910pts; 3rd Sy Harraway, 4775pts;
4th John Mickel, 4755pts; 5th Marcus Pett, 4535pts; 6th Will Gibson, 4485pts