Racing of the highest possible quality was delivered in spades by competitors from the Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres over the weekend, 7th/8th September, at Snetterton 300 Circuit where Miles Rudman (Sutton Coldfield) retained his place at the top of the standings.
Rudman, who took the championship lead last time out at Donington, won the opening day’s Final on Saturday and also added victory in the first of Sunday’s three encounters. Sean Smith (Marlow) claimed back-to-back wins in Heat Two on Sunday and the Final, becoming the driver with most victories thus far in 2019 with five, and he also climbed into second in the points table.
Jack Parker (Wolverhampton) made an overdue return to the top step of the podium by winning the first of the weekend’s races on Saturday morning, while Will Gibson (Camberley) – who starred last time out at Donington Park – added his third win of the year in Heat Two on the opening day.
Ultra-close action in all six races makes for super Snetterton
Parker started Saturday’s action fastest in qualifying, and by a huge margin too – 0.9 seconds – from Rudman, Connor Mills (Upminster) and Sy Harraway (Weston-super-Mare), and the West Midlander converted that pace into his second win of the season in the weekend’s opening race.
Paul Simmons (Lingfield) headed the field on lap one from Parker before the latter moved into the lead prior to a brief Safety Car. When the action resumed the podium battle intensified and after Gibson moved into second on lap four, he pressured Parker hard and only just missed out on pipping his rival by 0.037 seconds at the flag. Simmons finished third from Robert King (York) and Rudman.
Heat Two saw roles reversed in the fight for victory, with Gibson leading the way and ultimately going on to secure his third success of 2019. He and Parker worked together well, breaking away from the pack and eventually putting a gap of more than four seconds between then and third placed finisher Rudman who just shaded Harraway and Mills.
Throughout the six lapper there was nothing to split Gibson and Parker, who set fastest lap, and at the chequered flag the former bagged the win just a mere 0.056 seconds clear to continue his terrific late-season form.
There was absolutely nothing in it during Saturday afternoon’s eight-lap Final either, although this time the battle for victory came down to a terrific five car battle at the front. Smith made the early running before Rudman moved into the lead on lap three, but on lap five Parker surged through to the head of the pack in search of his second win of the day.
Rudman quickly hit back, though, to lead into lap six and he managed to see off Smith at the flag on lap eight by just 0.027 seconds. Parker ended a very consistent day in third from John Mickel (Horsham) and Gibson, less than half a second splitting the lead quintet. Mike Bourner (Bishop Middleham) rounded out the top six, some distance shy, ahead of Nick Bridgeman (Baldock).
Marcus Pett (Boston) started Heat One on Sunday from pole position and made a great start before Harraway hit the front through the infield as Rudman and Parker began to storm through the field. On lap two Rudman grabbed the lead in the draft along Bentley Straight to head Smith with Harraway down to third and Pett fourth and, before long, Parker – setting fastest lap pace – was there too.
Into lap five Rudman was still at the head of the lead battle, but with Parker now second and really pressuring. Despite the latter’s huge pressure Rudman held on to win by a tenth on lap six with Smith taking third and Pett just missing the podium by a fraction. Multiple Superkart Champion Chris Needham (Altrincham), meanwhile, took a superb eighth in his maiden Legends Cars race.
In Heat Two, Parker swept into the early lead at Riches ahead of pole-starter Bridgeman and by the start of lap two Rudman – now into second ahead of Nathan Anthony (Horley) – was 0.8 seconds behind. Grabbing the lead on Bentley Straight, and with Gibson moving through to second, Rudman’s turn at the front didn’t last long when Gibson moved ahead on the third tour.
With nothing between the leaders, Parker regained the advantage as the top four chopped and changed. Smith moved into the lead for the first time through the infield with a lap and a half to go and although Rudman hit back, Smith managed to grab the win at the line by 0.048 seconds from Rudman and Gibson. Parker’s hopes ended when he cruelly slowed to a halt at Riches on the last lap.
Another sensational battle concluded the weekend’s Legends Cars offering in the Sunday Final and Smith made it back-to-back victories, taking the lead on the penultimate lap to claim the win from Harraway and Paul Simmons (Lingfield).
Harraway led early on before Mickel grabbed the lead midway through the opening tour, and the reigning champion continued to lead for the bulk of the eight lap race with Harraway in close company as they worked together. Dave Ward (Braintree), driving the ‘Team Car’ which was piloted by Bourner on Saturday, held third during the early exchanges but he eventually finished eighth.
As the race neared the closing stages, Smith and Gibson had climbed into podium contention from the back and the former managed to hit the front on lap six before going wide at Oggies and allowing Mickel back into the lead. Retaking the lead at the start of the penultimate tour, Smith went on to win by 0.2 seconds from Harraway with Simmons capping a late surge with third.
Mickel finished fourth in the end ahead of Gibson, while Rudman’s bid ended on lap four when he slowed with mechanical problems. The top six was completed by James Hall-Morton (Cleckheaton), another who had a realistic chance of podium success.
Sean Smith – Double Snetteron Winner:
“It was hard work [in Sunday’s Final], quite demanding. We came from the back and it wasn’t really until the end we managed it. I thought they’d got away, as we struggled at the start to pick people off, but it’s great to win and two wins from the weekend is brilliant.”
Miles Rudman – Double Snetterton Winner:
“You try to get a gap here but you’ve got no chance in these cars, the wind has been quite bad as well so as soon as you pull out on the straights it feels like something pushing you back. Thankfully a few guys worked with me and we took a couple of wins, I just want to keep getting the points.”
Will Gibson – Saturday Heat Two Winner:
“I think there have been four of us flying this weekend, Sean [Smith], Miles [Rudman], Jack [Parker] and I – it’s been a great weekend. Staying out of trouble and having a drafting partner has been key, Jack and I worked well together.”
Jack Parker – Saturday Heat One Winner:
“I’m extremely happy to win again, and the engine performed well during the weekend even with a lack of oil – unfortunately we had four bolts missing from the sump, but we sorted that out. We’re very happy with the results.”
Legends Cars return to Wales four weeks from now, with a trip to Pembrey in Carmarthenshire, for the penultimate race meeting of the 25th anniversary season over the weekend 5th/6th October.
All of this weekend’s race action from Snetterton 300 Circuit, filmed by Digitex Television and sponsored by 24hr Solutions, will be shown on Amazon Prime, BARC TV, Motorsport.tv and the Front Runner TV channel in due course.
Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres Points (after Rd10):
1st Miles Rudman, 4380pts; 2nd Sean Smith, 4225pts; 3rd John Mickel, 4155pts
4th Sy Harraway, 3845pts; 5th Marcus Pett, 3780pts; 6th Will Gibson, 3725pts