One of the absolute highlight events of the Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres season is just around the corner at Donington Park this coming weekend, 21st/22nd July, where the ever-popular pocket rockets will form part of the annual ‘Convoy in the Park’ festival.
Marking the second of five events this year where the Legends Cars will run as support to the behemoths of the British Truck Racing Championship, the sixth race meeting of 2018 for the Legends is also one of the biggest in terms of spectators with thousands set to flock to the East Midlands.
Ahead of rounds 10 and 11 of the immense 51 race season, reigning champion John Mickel (Horsham) has a healthy lead of almost 700 points at the top of the championship. With 200 points on offer for a race victory though, and six races set to be contested across the weekend, anything can happen – and usually does – in the fast-paced world of Legends Cars.
Currently the closest challengers to the points leader are 2017 Rookie class champion Miles Rudman (Sutton Coldfield) and Steve Whitelegg (Bury), who have just 70 points between them, with the ever-competitive Jack Parker (Wolverhampton) just over 200 points further shy in fourth place.
Completing the championship top 10 are Sean Smith (High Wycombe), Neil Shenton (Middlewich), Will Gibson (Camberley), Paul Simmons (Lingfield), Marcus Pett (Boston) and Nathan Anthony (Horley), the latter’s bright yellow Se-Van the only ‘van’ in Legends Cars racing.
Pleasingly, Donington Park will see the return of last year’s Vice-Champion Ben Power (Guilsfield, Powys) who makes a very welcome and long overdue reappearance in Legends. Despite having been on the sidelines for the last three race meetings, due to work commitments and the small matter of his marriage to wife Alesha, the Welshman will undoubtedly be in the mix at the sharp end.
Also making a return to the championship, for the first time since the opening round at Oulton Park back in March, will be Belgian aces Gilles Verleyen and Sebastien Kluyskens and they will be joined by compatriots Jean-Michel Poncelet and former National Championship driver Jerome Farinaux.
In terms of race victories this season, Mickel has the most with 10 wins to his credit with Whitelegg currently on five, Rudman has four under his belt and Power, Gibson and American star Jordan O’Brien – who made a one-off appearance at Anglesey earlier in the year – have two apiece. Parker and Connor Mills (Upminster) are the season’s other winners with one victory each.
Looking ahead to the weekend, championship owner Phil Cooper said: “Convoy in the Park is always a massive event, easily one of our biggest of the season, and with a grid of at least 25 cars expected at the weekend we’re looking forward to some absolutely sensational racing. Now we’re fully into the second half of the season, things will get increasingly serious in the championship battle.
“It’s great to see Ben Power back on the grid, huge congratulations to him on his recent wedding, and we’re thrilled to see our Belgian friends back in the championship to add some international flavour to the Donington weekend. It looks set to be another fantastic event with thousands of spectators expected, and we’re obviously very happy to be back with our friends at the BTRA.”
With just as much happening off-track as there will be on-track at Donington’s 1.98-mile National Circuit, including stunt shows, show trucks, Monster Truck rides, live music and comedy, the latest instalment of Convoy in the Park is set to be the biggest yet.
Opening qualifying for the Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres will get underway at 09.55 on Saturday, 21st July, Heat One will begin at 11.25, Heat Two follows at 14.35 and the Final is set to start at 17.50. On Sunday, 22nd July, qualifying will begin at 09.25, Heat One is set to start at 11.25, Heat Two is scheduled for 14.45 and the Final will get underway at 17.30.
Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres Points (after Rd9):
1st John Mickel, 4725pts; 2nd Miles Rudman, 4065pts; 3rd Steve Whitelegg, 3995pts;
4th Jack Parker, 3735pts; 5th Sean Smith, 3475pts; 6th Neil Shenton, 3070pts