For the second year we took part in de Masters Historic Festival, which took us along the famous Grand Prix circuit at Brands Hatch. Last year we were the big surprise and the favourite series of the audience, so expectations were high. Well, these were exceeded. With again the biggest grid (46 entries) at a major event we showed the audience how fun on track looks in the best possible way. Everyone, from audience to officials, from the speaker to the organization of the event, was impressed by the wide variety of our cars. At the back of the grid we had our Trabants, probably the most popular cars with the crowd, at the front we had very big boys like American muscle cars, a good number of Porsches and the nimble smaller fast cars like the Escorts and Lotus Sunbeam. For this event we had a lot of local drivers who made their debut in our series with beautiful and exclusive machines. How about an Opel Manta Thundersaloon, BMW 3.0CSL, 535 Group 2, 635 CSi or a huge Aussi Holden Commodore. Cars we don’t often see in our grids. In qualifying on Saturday it became clear that the mix was perfect: the big cars merged well on the list of qualifying lap times with the smaller cars, as did our usual Dutch drivers with the local guest drivers.
On Sunday morning in race 1 we saw an apparently easy win for local hero Daniel Brown in his very fast Ford Escort MkII. Behind him Christian Nowak (CN-Cobra), Peter Stox and Tijn Jillisen (Porsche 964), Christian Marx (Triumph TR8) and Andy Wilson (Ford Falcon Sprint) battled for the remaining podium spots after Roger Bolliger (Pontiac Transam) spun out on oil from second spot early in the race. In the end the gaps between the three leading cars were quite big, with Nowak finishing second and youngster Jillisen third. In the midfield there were several groups of 3-4 cars battling it out with outbraking, overtaking, slipstreaming, so greatly enjoying themselves on this demanding track. In the end we only saw fatigue, but smiling faces behind the steering wheels.
Race 2, on Sunday afternoon, was a different story. The starting grid was composed by the result of race 1, with Daniel Brown starting from pole. After the start he soon had the Cobra of Nowak on his tail. The German driver persisted and even managed to pass Brown and build up a small lead of several seconds. Brown however, did not give up as the cars cut their way through the field lapping the majority of the other contenders in the 41 car grid. In the penultimate lap Brown outbraked Nowak in Paddock Hill bend to finish first with a margin of only 0.838 seconds. What a thriller it was. Behind the leading duo the race for third spot was also worth watching. In this battle several famous British drivers as Matthew Ellis (Sunbeam Lotus), Simon Graves (Escort RS1600 BDG), Watts/Giodanelli (Datsun 240Z) joined the battle for the remaining top 10 spots with Marx, Stox, Andy Wilson, Malcolm Harding (Zakspeed Escort Mk2) and Amanda Hennesy (Chevrolet Corvette C3). Remarkable was the speed of Matthew Ellis in the Sunbeam Lotus (in race 1 driven by his father), who slid the car literally over the track to finish fourth, just 0,566 seconds behind Christian Marx who took third place. What a jolly good race we saw, and what fun all drivers had on this famous track.
During the whole weekend we had a lot of spectators visiting our paddock, talking to drivers and mechanics, taking pictures, putting children, partners or themselves in one of our cars, thus promoting the love for our beloved hobby: racing with historic cars. We are really proud on the show we provided, on the behaviour of our drivers (no major incidents on the track), on the determination of the mechanics, working together to repair the cars and getting them back on track, and to all involved in creating the atmosphere that the Colmore YTCC is now known for: welcoming, friendly, fun on and off the track.
This was our first double-header, with Zandvoort and Brands Hatch in two successive weekends, what a month we had. Thanks to all involved, next stop at Spa-Francorcamps during the Spa Summer Classic (29-30 June), where we will have 2 grids with 136 cars in total. See you there.