Stretton’s hot March won the scorching F2 races on 9-10 July. Marcus Pye reports..
The European Formula 2 Championship took its final curtain call at Brands Hatch in 1984 before being replaced by F3000, thus merits the HSCC’s retrospective, run for two-litre cars to 1978 and 1600cc predecessors from ‘67-’71. The spectacular cars always deliver on the Grand Prix circuit, indeed the annual Legends Superprix’s double-header could not have been more hotly fought. Invitee Martin Stretton – the 2007 and ’09 champion, running his March 712 with a two-litre Ford BDG engine narrowly prevailed each day, shading 782 drivers Matthew Watts (BMW M Power) and Matt Wrigley (Hart power).
Second place Clive Richards in his Lotus 22 leads the rest of the Formula Junior pack Photo Eric Sawyer
The European two-litre sportscar championship’s ‘two-seat F2 cars’ visited Britain only thrice. Brands for 1975’s Britannica 200 season-opener won by Jörg Obermoset (Warsteiner TOJ-BMW). Silverstone staged rounds in ‘71 and ‘72, twin-legged affairs won on aggregate by Toine Hezemans (Chevron B19) and Arturo Merzario (Abarth Osella SE021) respectively. Chevron stalwart John Burton placed fifth overall in ‘72. Fifty years on, he won Saturday’s Thundersports race in his B26 by a country mile after New Zealander Warren Briggs parked his ex-Fred Parkhill Can-Am McLaren M8E with a broken gear linkage. Simon Watts inherited second in his ex-John Watson/Ian Scheckter B26, having outrun another Team Gunston car, Gary Furst’s ex-Karl von Wendt Lola T212.
Martin Stretton prevailed to win boththe F2 races in his March 712 Photo Eric Sawyer
Single-seater categories with international heritage comprised the bulk of the programme, bar Historic Formula Junior, whose singleton race was won at a canter by McLaren GT racer Michael O’Brien in SpeedSport’s Brabham BT6. Only Historic FF2000 saw different victors. Points leader Benn Simms topped Saturday’s order from rival Graham Fennymore, kept in the title race by Adrian Reynard who lent his freshly restored spare car when engine problems hobbled the defending champion’s SF81 mid-week.
Westie Mitchell (11) heads for trouble in the Formula Ford race in front of Tim Brise (22) both in Merlyns Photo Jeff Bloxham
Teenager Samuel Harrison won the Historic Formula Ford and Historic F3 races in Chevron B15 and Merlyn Mk20 respectively and looks an odds-on bet to snare both crowns. The second Formula Ford race was started by Grahame White, who first dropped the Union flag on the category’s debut race here in July 1967. That was won by Ray Allen in a Lotus 51 and his original trophy would be presented to the latest winner. This one ended abruptly when 2009 champion Westie Mitchell cartwheeled into the gravel at Paddock having been tripped by period racer Tim Brise, who had out-braked Rob Smith in the trio’s all-Merlyn battle for fifth overall. After an anxious few seconds Westie crawled from his inverted car unaided.
John Burton in Chevron B26 and Warren Briggs in McLaren M8E each won a Thundersports race
Classic F3 champ Andy Smith (March 783) annihilated his opposition in a heartening field, beating former winner Simon Jackson (Chevron B43) by 40 seconds in the opener. Following engine failure in his Lola T400 at Donington, Michael Lyons brought out the family’s Eagle FA74 and outclassed the Aurora Trophy pack which boasted six F5000s. Stretton (in his F2 March) and the Chevrolet-powered Chevrons of Neil Glover (B37) and Paul Campfield (B24) which came closest. A late safety car covering the marshals extinguishing veteran Richard Piper’s Brahma on the GP loop, punctuated the Guards Trophy finale, with James Dodd’s Ginetta-BMW G16 in front.
Ben Simms emphatically won the first FF2000 race but was unable to start the second
See Marcus Pye’s full report in our August 2022 issue
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