Season Opener Equipe Classic Racing

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The Equipe Classic Racing season kicked off on the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on 23-24 March with some good racing, despite thin grid sizes in some categories, no doubt due to the early date and some cars still in winter re-build.  Amongst the surprises over the weekend was a sudden intense hailstorm that covered the track with ice, dropped the temperature by 10 degrees C, and necessitated a red flag.  That the winner of both the MG races was a Wolseley Hornet also came as a surprise.  Chris McEvoy Reports…

Robin Lackford, GRD 272, Benn Simms, March 78B, Equipe F2 Atlantic, Equipe Classic Racing, Sunday 24th March 2024, Brands Hatch Circuit, Longfield, Kent DA3 8NG, England.

The biggest grid, with 26 cars, was for Saturday’s Equipe GTS race, which came down to a three-way contest between Robert Cull (TVR Grantura), David Wenman (Morgan Plus 4) and the MG B of Neil Fisher, Cull taking the first race ahead of Fisher and Wenman.  After another qualifying session on Sunday saw a much-diminished grid, the order changed for race two, with David’s son Andrew taking the wheel of the Morgan and driving like he’d stolen it to keep Cull at bay by ten seconds at the flag, with Fisher third.

Robert Cull, TVR Grantura Mk 111, Equipe GTS, Equipe Classic Racing, Sunday 24th March 2024, Brands Hatch Circuit, Longfield, Kent DA3 8NG, England.

The first race of the much-publicised new series for Formula 2 and Atlantic cars attracted just seven cars for qualifying, with F2 category enthusiast Martin Stretton taking pole.  However, Martin’s familiar March 742 suffered a rear upright failure during the session, which caused the rest of the rear suspension to collapse.  Martin wasn’t injured in the subsequent ‘off’, but it wasn’t possible to repair the car, which didn’t appear in either of the two races.  Glenn Eagling (GRD 273) led from lights to flag twice, with Martin Wood (March 73b) taking second both times.  Robin Lackford (GRD 272) and Benn Simms (March 78b) tussled for third with Simms taking it, the second time after Lackford retired.  Only five cars started the second race.

Andrew Wenman, David Wenman, Morgan Plus 8, Tom Pead, BMW 1600Ti, Equipe 70s, Equipe Classic Racing, Sunday 24th March 2024, Brands Hatch Circuit, Longfield, Kent DA3 8NG, England.

The Wenmans, père et fils, took home further silverware after sharing the drive in a Morgan Plus 8 in the 40-minute Equipe 70s race, winning by nearly 30 seconds from Tom Pead in a BMW 1600ti.

Other races saw wins for Joseph Willmot (Austin Healy 3000) in the pre-63/50s race, Tom Smith (Lotus Elan), who took advantage of wet conditions to overtake leader David Methley’s Cobra on the slippy surface in the Equipe Libre race, and the aforementioned Wolseley Hornet Special driven by Anthony Seber, who vanquished a field of pre and early post-war MGs in the Triple M race. 

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