Brands Hatch Masters – Huff Shows His Class at Brands Masters

Filed under: Classic News |
Ford WRC Escort driven by Rod Birley

Ford WRC Escort driven by Rod Birley

A cold start greeted a surprisingly small amount on the morning of the first day of the Historic Masters. Then, as the ambient temperature grew the action got hotter. Saturdays timetable included qualifying and races for tin tops with the Quaife Motorsport saloon championship and the Master pre66 Touring cars both over and under 2 litres. Rob Birley and his WRC Cosworth Escort set the pace with Malcolm Wise taking the other front row slot also in an Escort out of an impressive 37 contenders. The Masters under 2 litre follow and the BMW of James/Taft ahead of Dunham/ Owen Lotus Cortina, nudging the Mini Cooper of the BeeBee’s onto the second row. Smail/Huff put their Copper into 6th whilst all round nice bloke and AC/DC front man Brian Johnson was 21st in a 24 car field. The over 2 litre pre 66 Touring Cars mainly consisted of American muscle punishing their tyres all day and the open wheeled boys were represented with the Ronnie Peterson Trophy for early Formula Fords. The final competition to be settled was the Masters 70s Celebration and what a cross-section and variety of cars and drivers in this one. With one of my favourites in Patrick Watts driving the wheels off a very impressive Metro Turbo up against a Broadspeed Jaguar and a Ferrari 308GTB, just two of a lively 26 car field. After lunch the sun came out and things really started to hot up.  In the 70s Celebration race the Lyons Ferrari 308 failed to repeat an earlier victory in the morning race and it was the Porsche’s of Di Montelera and Mark Bates that finished one and two with the Buncombe/Ward TWR XJS taking the final podium spot.
Mini Cooper S of Desmond Smail and Rob Huff

Mini Cooper S of Desmond Smail and Rob Huff

The spectator count had now grown considerably and they were in for a real treat with the Pre 66 under 2 litre class race. The pole sitting car of James/Taft had a big moment in the unforgiving gravel at Paddock, the car sustained serious damage, a real shame for the team as the car was a hot favourite. From then on battle commenced with the Lotus Cortina’s of Dunham/Owen and Graham Wilson unable to hold back the hard charging Ford of the McInerney’s that came from the back of the field to take second. Finishing just 2 seconds behind the Cooper of Desmond Smail and Rob Huff, the World Touring Car Champion just threw the fantastic Mini around the Kent circuit, and finished to a much deserved standing ovation from the crowd. Magnificent racing and this is just the beginning of what promises to be a great weekend.  The machines waiting in the garages are some of the rarest and beautifully prepared I have seen, and from tomorrow they are going to be let loose. If you get to do one thing this Bank Holiday weekend set aside one day and enjoy the spectacular that is the Masters Historic Festival.Tags: