(Pictured: Chris Knox’s Van Diemen RF79)
The Brian Jones Trophy was the event’s Historic Final, although the cut-off point was 1998 rather than 1982 and genuine historic cars were outnumbered and somewhat outgunned.
Former BTCC and truck racer Matt Rivett was the winner in a 1991 Van Diemen, having pulled onto the tail of Darwin Smith’s 1990 version during a safety car period. Rivett had started fourth and spent the early part of the race putting himself into a favourable position to pick off Smith. He need not have bothered, however, as Smith went off on the final lap. Brandon McCaughan was second in a Mondiale M89S, with Chris Goodwin making the most of the final five-lap sprint to put his Van Diemen RF89 in third.
First place was something of a curse on the wet Brands asphalt, as early leader Alan Davidson suffered a series of problems with his 1989 Mondiale and dropped to tenth.
Returning star, the Van Diemen RF80-mounted Roberto Moreno, only lasted a single corner before spinning off into the gravel, triggering a safety car period.
The “proper” historic action was further down the grid, with Robert Higgins’s Macon MR7 the quickest pre-’72 car in 13th place. Higgins, competing alongside sons Richard and Adam, made up several places in the closing stages of the race and finished just ahead of Chris Knox, having his first single-seater race in a Van Diemen RF79. Former Mini racer Knox was perhaps the most impressive of the Historic entries, running as high as eighth for a good portion of the race.
The debut appearance of Shaun Hollamby’s Jamun T3 was also a positive one. Hollamby had been waiting for it to be ready all season and managed to climb to 15th place from the back of a 30-car grid.
Rick Morris usually runs well at the Festival but his Royale RP29 had an argument with the barriers in his semi-final and he dropped a lot of places on the final lap of the historic final, finishing 20th. Stuart Kestenbaum, racing Mark Harrison’s Royale RP21 for the first time, was 23rd.
None of the pre-’82 runners made it in to the Grand Final, won by Jamie Sharp, although Historic regular Samuel Harrison was 14th in a Ray GR07. Knox qualified for the first semi but could only finish 26th, and Morris crashed out of the second.
Full results at TSL Timing
Image copyright Linton Stutely