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2021: The season in pictures

Monday, December 27 2021

We've reached the end of yet another busy season of motor racing at Brands Hatch, Donington Park, Oulton Park, Snetterton and Cadwell Park.

That makes this the perfect time to look back at some of the major highlights we've enjoyed over the past 12 months and, as ever, the story has been beautifully told by some of the professional photographers who work at our venues.

From starting the season behind closed doors to selling out Brands Hatch's annual Trucks and Fireworks meeting, there have been plenty of memorable moments. 

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 situation, it wasn't possible for fans to make an immediate return to the track in 2021. Racing was able to take place in secure conditions though, including both of Donington Park's major historic race meetings. The first race meeting to take place at any of MSV's circuits was the Masters Historic Weekend at the East Midlands circuit, which featured standout performances behind the wheel of McLaren and Williams Grand Prix cars from Steve Hartley and Mike Cantillon. 
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A NEW DRIVE!

MSV introduced a completely new circuit experience at the start of 2021 as a family-friendly, COVID-secure activity. After their initial winter postponement, Drive! events proved to be enormously popular at Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton and Cadwell Park as an entirely new audience took to the tracks to witness them from a new point of view - including children as passengers. More Drive! dates have been confirmed for 2022 including a first opportunity to take part in the experience at Donington Park.

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THE MOMENT WE'D BEEN WAITING FOR!

Following an unprecedented wait of almost two years, fans were finally able to return to elite-level motorsport events in the spring. The first meeting to benefit from this was the Snetterton round of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship which operated in front of a limited audience as per the government guidelines at the time. Those on-site were treated to three entertaining races as championship protagonists Colin Turkington, Ashley Sutton and Tom Ingram enjoyed victories. 

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VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE

As the season got going in earnest, fans were treated to a wide range of different events on two and four wheels. This included major historic and vintage meetings at all five MSV circuits. Pictured are a selection of racing cars from the Vintage Sports-Car Club meeting at Cadwell Park which starred an eclectic mix of cars from a pioneering, bygone era. 

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BRAWN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY

US muscle returned to the Brands Hatch Indy circuit for the first American SpeedFest event in over two years on Independence Day weekend. On-circuit entertainment was once again headlined by the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, the only officially endorsed stock car series of its kind on this side of the Atlantic. The meeting also featured huge American car displays, family entertainment and a support race line-up brimming with Americana. SpeedFest 9 is now confirmed for 11-12 June 2022 with tickets on sale now with an early bird deal.

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INTERNATIONAL TWO-WHEEL STARS RETURN

The heroes of the FIM Superbike World Championship returned to Donington Park in July for three races on the full Grand Prix circuit. In a sign of things to come, Toprak Razgatlıoğlu claimed victory in two of the three contests as he began to really kickstart what would ultimately be a successful title campaign. Long-time WSBK dominator Jonathan Rea won the other race before being forced to second in the final standings.

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PARTY IN THE PARK

Cadwell Park's 'Party in the Park' round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship was much missed in 2020 but the event returned with a bang in August. Peter Hickman won two races to take the FHO Racing team to the top step of the podium for the first time, with Jason O'Halloran victorious in the weekend's third battle. Next year will see the meeting return to August Bank Holiday following a spell away from its once traditional date. 

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CONTINENTAL DELIGHTS

GT World Challenge Europe made its return to Brands Hatch for the championship's one and only 2021 event on British soil in August. The popular supercar meeting ran to the Sprint Cup format with two races of an hour in length around the legendary Grand Prix circuit. First in the opening race of the weekend, followed by second in race two, was enough to secure the Sprint title for Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts an event early. 

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GOLDEN YEARS

Oulton Park's Historic Gold Cup meeting hit the track in late August with three days of retro action featuring machinery from the '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s. A wide range of cars entertained the fans whilst hundreds of classic car owners filled the infield. This was the event's last year in its current format ahead of a switch to July for next year along with a refreshed race line-up. The Historic Sports Car Club will continue to run the on-track event. 

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SUPERCAR SPLENDOUR

The Intelligent Money British GT Championship's multi-class races continued to be popular with fans and competitors alike in 2021. Machinery from many of the world's greatest prestige manufacturers took centre stage with events at Brands Hatch, Donington Park, Snetterton and Oulton Park (pictured). Dennis Lind and Leo Machitski sealed overall honours in GT3 whilst Will Burns and Gus Burton dominated the GT4 leaderboard. Next year's calendar will commence at Oulton Park on Easter Weekend. 

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GOLIATH vs GOLIATH

The giants of British motorsport returned to MSV circuits once more in 2021 in the British Truck Racing Championship. Brands Hatch, Donington Park and Snetterton (pictured) all hosted rounds and the racing was fast and furious throughout. Serial title winner Ryan Smith eventually claimed the crown, but only after chasing David Jenkins right down to the final meeting of the year at Brands Hatch. 

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LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON

Tarran Mackenzie made Bennetts British Superbike Championship history at Brands Hatch in October when he sealed the crown, 25 years after his father Niall acheived the same feat. Mackenzie was the star performer throughout the final nine races of the season comprising the championship Showdown. He sealed the title in style with an imperious treble victory at Brands Hatch onboard his McAMS Yamaha, to see off teammate Jason O'Halloran and Tommy Bridewell.

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#DONINGTONDECIDER

The Intelligent Money British GT Championship and GB3 Championship partnered by the BRDC title winners were crowned at Donington Park, as has become traditional, in October. This included GB3's Zak O'Sullivan, who had been the standout performer in the UK's leading single-seater championship for much of 2021. The Brit, racing for Carlin, was all but assured the title ahead of the final three races in the East Midlands and he duly delivered another superlative weeekend to win the first two races of the event. 

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SUTTON REIGNS SUPREME

Ashley Sutton sealed back-to-back Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship titles and the third of his career with a composed performance in the championship finale at Brands Hatch. Sutton was always a likely winner as he arrived at the Kent circuit with a healthy advantage over his rivals, and he calmly racked up the points in the first two races to seal the title before finishing with a flourish by winning race three.  

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END ON A HIGH

Another season of major meetings ended on an emphatic note with the Trucks and Fireworks spectacular at the start of November. Two days of on-circuit entertainment, headlined by the British Truck Racing Championship, built up to a rapturous crescendo as darkness settled and show trucks took to the Indy circuit for a twilght convoy. This was accompanied by the stunning sight of one of the South East's finest fireworks displays in front of a sell out crowd.

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Photos: Mick Herring, Gary Hawkins, Jakob Ebrey Photography, Az Edwards, Tim Keeton, Double Red, GT World Challenge, Richard Towler