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Season in review: best of British at MSV

Friday, December 20 2013

MSV circuits hosted some of the biggest national race series' in 2013, all of which provided great entertainment to spectators throughout the year.

Avon Tyres British GT Championship

GT racing is currently enjoying a golden age, with the British series having another vintage season in 2013.

The action kicked off at Oulton Park over the Easter weekend and echoing last year's opener, the first race saw a last lap change of leader. Trackspeed's Porsche ace Nick Tandy succumbed to mechanical issues that dropped him to second behind team mate Phil Keen, after the pair had passed early leader Ben Hetherington, who was sharing the third-placed Fortec Mercedes AMG SLS with Ollie Hancock.

The Tandy/David Ashburn combination won in the second race, after challenges from Jay Palmer and Andrew Howard ended in spins. Mark Patterson's United Autosports Audi R8 proved a late threat, after a safety car intervention following, bizarrely, the second Ginetta fire of the weekend. Marcos Attard's Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 was third.

Ashburn claimed that the Oulton Park round was his final race, but he stayed for the remainder of the season and took another win at Snetterton. Both he and Tandy won twice on the road at the Norfolk circuit, but the Trackspeed Porsche was disqualified from the first race, handing victory to the similar machine of the Motorbase Team, with reigning champion Michael Caine and Ahmad Al Harthy on board.

Absent from Snetterton was the Rosso Verde Ferrari 458 that had starred in the early laps of the Oulton Park opener at the hands of Allan Simonsen. Just one week later the international star of GT racing succumbed to injuries sustained in an incident at the Le Mans 24 Hour race. He will be greatly missed in the championship.

Tribute was paid to Simonsen on the grid for the Brands Hatch round, which would be a single two hour race. The opening hour produced one of the closest encounters that the championship has ever produced, with Steve Tandy leading into Paddock Hill bend before an audacious move by Andrew Howard saw the Beechdean Aston Martin claim the lead at Graham Hill. Howard then defended from the Z4s of Tandy and Attard, before the Ginetta of Colin White picked them off one-by-one, heading the field after passing the Aston Martin on the outside of Clearways.

White spun at Surtees a few laps later, leaving Howard back in the lead. By now the Aston Martin of Mark Poole and the VonRyan McLaren of Brands Hatch rookie Gregoire Demoustier had caught the pack. Demoustier, after starting 19th, worked his way into the lead before the mandatory pitstops began at half distance.

There was chaos in the pitlane, including a botched stop from Ashburn, and cars blocking each other as the teams swapped tyres and drivers. However Jonny Adam had taken over the Beechdean car and held a secure lead, which he kept to the flag,from the VonRyan car, now at the hands of Duncan Tappy. Attard and Oliver Bryant took third in the Ecurie Ecosse car as the series headed off for its final rounds.  Beechdean's Howard took the title, with Adam losing out on sharing the honours due to a penalty in an earlier round.

Cooper Tires British F3 International Series

Co-headlining with the GTs at Brands Hatch was the penultimate British Formula 3 round of the season. The show may have been stolen by Jazeman Jaafar, who returned to the series and winning ways, but it was the performance of Jordan King that mattered most. Having learned the style of driving demanded by F3 cars, he clawed back the points deficit to title leader Will Buller, and would go on to take the championship at the finale a few weeks later.

British Truck Racing Championship

The worlds of GT and Truck racing couldn't be much further apart, but after swapping Bollinger for beer and caviar for cod, the thrills on offer are remarkably similar. The sight of a pack of racing trucks has much the same pull as the sound of a supercar engine on-song and added to the mix this year was an exciting new race format, where the slower Division 2 entries had a head start on the top trucks.

At Brands Hatch this meant that Kent's Dave Smith scored three overall wins on his way to retaining his Division 2 title. The last of these came the day after being unceremoniously barged off the circuit by John Powell, almost destroying his truck.

Meanwhile Matt Summerfield also kept hold of his Division 1 crown at the Brands Hatch firework finale, despite a year of rivalry with David Jenkins, who starred at the final round along with visiting German Sascha Lenz. In between the Brands Hatch rounds Snetterton held its second truck race over the August Bank Holiday weekend and this saw Summerfield take two wins, with Steve Thomas, Stuart Oliver and Richard Collett also victorious.

MSA British Superkart Grand Prix

In July the MSA British Superkart Grand Prix also returned to the Snetterton 300 circuit after a successful event in 2012. In the headline Division 1 Gavin Bennett headed qualifying but was beaten in race one by Emmanuel Vinuales. He was about to get his revenge in the second but ran low on fuel on the final lap, eventually nursing his kart home to second place. However in the main Grand Prix, Bennett was correctly-fuelled and went on to take the victory.

Click here for a list of 2014's confirmed events and look out for additions over the coming weeks.

Photos courtesy of British GT, Blzeebub, and Az Edwards.

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