12th-13th July 2014 - Brands Hatch
Methley Dominates at Brands Hatch
David Methley made it three wins in a row in the Historic Formula 3 Championship with a commanding victory during the Brands Hatch Historic Super Prix (12 July 2014).
Methley started his Merlyn Mk14A from pole position and was peerless as Peter Thompson (Brabham BT21) ran home a secure second. Steve Smith (Chevron B15) drove a charging race to claim the final podium position from a pit lane start after problems getting the car started.
A fine field of 23 1-litre cars gathered to tackle the fabulous challenge of the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit and a damp qualifying session delivered some truly challenging conditions. There was an early red flag for two cars stuck in gravel traps and many more drivers reported spins and moments.
Methley duly mastered the conditions to set a fierce pace and lapped two and a half seconds clear of the rest of the pack, which was headed by Frenchman Francois Derossi (Chevron B17) from Simon Armer (March 703) and Jim Blockley (Brabham BT21).
Further back, Frank Lyons rejoined the championship in his Merlyn Mk10 and Swiss racer Johannes Kistler was a welcome addition in his rare BWA chassis. This was believed to be the first time that a BWA had raced in the UK.
The weather improved for the afternoon and warm sunshine greeted the start of the 20-minute race. Unfortunately, a start line tangle eliminated Maurice Slotine (Merlyn Mk14A) as Methley romped clear at the front. Derossi tried to give chase but was soon in trouble with overheating. His Chevron had suffered radiator damage in the Classic Racing Car qualifying session and the repair did not hold, forcing him into the pits after two laps.
While Methley built his advantage, Thompson moved up into a secure second as Smith continued his mighty progress up the order. Once into third, Smith tried to close the gap to Thompson but their pace was pretty similar.
“I could have backed off later in the race but it is so much fun to drive these cars here,” said Methley. Thompson, meanwhile, had expected a tougher battle for second but his rivals fell away. “I was never going to get up to Dave,” he said. For Smith, a podium finish was a real surprise. “I can’t quite understand why I’m standing here,” he admitted. “But I’d have needed another 10 laps to get anywhere near Peter.”
Behind the top three there was plenty of fine battling as places changed all the way down the order. Blockley dropped down from fourth with a misfire as Mike Scott (Brabham BT28) emerged from an entertaining dice to take the place from Armer and Chris Holland (Brabham BT21). Geoffrey O’Nion (Tecno) further demoted the ailing Blockley for seventh while Lyons also dropped back from the battle when forced to ease his pace over the second half of the race.
Uncredited photos Robb & Mike Faloon