13th-14th July 2013 - Brands Hatch
Peter Thompson took his first victory in HF3 after a thrilling battle with Keith Messer
A fine field of Historic F3 cars delivered one of the weekend’s best races during the 24th running of the HSCC’s Brands Hatch Historic Super Prix on Saturday (13 July).
After early leader Roland Fischer retired his Tecno, the lead was contested by Peter Thompson (Brabham BT21) and Keith Messer (Vesey). They traded the lead numerous times until Thompson grabbed victory by half a second. Series debutant Steven Smith was an excellent third to complete the podium in his ex-Jolly Club Chevron B15.
Despite several late withdrawals, it was still a fabulous field of 26 1-litre F3 cars that set out onto the Grand Prix circuit for qualifying on Saturday morning. Even before 10am, the temperature was rising fast as it headed towards 30 degrees and it Fischer who topped the times with a best of 1m43.214s, six-tenths of a second ahead of Messer with Thompson third from Simon Armer (March 703).
Fischer made the early pace, but his race lasted less than three laps before the overheating Tecno coasted to a halt and it was Thompson who emerged from the chasing five-car pack to take over at the front. However, on the tail of the Marcos GT racer were Messer, Jim Timms (Brabham BT21B), Smith and Armer, while a few yards further back the Alexis HF802 of Ian Bankhurst completed the top six. Early retirements included Stuart Tizzard, who had qualified his Chevron B15C sixth fastest, and category newcomer Frank Lyons (Merlyn Mk10).
The lead quintet made a great spectacle on the Grand Prix circuit, though the pack was reduced to four when Timms retired. However, all eyes were on the front of the group as Messer attacked Thompson. Several times the Vesey sliced down the inside of the Brabham under braking for Paddock, but each time Thompson responded around the Grand Prix loop to retake the lead.
Meanwhile, Smith and Armer were battling hard for third as they dropped back a few yards from the leading pair. The result remained in doubt all the way to the flag as Thompson ran out a deserving winner, but Messer was only half a second behind as his car got hotter and hotter over the closing laps.
“That was a fantastic race: Keith came past me a few times,” said Thompson. “Historic F3 is quite new to me and it’s great fun.” Messer was equally delighted with the race. “I hope the spectators enjoyed it, because it was certainly good from inside the car. Peter was very good around the Grand Prix loop.”
Third place was decided by just a quarter of a second as Smith fended off Armer. “It was a cracking race on a fantastic circuit,” said Smith who had to cope with a top end misfire in what was still an impressive debut run for his Chevron.
Chris Holland (Brabham BT21) beat Bankhurst to fifth in another very close finish as the Alexis recovered from a spin at Druids and Jim Blockley (Brabham BT21B) was right with them at the flag. Rounding out the top ten were Maurice Slotine (Merlyn Mk14A), Leif Bosson (Brabham BT28) and Christoph Widmer (Brabham BT18A).