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Tin-top legends star at first-ever Super Touring Power meeting

The inaugural Super Touring Power meeting attracted the great and the good from the tin-top world, as past and current drivers took to both Brands Hatch layouts in iconic machinery last weekend.

SuperTourers race start 0013.JPG

Current British Touring Car Championship star Jake Hill was just five years old when he watched Laurent Aiello win the BTCC title in 1999, but Hill himself became a Super Touring winner by securing a clean sweep at the inaugural Super Touring Power meeting.

The 20-car Super Tourers entry, including five machines from New Zealand, contested a pair of races on both of Brands Hatch’s Grand Prix and Indy layouts, with Hill, at the wheel of Richard Wheeler’s ex-Aiello Nissan Primera, pipped to Saturday pole by Stewart Whyte’s ex-Tom Kristensen Honda Accord.

But the eight-time BTCC race winner led from the rolling start and was barely headed for the rest of the weekend, although Whyte came closest to usurping him. The former SEAT Cupra racer exerted pressure in the opener but lost time in traffic, before his lower tyre pressure strategy in the rematch was hindered by a safety car, as Hill nursed a gearbox glitch.

OPINION: Why Super Touring Power should become a regular highlight

Second again in race three, Whyte jumped Hill at the start of the finale but, as Hill threatened to make a move at McLaren, the Honda’s back end snapped and spat Whyte into the gravel.

Hill held off Jason Hughes (Vauxhall Vectra) and period star Anthony Reid (1998 Primera) to complete his quartet. “It’s a real privilege to be here,” Hill enthused. While Reid battled electrical gremlins across the weekend, Hughes completed the podium in the first and third races. Surprise package James Kellett, the Porsche Carrera Cup racer in Allan Scott’s 1995 Mazda 323, scored a GP circuit podium after qualifying fourth fastest.

Multiple Bathurst 1000 winners Steven Richards (Volvo S40) and Greg Murphy (ex-Matt Neal Nissan Primera) enjoyed the challenging GP circuit on their Brands debuts. Richards claimed a fourth position on each layout while Murphy’s best was sixth after battling myriad issues in an ill-handling car. Fellow GP circuit novice Wheeler thrived on the more familiar short track, charging from ninth to fourth in Sunday’s opener before spinning into the gravel later on.

Multiple Bathurst 1000 winners Steven Richards and Greg Murphy battled it out

Multiple Bathurst 1000 winners Steven Richards and Greg Murphy battled it out

Photo by: Gary Hawkins

The Classic Touring Car Racing Club’s other seven championships enthralled with massive grids and close racing. Grant Williams’s ex-Roy Salvadori 1959 Jaguar Mk1 twice bettered Mini maestro Ian Curley in Sunday’s classic Pre-’66 Touring Car contests, the opening bout a real thriller as the pair traded the lead while Nick Paddy (Mini) kept a watching brief.

The Mini pair had earlier shared category honours on Saturday when combined with the Pre-’83 field. Both races were won outright by Charles Rainford at the wheel of the Lovell brothers’ newly acquired Faberge Ford Capri. Rainford’s second was a touch fortunate, after Jonathan Corker’s beached Datsun 510 brought a halt to proceedings after Rainford’s own oil had spat him into the gravel following head-gasket failure.

With Rainford sidelined, Will Davison (BMW E30), who split Saturday’s minor podium places with Stephen Primett (Ford Escort Mk1), triumphed twice when the Pre-’83 field joined Pre-’93 Touring Cars a day later. Davison passed Corker, who had lost fifth gear, in the closing stages for his first success. Then, with Corker sidelined, Davison held off Primett in the weekend’s fourth thrash. Points leader Stuart Waite was denied a quartet of Pre-’93 wins by suspension failure on Saturday, with Ian Bower’s similar M3 E30 the beneficiary.

CTCRC first-timer Paul Mensley took a Blue Oval Saloons hat-trick. Unused to standing starts, his polesitting Sierra RS500 was swamped before charging back through to win the opener. He lost out to 2021 champion Martin Reynolds’s Escort Mk2 and was pipped to second by Colin Tester (RS500) later that day, but twice held off Reynolds on Sunday.

Sam Wilson, piloting Rikki Cann’s wild Aston Martin V8 Vantage, secured a maiden overall win in Classic Thunder by passing Bryan Bransom’s BMW E46 on the final lap. Alex Sidwell, who pipped Bransom to second, then powered his Holden Commodore VF to victory over Bransom in the sequel with Wilson sidelined. The Aston bounced back with a second win on Sunday before Nick Vaughan’s Audi A3 claimed a maiden victory.

Jaguar Challenge honours went to the XJSs of Guy Connew and Colin Philpott, while in Pre-’03 Gary Prebble took three wins to Chris Southcott’s one.

Inaugural Super Touring Power meeting proved a big hit with fans

Inaugural Super Touring Power meeting proved a big hit with fans

Photo by: Gary Hawkins

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