A great effort by Craig Davies was the highlight of a lively Masters Pre-66 Touring Car Championship race at Brands Hatch, the Ford Mustang driver taking his first Masters win.
From pole, Andy Wolfe (Lotus Cortina) headed the pack through Paddock Hill as behind, an engaging Mini battle was unfolding between Ron Maydon and Jonathan Lewis on Cooper Straight, but sadly Maydon and the Mets/Nick Swift car tangled at the end of the first lap, bringing out the safety car. Craig Davies had a mega first lap, dragging his Ford Mustang from eighth on the grid to third and when racing resumed, Greg Thornton’s Mustang lost drive going through Paddock and he retired. Davies scorched past Mark Sumpter for second on the pit straight as Trevor Buckley retired the Falcon with an absence of third gear. By lap seven, Davies had the lead and the crowd was being royally entertained by a fire-spitting battle between the Briggs Mustang and Roger Wills (Mercury Comet Cyclone).
As the pit window opened, the top five – Davies, Mark Sumpter (Lotus Cortina), Briggs, Wills and Wolfe – were separated only by six seconds. Five laps later, with the stops done, Davies had kept his narrow lead of 1.6 seconds over Sumpter but Andy Wolfe had gained third when Warren Briggs was delayed in the pits and dropped to 11th.
With 20 minutes to go to the flag, Sumpter unexpectedly pitted from second with half-shaft problems, leaving Craig Davies with an eight second cushion over Andy Wolfe and the delayed Briggs coming back through the field, up to sixth by lap 20. However, Wolfe started piling on the pressure, bringing the lead gap down to 6.2 seconds, then four seconds as the Cortina group battle of John Spiers, John Dunham/Mark Owen, Martin Strommen and Andrea Stortoni was interrupted when Strommen had a spin at Paddock Hill.
The lead battle was at 1.9 seconds with just 10 minutes to go, Briggs was up to six on a recovery drive which became fifth when Rob Fenn brought his damaged Mustang into the pits. At the head of the field it was a battle of the power of the Mustang versus the nimbleness of the Cortina, both struggling for grip and traction with oil flags waving at different parts of the circuit, but staying within one second over the line.
In the end, Craig Davies took victory with a gap of 1.2 seconds from Andy Wolfe, the pair 15 seconds ahead of Roger Wills. Warren Briggs passed the leading class-winning Mini of Jonathan Lewis for fourth, while the Mark Martin/Andrew Haddon Cortina grabbed seventh place on the last lap to take third in class behind Wolfe and Andrea Stortoni.