British historic racing season

to kick off at Snetterton

The 2009 British historic racing season will kick off at Snetterton on Saturday (21 March) with a great day of racing for competitors in five of the Masters Top Hat categories.

With cars and drivers starting to emerge from a long cold winter, enthusiasm for going racing again is running high and five mini-enduros will start the season off in style.

At least seven American V8s will grace the grid for the Top Hat Pre '66 Saloons race, but a gaggle of less powerful cars will take the battle to the V8s as well as contesting their own classes. One of the highlights of the Top Hat race will be the return to racing of Patrick Watts, former touring car racer and more recently British Historic Rally champion. He's traded his Sunbeam Tiger rally car for a Ford Mustang racer and will be as spectacular as ever as he returns to circuit racing.

However, ranged against Watts is some serious opposition, including the vastly experienced Mike Wrigley, John Young and Bill Wykeham in more Mustangs and the equally experienced Leo Voyazides in his Ford Falcon. A gaggle of Lotus Cortinas and the BMW 1800 of Charles Tippet lead the chase of the V8s, while among the smaller cars are the Mini Cooper of Rupert Ivey and three Hillman Imps.

An excellent grid will contest the combined Cloth Cap Pre '66 GT and Sports Cars and Jaguar XK Challenge race, with the rumbling TVR Griffith of Jamie Boot likely to be the pacesetter. Chris Scragg (Jaguar E-Type) and Allen Tice (Marcos 1800) will be Boot's big rivals, while there will be a race within a race for the XK Challenge contenders. Rob Newall will be his usual spectacular self in an XK120 shared with Stefan Ziegler, while young GT racing hot-shot Phil Keen will partner Graham Love in Love's XK150.

Always a crowd favourite is the Oldies but Goldies Pre '60 GT and Touring Cars race, with a wonderful line-up of cars from another era. Although it is one of the smallest-engined cars in the race, the Austin A35 of Mike Wrigley could be in line for some real giant killing, and the Austin A40 of Richard Postins is a proven winner in this series.

Variety is also the key in the race for the Touring 70s (Group 2 Touring Cars of the 1970s) and Stars of the 70s (1970s Touring and pre '75 GT Cars). With a field ranging from the Morgan Plus 8 of Paul Conway to the spectacular Ford Escorts of Kerry Michael and Laki Christoforu, it should be a cracking contest. The intriguing possibility of an entry for a stunning Ford 'Cologne' Capri adds further interest to the entry.

Wrapping up the afternoon will be an Allcomers' race, which gives many of the drivers the chance of another race at the end of the day.

Entries are still being accepted for the Top Hat Race Day at Snetterton on Saturday 21 March and more details are available from

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