LYONS CLAIMS DEREK BELL TROPHY AT BRANDS HATCH

Young British driver Michael Lyons (Lola T400) can now add the prestigious Derek Bell Trophy to his fast-expanding collection of silverware after convincingly winning both MSC category races at the Historic Sports Car Club's annual Superprix meeting at the Brands Hatch circuit near London over the weekend.

As he was at the Classic Sports Car Club's Oulton Park meeting the weekend before, the 20-year-old was in a class of his own at Brands Hatch, qualifying quickest before setting the fastest lap on the way to winning both Derek Bell Trophy races.

Joining him on the front row for Saturday's 14 lap race after setting the second fastest lap time in qualifying was fellow Brit Neil Glover (Lola T332) but he broke an input shaft race, leaving the way open for the quickest of the seven-man Kiwi contingent, Auckland driver Andrew Higgins (Lola T400), to follow Lyons home in second place.

Higgins also finished second in Sunday's 15-lap race, with Greg Thornton (Chevron B24) and Lyons' father Frank (Gurney-Eagle FA74) disputing third, the nod going to Thornton on Saturday and Lyons Snr on Sunday.

The annual Brands Hatch Superprix again attracted entries of significant classic and historic racing cars from all over the world, with a 36-strong field for the Derek Bell Trophy races alone.

Saturday's race was a close affair with Lyons Jnr dictating the pace out front and Andrew Higgins taking over second place after Glover pulled out.

Mark Dwyer (Lola T400) was also one of the front-runners until slowing and eventually stopping late in the race with a puncture. Greg Thornton and Lyons Snr, meanwhile, were never more than a car length or two apart in third and fourth until Lyons was slowed with a slowly deflating tyre.

Unfortunately track conditions deteriorated towards the end of the race after the oil tank on Mike Whatley's Surtees TS8 worked loose, leaving a trail of oil in the car's wake.

Behind Higgins, the best of the New Zealand entrants were Stan Redmond (Lola T332) and David Abbott (Lola T430), the pair circulating within seconds of each other for most of the race to finish eighth and ninth respectively.

Next came Auckland's Aaron Burson (Talon MR1A) in 11th, Blenheim's Russell Greer (Lola T332) in 15th, Peter Burson (Aaron's McRae GM1-driving father) in 16th and Matakana's Warwick Mortimer (Surtees TS5) in 20th

Sunday's race was held in the same hot, dry conditions as Saturday's with young gun Lyons (who last year contested the British Formula Renault championship) going even quicker, leaving the Derek Bell Trophy class lap record round the 3.7km Brands Hatch 'Grand Prix' circuit at 1.23.546.

With starting positions based on the finishing order of the first race, interest in the second centred on Mark Dwyer and Neil Glover as they forced their through the field from the back of the grid, Dwyer making it to fifth behind Lyons Jnr, Higgins, Lyons Snr and Greg Thornton, with Glover sixth

Afterwards, Lyons Snr - who this time got the better of Greg Thornton - paid tribute to his mechanics who spent Saturday night checking and replacing the main bearings (in situ) in his Gurney-Eagle's Chev engine so that the car would be in tip-top shape for the Sunday race.

Not so lucky were Mike Whatley and former F1 driver Tony Trimmer, the later guesting in Greg Thornton's Surtees TS8 over the weekend.

Whatley didn't make it back out on Sunday after running his car low on oil in Saturday's race, while Trimmer - who struggled with fuel starvation issues in qualifying - was running well in Saturday's race before a fuel leak and subsequent fire saw him end that race in the pits and sit out the Sunday race.

Best of the Kiwis behind Higgins in Sunday's race was again Christchurch's Stan Redmond who crossed the finish line in eighth place with David Abbott (this time suffered from brake fade late in the race) 11th, Russell Greer (still suffering gear selection problems) 13th, Peter Burson 14th respectively and a flu-ridden Warwick Mortimer happy just to see the chequered flag this time in 22nd position.

Aaron Burson had been running just outside the top ten but pitted and eventually pulled out with brake problems.

The MSC shipping line is now returning the seven Kiwi cars to New Zealand where they will be stripped and prepared for the 2011/12 MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series which is set to kick off in Christchurch in early November.

The MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is organised and run with the support of sponsors MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney's Specialized Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Smith & Davies, Avon Tyres and Exide.

RESULTS
The Derek Bell Trophy Brands Hatch GP Circuit Fri-Sun July 01-03 2011
Race 1 (14 laps)
1.Michael Lyons (Lola T400) 20:09.094
2. Andrew Higgins (Lola T400) 21:13.157 1:04.063
3. Greg Thornton (Chevron B24) 21:29.840 1:20.746
4. Frank Lyons (Gurney Eagle FA74) 21:44.698 1:35.604
5. Mark Charteris (Mallock MK20/21) 20:26.474 +1 Lap
6. Jamie Brashaw (March 793) 20:26.908 +1 Lap
7. Valerio Leone (Ralt RT3) 20:47.247 +1 Lap
8. Stan Redmond (Lola T332) 20:51.080 +1 Lap
9. David Abbott (Lola T430) 20:57.227 1 Lap
10. Paul McMorran (Crossle 22F)21:07.261 +1 Lap
11. Aaron Burson (Talon MR1A) 21:22.683 +1 Lap
12. Michael Hickson (Mallock MK20B) 21:45.527 +1 Lap
13. Wil Arif (Royale RP30) 20:11.334 +2 Laps
14. Emanuelle Benedini (Martini MK34) 20:26.213 +2 Laps
15. Russell Greer (Lola T332) 20:26.254 +2 Laps
16. Peter Burson (McRae GM1) 20:38.726 +2 Laps
17. Garry Diver (March 79B) 21:06.414 +2 Laps
18. Daniel Glanz (Lola T360) 21:06.826 +2 Laps
19. Neil Bowman (Merlyn MK21) 21:10.881 +2 Laps
20. Warwick Mortimer (Surtees TS5) 20:25.415 +3 Laps
21. Mary Whittaker (Van Diemen RF82) 20:28.676 +3 Laps
22. Mike Scott(March 75B) 20:40.820 +3 Laps
23. Colin Gray (Brabham BT30) 21:01.464 +4 Laps
DNF: Mark Dwyer (Lola T400), Mike Whatley (Surtees TS8), Judy Lyons (Lola T332), Tony Trimmer (Surtees TS11), Neil Glover (Lola T330/332
Fastest Lap. Michael Lyons (Lola T400) 1:23.646

Race 2 (15 laps)
1. Michael Lyons 21:13.875
2. Andrew Higgins 22:06.396 +52.521
3. Frank Lyons 22:24.546 +1:10.671
4. Gregory Thornton 22:25.036 +1:11.161
5. Mark Dwyer 22:30.826 +1:16.951
6. Neil Glover 21:19.966 +1 Lap
7. Mark Charteris 21:31.812 +1 Lap
8. Stan Redmond 22:04.360 +1 Lap
9. John Harrison 22:04.975 +1 Lap
10. Paul McMorran 22:10.750 +1 Lap
11. David Abbott 22:14.808 +1 Lap
12. Paul Smith 22:33.418 +1 Lap
13. Russell Greer 22:34.604 +1 Lap
14. Peter Burson 21:28.257 +2 Laps
15. Michael Hickson 21:29.145 +2 Laps
16. Wil Arif 21:34.998 +2 Laps
17. John Rand 21:36.162 + 2 Laps
18. Garry Diver 22:13.904 +2 Laps7
19. Daniel Glanz 22:14.204 +2 Laps
20. Mike Scott 22:14.211 2 Laps
21. Mary Whittaker 21:40.669 +3 Laps
22. Warwick Mortimer 22:02.043 +4 Laps
23. Colin Gray 22:16.843 +4 Laps
DNF: Aaron Burson (Talon MR1A), Judy Lyons (Lola T332)
Fastest Lap: Michael Lyons (Lola T400) 1:23.546