The MG Cup races at Brands Hatch had a fresh look. Race-one pole was taken by none other than Lance Ellington, the Strictly Come Dancing singer and former 1990s’ Dunlop Rover Turbo Cup racer in a Daily Mirror-sponsored Tomcat 220 Turbo. This Brands event – back in a Tomcat – marked  his return to competition after a quarter century away.

Ellington also led race one early on, but it was another notable new entry that soon moved past to lead, in Steve McDermid in his brand-new ZR 190 that he had only just completed and had spent an intense last few months preparing. McDermid moved clear for a comfortable win.

“It’s a new car, just built, and it’s phenomenal,” McDermid said. “It came out [at the meeting] and just left the field for dust.

“I haven’t worked for the last two months after I decided to build a new car. There’s eight week’s work there; seven days a week the last six weeks. And I finished it at 9:30 on Friday night.”

Ellington was second home on the road but got a 10-second penalty for starting just ahead of his grid slot, despite his efforts to reverse into place. This let Ashley Woodward, whom Ellington pipped to the line, claim second place after all in his ZS 180. Woodward also got driver of the race.

Reigning class champion Ian Boulton, fourth home, won Class B in his MG ZR, helped by that Iain Dowler ran across the grass at Druids on lap one trying to get the lead from Ellington.

Race two looked very similar to race one as McDermid again moved up quickly from fourth place to lead. However this time Woodward, who’d led the first four laps, remained close to him. Then the race got turned on its head when the lead pair made contact at Druids when McDermid span, putting McDermid out.

Woodward continued in first but was hobbled by his resultant suspension damage and Ellington eventually passed Woodward’s understeering car to win. Ellington was awarded driver of the race as well.

Boulton inherited the Class B win as third home overall, when Dennis Robinson, who took the place on the road, got a 10-second track-limits penalty.

Ellington was delighted. “I just had the best weekend back,” he said, “and it’s everything I remember, especially the Tomcat, which is just a great car. [Car owner and Castle Combe champion] Gary Prebble’s set it up beautifully, and the racing was such fun out there. Absolutely chuffed.

“The MG Cup, what a great place to come back to. I’m excited to be out again with them at some other circuits this year, work permitting. Especially after this weekend, now I’ve got the bug back with the Tomcat I’m probably going to stick with that [rather than race elsewhere].”

Peter Burchill returned for the first race meeting following a stroke in Jan 22, he was pleased to bet out again and finished both races. “I achieved everything I wanted, to be back on grid was emotional. Thanks to my family and friends in supporting my return.”

The MG Cup is the only series to have all cars on the same Toyo tire, offering 3 classes of one make racing. With 35 drivers registered its the place to race.