From The Driving Seat
Tojeiro Jaguar and Lister Knobbly at the Classic Silverstone 2022

THE CLASSIC SILVERSTONE 2022

An interesting fact gleaned from the track commentary on Saturday is that after the war when the BRDC were seeking a site on which to hold the British Grand Prix two ex-RAF airfields were in consideration – RAF Silverstone in Northamptonshire and RAF Snitterfield in Warwickshire. Silverstone was available first, otherwise we might now be refering to Snitterfield as The Home of British Motor Racing.

After a hectic qualifying day on Friday, interrupted by yellow flags and, in the case of the Masters Endurane Legends cars, no less than three red flags during their qualifying session, crowds thronged into Silverstone eager to enjoy two days of racing over the weekend – and they were not dissapointed!


CLOSE RACING AT THE CLASSIC

RAC WOODCOTE TROPHY AND STIRLING MOSS TROPHY RACE:

Third place finisher, the 1959 Tojeiro Ecosse Jaguar (#6) driven by James Cottingham and Harvey Stanley, rounds Aintree Corner ahead of the John Spiers/Chris Ward Lister Knobbly (#152) which claimed second place at the finish of the race on Sunday.

Photo © Peter Osborne

All photos © Peter Osborne

Historic Formula Junior races opened proceedings on both Saturday and Sunday with Pole sitter Michael O'Brien taking the win in both races. Saturday's race saw O'Brien in an epic struggle with first Cameron Jackson who led from the start, only to lose out when lapping back markers and dropped back to finish fourth at the flag. Horatio Fitz-Simon then took the fight to O'Brien, with Sam Wilson joining in, only to retire at Copse on the final lap with suspension breakage, probably caused by bouncing over the kerb at Brooklands. A last corner challenge by Fitz-Simon meant a charge to the line by both drivers resolved in O'Brien's favour by just 0.13 seconds.

Having solved the slight misfire that slowed him down the straights on Saturday, O'Brien roared away from the field in Sunday's Formula junior race with Horatio Fitz-Simon in a lonely second until he pulled off at Brooklands, leaving second placed to be hotly disputed by Sam Wilson, Alex Ames and Tim De Silva who finished in that order. with just 0.4 seconds separating them.

Another double race winner was Ben Mitchell who took the first spot in both HSCC Historic Formula 2 races in his 1977 Martini Mk19/22. Andy Smith (March 782) took the lead in the first race and looked set for the win until he slowed just three laps from the end and pulled into the pits, gifting the race win to Mitchell, from Mathew Watts (March 782) in second and third place finisher David Shaw in yet another March 782

In Sunday's race Mitchell scored a pole to flag victory ahead of Greg Canton who, having taken over David Shaw's drive in the March 78, came from last on the grid to second place. Tim De Silva took the third spot having started second last on the grid.

The Tony Dron Memorial Trophy for MRL Historic Touring Cars had a hectic start in which the second and third cars on the grid – the Ford RS500s of Julian Thomas and David Tomlin – collided at the first corner, eliminating Thomas there and then, although Tomlin continued to take his compulsory pitstop after which the front left tyre deflated, probably as a result of bodywork damage sustained in the first corner incident.

It looked like it was going to be a Nissan Skyline 1-2-3 finish until the second place Skyline of Ric Wood coasted to a halt on the Wellington Straight in the last five minutes of the 45 minute race. Leaving Andy Middlehurst in the original Nissan Skyline which raced in the 1990 Japanese Touring Car Championship (the other two Skylines in the race are recreations) to take the win ahead of the Skyline of Simon Garrard in second ahead of a hard charging Alex Brundle in the Ford Capri RS3100 he shared with Garry Pearson.

BRDC 500 for MRL Pre-War Sports Cars. In an entertaining and largely incident free race featuring some cars nearly a hundred years old Gregor Fisken and Pat Blakeney-Edwards took Fred Wakeman's 1928 chain-driven Frazer Nash TT Replica to a well-deserved win. Rudiger Freidrichs secured second spot in the slightly younger Alvis Firefly Special from 1932, while Gareth Burnett in the positively youthful 1939 Alta Sports took the last podium place.

Once again Historic F1 cars featured in two races over the weekend, this time for the Frank Williams Memorial Trophy. Appropriately both races saw a Williams car take the win in the hands of Mike Cantillon driving the ex-Carlos Reuteman Wiliams FW07C from 1982. Streaking away from pole in race 1 Cantillon dominated the race to win by nearly four seconds from Steve Hartley's ex-John Watson McLaren MP4/1 with Ken Tyrell's Tyrell 011 seven seconds further back.

Sunday saw the first six finishers from Saturday starting in reverse order on the grid with Mark Hazell's Williams FW07B leading the pack off the start line, but on lap 2 he slipped back behind Jamie Constable (Tyrell 011) and Steve Brooks (JPS-liveried Lotus 91). By lap 4 Cantillon had taken the lead ahead of the two Tyrells of Constable and Ken Tyrell, in which order they stayed until the chequered flag.

Unusually for The Classic we next had a race for a current, or near current, race series - the Masters GT4 Classic Silverstone Challenge. On Saturday a 13 strong grid of cars headed by teenagers Seb Hopkins (in the Team Parker Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS CS) and Freddie Tomlinson (in the Team LNT Ginetta G56 GT40). From the start Hopkins took the lead followed by Tomlinson and David Vresky in the Buggyra Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4, and they stayed that way to the flag.

Sunday saw a repeat 1-2; but with Tomlinson taking the win from Hopkins and Aliyyah Koloc taking third spot in the second of the Buggrya Racing's Mercedes AMF GT4s.

The first of two of the weekend's races for pre-1966 GP cars saw 43 drivers take to the grid in rear and front-engined cars ranging in age from 58 to 69 years old. In the first race Rudiger Friedrichs (1960 Cooper T53) (made a demon start from seventh on the grid to snatch the lead into the first corner, only for pole sitter Will Nuthall (1960 Cooper T53) to out-brake him into Farm and take a lead which was never challenged. Friedrichs was also overtaken by Michael Gans (1964 Cooper T79) on the opening lap and they finished the race in that order.

Sunday’s running saw Michael Gans took the lead from Nuthall at Becketts on the first lap only to loose out to Nuthall down the Wellington Straight, with these two finishing in the same order as on Saturday and Rudiger Friedrichs also claiming the third position spot again. A determined scrap for fourth between the Cooper T53 of Justin Maers, the Brabham BT3/4 of Tim Child, and the iconic Lotus 25 with which Jim Clark won seven out of the ten F1 Championship races in 1963 driven now Andy Middlehurst was resolved in favour of Tim Child just in front of Middlehurst, while Maers was pipped to sixth by Andrew Beaumont in a Lotus 18.     

The largest grid of the weekend saw an eclectic mix of 65 cars head out to contest Saturday's International Trophy for pre-1966 Classic GT Cars, with American Ford 4.7 litre V8-engined cars and E-Types dominating the first four rows of the grid, interrupted only by the diminutive 1700cc Ginetta G4R of Mark Halstead and Dan Eagling in fourth. Pole sitter Julian Thomas in the Shelby Cobra Daytona was beaten away from the lights by second on the grid John Davison driving a TVR Griffith with the same V8 as in the Cobra, with another TVR Griffith driven by Mike Whitaker slotting into third. Somewhat predictably the less powerful Ginetta was outgunned by the bigger engined cars and slipped down to 14th spot by the end of lap 1.

Thomas undercut Davison at the Loop on the second lap to take the lead with the Davison and Whitaker TVRs in second and third followed by the first of the Jaguar E-Types driven by James Dodd. Dodd's took the lead after the compulsory pit stops with the Shelby Cobra Daytona, now driven by Callum Lockie back behind Dodd and the two TVRs of Davison and Whitaker with five minutes to go. Lockie powered the Cobra ahead to take the win from Dodd, Davison and Whitaker.

From pole position on the grid Steve Tandy took the diesel-powered Peugeot 90X from 2011 into a first lap lead in the Masters Endurance Legends race on Saturday, until second place man Tim De Silva in the Pescarolo LMP1 got by under braking for Brooklands on lap 2. At the pit stop Tim's father Harindra took over, but coasted to a stop shortly after taking over the car. At the flag Tandy was first ahead of Jamie Constable in another Pescarolo LMP1; but a 30 second yellow flag penalty dropped Tandy to second, handing the win to Constable, with Michael Lyons in the Mazda-AER engined Lola B12 third.

Sunday's race saw Jamie Constable take the Pescarolo into the lead from pole, despite a big lock-up at Farm, followed by Steve Tandy's Peugeot and Michael Lyons’ Lola, however with 18 minutes left to run a coming together between Constable and the Steve Osborne (no relation!)/Chris Ward Porsche 911 GT3 at Copse saw the immediate elimination of the Porsche with a broken right rear wheel, and exactly a lap later at the same corner, the Pescarolo came to a stop after the right rear tyre delaminated as a result of that incident. The resulting long Safety Car period meant just one lap to the finish with an exciting wheel-to-wheel battle between Michael Lyons and Tim De Silva, with De Silva diving past Lyons at the last corner to cross the line ahead, only to be penalised one second for exceeding track limits at that corner and handing the win to Lyons.

Saturday's racing was brought to an end with the Yokohama Trophy for Masters Sports Car Legends which featured a field largely made up of cars from Chevron and Lola, with the Chevron B19 of Tom Bradshaw on pole. From the rolling start Bradshaw streaked away opening up a five second gap from Diego Ferrao in the 1973 Lola T292 by lap 2, although by the following lap Alex Brundle had used the 4.7 litre Chevrolet grunt in the Lola T70 to pass Ferrao to take second spot, albeit seven seconds behind the leader.

A Safety Car period from lap 9 to lap 12 bunched the field up; but with a number of slower cars between Bradshaw and Brundle when they were released, Brundle had his work cut out to catch Bradshaw – a task that became impossible when the big Chevy engine started blowing clouds of smoke under acceleration leading Brundle to pit on the penultimate lap. The drama didn't end though as Bradshaw also started to smoke and slowed on the last lap to cross the line, take the win and almost immediately pull off with collapsed left front suspension.

Another huge grid saw 53 starters for the MRL RAC Woodcote and Stirling Moss Trophies race for 1950s sports cars with James Cottingham leading from pole at the start in the Tojeiro Ecosse Jaguar from the Lister Knobbly of Chris Ward/Rob Smith took the lead at Luffield on the second lap, with New Zealander Roger Wills in a Lotus 15, which was driven by Bruce McLaren in period, in third place.

An Aston off at Copse brought out the Safety Car which lead to an unfortunate incident involving a number of cars in the following crocodile causing the race to be red-flagged. At the restart, with 37 minutes left to run, Roger Wills got the Lotus 15 into second behind Chris Ward in the Lister Knobbly until on lap 7 Ward was passed by both Wills and Cottingham at the end of the Hangar Straight just before his mandatory pit stop when the Willis/Jobstl Lotus 15 took over the lead. Roger Wills emerged in the lead after the pit stops worked out, and he held the lead to the finish winning the Stirling Moss Trophy, with second place going to Ollie Hancock who took over from John Spiers in the Lister Jaguar Knobbly after a dramatic last few laps battle with Harvey Stanley in the Tojeiro Jaguar he'd shared with James Cottingham.

The Woodcote Trophy section of the race saw a win for the Gregor Fisken/Martin Stretton HWM in a close finish with the Jaguar D-Type driven by John and Gary Pearson.

Jaguar E-Types took the first five places on the grid for the RAC Historic Tourist Trophy race for pre 1963 GT cars with the pole car being the ex-Huffaker Motorsports 1961 E-Type successfully raced in the USA back in the 1960s and here driven by the familiar Cottingham/Stanley pairing. Ollie Webb in a fixed head coupe E-Type chased after the soft top E-Type of James Cottingham from the start; but the E-Type of Gary Pearson made a very slow start from third on the grid and pulled off track at the first corner.

At the flag Harvey Stanley took the win in the Huffaker E-Type from Guy Ziser in the FHC E-Type he'd taken over from Ollie Webb, while a hard fought battle between Richard Cook in a Shelby Cobra and Danny Winstanley in another FHC E-Type went the way of Cook for third place.

Dean Forward was out again in the Thundersports race, this time in the monstrous McLaren M8F, as raced by Peter Revson and Denny Hulme to a 1-2 finish in the 1971 Can-Am Championship, which he had put on pole just over 3 seconds ahead of the Chevron B26 of veteran driver John Burton. Predictably the McLaren's awesome 8-litre Chevrolet power enabled Forward to run away from Burton and the rest of the field right from the start. Not so predictably, with just four laps completed, the big McLaren slowed dramatically along the Wellington Straight with a broken oil pump drive belt and was passed by Burton and Greg Caton who had taken his March 75S into third from ninth on the grid.

After a Safety Car period to remove Paul Cope's March 75S from where it had stopped in the entrance to the National Pits, Greg Caton took the lead until, after a bit of bumping through Brooklands and Luffield, Burton took the lead back between Copse and Maggots. An 'off' at the Loop by Robert Hall in the Shrike P15 brought out the Safety Car where it stayed until the race end, giving victory to John  Burton – not bad for an eighty year old!

The weekend's racing came to an end with the Adrian Flux Trophy for Transatlantic pre 1966 Touring Cars. With the first 4 rows of the grid being an almost solid Ford V8 affair, only broken by the Lotus Cortina of Marcus Jewell and Ben Clucas on the second row, it was no surprise that the leader at the end of the first lap was the Mustang of Steve Soper, followed by James Thorpe (Mustang) and World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx in another Mustang. Soper appeared to have handling problems which allowed Thorpe and then Julian Thomas in the Ford Falcon through. After the pit stops Callum Lockie drove Thomas' Falcon into the lead and took the chequered flag at the end, ahead of Thorpe/Taylor and three other Mustangs.


Peter Osborne


RACE RESULTS:

Race 1: Historic Formula Junior

First: Michael O'Brien – Brabham BT6

Second: Horatio Fitz-Simon – Lotus 22

Third: Tim De Silva – Brabham BT2

Race 2: HSCC Historic Formula 2

First: Ben Mitchell – Martini MK 19/22

Second: Matthew Watts – March 782s

Third: David Shaw – March 782

Race 3: Tony Dron Memorial Trophy for MRL Historic Touring Cars

First: Andy Middlehurst – Nissan Skyline

Second: Simon Garrad – Nissan Skyline R32

Third: Pearson/Brundle – Ford Capri RS3100

Race 4: MRL Pre-War Sports Cars 'BRDC 500'

First: Fisken/Blakeney-Edwards – Frazer Nash TT Replica - Supersport'

Second: Rudiger Friedrichs – Alvis Firefly Special

Third: Gareth Burnett– Alta Sports

Race 5: Frank Williams Memorial Trophy for Masters Racing Legends

First: Mike Cantillon – Williams FW07C

Second: Steve Hartley – McLaren MP4/1

Third: Ken Tyrell – Tyrell 011

Race 6: Masters GT4 Classic Silverstone Challenge

First: Seb Hopkins – Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS CS

Second: Freddie Tomlinson – Ginetta G56 GT4

Third: David Vrsecky – Mercedes-AMG GT4

Race 7: HGPCA Pre 1966 Grand Prix Cars

First: Will Nuthall – Cooper T53

Second: Michael Gans – Cooper T79

Third: Rudiger Friedrichs – Cooper T53

Race 8:International Trophy for Classic GT Cars (Pre 1966)

First: Thomas/Lockie – Shelby American Cobra Daytona

Second: James Dodd– Jaguar E-Type

Third: John Davison – TVR Griffith

Race 9: Masters Endurance Legends

First: Jamie Constable – Pescarolo LMP1

Second: Steve Tandy – Peugeot 90X

Third: Michael Lyons – Lola B12/80

Race 10: Yokohama Trophy for Masters Sports Car Legends

First: Tom Bradshaw– Chevron B19

Second: Claridge/Gomes – Chevron B23

Third: Beighton/Hadfield – Lola T70 Mk3B




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Race 11: Historic Formula Junior

First: Michael O'Brien – Brabham BT6

Second: Sam Wilson – Cooper T59

Third: Alex Ames – Brabham BT6

Race 12: MRL Royal Automobile Club Woodcote & Stirling Moss Trophies

First: Roger Wills – Lotus 15

Second: Spiers/Hancock – Lister Knobbly

Third: Cottingham/Stanley – Tojeiro Ecosse Jaguar

Race 13: HSCC Historic Formula 2

First: Ben Mitchell – Martini MK 19/22

Second: Greg Caton – March 783

Third: Timothy De Silva – Chevron B35

Race 14: Royal Automobile Club Historic Tourist Trophy (MRL Pre '63 GT)

First: Cottingham/Stanley –Jaguar E-Type Huffaker

Second: Webb/Ziser – Jaguar E-Type FHCi

Third: Richard Cook – Shelby AC Cobra

Race 15: Frank Williams Memorial Trophy for Masters Racing Legends

First: Mike Cantillon – Williams FW07C

Second: Jamie Constable – Tyrell 011

Third: Ken Tyrell – Tyrell 011

Race 16: HGPCA Pre 1966 Grand Prix Cars

First: Will Nuthall – Cooper T53

Second: Michael Gans – Cooper T79

Third: Rudiger Friedrichs – Cooper T53

Race 17: Masters Endurance Legends

First: Michael Lyons – Lola B12/80

Second: Timothy De Silva – Pescarolo LMP1

Third: Steve Tandy – Peugeot 90X

Race 18: HSCC Thundersports

First: John Burton – Chevroin B26r

Second: Gregory Caton – March 75S

Third: Claridge/Gomes – Chevron B23

Race 19: Masters GT4 Classic Silverstone Challenge

First: Freddie Tomlinson – Ginetta G56 GT4

Second: Seb Hopkins – Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS CS

Third: Aliyyah Koloc – Mercedes-AMG GT4

 Race 20: Adrian Flux Trophy for Transatlantic Pre '66 Touring Cars

First: Thomas/Lockie – Ford Falcon

Second: Thorpe/Quaiffe– Ford Mustang

Third: McInerney/Keen – Ford Mustang