SUNSHINE AND SHOWERS AT SILVERSTONE FESTIVAL
SUNSHINE AND SHOWERS AT SILVERSTONE FESTIVAL
Capri RS3100 driven by Andy Wolfe and Darren Turner leads the Broadspeed Capri of Richard Kent and Joe Osborne out of a very wet Copse corner during the MRL Historic Touring Car Challenge.
All photos © Peter Osborne
Ken Tyrrell (#23) won the first of the weekend's Historic F1 races after Mike Cantillon's Williams was disqualified for a technical infringement.
Once again Classic motor racing returned to a bustling Silverstone circuit over the August Bank Holiday weekend for a true festival of racing, rocking, and family entertainment – fittingly now re-branded as the Silverstone Festival.
With races from Formula Junior to Formula One, and practially everything inbetween, race fans were entertained all weekend, with a few rain showers thrown in to spice up the on-track action. As in previous years Formula Junior started the day's racing on both Saturday and Sunday, with Sam Wilson (Lotus 20/22) taking the win in both races, followed by Alex Ames (Brabham BT6) and Sam Harrison (Renmax BN1-2) in Saturday's race. Ames was relegated to third in Sunday's running with Horatio Fitz-Simon (Lotus 22) taking the second spot.
Next up on Saturday was the HSCC Thundersports race where pole sitter Mike Lyons in the Ibec 308LM was beaten off the line at the start by Mark Williams in the massive 8 litre March 717 Can-Am car although, after Lyons was eased on to the grass entering Vale on the first lap, he soon took the lead. A few laps later Williams spun the March at Becketts letting Dan Eagling's Royale RP17 through into second place. With just 3 minutes left to run Williams drove the March into retirement in the National Pits elevating the Lola T70B of Ross Hyett into third place at the finish. Second place man Eagling was the only runner not lapped by Mike Lyons.
Star drive of the weekend followed in the Derek Bell Trophy race for HSCC Formula Libre. Henry Chart was entered to drive his newly-purchased Modus M1; but the engine blew (rod through block) during qualifying. Overnight Simon Hadfield's team resurrected their Trojan T101 Formula 5000 car – which had not turned a wheel for some years, and Chart started that car from the back of the grid, (having sat in the car for the first time 30 minutes before the race) charging through the field to fifth place at the end of the first lap, second place on lap 2, and taking the lead from lap 6 to the flag! The following day he underscored his supremacy with a pole to flag victory in the second Formula Libre race.
After the rain, and Mark Goodyear's car stuck in the gravel at Luffield, brought a red flag end to the Formula Libre race the Touring Car Challenge cars came out on to a very wet track between Brooklands and Becketts, although dry elsewhere. After a couple of sighting laps behind the safety car the two front row cars, the Sierra RS500s of Paul Mensley and Julian Thomas pulled away from the field until the Kent/Osborne Capri parked at the end of the Hamilton Straight brought out the safety car. Andy Middlehurst in the Nissan Skyline took over the lead, but missed the pit stop window, incurring a penalty which became irrelevant when the Skyline broke towards the end of the race handing the victory to a jubilant Wim Kuijl in a Ford Capri.
Saturday's Formula One race saw pole sitter Ken Tyrell lead a stellar grid of Cosworth DFV engined F1 cars from 1966 to 1983. A long safety car period to recover Werner D'Ansembourg's Williams FW07C from its stationary position on the outside of The Loop bunched up the field, and at the restart Mike Cantillon shot up from fourth to take the lead by Brooklands. A stationary car next to the International pits brought out a second safety car under which the race finished with Cantillon ahead of Tyrell. However, Cantillon was later disqualified for having the rear wing too high, handing the official win to Tyrell.
A partly wet track for the second F1 race saw the whole field on wets apart from Micheal Lyons (JPS Lotus 92). A gamble that paid off as he lead from start to finish, except for one lap when Jamie Constable got ahead only to spin the lead away round The Loop;
The Masters GT Trophy saw a Lambo-dominated grid with the first four rows filled with Lamborghini Huracans, apart from a solitary Aston Martin in fifth spot. Craig Wilkins (Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo) quickly established a lead from the start which he never relinquished, apart from the mandatory pit stop, until the finish, An epic struggle through the second half of the race between the Lamborghini Huracans of Jason McInulty and Alistair Mackinnon was resolved when Mackinnon shouldered his way past on the outside at The Loop on the final lap.
The HGPCA pre-1966 GP cars race was led for many laps by pole sitter Will Nuthall in a Cooper T53 from Charlie Martin in another Cooper T53 until the seventh lap when Nuthall pulled into the its to retire. Martin then had an unchallenged run to the flag, with the second placed car, the Lotus 25 of Nick Fennel one lap adrift.
On Sunday the HGPCA ran two more races, one for front-engined cars from 1948-1960, and the second for rear engined GP cars. In the front-engine race John Spiers led from pole in the Maserati 250F only to spin at Becketts letting Rod Jolley in the shiny silver Lister Jaguar Monza GP through to the lead, followed by Klaus Lehr in another Maserati 250F. Having recovered from his spin Spiers regained the lead with 3 minutes left with Mark Shaw in the Scarab Offenhauser closely following with Shaw finding a way past Spiers at Farm on the final lap.
The third HGPCA race, for rear engined GP cars, saw almost a re-run of Saturday's race with Charlie Martin winning again after a many laps tussle with Tim Child in a Brabham BT3/4, beating Child to the line by 1.4 seconds.
International Trophy for pre-1966 Classic GT Cars. John Davidson in a TVR Griffith beat pole sitter Julian Thomas' Shelby Cobra Daytona away from the start, although Thomas got back in front along the National Pits straight first time round. Nigel Greensill in another TVR Griffith later challenged for the lead taking over the number one spot until the mandatory pit stops, after which the Daytona, now driven by Callum Lockie, regained the lead which it held until the chequered flag.
The spirit of Le Mans returned to Silverstone in the 100th anniversary year of that 24 Hour race with the two Endurance Legends races. In the first race on Saturday Harindra de Silva in a Pescarolo LMP1 led away from pole; but was swiftly overtaken by Steve Brooks' diesel powered Peugeot 90X, until the lead was taken by Jonathan Kennard in the Acura LMP2 ARX01b. The Acura however broke on its tenth lap handing the lead back to Steve Brooks who was chased to the flag by a spirited drive from Tim de Silva, who had taken over the Pescarolo from his father at the mandatory pit stop.
Sunday's race started under the safety Car as the Claude Bovet/David McDonald Aston Martin GT3 had ground to a standstill on the warm up lap at Village corner with a loose front wheel. When racing proper started the Lola Aston Martin driven by Christophe d'Ansembourg collided with the second placed Pescarolo of Harindra de Silva at The Loop spinning the Pescarolo back down the field. The two Peugeots of Steve Brooks and Stuart Wiltshire held first and second, apart from the pitstops, to the finish. Another spirited drive from Tim de Silva saw him get the Pescarolo up to 14th place before the car expired with just a handful of laps to go.
Last race on Saturday was the Yokohama Trophy for Sports Car Legends. David Hart took his Ferrari 512M from third on the grid into the lead at the first corner and led a Ferrari1-2 ahead of the 512M of Gary Pearson, until Hart spun at Brooklands handing the lead to Pearson who was closely hassled by the two Lola T70s of Martin O'Connell and Olly Bryant until the two Lolas dived past. With the pit stop window coinciding with a safety car the whole field came in for their mandatory pit stops with Callum Lockie in the diminutive Chevron B8 actually leading the field behind the safety car, which he rapidly lost at the restart! The yellow Ferrari 512M now driven by Alex Brundle took the win ahead of the Lola T70 of Olly Bryant.
Sunday's Big Cat Challenge saw the Pearson brothers take an early lead. Gary in first driving an E-Type he shared with Alex Brundle and John following in a car he would be handing over to Gary. After the pitstops Gary lead from Alex Brundle, whose car began to smoke in the slower corners, and that’s how they finished – meaning that Gary Pearson took both the second and first steps on the podium.
Two races in one for the RAC Woodcote Trophy and Stirling Moss Trophy. Three Lotus 15s, driven by Andrew Kirkcaldy, Olly Bryant, and Roger Wills quickly broke away from the rest of the field led by Nigel Greensill’s Lister Costin, until Tim Stamper’s Aston Martin DB2/4 rolled at The Loop, bringing out the safety car for a couple of laps before the race was red-flagged. A rain shower during the stop meant the race restarted under the safety car on a wet track with Olly Bryant and Roger Wills out in front, in which positions they stayed to the flag. The Woodcote Trophy race was won by John and Gary Person in a short-nosed Jaguar D-Type.
The Transatlantic pre-1966 Touring Cars race saw pole sitter Sam Tordoff take the thundering Ford Falcon into the lead closely followed by the Mustangs of Nigel Geensill and Andy Priaulx, with Greensill taking the lead when Tordoff pitted. When all had made their pitstops the Greensill cat, taken over by John Spiers was in the lead until with 10 minutes left to run Mike Whitaker pushed his Mustang to the front, with a hard charging Tordoff getting the Falcon back up to second.
With just six minutes left to run Whitaker’s blew the diff on the entrance to Copse beaching the car in the gravel and laying down an oil slick, which brought out the safety car under which the race finished with Sam Tordoff’s Ford Falcon taking the win from the Greensill/Spiers Ford Mustang.
Last race of the weekend, the HSCC Road Sports Trophy was interrupted when the Lotus Elan of John Dickson and the Datsun 260Z of John Hall came together at Club requiring a lengthy safety car period to recover those cars and a number of others stopped trackside.
After the pit stops during the safety car period the lead was taken by Nigel Greensill who had taken over from Kevin Kivlochan in the open Shelby Cobra which he took a comfortable win at the finish from pole sitterJohn Davison in a Lotus Elan FHC.