The three day Silverstone Classic has got to be the largest historic motorsport festival in the World. With qualifying on Friday, and two days of racing over the weekend, there are over twenty races covering all aspects of motor racing. Single seaters, Sports Cars , GT and saloon cars are all covered, plus hundreds of car clubs displaying members cars in the infield of the circuit. Add in various parades and demonstrations around the circuit, you can guarantee there is something for every motor sport enthusiast.
Starting with the single seaters, there were two races for Formula Junior, the original beginners category. The Formula Junior drivers were racing for the Commander Yorke Trophy and both race 1 and race 6 were won by Sam Wilson in a Lotus 20/22. Next up was the replacement beginners category, with two races to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Formula Ford. They saw another double winner. Michael O’Brien in a Merlyn Mk20A took victories in both race 2 and race 13.
Race 3 was the Stirling Moss Trophy for Pre ’61 Sports Cars. This was a fifty minute race and saw Chris Ward in a Lister Costin take first place.
Race 4 was the the Under 2 litre Touring cars for the John Fitzpatrick Trophy. These cars fare rom the 1960s. The fifty minute race was won by Mark Sumpter in a Ford Lotus Cortina.
Moving back to Sports Cars, the earliest pre war cars were out in Race 5 on Saturday for the Kidston Trophy. Again a very large field for the forty minute race saw Gareth Burnett take a very close win in his Talbot 105 by just 0.162 of a second from the Frazer Nash driven by Wakeman and Blakeney-Edwards.
After the second Formula Junior race it was time for the FIA Masters Historic Formula One cars from the 1970s and Eighties. Race 7 on Saturday and on Sunday as Race 16. There was a large 30 car field, with plenty of variety, with Williams, Tyrrell, March and Arrows well represented, but also cars from Brabham, Lotus, Hesketh, Shadow, Surtees and Theodore. Saturday saw Nick Padmore take the win in his Williams FW07C after passing poleman and initial leader Jonathan Kennard in his Invitation class Arrows A3. Race 16 on Sunday saw Michael Lyons improve on his 3rd place in the first race, to take victory in his Williams FW07B ahead of Padmore who was 2nd in his Williams FW07C.
Remaining with single seaters, there were two races for the Maserati Trophy for HGPCA Pre ’66 Grand Prix cars. These races had a massive fifty car field and race 8 saw Sam Wilson winning again in a Lotus 18 372 from Jon Fairley in a Brabham BT11/19. Race 20 on Sunday saw the top two swap positions with Fairley winning from Wilson.
Switching to more modern saloons, the Jet Super Touring Car Trophy had a couple of races over the weekend. This race was for Super Tourers and Group A saloons and saw a special car come all the way from New Zealand. Jim Richards arrived with the JPS BMW 635 as raced in the Australian Touring Cars series of the period. Race 9 on Saturday saw Jason Minshaw take the overall win in his Volvo S40 well ahead of older brother Jon Minshaw in the Audi A4. Mark Wright took the Group A class in 11th position driving a Ford Sierra RS500. The second race was the last race of the meeting , Race 22. This time James Dodd in his Honda Accord managed to beat Jason Minshaw in the Volvo S40. Group A was won by Gianfranco Brancatelli in a Ford Sierra RS500 in 8th overall.
The Silverstone Classic does like a celebrity race and this year they were driving identical Austin A30/A35 Academy cars. The first of the two races was on Saturday for the celebrity drivers, Race 10. This was won by that famous celebrity (Racing driver) Steve Soper from Martin Donnelly (Racing Driver) and Mark Blundell (Racing Driver). The top celebrity was Wayne Gardner (Motorbike racer) in 4th, or was it Tiff Needell (TV Presenter/Racing Driver) in 5th? In reality it was probably Neil Primrose in 6th. The Sunday race 17 was for the car owners and saw a very close race with Mike Jordan winning by 0.889 of a second from James Colburn and Jonathan Lewis only 0.002 of a second behind in 3rd.
Saturday evening saw Race 11 for the Gallet International Trophy for Classic GT cars Pre ’66 take to the circuit in the dark. The race started at 7:30pm to be a dusk race but it was dark and It was also raining, which made it tricky for these powerful GT cars on the wet track. Oliver Bryant proved to be the master of the conditions, to win in an AC Cobra, just over a second ahead of Roger Wills in the Bizzarrini 5300 GT after fifty minutes of racing.
The most modern sports cars at the meeting were the Group C cars. Race 12 started in the dark, in heavy rain. Steve Tandy managed to master the conditions to win in his Spice SE90 GTP. The second race, 21, was held mid afternoon on Sunday as as the cars completed the first lap, down came the rain again. This time it was Kriton Lendoudis in the Mercedes C11 who kept it on the track to win.
The weather on Sunday was much better and the racing started with the second Formula Ford Race. `next out were the GT cars, which were also well represented with Race 14 for the RAC Tourist Trophy for Pre ’63 GT cars. This was probably the largest field of the day with 56 cars taking to the grid. After fifty minutes of racing, the Aston Martin DP212 of Friedrichs and Hadfield were just over two seconds ahead of the AC Cobra of Hunt and Blakeney-Edwards.
After the GT race it was back to sports cars with Race 15 for the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy race for Pre ’56 Sports Cars. The fifty minute race saw Wakeman and Blakeney-Edwards win in a Cooper T38.
After the lunch break it was the FIA Masters Formula one cars for their second race of the weekend. This was followed by the very exciting Celebrity race for the car owners in their little A30/A35 cars.
Sticking with the one make theme, there was a Jaguar Classic Challenge race on Sunday, Race 18. The majority of the field were driving the iconic Jaguar E-Type, though there was a D-Type, four XK150s, a single XK120, two Mk1 saloons and a single Mk2 saloon. Gary Pearson took a narrow victory in his Jaguar E-Type.
After the Jaguar race, it was a move to more powerful sports and Gt cars with Race 19, the FIA Masters Historic Sports Cars race. This was another fifty minute race for Sports and GT cars from the sixties and early seventies. The field was split into various classes and the overall winner was Martin O’Connell in a Chevron B19.
In addition to all the racing there were demonstrations by the ex Nigel Mansell Williams Grand Prix car, Motor Cycle racing legends also did some demonstration laps, and amoung all the parade laps, were celebrations for the Jaguar XJ 200 and the largest gathering of McLaren road cars took to the circuit on Sunday. In the static infield displays, amongst the masses of Ferrari’s, Aston Martins, Maserati and Lamborghini, were four immaculate Russian Volga saloons which had been driven over by their owners from Saint Petersburg in Russia.
By Simon & Janet Wright