Bumper grids, tremendous racing, good weather and a great atmosphere made the Historic Sports Car Clubs Silverstone Finals Meeting a runaway success over the weekend of 14/15 October.
There was no better racing than in the final two races for the Historic Formula Ford Championship. Though the title was already secure, Callum Grant really wanted to add the Paul Simms Memorial Trophy to his 2023 tally and that’s just what he did, with two superb victories after two race long battles with Benn Simms. Benn obviously would have liked to clinch the trophy in memory of his late father but was delighted to present it to Callum after a pair of fiercely competitive but respectful and sporting contests.
Saturday’s race finished with the cars split by eight hundredths of a second, while Sunday’s race offered Callum the slightly bigger margin of a quarter of a second after Ben outbraked himself into Brooklands late in the race. In their wake a mighty battle raged in both races for third place and on Saturday it was Chris Porritt who wriggled his Titan Mk6 to the front.
On Sunday, as many as eight cars battled furiously for third and it was Matthew Wrigley who just got to the front ahead of Spencer Shinner and Cormac Flanagan, after a glorious race that showed Formula Ford at its very best.
Another double winner was Michael O’Brien in Historic Formula 3 and he earned the trophy presented in memory of his late mother Julia by taking the Speedsport Brabham BT21B to two more wins on the back of Samuel Harrison’s dominance of the season long championship. On Saturday, the similar car of John Milicevic ran O’Brien close in the early laps before the GT racer edged away. Further back, Jason Timms saw off Ian Bankhurst for third.
On Sunday, O’Brien was able to escape from the start and by mid-race Milicevic had to watch his mirrors for Peter de la Roche in the Alexis Mk17 with a repaired gear linkage after a non-finish on Saturday. Timms, Simon Armer and Andy Jarvis rounded out the top six.
Historic F3 wasn’t the only winning that O’Brien did on Finals day for he then jumped into the Lotus 27 of Nick Fennell to take both rear-engined Formula Junior victories. On Saturday he went clear as Cam Jackson and Sam Wilson battled for second once Horatio Fitz-Simon was caught out by a brief shower of rain and spun. Horatio recovered to fourth, but it was not enough to keep him in the running for the championship.
On Sunday, O’Brien again went clear as Wilson and Jackson battled up the order to take a second and third from Fitz-Simon. Meanwhile two more class wins for Nic Carlton-Smith in his Kieft ensured that he retained the overall Formula Junior title despite a season that, at times, proved challenging.
Samuel Harrison was another star of the weekend as he made his Historic Formula Ford 2000 debut in one of Adrian Reynard’s cars. In a re-started race on Saturday, Harrison took victory by nearly five seconds from Graham Fennymore as Marc Mercer rounded out the podium. On Sunday there was an early red flag after a lot of oil went down at Beckett’s and led to some spins. Harrison then battled ahead of Fennymore and looked to be building a small margin only to have the Reynard stick in fourth gear for the final two laps, which allowed Fennymore to sneak ahead by seven tenths of a second as Mercer closed up in third.
A bumper grid of 70s and Historic Road Sports made a fine sight for an extended 25-minute race and Kevin Kivlochan gave himself work to do with a rather tardy start in the Shelby Cobra. However, he battled through to take over from the battling Morgan Plus 8s of John Shaw and Oliver Pratt.
Meanwhile, in the 70s division, John Williams worked his Porsche 911SC up to fourth overall with a little in hand over the Lotus Europa of Howard Payne, who gave himself an early handicap by missing second gear off the line.
The Guards Trophy race on Sunday afternoon opened with the Lotus 23Bs of Michael Hibberd and Benn Tilley both in the gravel at Beckett’s and out of the race on the first lap. Meanwhile, father and son Robert and Ben Tusting finally worked their Lenham P69 to the front of an absorbing contest but had only a second and a half in hand over the Chevron B8 of David Forsbrey after 53 laps. Dan Balfour got his B8 up to third overall, while James Dodd went solo in the family Ginetta G16 to take fourth despite running less suitable tyres. In the GT category, Harry Barton emerged on top in his TVR Griffith with a chunk in hand over the Lotus Elan of Horatio Fitz-Simon.
Back in single seaters there was an Aurora Trophy double for Neil Glover in his mighty Chevron B37. On Saturday, the Formula 2 cars of Mark Dwyer and Brian Morris led the pursuit of the mighty F5000 but both retired mid-race on Sunday and so it was Matthew Wurr who made it a Formula 5000 one-two on Sunday in the ex-Peter Gethin McLaren M10B. In the concurrent Classic Formula 3 contest, David Thorburn took his Ralt RT3 to a weekend double but it was hard charging Ben Stiles who bagged the Classic F3 title from the URS Classic FF2000 class in his Van Diemen RF82.
The front-engined Formula Junior pack had their own pair of races and it was local legend Ray Mallock who won twice in his U2 Mk2. Andrew Hibberd chased Mallock and they had a fantastic battle on Sunday, which Mallock only won by four tenths of a second. Unable to live with Mallock and Hibberd’s Lola Mk2, Alex Morton took a brace of thirds in his Condor S2 but it was not enough to keep him in the hunt for the overall Formula Junior title.
SDC Classic Formula Ford victories fell to Joseph Ahrens in his Royale RP26 and Jake Shortland in the rare Lola T440. Both races delivered excellent battles from a bumper field of Classic Formula Fords and on Saturday it was Shortland who took second from new champion Ben Tinkler.
On Sunday, Tinkler was just 19-hundredths of a second behind the Lola as they flashed over the line after 17 wheel-to-wheel laps with Callum Grant tucked in behind in the Van Diemen RF80 of Simon Langman. Grant had started the opening race from the pit lane but worked up to sixth place and then ran in the lead pack on Sunday to finish third in an impressive debut for the rebuilt car.
The shared grid of Historic Touring Cars and Historic Mod Sports and Special Saloons had a double-header on Sunday and it was the thundering TVR Griffith of Oliver and Nigel Reuben that won twice. Oliver romped away in the opening race but later in the day his father Nigel took over and had a much closer contest with Joe Ward in the mighty ‘Baby Bertha’ Vauxhall Firenza. There was just over a second in it at the flag while Andrew Willis starred in third with his monstrous Austin A30. Neil Wood topped the Historic Touring Car pack in his Ford Anglia as Bill Sollis and David Ogden battled for the runner up position.