Sam Wilson, Michael Lyons, Henry Chart and Kevin Kivlochan were the big winners as HSCC grids played an important role in the Silverstone Festival (August 25-27).
Over the Bank Holiday weekend, the awesome event drew thousands of visitors to Silverstone for an incredible festival featuring the best of historic racing and much, much more.
On track, the Historic Sports Car Club race organising team was at the helm and steered the event successfully through a range of incidents, some changing weather and a busy timetable to deliver a great weekend of historic racing.
The annual showcase for historic racing at Silverstone has been a happy hunting ground for Sam Wilson over the years and he extended his remarkable run of formula Junior victories with two more wins in a pair of incredibly close fought races.
As has become the norm, the Juniors opened the race programme each day in style with a vast grid and great racing all the way down a diverse field. Saturday’s race ran with some lingering damp patches from overnight rain and it was Horatio Fitz-Simon, who set the early pace with Wilson, Alex Ames and Samuel Harrison chasing hard. Harrison, back in Formula Junior for the weekend, was running the rare Rennmax of Adrian Holey and showed that it is a strong contender against the Lotus and Brabham hordes. Sadly, out on the opening lap went last year’s winner Michael O’Brien with a broken gearbox in the Lotus 27 of Marty Bullock.
Though he led initially Fitz-Simon was struggling with a car that was just a little too stiffly set for the conditions and he had a big moment at Stowe that dropped him to the tail of the lead pack as Wilson and Ames broke a little way clear. They battled all the way to the line and Wilson got the verdict by less than three tenths of a second.
But that was a huge margin compared to Sunday’s race as Wilson dived out from behind Fitz-Simon on the dash to the flag to win by just two-hundredths of a second having battled all race. Fitz-Simon led the last lap, only to lose out by the smallest of margins.
Ames was not far back in third, while up from the back of the grid to eighth place came O’Brien after Mark Carter generously stepped aside and allowed Michael to race his Brabham BT6. Unfortunately, a lack of straight line speed and an early safety car cost O’Brien the chance of getting into the top six.
On Saturday Andrew Hibberd’s Lola Mk2 was clearly the class of the front-engined pack but on Sunday he was edged back to second after a fantastic race long battle with Ray Mallock’s U2 Mk2. Over the line Mallock got the verdict by less than three tenths of a second after a tremendous contest.
After several decades out of sight in a barn, Michael Lyons brought the Le Mans IBEC back to the grid for Saturday’s Thundersports race after the famous DFV-engined car was fully restored by the Lyons crew. Typically, Michael drove it with tremendous pace and once he had worked ahead of the March 717 of Mark Williams, he was able to rush away and win by nearly a lap.
With Williams posting an early retirement it was Dan Eagling who brought the lovely Royale RP17 up into a fine second place before Ross Hyett just pipped Tim de Silva for the final podium position as Lola T70 Mk3B fended off Taydec Mk3. Dan Balfour was an excellent class winning fifth in his Chevron B8. But there were no rewards for strong drives from Mark Richardson (Lola T290) and John Spiers/Nigel Greensall (Osella PA3) with both cars retiring mid race.
There was something of a fairy tale result for the Derek Bell Trophy for single seaters as Henry Chart took to Formula 5000 power like a duck to water. Chart has acquired the Formula Atlantic Modus from Simon Hadfield for his debut in this type of single seater, but an engine failure in qualifying threatened to sideline him.
Undeterred, Hadfield’s team went back to base and brought the F5000 Trojan T101 out for the first time in several years and quickly prepared it with updated belts and an extinguisher to get it ready for Chart to race at the weekend. His first experience of F5000 power was as he left the pit road for the green flag lap but Henry immediately showed his class and quickly started setting an impressive pace.
Andrew Smith had set the early pace in his March 782 and looked set to romp away with it. However, a throttle issue led to a spin and then some slower laps as he nursed the car, so Chart was able to dive ahead and win Saturday’s race by less than two seconds.
Some way back, Christian Pittard and Paul Campfield had a battle of Formula 5000 Chevrons for third and fourth before Clive and Martin Wood (friends but not related) rounded out the top six.
With Smith electing to miss Sunday’s race Chart had an even easier and won by almost a minute with a performance that showed his true class and left everyone hugely impressed. Pittard was able to stretch away from Campfield this time around and Clive Wood (Chevron B29) just held off Martin Wood (March 782) as Simon Fish joined in their battle with his Chevron B42.
Bringing the curtain down in style on a glorious weekend was the HSCC Road Sports Trophy with a 40-car grid for a 40-minute race in bright and dry conditions after rain earlier in the day. Kevin Kivlochan enlisted the driving support of Nigel Greensall for the Shelby Cobra and they duly won the race at a canter, finishing nearly 15 seconds up on John Davison, who was as quick as ever. His Lotus Elan just lacked out and out power on the long straights of Silverstone.
Simon King brought his Morgan Plus 8 up to the final podium place before the similar car of Will and Richard Plant. Not far back, Steve Deeks took a fine fifth overall in his orange Porsche 911SC before John Shaw and Keith Ahlers rounded out the top six in another Morgan. With battles all down a bumper field, it was a great showcase for both the 70s and Historic Road Sports categories.