278 Photo Gallery and Report:The Silverstone Classic 2011
Let me start with some facts and figures, over 80000 people visited the Silverstone classic over the weekend. 120 car clubs exhibited over 7000 cars. In excess of 1000 Jaguar E Types were gathered ‘under one roof’ to celebrate the marques 50th birthday, a world record setting track parade of over 800 of the type and two E Type challenge races with over 50 cars taking the start made sure the it was a great party. 1104 entries for the 22 races which were the focal point of the event, both the old pits and paddock and the new Silverstone wing pits complex were used making administrating all the cars and drivers tricky. That said the MPA team coped with great aplomb and there were no real hiccups despite being at opposite ends of the circuit. This year’s classic was the second under the administration of MPA Creative and these figures set new records for the event, which is a fitting tribute to all of the team who organised the show.
The racing is where I concentrated as put simply there was just too much to cover even over three days, (I’ll need to take an assistant with me next year!)
The programme of races started on Saturday with a belter in the form of the Formula Juniors, local man John Milicevic was out to play with his Cooper T59 and had to be the favourite for the win, however Sam Wilson had other ideas. Starting from 6th on the grid, Wilson worked his Cooper T59 up to second by the end of the first tour and set about Milicevic’s identical car. The pair put on a fantastic performance, lapping an average of five seconds faster than third place man Benn Simms’ Elva 200, in a wheel to wheel battle that was as fair as it was close. On Lap seven of eight Wilson made his move, Milicevic had a pop back at him as the pair rounded Luffield together but Wilson wasn’t to be robbed of the win, re-passing at Stowe and making his Cooper very wide as they crossed the line 0.2 of a second apart. Race 2 was even better, Milicevic and Wilson trading the lead almost corner by corner, into the final lap and Milicevic crossed the stripe in the lead with Wilson in his wheel tracks, by Stowe the pair had passed and re-passed each other several times. Wilson got a run at Milicevic on the hanger straight and dived through at Stowe fending off a last ditch attempt from the number one Cooper into club. Such was the intensity of their fight Milicevic punched the air as he crossed the line despite being second. Both men congratulated each other on the podium describing the action as the ‘best race of my life’. The battle for third was just as enthralling with a fight between to HSCC Formula Junior regulars James Murray, Lola Mk5A and Michael Hibberd, Lotus 22, Murray coming out on top by a nose.
Race 2 the Under 2 Litre Touring car race was won by Leo Voyazides and Simon Hadfield in their Lotus Cortina Mk1. Second was the Similar Cortina of Howard Redhouse and ex BTCC driver Mike Jordan. Third were the early pace setters Richard Shaw and Jackie Oliver who shared a BMW 1800 TiSA.
The Woodcote Trophy for Pre-1956 Sports Cars was a one car race, the car a very special D Type Jaguar of 1955 vintage, the ex- Borders Reivers car was famously driven by Jim Clark in period. I’m sure Jim would have been well pleased with the performance it delivered on Saturday morning in the capable hands of Gary Pearson and Carlos Monteverde the pair managing to lap the entire field in a display of complete dominance from lights to flag. Pearson was nearly third as well as he was also sharing the Maserati A6 GCS which Lukas Huni had started in, However couldn’t prevent the Cooper T33 of Derek Hood and Andrew Smith and the D Type Jaguar of Fred Wakeman and Ludovic Lindsay passing him in the closing stages demoting the Maserati to forth.
Next up, the first of two races for the HSCC Big Engined Touring Cars, hot favourite Leo Voyazides and his Ford Falcon was sidelined when his fuel pump failed, leaving Mustangs to dominate this encounter. The race was Lead at the start by Jason Minshaw in a Falcon, when he retired James Dodd took over and crossed the line first. Ex-BTCC man Patrick Watts recovered to second in a slightly rearranged Mustang after ramming Phil Keen’s Falcon into retirement at Village in an optimistic move to pass Keen for a then third place. Henry Mann’s Mustang rounded out the top three. Race two on Sunday morning was a completely different affair, Watts got away at the start and the rest pack strung out. They say cometh the hour, cometh the man, Leo Voyazides was the man of this ‘hour’. Starting at the back of the grid courtesy of the failed fuel pump which put him out of race one, he was ‘pumped’ up for this race and didn’t disappoint, scything through the field to be ninth at the end of lap one, fifth on lap two, third on lap three, setting the fastest lap of the race, second on lap four, hitting the front on lap five demoting Patrick Watts to second with John Young’s Mustang fending off a late charge from Roger Wills Mercury Cyclone to secure third.
What many consider to be the main event’s of the weekend action came out to play next, The Grand Prix Masters, 70’s and 80’s Formula One machinery. 33 beautiful Formula One cars took to the Grand Prix track, all Cosworth DFV 3 litre engined all in period colours, the sight and the noise was magnificent! Andy Meyrick took time off from his Aston Martin AMR1 driving duties put his March 761, resplendent in ‘Beta Utensili’ livery on pole 2.1 seconds faster than Nathan Kinch’s ‘Marlboro’ McLaren MP4. Series regulars Michael Lyons and Bill Coombs filled the second row with a Hesketh 308E and a Tyrrell 009 with the third row locked out by a pair of Arrows A4’s driven by Steve Hartley and Robert Austin. Also out to play, Daryl Taylor and his ‘Embassy’ Shadow DN1, a Pair of McLaren M26’s piloted by Frank Lyons and Christophe d’Ansembourg, Manfredo Rossi di Montelera gave a Brabham BT42 in classic Martini colours a run, series driving force Ron Maydon continued his development of the Amon F101 this time running without the huge airbox and a late entry and the most unusual car to take to the track was a March 2-4-0. The six wheeled car debuting at the classic in the hands of Jeremy Smith, originally built in 1976 the car was mothballed and never turned a wheel in anger, until this weekend that is. Meyrick took the lead and banged in a series of stunning laps to gap the second place man Michael Lyons driving Hesketh 308E. By the end of lap seven Meyrick had a healthy 11 seconds to the Hesketh and the McLaren of Nathan Kinch, who was pressing Lyons hard. Sadly for Lyons it all stopped on lap eight as the brakes on the Hesketh cried enough and locked sending Lyons into the gravel at Brooklands, game over. This left Meyrick with an unassailable lead which he converted into silverware after 13 laps, Nathan Kinch sold Bill Coombs a Mansell’esque dummy at Stowe on the final tour but a misfire allowed the Tyrrell back through to secure a fine second place with the McLaren driver having to settle for third. Sunday’s Race 2, saw Meyrick again look dominant in the opening stages however all was not well in the cockpit of the March, Meyrick was experiencing gear selection problems which ultimately slowed his pace. Steve Hartley in the Arrows A4 closed to within 2 seconds of the March but Meyrick managed to match the Arrows pace for the final couple of tours to take a well earned win from Hartley; Bill Coombs came home third 19 seconds adrift.
More Formula One action was next as the Historic Grand Prix Car Association (HGPCA) pre-1966 rear engined GP cars took a turn on the Silverstone tarmac. 45 cars in total took the start twenty of them Coopers including last year’s winner Enrico Spaggiari with his Cooper T53 and Roger Wills’ Cooper T51. Indeed it was the Moscow based flying Kiwi that took the first of two races with a dominant win over Spaggiari’s T53 and Mark Piercy’s Lola Mk4. The race was not without incident, on the first lap four potential front runners were removed in a multi car accident, Andy Middlehurst, Sir John Chisholm, David Coplowe and Dan Collins, all driving Lotus’, all fast men, all out on lap one . Race 2 on Sunday afternoon, was almost a repeat performance from Wills but on the final lap he lost control while trying to lap a back marker through Becketts tagging the unfortunate BRM of Kurt Delbene. Second place man Enrico Spaggiari seized the opportunity and took the lead with Rod Jolley also getting by for second, Wills recovered and finished third.
The Gentlemen Drivers Pre-1966 GT race looked like being a two ‘cat’ race as the Alan Minshaw/Martin Stretton E Type Jaguar and Martin O’Connell’s similar machine disappeared into the distance, Minshaw handed the car over to stretton on lap 12, only for Stretton to retire the car on lap 17 with a gearbox problem. O’Connell’s E Type fell foul of a wheel bearing, leaving left father and son duo of Michael and Sean McInerney in their TVR Griffith to take the winners laurels from another father and son Combo in the shape of Ollie and Greame Bryant’s AC Cobra, the Hart/Hugenholtz Cobra completing the podium.
Race 8 and more Formula One, this time the front engined pre-1961 GP cars the race was dominated by Philip Walker’s 1959 Lotus 16, restored to its original condition complete with the ‘queer box’ gearbox which Colin Chapman had insisted on using because it was lighter than other gearboxes then available. This was almost Walker’s undoing as gear selection problems effected the car in both races. Eddie McGuire’s Lotus 16 had qualified on the front row but did not take the start, so leading the chase was Rod Jolley in the magnificent Lister Jaguar Monzanapolis, the late afternoon sunshine glinting off the mirror polished bodywork. Italian front engined GP car honours were upheld with the Maserati 250F CM7 of Allan Miles who brought the Italian stallion home third, the car never raced in period being built essentially from spare parts! Race 2, and Walker again led, however this time the ‘queer box’ was not on the same page and Walker had to do most of the race in forth gear, still managing to hold off Jolley by 6 seconds at the chequered flag. The race for 3rd was won by the Connaught C type ‘toothpaste tube’ of Michael Steele from Walker’s Maserati with Will Nuthall’s Cooper Bristol keeping Walker honest for 4th and 5th.
The fantastic sight of three Ferrari 512S’ being led by a Ferrari 412P howling into Stowe for the first time heralded the start of the Italian Historic Car Cup race. Bobby Verdon-Roe had managed to get the older 412P ahead of the 512’s but Nathan Kinch in the bright yellow ex-Ecurie Francorchamps example, a car last seen in the UK forty years ago, set up the pass for the lead with a wide line into Stowe giving him the inside line into Club Corner, From there Kinch built a lead which he briefly lost to Manfredo Rossi’s Osella Abarth PA1, during the mandatory pit stops once the lead was regained Kinch was never headed. Bobby Verdon-Roe mounted a late challenge but ran out of laps coming home second with Rossi third and the 512’s of Lynn and Monteverde rounding out the top five.
Part of the Jaguar E Type celebrations is a series of races specifically for the marque, The E Type Challenge. What a sight it was too, with no less than 52 E Types of various specification taking the start. A new gear box fitted to the Minshaw E Type mean’t it was never headed in both races although in the first encounter Alex Buncombe kept Minshaw honest finishing just 3 seconds down the road with Greame Dodd a further 7 seconds a drift at the end of the thirteen laps. Minshaw ran away with race 2, Martin O’Connell and Andrew Smith sharing the champagne on the podium.
The Group C Endurance series race 1 closed proceedings on the track on Saturday and it was a good’un. Bob Berridge had put his Sauber C11 Mercedes, the car that Michael Schumacher and Heinz Harald Frentzen cut their teeth in, on pole for the first race with a lap in the wet 5 seconds faster than anyone else! Berridge elected to drive in the Sunday race handing the ‘silver arrow’ to Gareth Evans for the evening. The star of Saturdays sunset race was the Nissan R90C with Katsu Kabota at the wheel and Alex Buncombe’s Jaguar XJR9, the latter surging passed the potent Merc on lap two with Kabota in tow. Buncombe employed every trick in the book to keep the turbocharged Nissan at bay but Kabota’s tenacity paid off and he eventually found a way through to the lead on lap 13 taking the win two laps later, Buncombe second and Evans bringing home the C11 third. Race 2 was another close fought affair, Bob Berridge produced a sublime drive in the Sauber for the win but the undoubted star of this race was Japanese F3 driver, invited over by Kabota, Hideki Yamamuchi who gave chase, briefly snatching the lead for about half a lap before Berridge got by again. Yamamuchi was badly baulked by the Nissan RC90 of Steve Tandy in the Becketts complex and settled for a fighting second place, not bad considering he’d never driven the Silverstone track before practise on Friday. Third was Andy Meyrick in a Spice R89C followed home by Gary Pearson and Alex Buncombe who were having their own private Jaguar XJR battle, Pearson’s XJR11 besting the older XJR9 of Buncombe. But a brilliant sight it was to see all the Group C cars out to play again, although the car that dominated the period the Porsche 962 was only represented by one example an ex-Joest racing ‘Blaupunkt’ sponsored car driven by Peter Harburg.
Sunday Morning and the racing got underway with The Stirling Moss Trophy for Pre-1961 Sports Cars race. 41 cars roared out of club for the rolling start, headed for a lap by Alex Buncombe’s Lister Knobbly, second time round and the Dodd/Hadfield Cooper Monaco hit the front with the Ferrari 246 of Bobby Verdon-Roe, the Lotus 15 of Wills/Twyman and last year’s winner Jamie McIntyre in another Lotus 15 all in close attendance. Martin Stretton took over from John Minshaw in their Lister Knobbly early on and thanks to some very consistent laps put the car in to second place at the end. But it was Jamie McIntyre who crossed the line first, BV-R pitted from the lead on the final lap rejoining in third behind Stretton who, suffering from shot rear tyres had a spin at Club. The Ferrari was later excluded for infringing the pitstop window, which promoted the Walker/Wright Lotus 15 to third.
The RAC Tourist Trophy for Historic Cars provided an excellent spectacle, Hans Hugenholtz putting the gorgeous Ferrari 250 SWB Drogo on pole, but it was Stuart Graham in the Aston Martin DB4 GT lightweight that got the hole shot at the start, Hugenholtz slotted in behind and harried the DB4 eventually finding a way past on lap 5. Graham hung on as best he could but Hugenholtz built a five second lead by the time he handed the car over to David Hart on lap 11. Remarkably this handed the lead to the Morgan +4 Supersports of Dion Kremer who was enjoying the drive of his life, he relinquished the lead when he pitted to hand over to his Father Gabriel who brought the Morgan home 6th. David Hart looked set to stroke the red car home until the last lap when the Ferrari rolled to a silent halt at the top of the Hanger Straight. Richard Attwood who had taken over the DB4 from Graham and despite not being able to match the lap times of Hart, had looked set for a worthy second place, thus inherited the win. The win gave Graham the distinction of being the winner of the Historic TT and both the two and four wheeled Tourist Trophies in period. He described the win as being “like a roll over Jackpot”. 2010 winners Carlo Vogele and Willie Green came home second in the prettiest car on track the Ferrari 330 GTO, the Aston Martin Project 212 of Wolfgang Friedrichs and David Clark rounding out the podium.
The World Sports Car Masters race was dominated by Oliver Bryant in the thunderous sounding Lola T70 Mk3B taking the flag by over a minute from second place man Leo Voyazides similar Machine, Manfredo Rossi did a bit of giant killing in his Osella Abarth PA1 crossing the line to a fine third place in the nippy Italian machine.
Full results, lap charts etc can be found on the Historic Sports Car Club web site. www.hscc.org.uk
Thus the curtain fell on another Silverstone Classic; the event is starting to live up to its billing as the biggest classic racing festival in the world. MPA Creative clearly learned lessons from last year. I’m sure next year’s will be an even bigger success. My thanks to the team at MPA for looking after us so well once again, we look forward to seeing you next year