Action-Packed Saturday at Red Hot Classic
The 2014 Silverstone Classic hit full stride as an action-packed 'Super Saturday' kept the huge numbers of spectators entertained from early morning until long after the blazing sun had gone down on the Northants. circuit. Celebratory parades, a high-speed demonstration by 90s GT Legends, a rock concert and a whole host of further family entertainment all played their part in a quite sensational day of activities, which was headlined by a full schedule of 12 races. The slipstreaming Formula Junior’s commenced the on-track contests, which ran through to the Group C spectacular as the sun set over the legendary Grand Prix circuit… Peter Arundell Trophy for Historic Formula Junior The racing action for the 2014 Silverstone Classic kicked off with a packed 52-car grid of Historic Formula Juniors. The pre-1964 feeder formula never fails to provide cracking racing, and the first contest of this record-breaking year delivered some incredible wheel-to-wheel action. From a standing start it was pole-sitter David Methley that led the way – his Brabham BT6 clearly strong in a straight line but a handful around Silverstone’s historic curves. He was soon being challenged for the lead by Sam Wilson, whose Lotus 22/20 went side-by-side with the Brabham for lap after scintillating lap, but a mistake while passing back markers spun Methley out of contention. Wilson then cruised to victory by 19 seconds ahead of Jonathan Milicevic and Michael Hibberd. 1) Sam Wilson (Lotus 22/20): 9 Laps 2) Jonathan Melicevic (Cooper T59): +19.311 3) Michael Hibberd (Lotus 27): +19.753 Brian Henton Trophy for Classic Formula 3 The first ever running of Classic Formula 3 cars at the Silverstone Classic took place today, and the incredible cars from an era that spawned the careers of drivers like Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell were a welcome addition to the already incredible racing bill. At the head of the pack Nick Padmore edged away in his March 783, pulling out a few tenths every lap to secure a comfortable victory ahead of Martin Stretton’s Martini MK39 and David Shaw’s March 803B. The battle of the race was, however between Simon Jackson and Jamie Brashaw. The two were locked in combat in their respective Chevron B43 and March 793 machines, eventually crossing the line separated by just 0.3s in fourth and fifth place. 1) Nick Padmore (March 783): 10 Laps 2) Martin Stretton (Martini MK39): +5.138 3) David Shaw (March 803B): +12.161 Sir John Whitmore Trophy for Under 2 Litre Touring Cars It was a quite incredible 50 minutes in the Under 2 Litre Touring Car contest, with a fitting win for the Ford Lotus Cortina 50 years after Jim Clark won the British Saloon Car Championship in the same model. It was current BTCC star Gordon Shedden that stole the headlines in qualifying to claim pole, but on the rolling start it was second placed driver Richard Meaden that took the initiative and led into turn one. A genuinely enthralling race unfolded in front of the huge Classic crowds, with the two Cortinas trading places countless times as the identical looking machines were locked in combat for well over half an hour of racing. As the pit stop phase began, however, the battle for the win was cut short as the #152 Cortina of Shedden suffered a radiator issue that prevented his BTCC team-mate Matt Neal from going out for the second stint. With a big gap, Meaden was able to pit and second driver Grant Tromans cruised to a comfortable win ahead of the Neil Brown/Richard Dutton pairing in their Cortina. 1) Richard Meaden/Grant Tromans (Ford Lotus Cortina): 20 Laps 2) Neil Brown/Richard Dutton (Ford Lotus Cortina): +22.653 3) Andrew Banks/Max Banks (Alfa Romeo Giuglia Sprint GTA): +26.151 Sir Stirling Moss Trophy For Pre ’61 Sports Cars Jon Minshaw and Philip Keen were made to work hard for their victory in the Sir Stirling Moss Trophy For Pre ’61 Sports Cars by the Lister Jaguar Costin of Chris Ward. Minshaw made a decent getaway from pole position but lost the lead before the end of the first tour after running wide in the glorious racing green and yellow Lister Jaguar Knobbly. He fought his way back to the front by mid-distance but Ward kept him honest and even had time to nip back by his rival before the compulsory pit stops. After the dust settled it was Keen who emerged from the pit lane more than four seconds clear and he gradually pulled away until the finish. Bobby Verdon-Roe had to haul the gorgeous Ferrari 246S up to third after taking over from team-mate Nick Leventis. 1) Jon Minshaw/Phil Keen (Lister Jaguar Knobbly): 21 Laps 2) Chris Ward (Lister Jaguar Costin): +13.529 3) Nick Leventis/Bobby Verdon-Roe (Ferrari 246S): +49.714 FIA Masters Historic Formula One Ollie Hancock stormed to victory from seventh on the grid in an interrupted FIA Masters Historic Formula One race. An early spin for Andrew Haddon’s Williams was quickly followed by a huge accident for the Ensign N173 of Sidney Hoole, which brought out the red flags. The driver was taken to hospital with a leg injury although his condition wasn't thought to be serious. Pole-sitter Michael Lyons streaked away at the restart and seemed certain for victory until his Hesketh endured last lap mechanical heartache. Hancock’s yellow Fittipaldi F5A inherited the victory but the young Englishman deserved his fortune after a stellar performance. His eye-catching charge through the order included passes on Martin Stretton’s Tyrell and Christophe D’Ansembourg’s Williams, both of which completed the podium positions. 1) Ollie Hancock (Fittipaldi F5A): 7 Laps 2) Martin Stretton (Tyrell 012): +4.264 3) Christophe D’Ansembourg (Williams FW07/C): +4.792 Jet Super Touring Car Trophy Honda Accord driver James Dodd hung on to claim a dramatic victory after fending off a race long attack from Stewart Whyte in a similar machine. Dodd got the jump on Whyte on the opening lap with the Peugeot 406 of Patrick Watts tucking itself behind the lead duo. The two Hondas quickly pulled clear and in true BTCC-style swapped placed several times whilst an even fiercer four-car battle ensued for third place. Watts was joined by the Alfa Romeo of Neil Smith, John Cleland’s Vauxhall Vectra and the Renault Laguna of Simon Garrad. Like the leaders ahead of them places were exchanged regularly throughout the contest, and though Watts retired late on with a mechanical problem, it was former BTCC champion Cleland who eventually came out on top to score a hugely popular podium. Other BTCC legends also contested the race, with Steve Soper scoring a top ten in the Ford Capri whilst 2009 champion Colin Turkington fought his way up the order in the BMW ‘Batmobile’. 1) James Dodd (Honda Accord): 9 Laps 2) Stewart Whyte (Honda Accord): +3.075 3) John Cleland (Vauxhall Vectra): +25.946 Chopard International Trophy for Pre ’66 GT Cars It was a fantastic solo drive from Sean McInerney to take victory in his TVR Griffith after an hour of blistering racing. With an incredibly varied grid of immaculate GT cars including Jaguars, Lotuses, Aston Martins, AC Cobras and many more, it was a test of both speed and endurance as cars and drivers battled on-track for position and tactically to time their pit-stops to perfection. The pairing of Nathan and Laurence Kinch took second, though they were forced to up their pace in the last few laps as Matt Nicoll-Jones was clawing back time at an impressive rate in his E-type Jaguar. He didn’t quite have enough time to mount a charge, but comfortably secured third place. 1) Sean McInerney (TVR Griffith): 24 Laps 2) Nathan Kinch/Laurence Kinch (Jaguar E-type): +19.819 3) Chris Scragg/Matt Nicoll-Jones (Jaguar E-type): +26.661 Jack Brabham Memorial Trophy Race for HGPCA Pre ’66 Grand Prix Cars In a fitting tribute to racing legend Sir Jack Brabham, the first of the two memorial races dedicated to his memory over the weekend saw the top two finishers in Brabham cars, and the trophy ceremony was emotionally presented by Jack’s son David. It was a win for Jason Minshaw from pole position in the Brabham BT4, which was pressured all the way by Jon Fairley in another Brabham – the BT11. Fairley came through from fourth on the grid, with a strong mid-race surge that saw him set several consecutive fastest laps. Minshaw responded in the final few laps to maintain the gap and cross the line in top spot. Speaking after the race, David Brabham said: “It’s brilliant to be here at Silverstone where my dad drove and won so often – and we got a one-two which makes it even better! Congratulations to all the drivers and thanks to everyone for their kind words today.” 1) Jason Minshaw (Brabham BT4): 9 Laps 2) Jon Fairley (Brabham BT11): +3.425 3) Peter Horsman (Lotus 18/21 P1): +14.290 Mustang Celebration Trophy Proudly Presented By Pure Michigan The amazing 50th anniversary celebrations for the iconic Ford Mustang continued with the first of two Celebration Trophy races. Following the biggest parade of the ‘Pony Car’ in Europe, there were more than 30 of the American muscle icons on the grid. It was, however, a brace of lighter Ford Falcons that took top honours in first and second place. After a frantic first lap that saw the spectacular #6 Mustang of Henry Mann narrowly avoid disaster, the Falcons of Leo Voyazides and Mike Gardiner sped to the front chased by the eager Ford Lotus Cortina of BTCC star Gordon Shedden. The battle for the lead was sensational, with the huge, thundering machines trading places at every opportunity. Voyazides eventually made it across the finish line just under one second ahead of Gardiner, but it was to be a heart-breaking final lap for Shedden, whose car ground to a halt from a podium-scoring position. This elevated Tom Roche to third spot, giving the Mustang a fitting flourish in its namesake race. 1) Leo Voyazides (Ford Falcon): 8 Laps 2) Mike Gardiner (Ford Falcon): +0.799 3) Tom Roche (Ford Mustang): +13.825 Maserati Centenary Trophy for HGPCA Pre ‘61 Grand Prix Cars By Silverstone Classic standards, Philip Walker claimed a fairly routine race win in the race for Pre ’61 Grand Prix Cars, leading from start-to-finish in his Lotus 16. Walker was kept honest by the Scarab Offenhauser of Julian Bronson in the early stages, but his challenge gradually faded and he had to settle for a lonely second place finish. Second row starter Tony Wood also maintained his position throughout the contest, completing the podium in the TecMec Maserati F415 ensuring the Italian marque was represented in the first of the event's pair of Maserati Centenary Trophy races. 1) Philip Walker (Lotus 16): 9 Laps 2) Julian Bronson (Scarab Offenhauser): +9.267s 3) Tony Wood (TecMec Maserati F415): +18.880s FIA Masters Historic Sports Cars Leo Voyazides and his team-mate Simon Hadfield claimed victory in an exciting FIA Masters Historic Sports Car race that ended with Lola T70s filling the top four positions. It hadn't looked likely early on, however, when front row starter Martin O'Connell's Chevron B19 streaked away with the lead. An unseen altercation with another car unfortunately put the pace-setter out of the race shortly before mid-distance, however, and once Hadfield got behind the wheel of the #1 T70 there was no looking back. There was drama aplenty in the challenge for the other two podium positions as Andy Wolfe hauled his machine back up the order and into second. The journalist pairing of Chris Harris and Richard Meaden claimed the last place on the rostrum after a late pass by the similar machine of Steve Tandy. Former FIA GT Champion Jamie Campbell-Walter produced the comeback drive of the race in the quite fabulous Ferrari 512, eventually taking eighth after an early spin for his team-mate left the car way down the order. Another interesting addition to the driver line-up was famous singer Chris Rea who piloted an Elva BMW. 1) Leo Voyazides/Simon Hadfield (Lola T70 MK3B): 23 Laps 2) Jason Wright/Andy Wolfe (Lola T70 MK3B): +54.320 3) Chris Harris/Richard Meaden (Lola T70 MK3B): +1:03.168 Group C Endurance Arguably the highlight of the Saturday schedule is seeing the evocative Group C cars from the hugely popular eighties and early nineties Le Mans era. The impressive line-up didn't disappoint as the field blasted into the evening sunset at Silverstone, with the Mercedes C11 of Bob Berridge taking the win after coming out on top of an early battle with the Nissan of Katsu Kubota. The Japanese driver actually took the lead in the first few laps, making an impressive manoeuvre by Berridge at The Loop. But when the Nissan ran wide at the same corner a few tours later the Mercedes stormed through and immediately pulled away. The fight for third looked to have ended abruptly end when the Nissan R90 of Steve Tandy spun luridly across the track while closing down the Gebhardt C91 of Michael Lyons ahead of him. Lyons later retired with a mechanical problem, however, and Tandy eventually recovered from seventh to finish fourth – losing out on the final podium place to Mike Donovan's Spice SE88 by just 0.180s. 1) Bob Berridge (Mercedes C11): 16 Laps 2) Katsu Kubota (Nissan R90CK): +25.066 3) Mike Donovan (Spice SE88): +1:20.933 So it was Bob Berridge that crossed the line as the final ray of sunlight shone over Silverstone, bringing an end to a spectacular day of racing.