Quality Racing at the Members' Meeting
Photos: Nigel Harniman.
The 76th Member’s Meeting provided the usual high-quality of track action despite testing weather condtions that curtailed some on-track activities.
James Cottingham stormed to victory in the Ronnie Hoare Trophy which kicked off the 76th Members’ Meeting race card. The historics ace belied his lack of experience of Phil Hylander’s mid-engined Porsche 904 to conquer a quality field, but only after making up for a tentative start in damp conditions. The pole-sitter was beaten to Madgwick for the first time by fellow front-row starters, Ferrari 275GTB/C man Vincent Gaye and James Bellinger aboard Keith Ahler’s shapely SLR-Morgan. However, Cottingham was in front as the lead trio descended on St. Mary’s for the second time and had a one-second advantage next time around. By quarter-distance of the 20-minute encounter, the top three had a nine-second advantage over the warring Porsche 911s of Mark Bates and Ambrogia Perfetti in fourth and fifth.
Cottingham worked the traffic more efficiently than his pursuers, Gaye and Bellinger being never more than a few inches apart. On the penultimate lap, Gaye closed appreciably on Cottingham, only to spin off at St. Mary’s. He rejoined the fray and dropped only one place. He clung on for third behind Cottingham and Bellinger following a storming drive for the veteran racer.
The elated winner said later: “I knew my start was going to be tricky. Vincent was trying so hard and driving so well. I thought he was going to get me. I would like to dedicate this win to Henry Hope-Frost and his memory. He helped make the Goodwood events so special and my thoughts are with his family.”
Mark Blundell and Kerry Michaels claimed honours in the Gerry Marshall Trophy opener aboard their Ford Escort RS2000. Their margin of victory over the Capri of Mike Whittaker and Mike Jordan was a mere second after 38 minutes of hard racing in challenging conditions. Whittaker stormed into the lead from the middle of the front row, followed by Michaels and the Ford Mustang Boss 302 of Craig Davies. Man on the move, however, was Nick Swift who guided his Mini from fourteenth on the grid to eight by the end of the first lap. Davies muscled his way into second place on the second tour, but the Mustang later lost its bonnet and ultimately retired when Jason Plato was at the wheel.
Whittaker handed over to team-mate Mike Jordan after 24 minutes had been run, with Michaels pitting to hand over to Blundell near concurrently. Jordan worked his way into the lead amid a flurry of driver changes, but Blundell wasn’t to be denied. The former Le Mans winner was super-smooth as he chased down BTCC race winner Jordan who drove his Capri on its bump-stops as he tried to stay ahead. Blundell jumped him after 15 laps had been run as the lead pair lapped the Jochen Mass in the Fabergé Capri on the run to Madgwick. However, Jordan was still in contention when the race was halted seven minutes ahead of schedule. The Marlboro-liveried Rover 3500 SD1 of Andrew Bruce and ’92 BTCC champion Tim Harvey placed third.
Tony Wood dominated the Hawthorn Trophy race for front-engined Grand Prix cars which kicked off Sunday’s on-track action. The Cooper-Bristol ace stormed into an early lead after pole-sitter Geraint Owen was forced to retire his Kurtis-Kraft before the warm-up lap. Wood was chased hard by Eddie Williams in his first-ever race aboard Niall Dyer’s Maserati 250F during the early running, but he gradually extended his lead to the point that he had a seven second cushion by the end of the fourth lap. At three-quarter distance, a minute blanketed the top ten runners. The positions remained static to the chequered flag, but third place was only settled in the dying stages as Cooper ace Paul Grant narrowly led home Charlie Martin’s Connaught.
The elated winner said: “It was very slidey out there, but the Cooper was able to put the power down better than the Maserati. It was a lot of fun.”
Jon Milicevic starred amid a depleted field to win the 20-minute Derek Bell Cup race for one-litre Formula Three cars. The historics veteran was beaten off the line by Christophe Widmer, but the Brabham man spun on the exit of Fordwater first time around and dropped down the order. From that moment on, Milicevic was never headed, the multiple category champion guiding his Brabham BT21 with gusto to lead Thierry Gallo’s Tecno-Ford by 10.4-seconds at half-distance. He had extended his advantage over the Frenchman to 13-seconds with only five minutes left to run with March driver Simon Armer several seconds further down the road. Gallo raised the tempo in the dying stages, but there was no catching Milicevic.
The winner said after the race: “It was a toss-up whether I made the start or not. I wasn’t sure I wanted to. It was very tricky out there. I almost span out on the warm-up lap behind the pace car. I found grip wherever I could and take my hat off to all the guys who started the race as it was very hairy! I’m thrilled to have won, though.”
Gallo added: “It was very slippery! I hope there’s a bit more sunshine next year. The car was damaged in practice so I was really pleased to have been able to race this weekend.”
Veteran charger Martin Stretton claimed a fabulous win in the Salvadori Cup, but he didn’t have things his own way. Pole-sitter Jon Minshaw spun his Lister-Jaguar on the opening tour, Stretton’s similar car never being headed thereafter as Lotus 15 men Oliver Bryant and Roger Wills squabbled with the Lister of Andrew Smith behind him. Nevertheless, he wasn’t able to escape up the road, and Stretton’s lead was a scant 1.9-seconds going into the final lap. Wills was closing appreciably in the closing stages, the New Zealander exploiting his 2-litre Lotus’ fine handling as Stretton struggled to put the power down on a damp track. Bryant drove brilliantly en route to third, enjoying a close battle with Smith and Wills, only claiming the place on the last lap as back-markers came into play. Minshaw had been scything through the field thanks to a storming recovery drive, only to spin off again at three-quarter distance.
Prolific historic race winner Patrick Blakeney-Edwards guided Peter Neumark’s sublime Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Zagato to victory in the Caracciola Sportswagenrennen race for pre-war sports cars. Duncan Pittaway led off the line aboard his Bugatti Type 35, but his time at the front of the field lasted for only a few seconds as Blakeney-Edwards soon stamped his authority and disappeared into the distance. The distance between the lead duo was three-seconds at half-distance, Alfa Romeo 8C2600 driver Christopher Mann a further 21-sesconds in arrears in third. Pittaway’s race was enlivened when his car’s centre-hinged bonnet parted company, but this didn’t seem to slow him down. Mann’s race came to a smoky end with only five minutes left to run, with Frazer Nash-BMW 328 driver Alistair Pugh assuming the position from Max Werner’s road-equipped Alfa 8C. Blakeney-Edwards won from Pittaway by 28-seconds, with Werner claiming third place on the last lap after exploiting the Alfa’s superior horsepower on the pit straight.
Blakeney-Edwards said after the race: “It’s a privilege to race such a historic car. It’s been a great weekend. Goodwood is one of those circuits that I identify with. It’s perfect for pre-war cars. It’s a credit to the Goodwood team that they have been able to keep things moving in challenging conditions.”
Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen came out on top after 45 minutes of thrilling racing to win the Moss Trophy encounter for 1960-62 GT cars. Minshaw was first into Madgwick aboard his Jaguar E-type roadster, chased initially by Tom Alexander’s Aston Martin DB4GT, but all hell broke loose within half a lap after former Formula Three star Martin O’Connell’s E-type cannoned into Gregor Fisken’s similar car. The race then became a three-way battle between Minshaw, fellow E-type man John Young and Emanuele Pirro in the ex-Count Volpi Ferrari 250GT SWB ‘Breadvan’.
Minshaw was the first to pit for the driver changeover, Phil Keen matching his searing pace thereafter. Pirro swapped with Lukas Halusa within a lap, but the Ferrari owner couldn’t match the five-time Le Mans winner’s pace. Man on the move was former World Touring Car Champion Rob Huff aboard Richard Meins’ E-type. He steered the Jaguar coupé on its bumpstops and was the fastest man on track by a significant margin. He soon jumped the Breadvan, the Young E-type having by now lost several places. Huff gradually reeled-in Keen, but ran out of time to challenge for the win. He was five seconds in arrears at the flag, with Halusa hanging on for third.
Pantelis Christoforou emerged victorious in the eventful Gerry Marshall Sprint race. The pole-sitter blasted his flat-fronted Ford Escort RS2000 into an early lead, only to see his advantage nullified after the safety car was deployed within half a lap. The race was a mere 15 minutes, but it took longer still to remove stricken cars before racing could resume safely. Four minutes were then added, with Christoforou making a cracking restart as Capri duo Graham ‘Skid’ Scabrorough and Mark Fowler squabbled behind him. Christoforou crossed the line 2.9-seconds ahead of the oversteering Scarborough with Fowler crossing the line only a fraction of a second in arrears.
Tim Llewellyn drove an immaculate race to claim Bolster Cup honours aboard ‘Penny’, his Bentley 3/8 Special. He seized the initiative on the opening tour and wasn’t headed to the flag despite a constant plume of oil smoke accompanying his progress. Nevertheless, he was chased all the way by the often-sideways Tom Walker in his Hispano-engined Amilcar. Patrick Blakeney-Edwards had been in contention for third aboard Jolyon Harrison’s Bentley special, but he dropped several places in the final stages. Justin Maeers came home third in his GN Parker following a storming drive.
The elated winner said: “It’s smoking more than it should. The engine hasn’t been bedded in yet, so it isn’t working as well as it should. I am very lucky, though. The car has been in the family for 60 years, and I have been driving it for 40 years. It’s such a pleasure to drive it here. Winning is a bonus.”
David Hart drove an immaculate race to win the 11-lap Gurney Cup race aboard his ex-Willy Mairesse Ford GT40. The Dutchman blasted into an early lead from the outside on the front row, his son Olivier looking like a threat in the family Shelby Daytona Cobra until he had an off-road excursion early on. It was left to Andrew Smith in his grey Daytona Cobra to challenge for outright honours, but he never quite got on top of the gold GT40 and was three seconds in arrears by the time the chequered flag fell after 15 minutes of thrilling action. Man of the race, however, was Olivier Hart whose breathtaking recovery drive saw him steering his car at ever more extreme angles as he attempted to claw back time. He was incisive in traffic and made up several places to finish a brilliant third.
The winner said after the race: “I only bought the car three months ago so it’s still knew to me. It was horrible on track yesterday, but it was a bit better today. You just have to adjust to suit the track and the conditions.”
Smith added: “The track was really unpredictable. I managed to keep David honest for much of the race. I think it’s what Henry Hope-Frost would have described as being a bit ‘Fever’. It was a fantastic race.”
The Sears Trophy closed the weekend’s action, and it was a cracking race with the Lotus Cortinas proving the cars
to beat. Andy Wolfe and Andrew Jordan contested the lead battle, while front-runner Steve Soper tore back up the order after a wild ride across the grass saw him depart from the front-running group. Also in contention was Mark Sumpter, who drove a stunning first lap from way down the grid. A lengthy safety car period saw Jordan leading the field round, and he took the win, Sumpter and Soper having a great battle furthered with Sumpter coming out on top.