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Silverstone National Race Report.

With the club at Silverstone (GP) today, we look back to 1st June, when our classics were in action. 

 

Full results can be found here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/242264


Photos from official club photographer can be enjoyed and bought here: https://www.davidstallardphotography.com/ClassicSportsCarClubCSCC/CSCC-2024/CSCC-Silverstone-01-June-24


We don't have video this time, however, we do have a fabulous race report from Marcus Pye.


Our Summer Spectacular race meeting, the first of two visits to Silverstone in June, attracted a solid turnout of competitors to the National Circuit for a five-grid, eight-event card on the first of the month. Those hoping for the ambient temperature to be miraculously turned up and blue skies to greet the beginning of meteorological summer were disappointed, for a biting wind meant overcoat weather for those working outside and an extra layer of thermals for our hardy band of marshals on an overcast day.

 

Nonetheless, the action was well up to scratch. The highlights were two more superb catchweight bouts embroiling MG ZRs and Jaguars and the presentation of the inaugural Mick Hill Memorial Trophy to Lenham Midget driver Andy Southcott. His imperious charge through the Special Saloons & Modsports field to win the double-header’s decisive second leg bore the hallmarks of ‘Mr Super Saloon’ himself in the crowd-pleasing category’s 50th anniversary year.

  

MG TROPHY/JAGUAR CHAMPIONSHIP

 

In a reversal of Thruxton’s protocol, the MG Trophy and Berkshire Jag Components Jaguar Championship double-header saw the ZR sub-grids - bolstered by a quartet of the more powerful cars - released first to provide a different dynamic. The ‘sides’ were very evenly matched on the 1.64-mile five-corner circuit, with the top three Jaguar drivers Jack Robinson (XK8), Colin Philpott and Tom Lenthall (XJSs), plus Scottish MG standout Graham Ross (MG) blanketed by 0.694s.

 

That the Robinson family’s renowned Swallows Racing team had straightened the front of Jack’s steed effectively following his qualifying prang in Hampshire was evidenced by his 1:06.123 (89.31mph) pole shot. But Ross’ 1:06.817 (88.38mph) demonstrated a different type of lap, the MGs’ shorter braking zones and greater cornering speeds atoning for the heavier Jags’ stronger straight line peformance, creating a similar result.

 

Jaguar chasers Ieuan Spooner (XJS), class leader Andrew Harper (supercharged S Type R) and James Ramm (XJS V12) were all in the ‘sevens,’ as were Ross’ pursuers Adam Jackson, Sam Meagher and Ian Boulton in 190bhp MGs, so 1.623s covered the top 10. suggesting an interesting race ahead. Also in the thick of the pack were Michael Atkinson (XK8), Michael Seabourne (XJS), Chris Boon (supercharged XK8) and Nicholas Dyson in his turbocharged XJ40, with Rick Walker’s unusual emerald-hued XJS on their heels.

 

Matthew Harvey had the edge among the 170bhp MG ZRs, his 1:09.828 (84.57mph) best lap 0.225s up on Tylor Ballard with Andrew Rogerson only 0.098s shy of the defending champion. Separated by Tim Morrant (Daimler Sovereign) and James Wall (Jaguar XJ turbodiesel), James Blake and James Cole were also in the 10s with their MGs.

 

Competing for the Perrys MG Trophy - put up by the marque dealer, a motor trade perennial since 1909 - the opening race saw Ross and Jackson take up the cudgels from the start, with Boulton and Meagher in hot pursuit at the end of the first lap. Ballard, Rogerson, Harvey and Cole led the yellow windscreen-stripped ZRs in their wake, with Blake, Jack Meagher and Robin Walker completing the set.

 

From their separate grid, Jaguar pacemakers Robinson - despite fluffing first gear - Lenthall and Philpott were already hounding them down, but Ramm was out by Copse. Robinson was seventh overall inside two laps, by which time Philpott had usurped Lenthall, and continued his rise with Philpott’s Powerbell car growing ever larger in his mirrors.

 

Ross held sway out front for 11 laps, but Robinson - who set a cracking 1:05.933 (89.57mph) fastest lap on his first flyer - and Philpott swept past on the 12th, robbing him of the wide buffer over Jackson and Sam Meagher. Thereafter Robinson eased out a memorable 5.7s maiden victory over Philpott, who backed off rather than risk exacerbating a vibration. Colin still finished a couple of seconds clear of Lenthall in third, with the swiftest MG trio next past the chequered flag.

 

“Adam got a bit worse deal in the traffic, but I’m pretty chuffed,” said Ross afterwards. Behind Boulton, Cole pipped Harvey in a battle of black cars atop the class B swarm, the pair on remaining on the lead lap. Blake, Jack Meagher and Robin Walker completed the ZR finishers, Ballard, with unfortunate intra-MG accident damage, and Rogerson having fallen by the wayside. Ross cut fastest lap at 1:06.922 (88.24mph).

 

Fourth Jaguar home was class winner Harper, seventh overall, ahead of Boon who shaded the resurgent Spooner, making up time spiritedly after an early spin. Atkinson and Dyson also went the full distance, but Seabourne retired to the pits with an oily puddle under his purple car telling its own tale.

 

The sequel saw Jackson, Sam Meagher and Ross all take turns to lead before Graham eked ahead and the top Jaguars hounded the MGs down. Robinson’s hopes of a double were dashed by Copse in the initial stampede, a brush with Harper sending him spinning, the resultant oil surge damaging his engine. The ZRs of Rogerson and Boulton soon joined Jack in retirement.

 

Once into their stride, Philpott and Lenthall, who had displaced Harper on lap 8, worked their way past Jackson and Ross in turn. Having eclipsed Robinson’s earlier best lap with a 1:05.852 (89.68mph) shot, Philpott controlled things thereafter, crossing the timing line 1.721s before Lenthall.

 

Third and fourth overall, MG protagonists Ross and Jackson were 1.938s apart at the close, with Harper between them and Meagher. Two wins in an afternoon sweetened Graham’s long trek back to Perthshire. “It’s like a game of chess, with the cars so evenly matched. Beating the Jags would be a wee feather in our caps, but we kept them honest today,” he said.

 

Boon, with Spooner lapping at his rear bumper, and class C duellists Dyson and Wall were next home, before MG ZR170 victor Harvey, who went the full 18 laps. Rival Cole had clawed ahead but stopped after 10 laps, leaving Harvey a lap clear of Blake, Robin Walker and Jack Meagher. Meanwhile, Charles Jackson (XJ) completed a clean sweep in class D of the Jaguar pack.

 

 

SPECIAL SALOONS & MODSPORTS

 

Fifty years after the birth of the Super Saloon series - rooted in the Westwood Cup race at Silverstone in October 1973 - the Mick Hill Memorial Trophy was put up in honour of its co-progenitor [with Tony Hazlewood] by son Greg for the winner of the second of the day’s Special Saloon & Modsports races. The magnificent cup was originally won by Mick at the wheel of his first Capri V8, the 4.7-litre Ford-powered successor to his ‘Janglias,’ at the venue in May 1972.

 

As at Thruxton, last time out, the JMC Racing SS&M field was joined by the Advantage Motorsport Future Classics set, which created a super field of 23 cars. Danny Morris qualified his Spirit of RPM Peugeot-Cosworth 309 turbocar on pole with a strong 57.939s (101.92mph) charge. Andy Southcott shadowed the mighty Thundersaloon, also beating the ‘magic’ ton with 58.748s (100.52mph) in his Mike Johnston Motorsport-built 2.3 MG Lenham Midget-Vauxhall.

 

Stirring efforts by local man James Plant in the family 6.2-litre ’Austin-Healey 3000’ Chevrolet V8 [previously run in Kougar and Allard J2 guises] and newcomer Simon Light in his stunning 5.0 Ford Capri - self-developed from a Road Saloon over decades - saw both circulate inside a minute for second row grid berths.    

 

Pioneering upcoming Mini content in the series, Harvey Death practiced his remarkable 2.6-litre Radical RPE V8-engined Cooper S clone fifth quickest, but sadly didn’t make the race. Bill Lancashire’s Future Classics-leading Morgan Plus 8 and Joe Ward’s ex-Gerry Marshall Vauxhall Firenza ‘Baby Bertha’ thus moved up the order, with Richard Billingham’s very yellow Vauxhall-powered Mini Clubman next up.

 

Ian Wilson’s TVR Tasmin, out for the first time in four years, claimed P9 on 1:04.037, but Alex Taylor’s raucous but capricious Mazda RX-7 turbo sprang a water leak and was withdrawn. Mark Chilton’s newly-rebuilt Nissan Skyline GTR R32 and Steve Wells’ MGB GTV8, also going well in the ‘fours,’ headed-off Martin Reynolds’ 2.5 Ford Anglia 105E. When its clutch failed, Martin pulled his Escort Mk2 T-car out of the trailer and was permitted to start from the back.

 

Craig Percy’s glorious 6.3 Morris Minor-Chevrolet [another destined not to start, due to a front suspension issue], Luca and Cristiano Nardone’s BMW 325i E30, Martyn Fowdrey’s Triumph TR7 V8 and Jamie Sturges’ pristine BMW 535i E28 were tightly packed ahead of Nick Rinylo’s Porsche 911SC, veteran David Thomas’ Ford Capri and Steve Thompson’s Porsche 944.

 

William Bryan’s early-shaped TVR Griffith 200 and Gary Cole’s Citroen BX were unlikely row mates at the back, but returnee Graeme Woodhouse did not get out in his ex-Alan Humberstone/Brian Davis/Andy Wilson/Dave Brewis March 813-cornered Suzuki SC100 - in which Davis replaced its original Kawasaki engine with a Suzuki Hayabusa - scrutineers having found its fire extinguisher to be out of date.

 

Nineteen competitors came under starters’ orders for the first of two races. Morris timed his rolling getaway well and, working his way rapidly down into the 58 second bracket, looked to have got the better of pursuer Southcott when maddeningly his Ford YB turbo engine faltered, as it had without warning at Thruxton. Danny duly peeled off into the pits after 16 laps.

 

Southcott led Plant by half a minute [effectively half a lap] by this point, with Light and Ward third and fourth. But the race was far from over, for at the final corner, Luffield, Southcott stuttered to a halt, out of fuel. A surprised Plant rumbled past the stricken Midget to land his first win over Ward, also promoted unexpectedly when Light crossed the timing line in the pit lane with flagging fuel pressure as the tank ran low, thus was not classified.

 

Future Classics winner Lancashire therefore found himself third, having grunted past Billingham’s Mini on the last lap. A lap down, Wilson narrowly beat Wells to a class victory in fifth, the burly MG a distance ahead of Reynolds. The closely-matched Fowdrey, Sturges, Thompson and Luca Nardone completed the top 12, pursued by Thomas. Bryan just beat Rinylo after numerous order changes, the pair a lap ahead of Cole.

 

With Plant going from P11 having received the winner’s 10 grid place drop and Light, Southcott and Morris starting from the back, race 2’s opening lap was busy. Unbelievably, Southcott threaded his silver dream racer though 17 cars to lead by the timing line, from polesitter Ward, Billingham, Reynolds (up three from seventh), Lancashire, Wilson and Light. Plant made steadier progress to ninth, behind Wells, with Chilton and the cautious Morris rounding out the top 10.

 

Southcott surged clear with hard-trying Billingham and Light holding successive second places as Baby Bertha was shuffled into the pack. Once his tyres held some temperature, Morris charged forward, relieving Light of second on lap 7. Just when is appeared Danny would secure silver, the elusive glitch returned, forcing him to switch off a lap short of the chequered flag. Light grabbed the place, almost 40 seconds adrift of the tubeframe Midget, with a delighted Ward third, the only competitor to be on the podium twice!

 

Fourth placed Lancashire doubled-up in Future Classics, the Rover V8-engined Moggie having repelled a late challenge from Billingham’s racy Mini. A lap down, Wells and FC runner-up Chilton were sixth and seventh. Having scrabbled back ahead of Sturges, eighth placed Thompson’s Porsche was shadowed over the line by the Bastos-liveried beemer and Cristiano Nardone’s stablemate. Fowdrey, Rinylo, Bryan and Cole also made it home, but Plant, Wilson, Thomas and Reynolds retired long before Morris.

  

 

LACKFORD ENGINEERING

MIDGET & SPRITE CHALLENGE

 

Paul Sibley returned to the Lackford Engineering-supported Midget & Sprite Challenge not with a his familiar blue MG, but a famous ex-Chris Montague car not seen on track for 28 years. Rebuilt since he acquired it from the Montague family last year, and finished with two days to spare, Sibley promptly qualified on pole, his stout 1:06.653s (89.40mph) best a tad over a second inside Martin Morris’ best shot.

 

Splitting them from series debutant Will Sharpe in the other fully-modified Midget, dusted down after a long hibernation, Class E protagonists James Hughes and Pippa Cow in their de-frog eyed Austin-Healey Sprites were at their heels. Hughes’ 1:07.246 was a particularly meritorious effort.

 

Class C’s top quartet filled the next two rows, Ian Burgin and Richard Perry’s frog-eyes sandwiching John Moon’s red Lenham-bodied derivative, with the Midgets of Barney Collinson and Class D leader Hugh Simpson close behind. The depth of competitiveness did not stop there, for Simpson’s rivals Dean Stanton and Mike Henney were also in the 11s, 0.654s covering the trio.

 

Behind Jonathan Taylor in 13th, half a second blanketed top Class H qualifier Mark Turner, John Hughes (James’ father) and James Mackie. Richard and Ian Bryon’s Midget was next, ahead of series debutant John Percy, the Ringwood driving instructor breaking an 11-year racing layoff in the blue and orange ex-John Hilbery Lenham GT refettled over the past four years.

 

William Humphries (Midget) and Andy Booth in the first of three pretty Sebring Sprites covered by 1.8 seconds completed the top 20 in the 29-strong field.


 

Sibley scorched away from Hughes first time out, winning by 11 seconds, with a delighted Sharpe third. Cow, who got away from the lights quicker than Hughes and led him for a lap, finished a typically combative fourth, clear of Burgin, scuttling along in his low-riding black car. While Sibley’s 1:06.086 (89.39mph) fastest lap was beyond reach, his four pursuers all cut 67s laps, Hughes’ 1:07.170 a few tenths quicker than the others.’

 

Morris spun at Copse on cold tyres away from the start, completing the lap in a lowly 16th place. He scrabbled back to fourth, splitting the squabbling Cow and Burgin, but retired a couple of circuits early when his engine cruelly grenaded. Perry, Barney Collinson, Moon, Simpson and Henney also went the full 13 laps. Hughes, Burgin, Simpson and Turner won their divisions.

 

Race 2 followed a similar pattern, although Sibley slackened his pace as the only A runner still standing (Sharpe and Morris non-started). It took Hughes almost half its duration to get the better of Cow for his afternoon double, James lapping 0.001s quicker than in R1, illustrating his consistency. Burgin was a distant fourth, almost half a minute ahead of class rival Collinson.

 

A lap down, Stanton claimed D honours (Simpson having retired after a lap) from Amelia Storer and William Humphries. Dean finished sixth overall, ahead of Henney and a gaggle comprising Mackie, Ian Bryon and John Hughes. Turner took gold in H again, this time over Booth rather than Mark Cloutman as in the opener.

 

 

MINTEX CLASSIC K/MIKE HAWTHORN

JAGUAR CHALLENGE

 

Lotus Elan drivers locked out the top three grid positions for the Mintex Classic K race, incorporating the complementary seven-strong Mike Hawthorn Jaguar Challenge set, with 0.723 separating poleman Malcolm Johnson on 1:08.228 (86.55mph) from closest challengers Andrew Tate/Rob Griffiths and Ben Snee/Nigel Greensall in qualifying. Sadly, a front brake calliper issue forced Snee’s team to non-start while Gerry Wainwright Motorsport’s crew endeavoured to find replacements for the Swinging Sixties finale.

 

Almost three seconds back, Martin Stowe/Jeff Smith ran the Ford twin-cam engined cars closest in their 1840cc BMC B-series powered TVR Grantura Mk3, with the Cooper Ss of Tom Bell/Joe Ferguson, Alice Hughes and Australian Liam Sullivan and Mini legend Tina Cooper for company, split by Graeme Brown’s Elan and Neil Howe’s Triumph TR4.

 

From engineer Cooper - Mini Se7en national champion in the last century! - in P9 on 1:12.968, the sheer depth of competition was impressive. The next nine qualifiers - Brian Arculus (Lotus Elite), Jaguar leaders Nigel Webb/John Young (Mk1); Richard Hall-Griffin (in the unique ex-Neil Dangerfield Triumph TR4 SLR); MGB trio Paul Eales. Tim Greenhill and Hugh and Mark Colman; Aston Millar and Glenn Pearson/Peter Dorlin in Jaguar Mk1s and Steve Chapman (TR4) were packed into the 13s.

 

With another multi-marque gaggle on their heels, including the class leading Lotus Cortina of Ian and John Fraser, the scene was set for a cracking contest. Mention must be made of welcome debutant Vaughan Thomas and his pretty 1964 GSM Dart - South African - powered by a 1500cc Ford pre-crossflow engine.

 

Griffiths went ahead at the start, chased by Johnson who faced an extra 20 seconds stationary at the pit stop for winning the previous race at Oulton Park, Ferguson and the fast-starting Howe. Ferguson was soon in trouble and pitted with a misfire, whereupon Brown and Sullivan moved up. Johnson’s stop, after 12 laps, dropped him to 16th amid the stop sequence. Once back out, the dark grey Elan was third within six circuits behind Brown, now in the pits, and Tate, about to go top having already been relayed into the red Lotus.

 

It took only a couple of laps for Johnson to catch and pass Tate who was more than 21 seconds adrift by the chequer as the only unlapped runner. Brown was thrilled to land his first podium finish in third, well ahead of Eales whose sterling run from 12th saw the MGB pip Cooper’s Mini - the sole survivor of three, for Ferguson/Bell and Sullivan/Hughes were out by half-way - on the last lap after a long but fruitful chase.

 

Hall-Griffin was an excellent fourth in the historied aluminium-bodied TR4 aerodyne, pursued by the top Jaguars of Webb/Young, Pearson/Dorlin and promising young class winner Millar, with 17 seconds between them at the finish. Chapman’s TR4 shaded Graham Pettit’s Jaguar Mk1 for 10th, after Toby Smith (Mk1), who finished just ahead of them on the road, received a 30.5 second short stop penalty which dropped him to 14th.

 

Arculus guided his little Elite home 12th ahead of Simon Skentelbury/Mark Prutton (MGB), Toby Smith, Greenhill and Andrew Rollason’s Lotus Cortina - finished by veteran Steve Cole - also completed 31 laps. Rollason/Cole, the other team hit by a pitstop penalty, still won their class by a lap from the Frasers.

 

 

ADAMS & PAGE SWINGING SIXTIES

 

Dating back to the club’s roots, the 35-car Adams & Page Swinging Sixties race provided the programme’s curtain closer. Steve Hodges qualified his two-litre Lotus 7 S2 - now bearing the legend “Impudent 7” in period number plate style on its bonnet’s flank - quickest on 1:06.253s (89.13mph), but the five-litre V8-engined cars of Geoff Taylor (TVR Griffith 200) and Stephen Pickering (Sunbeam Tiger) were within 0.554s.

 

While these three started favourites for outright victory, house builder Nick King’s Aston Martin DB4 and the 26R spec Elan of Ben Snee/Nigel Greensall were just over a second shy of the pace, The multi-marque roster continued with Ian Gough/Pete Daniels (Marcos-Ford 3-litre) and Roy Chamberlain (Triumph TR250) ahead of Sam Polley (Mini Marcos), Ian Burgin (Austin-Healey Sprite) and Chris Watkinson (Mini) who completed the top 10, all in the 68 second bracket, as were local lad and dad Jack and Steve Smith in their superb MGA.


 

Jonathan Crayston (Elan), Ian Staines (MG Midget), father and daughter Charles Tippett/Claire Norman (BMW 2002 Ti) and Mark Hobbs/Gwyn Pollard (Ginetta G4) were all inside 70 seconds, pursued by Tom Pead (BMW 1600 Ti), the Minis of Hughes/Sullivan and Ferguson/Bell, Connor Kay (Midget), Richard Merrell (Ooni Pizza Ovens Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT) and Shaun Haddrell (Turner-Climax Mk1).

 

Further down, the unusual MGC GT of Matthew Domin/Michael McBride caught the eye, and the Lotus Cortinas of Rollason/Cole and the Frasers were well matched. The Algar/Bridle family equipe Spridgets of Ben/Edward and Trevor/Chris respectively found themselves together on the grid when John Davies’ Triumph Vitesse, which had split them, was scratched from the race following rear axle failure.

 

Taylor exerted V8 brawn to muscle ahead at the start, but Hodges, making hay in the circuit’s twisty bits, and Pickering went with him. King, Snee, Burgin and Chamberlain led the chase, but after a couple of gyrations [his brakes still not playing], the first a lurid one at Becketts, Ben retired rather than risk putting coach/mentor Greensall in. Watkinson and Chamberlain had already fallen, the latter’s TR stranded between Copse and Maggotts bringing out the safety car for three laps. Also out early was Bell whose Mini’s tyres - of different profile to the Classic K set - were snagging its wheel arches.

 

Pickering, who overpowered Hodges when the circuit went live again, took the lead when Taylor made his stop after eight laps, the green Tiger running five circuits longer. Hodges pitted after nine, promoting Jack Smith who went second when King and Polley dived in. Domin, among the last to stop, handed the MGC over to McBride from second, behind Jack Smith who undid his hard work by missing the window, for which a 30 second penalty left the team 12th.

 

Regaining the initiative when the MGA did eventually stop, Pickering was not troubled by Taylor who gamely set his personal best in the closing stages but, with his left rear tyre “shot to bits,” settled for second. “It was a lot more straightforward than I thought,” said Pickering who added to his season-opening Donington victory, 11.806s clear at the chequered flag.

 

Hodges was also flying towards the end, setting fastest lap in 1:06.382 (88.99mph) before his diff wilted under the strain, spelling the 7’s retirement after 27 laps. This gifted septuagenarian King third (“the most difficult thing was the pit change”) ahead of fellow class winners Polley and Burgin, just six seconds clear of rival Staines. A lap down, Crayston, touring car victors Tippet/Norman, Kay and Pead completed the top 10, with Hughes/Sullivan 11th in the surviving Mini, Rob and Francesca Roodhouse’s having retired after 24 laps.

 

Next stop for the CSCC circus is Silverstone’s Grand Prix Circuit on Saturday, June 22. A representative Swinging Sixties field has also subscribed to race at the following day’s Thruxton Historic event.

 

 


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1 Comment


Ann Green
Ann Green
18 hours ago

A thrilling race and many spectacular racing stunts, it's amazing.

Happy Wheels

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