Thursday, 28 June 2007 15:59

VSCC April 2007 Silverstone

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A veteran of many years of vastly differing Spring Silverstone meetings, I have been frozen, soaked and occasionally warmed my bones at this meeting.  This year, in what has been perhaps the most lovely Spring in my memory, the weather did not disappoint, it was better than most mid-summer events and with a very good turn out of machinery and most of the top historic drivers being present, it was an excellent meeting.  
The paddock had some interesting machinery around.  Mike Holt had turned up with a very original looking Brasier which looked to be great fun to drive.  Unfortunately he did not finish race 6, retiring after 3 laps. The Club has entered into an agreement with H & H Auctions who were there to provide advice and the odd glass or coffee to existing and prospective clients.                                      It was an ideal day for sitting sipping white wine and relaxing to the sights and sounds of the day.  Of course the competitors could not indulge themselves, their highs have to come from the activities on the track.                                                                                                                                         One of the cars being previewed for a later auction was the 1929 Irish Grand Prix 1500 Alfa Romeo of John Hearne, this car won the Saorstat Cup, one of the two races to be held for the Grand Prix. The sale of the Eireann Cup and subsequently GP winning 1750 car earlier in the year set a good precedent and a lot of interest was shown in the 1500 at the meeting.  
One highly entertaining interlude of the day was the demonstration given by Royal Navy with a Lynx helicopter. The traditional first event of the day is the 30 minute regularity run.  This was originally of an hours duration but one of the petrol shortages resulted in a cut back on this.  It is an ideal first event for the budding competitor as it is not technically a race but a trial. However, quite a few seasoned competitors take part too. 
 
Race 2 was a 6 lap scratch race with capacity classes. There were spirited performances  by the ERAs which resulted in a comfortable lead by Mac Hulbert in R4D leading Paddins Dowling in by 16.79 seconds.  Paul Mulins was just over a second behind him and Anne Templeton’s MG KN  Special performed well to give her third place.
Race 3, The Fox & Nichol Trophy  was an 8 lap. The early stages of the race were dominated by Jonathan Cobb in the Frazer Nash until the car expired on lap 3, allowing Neil Davis to go in front in his BMW 318 leading Charles Gillett in his Frazer Nash Super by only  0.41 seconds ahead of William Mahany with John Wardens Delage D6 in 3rd place  this did however win the Fox & Nichol Trophy being the first eligible finisher                                                                                                                 Race 4  The 1950s Sports Racing Cars 10 laps.  A rip roaring scrap of a race, It is run with two categories – the drum braked cars and later disc braked. Steven Gibson came home the overall winner in the Lister Nobbly with Simon Ham following up a 1.17 seconds later in his conventional Lister.  James Diffey won the drum braked award in the Lola Mk 1 – he also put in the fastest lap.                                                                                                                                                                                        Race 5, The Patrick Lindsay Memorial Trophy Race.  This was a very exciting race with the smaller engined ERA R3A battling with the 2 litre R4D.  This tussle continued to the line with Mark Gillies victorious,  crossing the line only 0.69 seconds ahead of Mac Hulbert.  Paddins Dowling was 30.95 behind in third place.                                                                                                                                          Race 6.  A 6 lap handicap race.  A wide variety of machinery filled the grid for this race.  Richard Lake took the honours in his Speed Model Aston Martin from Robin Everall in his 12/70 Alvis Special with a narrow lead of 0.87 on the line. Andrew Mitchell was a little way behind in third place with his 1500 HRG.                                                                                                                                  Race 7 The GP Itala & Lanchester Trophy.  This 10 lap race has two categories with compete for each of these trophies.  Chris Williams driving the mighty 24 litre Napier Bentley steamed in to win the Itala Trophy from Nick Mason in his Type 35B Bugatti by 3.63 seconds The Bugatti was giving away over 21 litres to the Bentley.  Charles Gillett was quite a way behind (14.33 seconds) to be exact in third place.  Robert Towell in 12th place overall won the Lanchester Trophy.                             Race 8 – A six lap handicap race saw a varied field of sports cars varying from Edwardian through to PVT.   David Pryke in the Riley TT Sprite replica took the honours from  Paul Baker with his Frazer Nash Sports with Peter Fenichel driving the MG K Special to third place.  The field was well strung out other than the leading two cars, more head scratching for the Handicappers.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Race 9   One of the big races of the day – The Amshel Rothschild Trophy race. Tony Smith looked set to romp home in the Dino 246 Ferrari when the gremlins struck and  on lap 6 he was forced to retire.  Stuart Harper, always to be relied upon to give good value was going well when he too was in trouble a huge smoke screen issued from the Kurtis Indy which signalled an expensive looking blow-up.  The main opposition out of the way left Chris Bullimore to go into a good lead with the Cooper T45 and he built that into a 13 second lead from Michael Steele in the Connaught C Type with Nick Mason bringing the 250F into third place.                                                                                Race 10   A six lap scratch race with  5 capacity classes.A large grid  took off with the widely varying performances of the cars giving some hairy moments at times.   The class results were as follows;  Class A was won by Gregan Thurston in the Austin 7 Special; Class B by William Mahany in his HRG Le Mans. Class C by Charles Gillett in the Frazer Nash  Super Sport; Class D by Nick Rossi  in the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 and E class by Trevor Swete in the 3 / 4 ½  Invicta.  The overall winner on handicap was Tim Kneller in the Riley 12/4 Special.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               The last race of the day, Event 11 was an innovation this year.  Known as the “Survivors Race”.  All competitors for this meeting are invited to make their entry on the day before 3 p.m. Providing that they have finished the previous races unscathed.  It was a good competitive scrap which turned into an ERA – Maserati duel with Paul Mullins in R7B holding off Sean Danaher  in his 8CM. However, the might of these two was not enough to stop Terry Rowing in this little Austin Ulster winning the race on handicap having driven into 4th Place behind Charles Gillett in the Frazer Nash.                       No Morgan is seen without much discussion and is usually being rebuilt in the Paddock. We took several Paddock shots including Michael’ Crehan’s delightful little Fiat 501s which was entered in the 30 Minutes High Speed Trial. Another beautiful car was the Gordon Middleton Riley Sprite. Roger Hart’s lovely little 1476 cc Vernon Derby Special from 1934 was entered in Race 2.                                                                                                                                                                                                          Text and photography Carol Corliss / John Sutton             
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