Thursday, 20 April 2006 19:26

The VSCC Silverstone Meeting - April 8th 2006

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 The weekend began with a most enjoyable party given by TOPS Organiser, Trisha Pilkington for her friends in the BRDC Clubhouse on the Friday evening. The first “Proper” race meeting of our vintage year is always eagerly anticipated and the event this year did not disappoint. It is amazing how well most of us scrub up for the social events.
Although the weather forecasts had been somewhat gloomy, the threatened rain did not materialise and although in true Silverstone tradition a biting Northerly wind raked across the circuit keeping everyone well wrapped up and heading for shelter when possible.  There was a good entry and though the stands were pretty empty, large numbers of spectators were around in the paddock .                                                                                                                                                                                             Paddock Chat                                                                                                                                                           It was my pleasure to have Ben Rood, the eminent engineer along as my guest for the day and he proved excellent company giving a rare insight into vintage machinery with the benefit of his hands on knowledge of modern F1 engineering. One well known vintage racer, Julian Bronson was a very interested audience while Ben studied his Riley “Blue Streak” coming up with some very astute observations. Julian was due to go out to compete shortly after this.  Ben went along to the pit wall to see how it performed, having been told how competitive the car is.  He came back puzzled as the car had not appeared.                                                                                                                                         Shortly afterward, his friend (and mine) Barry Cannell met us in the paddock still giggling.  Apparently when Barry went over to the grid line up to see Julian off, there was no sign of him so, wondering what had happened to him Barry called on his mobile.  “Bronno, where are you?  - Having my lunch in the motorhome, why – Your race has just taken off from the grid mate”   It is rumoured that Bronson’s chums are now collecting to buy him a decent watch!                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Roger Buxton a long time Bugatti man has just (As he put it to me) taken my advice and bought an Alfa 1750 GS. His move paid off He won the first time out in it, winning the second handicap race. The car has come in from the USA and is in beautifully used condition.  Well done Roger.
Richard Scaldwell’s Jap GN was creating a lot of interest in the paddock, with its cyclops eye staring from the radiator, it looked very right.  
The 24 litre Napier Bentley must have caused Chris Williams a few nasty moments when it  stripped a tyre, Always a handful to drive, blowing a tyre is not a nice experience on a beast of that size.
It was good to see Warwick Banks back into racing after many years absence, he has acquired a Cooper Bristol for the purpose and is looking forward to some fun in it. The Vintage Paddock was a delight to the eye with delectable machinery stretching into the distance.  The cars are so much more accessible to view now that they have been positioned infield rather than at the back of the stands.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Races
The programme commenced with the 30 minute High Speed Trial. This is an excellent way for the novice to begin competing, since the entrants are required to complete a set number of laps in accordance with what the Competition Department of the Club feel is achievable by the particular model of car. During their stint out on the circuit, competitors must come into the pits to change a plug.  
The next item a 5 lap Scratch Race was won by Mac Hulbert in R4D in fine style. This was immediately followed by The Fox & Nichol Trophy which was claimed by Neil Davies in his BMW 315. A 5 lap handicap race came up next in which Roger Buxton showed the rest of the field the way home in his 1750s Alfa Romeo GS.  
The Fifth race was the Itala & Lanchester Trophy races.  Julian Majzub kept the tradition going by winning the Trophy yet again in the Pacey Hassan Bentley.   
Holly Mason kept the family honour intact (And female pride afloat) by winning the next handicap race in the Aston Martin  Ulster.
The Amschel Rothschild / Patrick Lindsay race one of the best spectacles of the day, named after two much missed characters of the Historic racing world, the two races were amalgamated and the winners after an entertaining tussle were; Barry Gillies in Rodney Smith’s ERA R3A – and Patrick Lindsay and  Stuart Harper in the Kurtis Indy Roadster.  It is great to see Stuart, who for so many years has thrilled us with his spirited driving of 3 wheel Morgans, doing so well with the bigger cars.     
The second scratch race of the day was won by Michael Rudnig in the Bentley Jackson Special who was as usual supported by the Stanley Mann organisation.  Another blood and thunder event took place next.  The 1950s Sports Car Race. Always highly competitive, this race was fast and furious.  A red flag early on meant a re-start and Simon Ham in his Lister Jaguar was a casualty of mechanical trouble, having to concede to Tony Bianchi in the Farrellac Allard who went on to win from Barry Cannell in his Willment.  

This year for the meeting, a Scratch Race for pre-war MGs had been arranged and 27 cars took part, the eventual overall winner being Charles Jones driving Dad’s 1933 L1.
The final race of the day was another 5 lap scratch which ended in victory for Mark Gillies, again driving R3A giving him a double for the day.

An enjoyable and satisfying days racing that by the general opinion voiced had been a very good day out.                                                                                                                                                                        Text and photographs by Carol Corliss and John Sutton.  

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