Silverstone Classic: Jake Hill wins International Trophy on Historics debut
Those with memories of double world champion Graham Hill's 1971 International Trophy Formula 1 race win in the Brabham BT34 'lobster claw' would have approved of namesake Jake's resounding victory in last Saturday's identically titled Pre-'66 GT race. The 24-year-old BTCC racer's astonishing debut in Richard Wheeler's Lotus Elan, beating powerful opposition, was the drive of Goose's annual Silverstone Classic
Hill settled into fourth as the early lead tussle raged between Dutch teenager Olivier Hart (late-built Cobra Daytona coupe) and American Michael Gans in his Cobra. When Anthony Galliers-Pratt's Porsche 911 rolled onto its side opposite the Wing, triggering a safety car, Gans pitted before the window opened and was sent back round before Andy Wolfe was installed.
Once the pitstop stagger sequence unwound, Hill passed Ron Maydon's Ginetta G4R to lead from James Dodd (Jaguar E-type), the recovering Wolfe and John Spiers (TVR Griffith). Dodd did Hill a favour, repelling Wolfe until Brooklands on the final lap. Wolfe then hounded down Hill, who nailed Maggotts, but decided against a move into Becketts "which might have taken us both off".
As Spiers "used the last of my brakes" in passing Dodd's Jag into Stowe, Hill exploited every last reserve of the Elan's agility and cornering speed through Club to keep Wolfe's snarling Cobra behind. "Absolutely awesome," beamed the ecstatic Hill to a rapturous reception. "If that doesn't start my historic career I don't know what will!"
The GT highlights had started in the morning's RAC Tourist Trophy Pre-'63 race when Martin Hunt sowed the seeds of a magnificent victory by shaking off three of the quickest Jaguar E-type drivers - Andrew Kirkaldy, James Cottingham and Sam Hancock - in his narrow-arched AC Cobra.
After Kirkaldy's FHC expired smokily, Cottingham "came out of nowhere" to challenge Hunt, who relayed Patrick Blakeney-Edwards after six and a half laps. Gregor Fisken replaced Hancock but it wasn't until Cottingham put Harvey Stanley in that hard-charging PBE returned to the top.
John Davison, Michael Gans and Peter Stohrmann Jr's sensational Lotus Elite battle lost Gans' car when he buzzed its engine. German Stohrmann and Davison rose to fourth and fifth, split by 0.8s. Theo Hunt (Martin's son) and Mike Grant Peterkin bagged a class-winning sixth in their Healey 3000, hotshoes Jeremy Welch and Julian Thomas finishing within 12s.
A staggering 111 competitors in chassis representing 33 marques qualified for the culmination of the FJHRA's Formula Junior's 60th anniversary world tour, filling grids with 1958-'60 and '61-'63 cars in the presence of category founder Count 'Johnny' Lurani's daughter Ciga.
Will Mitcham (U2) won the principally front-engined group's opener from Chris Drake (ex-Brian Hart Terrier) and Miles Griffiths (ex-Peter Arundell Lotus 18) after poleman Andrew Hibberd (in Nick Grewal's Lola Mk2) took to the Vale escape road avoiding an inattentive backmarker. Hibberd beat Mitcham by a whisker on Sunday, with Drake and Peter de la Roche (Lola Mk2) six seconds adrift.
The dark horse in the rear-engined split was Cameron Jackson (Brabham BT2) who started 53rd after his Brabham BT2's throttle cable broke in qualifying, but finished seventh, despite laps lost behind a safety car after James Murray's Lola Mk5A barrel-rolled out of Aintree, without injury. Once freed again, Sam Wilson (ex-Dave Charlton Lotus 20/22) and Tim de Silva (ex-Bob Olthoff Brabham BT2) topped the table from Jon Milicevic in John Sykes' Merlyn.
Qualifying order sets the grids for both FJ races, thus Jackson had to do it again on Sunday. He made it to a brilliant second, almost 12 seconds behind Wilson, after de Silva fell, having lost first, third and fifth gears. "On the last but one lap the cockpit filled with smoke on the Hangar Straight," puffed Sam, having landed his 11th successive Classic victory. Pete Morton (Lightning Envoyette) was third.
Roger Wills dominated the Stirling Moss Trophy race until his Lotus 15 hit brake caliper issues. A post-pitstop overshoot at Brooklands let Chris Ward through to second successive victory, in a Lister-Jaguar Knobbly this year. Tony Wood/Will Nuthall (Lister-Jag) retained second from Wills and Michael Gans' similar Lotus. Ben Adams (Lola Mk1) won small-capacity gold after Rick Bourne's Lotus 11's throttle cable broke.
Motor Racing Legends' earlier sports-racing set provided a wonderfully evocative RAC Woodcote Trophy field, from which Gary Pearson emerged on top in a long-nosed Jaguar D-type. His success was hard-won though, for with Fred Wakeman's Cooper-Jaguar T38 within striking range Gary hit oil at Stowe. "I hit the lock-stops [trying to catch it] but how it didn't spin I've no idea," grinned the local ace.
Wakeman edged past a couple of times, but the pair pitted together, allowing Martin Stretton to lead in Richard Wilson's glorious Maserati 250S. Gary resumed as Fred handed the ex-Tommy Sopwith car over to Blakeney-Edwards, but Pearson just had the legs on his rival. Brother John Pearson's scary exit, stage left, when his short-nosed D-type's engine blew exiting Chapel Curve two laps from home, sending it spinning, "took the edge off things" although it stopped short of the wall.
Behind third-placed Stretton/Wilson, Martin Hunt's HWM-Jaguar, started by PBE, finished a minute clear of Wolfgang Friedrichs' Aston Martin DB3S in which Simon Hadfield clawed his way past Rudiger Friedrichs' Jaguar C-type and the ex-Tony Crook Cooper-Bristol of Nick Wigley/John Ure on the final lap.
A furious lead scrap between James Hanson (Jaguar XJ12C), Ric Wood (Ford Capri-GA) and Silverstone Auctions boss Nick Whale in his period Auto Trader BMW M3 characterised the Historic Touring Car Challenge. All three led before Harry Whale leapt aboard the 2.5-litre E30 and screamed to the chequered flag, chased by Arran Moulton-Smith in the ex-Steve Soper M3 started by dad Mark Smith.
Wood was third ahead of Steve Dance's superb Capri RS2600 and Tom Houlbrook's M3.
First Escort home was Ben Gill's very original Jolly Club Mk1 after David Tomlin had a massive spin at Stowe while fighting with Dance, then pitted with a puncture. Grahame and Olly Bryant won the concurrent Tony Dron Trophy race, outrunning the Capris in their Richard Lloyd Chevrolet Camaro.
One has to scroll back to Ollie Hancock's Fittipaldi F5A triumph in 2014 for somebody other than Nick Padmore, Michael Lyons or Martin Stretton to win an FIA Masters Historic F1 round at the Classic. The three champions fought it out again on Saturday, until youngster Matteo Ferrer-Aza - ragging a Ligier JS11/15 - tapped Stretton's Tyrrell 012 into a spin at Loop, for which he apologised.
Padmore and the ex-Carlos Reutemann Williams FW07C were untouchable, despite Lyons' efforts back in his faithful Hesketh 308E. Even with the top eight reversed on Sunday's grid Padmore passed Henry Fletcher's Hans Stuck Jagermeister-liveried March 761 to lead into Stowe on lap two and hurtled to the combo's fifth win in six event starts, plus the recent British GP support race. Lyons and Stretton were runners-up.
Oliver Bryant won the FIA Masters Historic Sports Car race in his Lola T70 Mk3B, but most of the 50-minute event was dominated by the Banks brothers' ex-Jo Bonnier McLaren M6B. Andrew started the five-litre car that finished second in the 1968 Swedish GP from pole and pulled away.
Andrew Kirkaldy forged Sandy Watson's Chevron B19 to second, before losing fourth gear and missing the pit window. Co-driver Ross Hyett retired the car when its steering broke. Bryant thus went second, shadowed by the Lola T290 of Michael Gans.
Max Banks was 10s clear when the McLaren's gearbox jammed in third with 10 minutes to go. Bryant swept through to victory, 2.6s ahead of Gans - who picked up a 5s penalty for pitlane speeding - but was still classified ahead of Diogo Ferrao's BIP Lola T292, finished by Martin Stretton. Henry Fletcher (B19) was an excellent fourth and top Chevron, ahead of Ferrari racer Gary Culver's T70.
Saturday's HGPCA Pre-'66 race was a corker. Will Nuthall (Cooper T53) and Peter Horsman (Lotus 18/21) only just suppressed Tim de Silva to third, the Sri Lankan-American having mixed it boldly with the big Climax FPF-engined cars and set fastest lap in father Harin's 1500cc BRM V8-powered Lotus 24.
Sunday's sequel was a bizarre race of attrition. Nuthall's engine conked out on the warm-up lap, de Silva pitted with a misfire and quickest qualifier Jon Fairley suffered his second fuel pump failure of the weekend, leaving Horsman alone. Mark Daniell (Cooper T45) and Tony Wood in the TecMec-Maserati joined him on the podium, having started eighth and 15th.
Practice top gun Jon Davison shot his Lotus Elan S1 clear of the Morgan +8s of Richard Plant and Kevin Kivlochan in host club HSCC's monster Road Sports field. Kivlochan was eventually passed by Jonathan Edwards' Moggie, which lost sparring partner Julian Barter's 70s' set-leading Elan on the last lap when its oil pressure light glowed. Father Charles Barter thus took '70s honours in his Datsun 240Z, but the real action was deep within the 57-strong pack where Ferraris and Porsches mixed it with Lotus Europas and 7s, Ginettas, TVRs and a lone Marcos.
Rickard Rydell pipped James Dodd to Super Touring pole position by 0.043 seconds, but the returning 1998 British Touring Car champion was outfumbled on the opening lap of race one. Despite squeezing Abbie Eaton's 500bhp Holden Commodore at the rolling start, Rydell had to give way at Abbey, then lost out to Dodd exiting the Loop.
Dodd's Honda Accord got up the inside of Eaton at Club at the end of the first lap, with Rydell's Volvo S40 following and the top two quickly pulled clear. Rydell pressured regular pacesetter Dodd initially, but eventually started to drop back as the Honda set fastest laps quicker than the pole time.
Eaton eventually lost out to the Vauxhall Vectra of Jason Hughes - up from sixth on the grid - but held on for fourth, ahead of double BTCC champ John Cleland's Vectra.
Rydell was beaten into Abbey by Eaton again in race two. He made it by before the end of lap one and then, with an improved set-up, reduced the 1.9s margin to Dodd.
On lap four of nine Rydell dived down the inside of the Honda into the Club left-hander, but he couldn't get away. Two laps later Dodd attacked on the outside of Stowe and made it stick at Club before heading to victory by 2.3s.
Cleland overcame Eaton on the penultimate tour before the Holden stopped with engine problems. "It's special to have two legends alongside," said Dodd on the podium.
Polesitter Rob Huff was peerless in U2TC, his punishing pace from the rolling start leaving Lotus Cortina owner Andy Wolfe - a top pedaller - little to do beyond steering it home. Second for the Banks boys' raucous Alfa GTA injected Italian flair into what has become a Cortinafest.
Huff also starred in the Transatlantic Trophy in Trevor Buckley's Ford Falcon, taking pole in appalling conditions, but the car lacked pace in the dry. Sean McInerney's Ford Mustang blasted from row three to lead early on before handing over to James Thorpe.
He couldn't match his co-driver's pace and was overcome by Wolfe with six minutes to go in the Falcon started by Mike Gardiner.
Craig Davies' Mustang had the pace to challenge, but started from row 14 and lost ground during the stops. He grabbed second when Thorpe ran wide at Stowe.
Masters Endurance Legends
Bought after finishing second in the 2012 American Le Mans Series, the ex-Dyson Racing Lola B12/60 was a double winner in the new Masters Endurance Legends contest, in the hands of Steve Tandy.
"We've really started to get motoring," he said after a difficult start to the season. "I'm feeling more at home in the car and it just ran perfectly all weekend."
Exceeding track limits robbed Michael Lyons of pole and that allowed Tandy to steal a march into Abbey. Lyons also had to overcome a 50-second penalty for his 'elite' driver status and so, in a bid to pass to pull out a lead, he ran his ORECA 03 deep into Brooklands and ended up on the grass. But half a lap later, he wasn't going to make the same mistake and swept by Tandy under braking for Village to take the lead.
Despite Lyons' best efforts, the penalty proved too much and Tandy (above) led home from the Gulf-liveried Lola-Aston Martin of Christophe d'Ansembourg and Martin Short's Dallara SP1.
In the second race, Tandy started fifth but was hampered with gear selection issues. That left nine-time Le Mans entrant Herve Regout, swapping for d'Ansembourg, as Tandy's biggest threat.
The Aston's V12 power told as he passed on the Wellington Straight. But trying to compensate for excessive understeer through The Loop, Regout mistakenly hit the pit limiter and allowed Tandy through for a 0.6s win.
James Cottingham's Ferrari 550 and the Aston Martin DBR9 of Nick Leventis (below) shared GT class honours.
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