National Novelties: Sospiri watches old boss win and special Vauxhall parade

From Formula Ford Festival winner Vincenzo Sospiri watching his old team boss John Village in action, to Shawn Rashid singing the praises of his Le Mans class-winning mentor Johnny O'Connell and a special display of Vauxhalls at Brands Hatch, there were plenty of unusual stories from national motorsport this week

National Novelties: Sospiri watches old boss win and special Vauxhall parade

Unusual club racing observer: Vincenzo Sospiri

John Village’s double victory in Historic 750 Formula at Silverstone on Sunday was watched by his 1988 Formula Ford Festival-winning driver, Italian Vincenzo Sospiri.

The 55-year-old, who briefly tasted Formula 1 with the failed Lola project in 1997, said: “I just came to see my old mate, ‘JV’; one of the best people I ever met in motorsport.

“He was my best teacher when I was racing way back and he’s still racing, which is amazing. His passion is never gone and he is still winning!”

Vauxhalls on parade: Marshall's machines

 

Photo by: Gary Hawkins

Among the star cars at Brands Hatch’s Vaux Valves event last Sunday were a replica of the Viva GT raced by marque legend Gerry Marshall (above left) and his Group 1 Magnum (right).

Other Marshall machinery on display included Gerry’s Firenza-based ‘Baby Bertha’ Super Saloon, and his son Gregor’s Firenza.

Tony Davies’s Thundersaloon Firenza and two Cavalier Super Touring cars also took part, while double British Touring Car champion John Cleland and former team-mate Jeff Allam regaled BTCC mic man Alan Hyde with tales of old.

Rare sight: Vauxhall Carlton

 

Photo by: Gary Hawkins

In keeping with the Vaux Valves theme, a Vauxhall Carlton GSi made its race debut at Brands Hatch last weekend, in the hands of Cliff Butler and Roger Bromiley.

Butler commissioned SHP Engineering to build the car, which features a three-litre straight-six engine and is aimed at the Historic Sports Car Club’s ’80s Production Car Challenge. But gearbox and head gasket problems meant the Carlton got no further than qualifying for its intended Mallory Park debut last September.

Butler explained the unusual choice of model as “purely because I like the cars”.

The pair completed the full 100 minutes of the weekend's Supersport Endurance race in the Carlton.

Star mentor: Johnny O'Connell

 

Photo by: Gary Hawkins

First-time Formula Ford race winner Shawn Rashid paid tribute to his mentor Johnny O’Connell (above right) after claiming his maiden National Championship victory last weekend at Brands Hatch.

REPORT: The best of the Brands Hatch action

The Ammonite Motorsport rookie had not finished on the podium before last weekend’s event but, after achieving his best qualifying position of fourth, he took third in the opening race. Rashid then converted reversed-grid pole to the win in Sunday’s finale, with four-time Le Mans class winner O’Connell on hand to join his fellow American’s celebrations.

“Johnny and I are so close,” said 26-year-old Rashid, who began racing less than two years ago. “He’s like my racing dad. He’s been with me since day one when I started racing and I’m so glad that he was here to see all this.

“He gets you focused and trains you on how to think when you are in the race car. His voice is in my head all of the time I’m racing.”

Intriguing car: Foglietti

 

Photo by: Mick Walker

One of the stars of the Vintage Sports-Car Club’s season finale at Mallory Park on Sunday was the appearance of Andrew Bailey’s 1963 Foglietti Formula Junior car.

Sporting inboard front suspension, a Ford engine and Hewland gearbox (all unusual in Italian cars of this era, especially as Sig Foglietti was a Fiat dealer), it’s thought that only two of its type were ever built.

Jon Milicevic was tasked with driving the car, which Bailey had hoped to enter into this week’s Silverstone Classic, but as its FIA papers are yet to be received, the squad settled for a shakedown in the Bob Gerard Memorial Trophy race for the newly finished car.

Sadly, engine gremlins meant that it was denied a win, despite leading and recording the fastest lap.

Engine boss goes racing: Sylvain Rubio

 

Photo by: Peter Scherer

Swindon Powertrain technical director Sylvain Rubio made his racing debut in the C1 Endurance Series at Brands Hatch last weekend.

“I sort of mentioned about having a go to Josh Cook, he then sorted it, so at the moment it’s a one-off, early 40th birthday present,” he said.

Cook, whose British Touring Car team-mate Jade Edwards was helping crew for them, added: “It was still a road car Tuesday and we raced it Saturday, so we’re a bit behind.”

Cook and Rubio's C1 held third early on, before Rubio picked up a puncture, lost a wheel and eventually finished 35th, but still “loved it”.

Impressive turnaround: Michael Weddell

 

Photo by: Jim Moir

A driveshaft failure in qualifying nearly cost Minimax driver Michael Weddell his Scottish Mini Cooper Cup points lead in the penultimate round of the season at Knockhill last weekend.

Weddell, who arrived at the Fife circuit 24 points clear of nearest rival Chad Little, was left stranded on track after hitting the kerbs at the Chicane on his first lap.

Although a fairly routine repair job, Weddell’s team subsequently ran out of time to make race one after it found an oil leak on the way to the pre-grid.

Despite this setback, Weddell recovered to finish second in race two from the back of the grid, before going on to outscore Little in race three by finishing third. He leads Little by 11 points heading into the final round of the year in October.

Pics of the week:

Rikki Abel gets all crossed up in his Nissan 370Z in Roadsports at Silverstone

Rikki Abel gets all crossed up in his Nissan 370Z in Roadsports at Silverstone

Photo by: Steve Jones

David Taylor's Mini kicks up the gravel at Knockhill

David Taylor's Mini kicks up the gravel at Knockhill

Photo by: Jim Moir

Sospiri and Village pic from CMC Media Ltd

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