HSCC Silverstone Finals - 19 October 2013
Overnight and early morning rain welcomed the HRSR drivers to the ByBox Historic Touring Car Championship finals meeting at Silverstone. By the time the practice session commenced the track was still quite wet and times were around 12 seconds off dry pace. Mark Jones mastered the conditions superbly and put his Appendix K Lotus Cortina on pole by over half a second ahead of, predictably, the Mini Coopers of Tim Harber and Roger Godfrey (who had welcomed a new grandchild only a few hours earlier). Colin Gunton’s Imp was next up and heading the class E cars benefiting from some new tyres (well, some less worn ones pinched from his dad’s Imp!) followed by championship contender Neil Brown’s Cortina. His rival, Tim Davies, was close behind in his class B Cortina and Roger Cope’s BMW, Andy Jones’ Chamois, John Avill’s Cortina and Steve Platts’Chamois rounded off the top ten. Further down the field Mark Garritt made a welcome return to Historic Touring Cars in his Mustang and Paul Hopkinson finally reappeared in his Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT after suffering body damage at Thruxton earlier in the year. Tim Brook, making one of his sporadic appearances with us had an impressive practice in his 1 litre Mini Cooper, the conditions well suited to this neat little car, and ended up mid grid just in front of the Anglias of David Tomlin and Bob Bullen. Twenty five cars practiced and all were destined to start the race though Simon Benoy had to fit a ‘bitsa’ spare engine following problems early in the session.
The track surface was almost dry with just the odd patch of damp off line as the Historic Touring Cars lined up dead on time at this slickly run meeting. Mark Jones made a good getaway and led the pack through at the end of the opening lap ahead of Tim Davies and Neil Brown, these three well ahead of Roger Godfrey and Louis Bracey who made a stonking start from mid grid. Mark Garritt’s Mustang and Dan Wray’s Lotus Cortina also fared well at the start moving up from 17th and 19th on the grid to 11th and 13th respectively. Biggest loser in the first lap shuffle was Colin Gunton’s Imp which had dropped from fourth to tenth and behind class rivals Andy Jones and Steve Platts. John Avill and Nigel Cox both had moments on the opening lap bringing up the tail of the field – and Nigel repeated the feat on lap two and his race was destined to get worse! Neil Merry’s Alfa GTA and Simon Benoy’s Imp made good progress in the opening couple of laps though Simon got no higher than 15th before falling back a little and even indulging in a spin midway through the race whilst Neil’s Alfa continued it’s climb through the field to an eventual eleventh place. Had the race been a lap longer he would surely have passed the class D battling pair of Rodger Godfrey and Tim Harber but he ran out of time as the Mini race was settled in favour of Tim Harber. Tim regularly posts his in-car videos on YouTube and I look forward to watching this particular dice from the driver’s perspective.
Back at the sharp end Mark Jones was fairly untroubled by the championship tussle behind him and he held a slender lead over Neil’s similar Cortina until Tim Davies eventually passed Neil at the end of lap 8 at which point Neil had a quick spin at Luffield allowing Mark, Tim and, barring misfortune to his rival, the championship to pull away from him. Back markers allowed Mark to increase his lead to over three seconds by two thirds distance before he eased back slightly to take a well deserved victory over Tim who had the compensation of taking class B on the day and the ByBox Championship for the year. Roger Cope moved up to fourth place after a sluggish start and following Neil Brown’s spin plus a problem in the last couple of laps Roger went through to third place which he held to the end. Louis had a lonely race in fifth and took class K1 whilst Bob Bullen and Mark Garritt were closely matched throughout and took the next two places in front of John Avill’s recovering Cortina in eighth with the Minis of Harber and Godfrey rounding out the top ten.
Colin Gunton recovered from his poor start to latch on to the tail of Andy Jones’ Chamois by lap 7 before slipping ahead into sixth place on lap 8 then into retirement on lap 10, handing the class E lead back to Andy. Andy, however, was also suffering problems and his lap times fell away before he also retired and Steve Platts took class E, the last of the unlapped cars in 13th place. Newcomer (to Historic Touring Cars) Graham Pattle had a lonely race in his Lotus Cortina in twelfth whilst David Tomlin was next in his Anglia taking half a dozen laps to get past the battling Dan Wray (Lotus Cortina) and Colin Kingsnorth (BMW 1800 Tisa) – this being settled in favour of the BMW after Dan had a half spin at Luffield towards the end. Simon Benoy was for him a lowly 17th followed by a race long fight between David Lloyd’s Mustang and the Alfas of Dave Cabena and Paul Hopkinson. Typically the Mustang pulled away on the straights only to be monstered on the corners by the Alfas and all three were covered by just two seconds after 20 minutes of racing with the Mustang making power tell in the end. Tim Brook fell back from his impressive grid position as the race progressed and eventually finished in 21st place, crossing the line in the pit lane after slowing dramatically with just over a lap to go, but at least posting a finish. Richard Cross also fell further and further back as his lap times deteriorated but he also finished the race in 22nd place though complaining that his new engine felt worse than the ‘down on power’ unit it replaced. The troubles of this last pair were nothing compared to Nigel Cox who had a problem on the first lap, a spin on lap 2 and an ‘off’ on lap 16 which badly damaged the rear of the Cortina. At least he couldn’t complain of having a boring race!
All in all this was another excellent showcase for HRSR Historic Touring Car racing and at the halfway stage of the race all twenty five starters were still racing before the demise of the two Imp/Chamois and the Cox Cortina. Tim Davies and Neil Brown have both demonstrated how competitive the ByBox Championship has been this year yet have remained on such friendly terms with each other. What more could be asked?
Report by Peter Wray
We were there!
This newsflash was published prior to the race and sets the scene for an exciting days racing
The final race of the HSCC/HRSR ByBox Historic Touring Car Championship takes place at Silverstone on Saturday 19th October 2013.
Tim Davies looks likely to become overall champion in his Class B Lotus Cortina. He currently has a nine point lead over Neil Brown’s Class K3 Lotus Cortina. There are however other scenarios to consider. Should Neil win his class (with at least three starters) and Tim fail to finish/score points/not have the required three or more starters then both would end the season on 96 points. Neil would become champion as he has 10 class wins to Tim’s 9. Whatever the outcome of the race both should be congratulated as they have driven superbly all season.