Silverstone International GP Circuit - 17 May 2015
ByBoxHistoric Touring Cars
Twenty five cars (but only twenty four drivers) appeared at the Silverstone International Trophy meeting on the bland GP circuit in mid-May. David Alexander was unfortunately feeling ill on the day and his Alfa stood unused in the paddock so the numbers were a little disappointing when compared to the almost 30 entrants on the list prior to the meeting. Greg Thornton planted his Mustang on pole almost a second clear of Neil Brown’s Mustang followed by the Lotus Cortinas of Tim Davies and Mark Davies and the Mustangs of Warren Briggs and Pete Hallford giving a symmetrical look to the top part of the grid sheet. Simon Benoy did a great job putting his Imp in 11th slot on this power circuit and this with his spare engine after his Thruxton problems. A very interesting new car to the series was Jim Chapman’s Sunoco liveried Chevrolet Corvair sporting an air cooled flat six engine of 2.7 litres and running in class A. I’m wondering if this car had a Mark Donohue conection? Also, I seem to think there was a turbo powered version available in period – this could be an interesting project, though it needs a bit of work to make it fully compliant with HRSR regs, let alone MSA safety regs! Roger Cope brought up the rear of the grid completing only a couple of troubled laps in his BMW 1800.
Series newcomer, Robert Binfield, and Tom Westley Jnr both had problems with their Mini Cooper ‘S’s in practice and were non starters for the race so 22 cars left the assembly area though Roger Cope didn’t complete the warm up lap before his BMW expired. Neil Brown took the lead from Greg Thornton’s Mustang before the end of the first lap and although he got close on lap 2 a do or die effort in to Brooklands by Thornton ended with a bent nearside rear quarter for the lead car. Thereafter, Neil drew away and established a comfortable 2 second gap to the chequered flag as the other Mustang came under increasing pressure from Tim Davies’ Cortina. Tim had changed to a higher ratio diff after practice as he was running out of revs on the longer straights and he eventually slipped by to a fine second place on the penultimate lap. Pete Hallford fell back from third place on the opening lap and was slowly reeled in by Warren Briggs’ Mustang and Mark Davies’ ex-Joe Gomm class C Lotus Cortina, both of whom went by as Pete slowed slightly over the last couple of laps. The Thornton Mustang had problems on the last lap and it fell back to ninth place (finishing the race on the pit road) and handing the final podium place to Briggs with Davies and Hallford rounding off the top five.
Further back, Graham Pattle’s Lotus Cortina and Bob Bullen’s Anglia held station the entire race with the Cortina building a 3 second advantage at half distance which the Anglia chipped away at in the second half to finish a mere six tenths of a second behind at the close. John Spiers (Lotus Cortina) and Tim Stanbridge (Mini Cooper ‘S’) took the final top ten spots in eighth and tenth respectively. Tim had been part of an entertaining tussle involving David Morrow’s Alfa, Roger Godfrey’s Mini and John Davison’s Cortina before he pulled away and left the others to their place swapping dice. Simon Benoy had a rather lonely race to a class E winning 14th place overall ahead of an equally lonely Adrian Oliver once Tim Brook’s Mini retired at half distance. David Lloyd’s Mustang, Richard Owen’s massive Galaxie and Tony Bailey’s Alfa completed the finishers. David Hall’s Cortina and the Chapman Corvair also both retired at the half way point. The Corvair had been late off the grid but gained a place before dropping out. There is hopefully more to come from this great addition to the ranks.
Report by Peter Wray
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