Silverstone National (Finals Day) – 17 October 2015

Silverstone National (Finals Day) - 17 October 2015

ByBox Historic Touring Car Championship

It hardly seems more than a few weeks ago that we opened the season at Thruxton but here we were closing the 2015 ByBox Historic Touring Car year at the traditional HSCC finals meeting at Silverstone.

Twenty five historic saloons turned up but only twenty three made practice as Graham Briggs Imp suffered electrical problems and David Alexander’s Alfa had clutch problems which ended his day. Graham managed to get the Imp started so he could practice out of session and make the race. Pete Hallford took pole with the Mustang dipping in to the 1-08 bracket and nearly a second clear of Tim Davies Lotus Cortina with the App K Cortinas of Mark Jones, John Avill, John Spiers and Mark Martin taking the next four grid slots. Neil Merry’s Alfa was next up ahead of five Mini Coopers, 2015 Champion, Simon Benoy, in his Imp, Tim Stanbridge in another Mini, and Roger Cope making a fairly rare appearance in his Mk 1 Jaguar. David Lloyd’s Mustang, Nigel Cox’s Cortina (recently rebuilt after it’s horrific roll at Thruxton), Steve Platts, newcomer Adam Gittings in John Pugsley’s old Anglia 105E, Gary Wright. Ian Claridge and Richard Conway’s Volvo completed those that survived practice.

 Ed Glaister’s Ford 100E only completed one lap before it suffered a seized oil pump which lunched the engine. Poor Ed looked quite distraught as he had just completed a major engine rebuild the previous day before loading up for the long journey south. Such is motor racing life at club level!

Cool but dry weather welcomed the twenty three starters to the grid and at the lights Tim Davies took the lead with John Avill slipping past to leave Pete Hallford third through Copse with Mark Jones’ Cortina snapping at his heels. Pete unleashed the Mustang down the Wellington straight taking second place and snatched the lead just across the line first time round. John Spiers made a tardy start from fourth in his Cortina and was forced wide at Beckets by Tim Harber, who had grabbed the lead of the Mini race through a superb start, with John lost several places to the rest of the squabbling Minis and Imps before settling down and spending half the race clawing back through the pack to fourth at the end. Halfway round lap 2 Mark Jones pulled his Cortina off the circuit and a little bit further down the straight was joined in retirement by Graham Briggs’ Imp following an expensive sounding bang as it approached Brooklands.

Pete Hallford, looking very smooth, pulled out a lead little by little from Tim, with John Avill falling back from the lead pair but well clear of Mark Martin and Neil Merry, the Cortina always a couple of seconds ahead of the Alfa. Behind them came THE dice of the race with the Minis of Tim Harber, Jon Milicevic, Roger Godfrey, Andy Harrison and Nick Paddy all trying to keep the Imp of 2015 ‘ByBox’ champion Simon Benoy behind as well as trying to be first Mini home. These six diced the whole race with Tim leading the sextet after his great start for a few laps before Roger and Jon crept through on lap 6 with Andy snapping at his heels whilst trying to hold Simon and a slow starting Nick Paddy at bay. Phewww …… where do we look next!  Tim held the others behind for a couple more laps before the Imp edged past Andy and Tim on successive laps then Nick, going strongly now, took places from Andy and Tim on laps 11 and 12. However, lapping slower cars allowed Tim to get his nose ahead of Nick for a short while before Nick again got past and set about chasing Jon for the class lead and Roger for the Mini bragging rights.  He overtook Simon with a lap to go and squeezed ahead of Jon on the run to the line (0.001 seconds was the gap) but couldn’t quite make it to Roger – the six of them covered by only 3.3 seconds after 22 minutes of racing. The reaction from the crowd in the Brooklands grandstand confirmed how popular the HSCC/HRSR historic touring car racing is with the fans with ‘oohs’,  ‘ahhs’ and applause every lap as the order changed amidst really good, clean racing.

Behind this group came another good race with Roger Cope’s Jaguar Mk 1 leading a mixed group of Steve Platts’ Chamois, David Lloyd’s Mustang, Tim Stanbridge’s Mini and Adam Gittings’ Anglia. Roger held the upper hand for a while before the Mustang and the Mini found a way through at half distance. As David pulled away slightly Roger nosed the Jag ahead of the Mini again for a couple of laps but all was not well as the Jaguar slowed with a couple of laps to go and finished the race in the pit lane, losing a few places though still classified in the results. The Mini and Steve’s Chamois swapped places for the remainder of the race as Adam’s Anglia slowly reeled them in as he gained confidence in his new car and splitting the other pair at the flag though Tim Stanbridge dropped a couple of places in the final results owing to a track limit violation penalty.

Nigel Cox’s Cortina, Gary Wright’s Mini, Ian Claridge’s Anglia and Richard Conway’s lovely Volvo P544 completed the finishing order with the only casualties being the lap 1 retirement of Mark Jones and Graham Briggs. A fine way to end the season with a good, accident free race in lovely autumn weather.

 Peter Wray

We were THERE!

 Let's go RACING!

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