The indomitable Sir Stirling Moss made a popular comeback after his frightening accident at his home in March to join one thousand drivers racing in the Silverstone Classic Festival between July 23–25. At the wheel of his own 1956 OSCA FS372, co-driven by Ian Nuthall, Sir Stirling competed in the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy race for 1950s sportcars, 63 years after he made his racing debut. Sir Stirling has recovered well from what he calls “his latest shunt” which left him with two broken ankles and other injuries. In the race he was unlucky to be sidelined by gear selection problems after bringing the car into the lead of its class.
Eight hundred racecars spanning six decades competed in 20 races on the old Grand Prix circuit, which is considered friendlier to vintage cars than the new layout in use for the first time at the recent British Grand Prix. The Silverstone Classic claims to be the world’s biggest classic racing festival and is a family event with many sideshows providing something for everyone, including evening concerts, but it is the action on track that most come to see and they were not disappointed with the large grids and close action.
Victory in the inaugural RAC Tourist Trophy for Historic Cars went to the Ferrari 330 GTO of Carlo Vogele and Willie Green, ahead of the Aston Martin DB4GT of Richard Attwood and Stuart Graham. Vogele had also entered his Alfa Romeo Alfetta 158 for the two HGPCA Pre-’61 races, but unfortunate mechanical problems in practice caused him to withdraw the only privately held example of this iconic car. Gary Pearson overcame brake problems with his BRM P25 to compete a double victory, seeing off the challenges of Mark Gillies (ERA R3A), Philip Walker (Lotus 16) and Tony Smith in his Ferrari 246 Dino, the last front-engined car to win a Grand Prix, in the hands of Phil Hill at Monza in 1960.
The Sir Jack Brabham Trophy for Pre-’66 GP cars fell to John Chisholm with his Lotus 18, and the Grand Prix Masters Pre-’85 races were won by Steve Hartley in his Arrows A4 and Bill Coombs and his Tyrrell 009. Touring car races saw hordes of Mustangs battle with Falcons and Galaxies, while in the smaller class Lotus Cortinas mixed with Alfa Romeo GTAs and BMW 1800Tis.
Steve Tandy took the Denny Hulme Trophy for World Sportscar Masters in his Lola T70 Mk3B, ahead of the similar car of Jon Minshaw and Martin Stretton and the Osella PA1 of Grant Tromans and Michael Caine, which had earlier scored a commanding victory in the Italian Historic Car Cup.
By Keith Booker