The traditional Silverstone Classic, held July 25–27, this year received a real “boost” under the direction of Motion Works Motorsport, with a weekend attendance of 57,000 beating earlier estimates by several thousand and being a real improvement over recent years. With a total of nearly 40 qualifying and warm-up sessions and races, plus ten hours of Group B rally demonstrations, there was more action than anyone could manage to take in. There were also hours of other on-track demos and displays to celebrate Silverstone’s long history. Car clubs, art exhibits, hot air balloons, vintage aircraft flights, the Red Devils Parachute team, and top-end live music performances provided a packed weekend of entertainment.
The serious racing was not lost in all this, however, as Formula Juniors had two races to celebrate 50 years of the Formula, with Edwin Jowsey (Lotus 22) and Denis Welch (Merlyn Mk5/7) continuing their long battle through both events. Welch won the first from Gavin Pickering (Lotus 20/22) and Martin Walford (Lotus 22) when Jowsey retired. Welch repeated in the second race, as American John Delane ran 13th and 11th in his Lotus 18. Coopers suitably took the Jack Brabham Trophy and the John Cooper Trophy for pre-1966 Grand Prix cars, VR subscriber Enrico Spaggiari bagging the first in his Cooper T53, and Mark Piercy the second in another T53.
Unusually fine summer weather was on hand for the evening running of the hour and a half Denny Hulme Trophy race for sports cars. This race was a real Lola 50th Anniversary celebration with 11 of the Huntingdon cars populating the first seven rows of the grid. Charlie Kemp and Chris Fox put their T210 on pole from Gareth Burnett and Geoff Lister in a similar car, with David Coplowe’s T70 MKIIIB continuation car gridding 3rd.
The track was very slippery from oil dropped during previous races as well as from some of the cars in this one! Good driving and lurid spins were the result. The first three held the top places for several laps, but eventually the Lorraine Gathercole-run Lola T212 of son Ollie and father Tony Hancock took command, going on to finish a lap ahead of the T70 MkIIIBs of Jonathan Baker/Ollie Bryant and Chris Beignton/Jon Finnemore as Lolas swept the first five places.
Races for pre- and post-war sports cars, as well as for more recent Grand Prix and touring cars, added to the variety.
by Ed McDonough