Silverstone Race Report

Thanks to Lee Sutton for reporting.

For the first time in two years it was a normal start to the racing season. Early signs indicated that a good entry list would be attending, but a recent spike in covid cases scuppered many drivers plans. Missing would be Ken Angel, Kenny Hunt, John Steward, Tommy Knight and several others, but it was good to see Volker Timm making the long trek from Germany to race with his English friends.

First out on track were the Image Wheels/Avon Tyres intermarque silhouettes. Despite an oil pipe coming detached Lewis Smith set the fastest time, with Steve Burrows and Daniel Smith annexing the next two positions. Eric Boulton benefitted from a bit of testing on Friday to take fourth spot, followed by Malcolm Blackman who lost one lap time due to track limits. Colin Smith rounded out the top six. Next up was leading senior runner Mick Robertson then came Philip Young, Volker Timm and Danny Hunn. Hunn only managed three laps due to a braking issue. Completing the grid would be Nigel Beardsmore, Jon Price and Simon Hutt.

The start for race one had to be aborted as Price was stuck on the grid with locked front wheels. Meanwhile Boulton had gone to the pits with a broken front hub. Once the track was cleared Burrows made the early running as Lewis Smith faltered and fell back to tenth. His brother Daniel took up the gauntlet and soon challenged Burrows for the lead as Blackman joined in as well. These three pulled clear of Colin Smith, with Robertson initially fifth. Hunn was on the move and he soon moved past Robertson and reeled in Colin Smith, eventually taking fourth spot. Lewis Smith retired on lap 5 as Hutt ground to a halt with no clutch in his BMW. Meanwhile the leading trio put on a really good show as they exited the Vale three abreast. The battle went all the way to the chequered flag, which saw Daniel Smith take the win. Burrows just held off Blackman to complete the podium. Colin Smith took fifth behind Hunn, as Robertson took the senior class in sixth. Young very nearly got past Robertson on the final lap as they crossed the line side by side. Completing the classified finishers was Timm, as Beardsmore ran out of fuel on the final lap.

The top seven finishers were reversed for race two which saw Young on pole position. Missing was Hutt, but Boulton, Price and Beardsmore had fixed their cars. Blackman made the best start as he led the first lap from Burrows and Daniel Smith. Lewis Smith had fixed his Mercedes, but was involved in a spin with Danny Hunn on the first lap. Once into his stride though he soon made up places and was fourth by lap 4. At the front it was Burrows now in the lead and pulling away. By lap 5 Daniel Smith had usurped Blackman for second position, but by now they were 4 seconds behind Burrows. Boulton had his repaired car running well and was following Lewis Smith through the field, ending up in fifth. Young got the better of Robertson this time, as they resumed their entertaining battle. However, Mick pulled off on the final lap, so the senior win went to Price who just held off Timm.

Although Burrows took a fairly comfortable win, both races were well fought despite the lack of numbers. Lewis Smith had the consolation of taking fastest lap on his charge to fourth. Sadly Hunn was unable to rejoin after the first lap altercation. It certainly looks like this will be a competitive year, with several potential winners.

The super saloons and tin tops were combined, as the circuit is big enough to take up to 44 starters. Qualifying saw Charles Hyde-Andrews-Bird easily get pole position with his very smart V8 BMW. Nick Sutton secured second spot in his Mitsubishi Evo, 2.4 seconds adrift. Peter Seldon showed his experience by getting his class D standard looking BMW into third spot from Martin Reynolds in his nice looking Ford Escort Mk.2. Marcus Bicknell used the V8 power in his ASCAR Ford Taurus to head row three from Welsh visitor Gareth John in his diminutive Ginetta G40. Further back (in 15th) was Alex Sidwell in a “new” Holden Commodore from his extensive stable, whilst Rod Birley was right at the back in his Escort WRC after gremlins struck. The complete grid is here:

From the rolling start the white BMW of CHAB streaked off into the lead. Meanwhile most attention focused on Sidwell and Birley who were coming through the field at a rapid rate of knots. Birley caught Sidwell, just as Sutton retired the Mitsubishi. On lap 3 the black Escort WRC got past the V8 Holden as they continued their charge. By lap six Birley was fourth and closing on the second place battle between Reynolds and Seldon. On lap ten Birley was second with Sidwell now third. It looked like this would be the finishing order, until Sidwell re-passed Birley on lap 11. The Cosworth engine was misfiring as Rod trundled into the pits. The battle for what now became third hotted up on the last lap as Seldon really closed up on Reynolds, but the Ford driver just hung on. In the tin tops section it was just as exciting. Initially Bassett held sway, challenging several of the super saloons until his Peugeot overheated and pitted. Charlton and Hutchins then traded places as they battled for the lead. Eventually the Honda driver succeeded as he latched on to Martyn Scott’s BMW. Gideon September completed the tin top podium, as he just stayed far enough ahead of the impressive Caitlin May (who was having her first circuit race after previously competing in rallycross). The class winners in the super saloons were Reynolds, Seldon, Bicknell and Steve Dann. From the small Welsh contingent Gareth John beat Andrew Barron.

Race two was without Birley, Bassett and Julian Ross (Renault Clio) who were unable to sort their previous woes. However, Sidwell took the fight to Bird, as he snatched the lead from the start. The V8 Aussie car had the legs of the V8 German car on the straight bits, but through the corners it was a different story. Bicknell had made a storming start to slot into third with his American V8, as he held off Reynolds and Seldon. Welcome returnee Dave Cowan battled with Gareth John in an entertaining scrap, whilst Nick Sutton was the man on the move this time. The Mitsubishi driver had climbed from 19th to 7th in 3 laps, but on lap 4 a huge plume of smoke signalled another retirement. A few laps later Barron suffered the same fate on the Hangar Straight in his Rover. Sidwell continued to lead until lap 11, when a slight mistake at the loop allowed Bird through. That was it for the lead, as the BMW driver took his second win of the day. Seldon finally got the better of Reynolds on lap 10, as the two drivers enjoyed their spirited scrap which took them past Bicknell as well. Cowan got the better of John for sixth overall. Sole class B runner Steve Dann retired with a puncture.

In the tin tops it was Hutchins versus Charlton again, but this time the Honda driver put Scott in between. Newcomer Liam Pauling got to grips with his Citroen Saxo and impressively completed the tin top podium, also winning class T3. Caitlin May had another good run holding off the BMW of Jacques Whitehead, and winning the TP class from Ian Seale. The Hondas of Gideon September and Richard Skelsey were both runners up in their respective classes (T1 and T2).

Everyone now has 8 weeks to get ready for Mallory Park, which will be over two days this year.

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