Action-packed finale — HSCC: Silverstone October 15
Though all bar one of the HSCC’s championships were settled ahead of the final meeting of the year at Silverstone, packed grids and very close racing wrapped up the season in fine style.
The one title up for grabs was the Historic FF1600 Championship, which went down to the wire in spectacular fashion.
Things looked bleak for Neil Fowler when his Lola’s engine let go in qualifying, but team-mate David Wild sportingly offered his similar car for the race. Having qualified the replacement T200 out of session, Fowler started from the back as his title rival Nelson Rowe (Crosslé 20F) stormed away at the head of the pack. But Fowler’s progress was sensational and in less than four laps he was into the required third place. Not satisfied with that, Fowler battled mightily with Ben Simms (March 708) to take second and the crown. “One of the best races I’ve ever driven,” admitted Fowler after winning his fifth title in a row.
“What more could I do?” asked a dejected Rowe after his win.
Steve Maxted (Argo JM6) and Neil Dunkel (Argo JM3) had a great battle over Classic F3 spoils. The result was in doubt until Maxted hit the finish line 0.06sec ahead after a tremendously sporting contest.
Another fantastic battle was for second place in the 70s Roadsports race. Although Richard Thorne (Morgan +8) drew clear, father and son Charles and Julian Barter fought tooth and nail. Youth prevailed — just — as TVR 3000M pipped Datsun 240Z.
Frank Lyons added another win to his Derek Bell Trophy tally with his Lola T332. As Ian Jacobs faded in second with an increasingly ailing March 742, James Diffey charged through to take the place in Irvine Laidlaw’s Lotus 69 as Stuart Tilley (Modus M1) challenged.
It took a deep breath from Ian Gray before he scored his second race win at the wheel of his ex-John Watson Brabham BT30 in Classic Racing Cars. On the final lap Gray retook first place from Richard Kendle (Brabham BT21B) by going around the outside at Brooklands. “I knew that it was now or never,” admitted Gray.
Other victories fell to Richard Oldworth (Elva Mk8), Nigel Webb (XK120), Nigel Vaulkhard’s Ford Mustang and Graeme Dodd in an XK120 instead of his Mk2 saloon.
Autumn leaves records in tatters — VSCC Goodwood Sprint, October 15
Ideal conditions led to records taking a battering when the Vintage Sports-Car Club paid its annual visit to Goodwood for the season-closing Autumn Sprint. Top of the pile was Spike Milligan, whose inch-perfect style in his 3.4-litre HWM-Jaguar sports-racing car brought an FTD time of 101.05sec, a couple of seconds below his own 2004 benchmark.
While a truly eclectic mix of around 100 cars graced the West Sussex circuit, without doubt the most nostalgic machine present was Paul Richardson’s ERA R14B, this being the car in which the late Bob Gerard set Goodwood’s first outright lap record at the opening meeting in September 1948.
VSCC championship leader Pete Candy was one of around 15 drivers who got their name into the record book, the Riley Falcon Special driver pruning his own 2004 mark by just over a second.
Among those demolishing records was Richard Ashford (Austin Ulster), who took a full nine seconds off Graham Beckett’s 2003 benchmark.
While Simon Williamson (Land Speed Record Delage) couldn’t match his own two-year-old mark in Class16, he still took class honours with a display of opposite-lock driving that made him a firm favourite with onlookers.
Water haze at Walter Hayes — BRDC Historic Sports: Silverstone November 6
Torrential rain and a partially flooded track forced the abandonment of the non-championship race for BRDC Historic Sports Cars during the Walter Hayes Trophy meeting at Silverstone.
In a very wet qualifying session Simon Ham claimed pole in his Lister-Jaguar, with Barrie Williams right behind in the Tojeiro-Jaguar. Revelling in the conditions, Jamie McIntyre headed the smaller cars in his Rejo. But the race was a casualty of some horrible weather.
Other races on the programme did go ahead, including the Secretary’s Trophy for BRDC members. While Harry Handkammer’s modern BMW M3 won the race, David Yates bagged second in his Ford Mustang and touring car star Robert Huff took his MGB to sixth place.
Smith’s rock-solid title — BHRC: Historic Somerset Stages, October 29
The contest for the Armajaro MSA British Historic Rally Championship went down to the wire on the final event of the season in Somerset (round nine). It was a ‘winner take all’ decider as Steven Smith/John Nichols and David Stokes/Ian Oakey slugged it out in Post-historic Mk1 Ford Escort BDAs.
Realising that the only way to pip Stokes to the title was to beat him on this event, Smith switched from his regular Porsche 911 to an Escort borrowed from Chris Browne. It was a bold gamble that ultimately paid off: he won the rally and the championship.
But it was nip and tuck all day as they fought it out over the Porlock Toll Road and the Croydon forest complex. Never split by more than a few seconds, the result was decided on the last stage when Stokes could not avoid a big rock. With a damaged propshaft, he had to limp out of the stage to make sure of finishing the event. “David was a really worthy adversary,” said Smith at the end of a sporting contest.
In the Historic division BRDC chairman Stuart Rolt and Richard Pomfret set a good pace in their Porsche 911 until a loose distributor lost them a lot of time. Meanwhile, Patrick Watts/Elgan Davies powered ahead in their Sunbeam Tiger.
The Classic category provided a clear victory for Martin Freestone/Joanne Lockwood (Escort RS1800).
Bellm adds Tour to season tally — Tour of Spain, November 2-6
Ray BeIlm added victory in the Tour of Spain to his ever-growing list of success with his Ford GT40 in classic events.
After four days of races and timed stages on closed public roads, Bellm beat off the challenge of 2004 winner John Sheldon.
Although never far adrift of the storming GT40, Sheldon’s Lotus Elan was forced to settle for second as generally dry roads played into the hands of Bellm. Third place in the pre-1966 category fell to the TVR Griffith of Rafael Ferratosa, while the post-1966 division was won by the Porsche 911 of Carlos Cruz.
The parallel regularity event produced success for Bob Linwood (Porsche 911RS) in the Super Sport division and Guillermo Velasco (Lancia Fulvia) in the Sport class.
Stokes grabs title lead in Yorkshire — Trackrod Historic Cup, October 8
David Stokes and Ian Oakey swept back into the role of title favourites with victory on the penultimate round of the Armajaro MSA British Historic Rally Championship. Their Ford Escort Mk1 stormed the fast Yorkshire forest stages to take a convincing win, seeing off Ernie Graham and Robin Kellard by 55sec.
“We pulled out time in the dry morning stages,” said Stokes who, like his rivals, found the final run over Langdale very slippery as heavy rain arrived.
Although Peter Slights/Joyce Champion (Escort Mk2) romped to the Classic category spoils on their home event, second among the Classics was enough to secure the HRCR Classic title for Gareth Lloyd/Ryland James in their similar car. A fantastic effort by their service crew, who changed a gearbox in 12 minutes, made their success possible.
Steven Smith/John Nichols went out with an engine trauma in their Porsche 911, and it was the similar car of Stuart Rolt /Richard Pomfret that topped the Historic category.
Gläsel best of Thoroughbreds — TGP and Group C: Estoril, October 8/9
As expected, Christian Gläsel secured the FIA Thoroughbred Grand Prix title in the final race of the season at Estoril.
Although he only needed to finish the race to settle matters, he powered his Brabham BT49D to a resounding victory in very wet conditions.
His task was eased when Richard Eyre (Williams FW08) and Dan Collins (Lotus 91) tangled on the opening lap, so it was Steve Hartley (Arrows A6) who beat Joaquin Folch (Williams FW08) to second.
Eyre made up for his TGP dramas in the final pair of Group C/GTP races by winning twice in his Jaguar XJR-16. Once again Gläsel was a major rival and started the first race from pole only to be sidelined by a puncture.
Having scored his maiden Group C win in the first race, Eyre later completed a double in the slightly less wet race two. Having gone from the pitlane to second in the opening race, Dave Mercer led much of race two in his Spice SE90C. However, when he got caught in traffic, Eyre dived ahead for his second win.
Walker takes Terrier to Park — Historic Formula Junior: Oulton Park, October 8
Horrible conditions prompted a shortened race for the final round of the Millers Oils Historic FJ Championship at Oulton Park, and it was circuit expert Derek Walker who dominated and won overall in his front-engined Terrier MkIV.
Back at the scene of many of his race wins, Walker was never headed as the sure-footed Terrier made light of the conditions. While Barry Westmoreland (Lotus 22) fell away as the race developed, Stuart Roach secured the overall championship title by forcing his Alexis Mk 2 into second after a good battle with Steve Smith (Cooper T59). Fourth was another Oulton expert, Nigel Bancroft, in a rare Formula Junior outing aboard a borrowed Lotus 20.