HSCC Silverstone

Wet, wet, wet

They might just as well have held the meeting in a jacuzzi, such were conditions for the HSCC’s Silverstone meeting in September.

Through rooster tails of spray that were doing passable impersonations of tidal waves at some points on the circuit, Willie Green overcame a 10-second start penalty (after a broken fuel union prevented his getting any qualifying mileage) to blitz his way through from the back of the grid. Already seventh at the conclusion of the opening lap, Green’s Surtees TS20 the last actual F1 chassis built in Edenbridge was up to second next time around and moved into a lead he never relinquished by lap three.

“John Surtees himself is looking after me, which helps,” grinned the victor afterwards. “I’ve always liked the wet anyway, but the car is just a treat to drive.” With a quickest lap some 3.5 seconds faster than his closest rival’s, he could afford the luxury of a mid-race spin at Becketts.

Such lapses were commonplace throughout the field. Geoff Farmer, who started alongside Green at the back after his Theodore N183’s Cosworth had steadfastly refused to fire up during the morning’s dry practice, survived a couple of spins on his way to second spot.

John Fenning took a steady third place in his Wolf, just ahead of Dave Abbott’s class-winning March 761 (another double spinner). The race was split into three classes: for cars built and raced after December 31 1977; for cars built and raced before December 31 1977; and for Formula 5000 chassis. Unfortunately, Abbott was the only Class B starter in the field of 16, though he did have an entertaining tussle with John Narcisi’s F5000 Trojan. This ended when Narcisi finally found a gravel trap after his umpteenth spin. Prior to that, Narcisi had been comfortably quickest of the F5000 contingent, although pole-winner Tony Trimmer’s conservatism in the conditions eventually paid dividends, his Lola T330 winding up a class-winning fifth.

Prior to the sodden circuit activity, judging took place for the third annual Motor Sport Concours d’Elegance. David Cottingham, who won the trophy last year with his Ferrari 375 Plus, retained the award, this time displaying his Ferrari 860 Monza, which scored a maximum 280 marks. Cottingham has an unparalleled history of success in this particular contest. He was runner-up in 1989, and backed up his 1990 victory by finishing third as well…

Second place went to Paul Wood’s Bentley R-Type, ahead of Andrew Hall’s Rolls-Royce Phantom II. Most interesting car of the day was adjudged to be an ex-Peter Whitehead Ferrari 250 SWB Competition, exhibited by Simon Kidston on behalf of Coys of Kensington. — SA