Where there's a Williams...
Yet another Williams victory! Mansell? No. Patrese? No. Prost doing some pre-season testing? No — they were racing for the Motor Sport Trophy for historic F1 and F5000 cars, and the victorious Williams pilot was John Fenning. That was the headline race at the HSCC meeting at Silverstone on September 19, which also featured the annual Motor Sport concours, bringing together sporting cars of preand post-war.
Drophead coupe Morgans are rare, but there were two to be seen in the concours corral: Bob Harper’s is one of only two dhc Plus 8s built as prototypes for Morgan in 1989, while Tony Dillon’s 1962 Plus 4 was judged the overall winner of the day, taking the Motor Sport Trophy. A whisker behind came an MGB restored by Bill Lodge, who had also brought a car well-known to older Motor Sport readers. This was the white 4.2 E-type in which DSJ covered so many miles as our Continental Correspondent and which he recalled in his column last month. Off the road for many years, but still owned by the magazine, this was its first public appearance after a long restoration. Paul Wood’s Mulliner-bodied S2 Bentley Continental looked magnificent, and placed third overall.
The judges were of course awarding marks for condition and originality rather than outright rarity, but amongst the more exotic entries were a brace of Roesch Talbots, a Brooklands tourer and the imposing VdP of Derrick Venn, Nigel Dawes’ TT lnvicta S, and a Bizzarini Strada. Zagato badges appeared on two Alfa Romeo 1750s and a DB4 Aston. And my vote for most unspoilt car went to Elsie Smith’s 1958 Alfa Guilietta Sprint, which she has owned since 1960.
Most Interesting Car of the Day was judged to be the extremely handsome 4¼-litre Bentley which Coys of Kensington brought along; its rakish drophead coachwork was hidden from view for 30 years after its owner apparently put it in for a service in 1950 and forgot about it!
Track action began with the HSCC Classic Sports Cars for the MAst Trophy, in which Denis Welch’s Big Healey ruined a Marcos 1-2-3, beating the GTs of Dave Methley and Barry Sewell, but giving a full ten seconds away to victor Roy Eaton. However, Welch’s second place gave him the championship.
Open to pre-74 Lotus-built 6 and 7 cars, the QED 7 Club challenge race offset a small grid with some good racing. Kevin Musson spun away his early lead at Copse, letting Wally Liles and Andrew Noble past, Wiles winning by 0.4sec.
Swiss Lotus collector Fredy Kumschick added another to his run of victories in the European Historic F2 series and sealed the championship, his 69 heading John Harper’s Brabham despite several challenges from the latter.
More Lotuses disputed the Barley Improved Road Sports round, Barry Ashdown trailing Tim Wright in similar Elans by a couple of lengths at the flag, but it was the big machinery which made the impact. Bernie Chodosh hustled his flame-painted ’58 Corvette up to third at one point, but Aidan Mills-Thomas soon slotted his AC Cobra in there, with Jarmen’s Datsun 240Z behind. By the flag the eye-catching Chevrolet had also been passed by Ralph Avis’ steady advance in his Shelby Mustang.
Even louder than the American V8s was the Motor Sport Trophy grid, F1 and F5000 cars running together just as they did here in the Seventies for the International Trophy, and at Brands for the Race of Champions. John Surtees was on hand to inspire Willie Green, not that he usually needs inspiring, in the Surtees TS20 last raced in the US GP by Rene Arnoux, while former F5000 champion Teddy Pilette was at the helm of Jean Blathon’s Wolf WR1 , in which he has this season been showing all his old abilities despite his lay-off of many years. Blathon was a familiar name to racegoers in the 1960s and ’70s, competing under the pseudonym ‘Beurlys’.
Paul Smith’s Ensign started on pole amid the thunder of three-and five-litre V8s, but when Ean Pugh’s McLaren M 10A baulked him on lap 3, he was jumped by Pilette and John Fenning. Wolf and Williams then set the pace, while Green also pushed his Surtees past Smith’s Ensign. This trio treated us to some close-quarter scrapping: Fenning was determined to elbow aside the black-and-gold Wolf (which he used to own himself) and managed it on the last lap, Green making it a close third after a dynamic race.
An excess of Elans sewed up the QED Standard Road Sports race, eight of them finishing in the first nine places, though an Alfa Spyder, a Giulia Spyder and the Lancia Fulvia of Paul Howarth added unusual Mediterranean spice.
Paul Sleeman’s Jamun ran out a clear winner amongst the Historic FF1600s, before this varied and exciting day’s racing wrapped up with a sportscar handicap in which Mills-Thomas’s Cobra was fastest, and John Clark’s two-litre Marcos GT finished first.