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Round 4 – Silverstone Arena (MGCC) – 25 June 2011

MOTORING CLASSICS THOROUGHBRED SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP

MGCC – SILVERSTONE ARENA

ROUND 4

The fourth round of the Motoring Classics Thoroughbred Championship for 2011 was on the Silverstone Arena circuit, just two weeks before the British Grand Prix. Numbers had steadily grown in the three weeks before the closing date but by the race there were 40 entered on the grid.

This total included four Invited drivers for the day plus two MGA’s who were part of the MGA race. The weather forecast was for mixed weather even though there had been monsoon conditions overnight but by day we were not too badly treated with cloud and sun for the Saturday race.

Qualification

40 lovely cars turned out for qualification on a cloudy, breezy morning but with a dry track after the deluge overnight.

Josh Files was first out onto track followed by what I can only describe as the most wonderful collection of cars that I have seen on track for a long time. Jon Ellison was an early casualty as his diff went on the 1st lap which was unfortunate, Jon was offered the team Files spare but the Clerk of Course determined that as he had not done sufficient laps – for that read zero laps on the new track – and as there was no opportunity for him to qualify in another session then he would not be allowed to take a place on the grid.

There was a number of extremely quick cars out on the circuit not least of which was the Andy Green Morgan, Simon Garrad in his D-type (slight misfire hence his slower than usual pace), Simon Cripps in his beautiful MGB V8, Russell McCarthy in the team McCarthy yellow MGA roadster.

However, the 11.34 practice was red flagged after only ten minutes by a bad accident on the new GP pits straight when the MGA driven by Peter Garton crashed.

The rear n/s wheel dug into the Astro turf that had been put on the concrete between the track and the run off area and spun him round crashing into the pit wall, causing extensive damage to the car. Peter was taken to hospital but released late in the afternoon with severe muscle trauma. He is now doing OK and generally feeling better.

Three other mechanical failures were Russell McCarthy who had a couple of melted pistons in the MGA, Jon Ellison who as mentioned had a sheared Crown wheel and pinion and Ian Prior whose engine just said enough is enough and completely expired. Both Russell and Jon have now repaired their cars and hope to be at Thruxton and from past experience Ian will probably make it as well.

THE GRID

Pole went to C class Josh Files in his TR6 with an amazing 2.28.168 two seconds faster than D class Pole Andy Green in his Morgan +8 on a 2.30.190. On Row Two Simon Garrad in his D Type Replica and Simon Cripps with 2.32.505 and 2.33.599 respectively.

Row Three a lonesome Barry Holmes and behind Rob Spencer and Jerry Knight. On row Five John Wilkes alone who would have been next to B Class Pole Ian Prior and behind on row Six Max Cawthorn and Joe Parrington.

Row Seven Richard Abels and visitor to TSCC Joris de Poortere while on row Eight Series Sponsor John Yea and a one off race by Roy Chamberlain. On row Nine Graham Paddick and Rob Roodhouse with Colin Jones and Ken Patton on row Ten.

Sharlie Goddard and Tim Falce were on row eleven with ‘The Butcher’ Kevin Swann and Ulrich Vierhaus on row Twelve.

Guest Niall Campbell sat alongside A class Pole Peter Hiscocks on row Thirteen while Neil Cawthorn and Rob Innes Ker were together on row Fourteen. Row Fifteen the empty spot for Peter Garton so Bob Lines spread out.

On Row Sixteen newcomer and Registered driver Chris Astley alongside Ben White and on row Seventeen Jeff Hooper and Guest Richard Line.

On Row Eighteen one of the MGA Race drivers Graham Coles alongside Barry Proud and on the penultimate row Brian Playford and Roger Connel. The second MGA Race driver finished the grid Brian Ireland.

THE RACE

An excellent start by Simon Garrad saw him lead into Copse from the off followed by Andy Green, Simon Cripps and Josh Files with the rest of the field battling for places all the way down the order with the best gaggle involving Colin Jones, John Yea, Roy Chamberlain, Joris de Poortere, Ulrich Vierhaus and Rob Roodhouse that had multiple overtaking manoeuvres, some dodgy moments for a few of them under brakes into Brooklands and they were all separated by a mere 20 seconds at the end of a very entertaining 30 minutes of racing.

There were a number of notable movers up the field during the race and these were:

  • John Wilkes from 10th – 5th
  • Tim Falce from 22nd – 10th
  • Rob Roodhouse from 18th – 13th
  • Roger Connell from 38th – 20th finally sorting his gearbox problems out.

However, it was events up at the front that captured my attention for the whole race as by the end of the first lap it was Simon Garrad from Josh from Andy from Simon Cripps after Josh had managed to claim back two of his lost places from the start.

Both Simon and Josh were going at it hammer and tongs with the more powerful Jaguar enjoying success on the straights and the well handling Triumph enjoying success in the twisty bits and there are a lot of them on this new circuit. The lead pair continued to swap places throughout the race and how they managed not to swap paint is beyond belief as both managed to get out of shape a number of times gifting the lead to the other but they always managed to be respectful to each other and give the errant driver space which is how it should be.

I was watching the race and monitoring the lap times from the BRDC centre (a friend is a patron and hosted us for the weekend) and there was rarely no more than 0.6 of a second between the two of them throughout the race. Lap after lap the pair entertained and on the last lap a decisive move was made by Josh in that silly new hairpin complex that saw him take the lead and hold onto it all the way to the finish line albeit by only 0.1, yes 0.1, of a second… this was a fantastic race and both drivers deserve high praise for such an entertaining race.

Further down the field there was a healthy battle for 5th place between John Wilkes and Jerry Knight in their D-Types with John winning out in the end; a good drive from John but Jerry is thinking about putting his old engine back in the car as it is faster although not as powerful apparently.

Tim Falce had a great charge from 22nd to take 10th overall having had to battle his way through the Colin Jones to Rob Roodhouse group; it was nice to see such a composed drive from Tim.

Towards the back of the field was another interesting battle between Neil Cawthorn, Tyrone (Ben) White, Robert Innes-Kerr and Richard Line which entertained as well with Neil heading the group home in the end.

Congratulations go to

  • Josh Files for a fantastic effort and Overall win for Class C.
  • Simon Garrad for a great close race with Josh to the flag, taking Class D, followed by Andy Green third, and Simon Cripps fourth.
  • To Joe Parrington for Class B and for Peter Hiscocks for Class A.

Combined effort by Keith Files and Pam McCarthy

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