SOPER TOPS BATTLE OF THE GT40S
74TH MEMBERS’ MEETING
In a weekend peppered with big accidents and a lot of safety car laps, the Goodwood Members’ Meeting still delivered some outstanding action from amazing grids. Headlining Saturday’s action was the Alan Mann Trophy, a two-driver hour-long contest for Ford GT40S that ran into the dusk of the early evening. A star-studded pack of 25 GT40S made for a breathtaking spectacle and any one of four or five cars could have won the race.
After some early shuffling, World Touring Car star Rob Huff took control of the race and was nicely on target to hand Richard Meins a useful lead until the ailing front brakes finally disappeared and the car was retired.
Rob Hall worked into second in the car of Scott Walker but was soon under pressure from Mike Jordan who had charged up the field from a misfirehindered 14th on the grid. They raced hard and Jordan looked for a gap, but Hall defended resolutely and Jordan stopped early to hand over to EX-BTCC champion son Andrew.
Hall stayed out to the very end of the pitstop window but Jordan swept ahead before Walker rejoined and the former lead car was bundled down the order over the final 20 minutes.
It all looked good for Jordan until a rear wheel bearing failed with 10 laps to go and the Steve Soper/david Cuff car took the lead. However, on a mission was Phil Keen after taking over from Oliver Bryant and Keen was within half a second of Soper when the oil light, which had been flickering for some time, stayed on through the chicane and Keen quickly turned the engine off to avoid major harm.
“We just tried to keep the lead cars in sight,” said Cuff as Martin Stretton/ Tony Wood and Simon Hadfield/ Joaquin Folch wrapped up the podium at the end of an absorbing contest.
The Gerry Marshall Trophy for Group 1 touring cars was another major crowd-pleaser, with some sensational racing all down the order from a highquality field. Saturday’s 15-minute appetiser, which really only served to set the grid for Sunday’s two-driver thrash, was won at a canter by Chris Ward in the JD Classics Rover SD1.
With Ward backed up by Gordon Shedden on Sunday, another win was on the cards and Ward duly shot clear in the early laps. However, a major oil slick at St Mary’s from the expired Rover of Tiff Needell turned the race around as the safety car was scrambled and Ward’s vital time advantage was swept away.
The 2015 race-winning Chevrolet Camaro of David Clark/matt Neal lost time with a rear puncture, but making strong progress was the Bryant family Camaro and, after the stops, Oliver Bryant was able to hunt Shedden down and sweep ahead with three laps to go. Ultimately, the Camaro won by nine seconds even though Grahame B had spun on the oil at St Mary’s.
It was a first Goodwood win for the Bryants. “It’s great to do it as a father and son team,” said Bryant Sr.
“I tried my best but the safety car compromised us,” said Ward.
John Young/steve Soper completed the podium as the best of the Ford Capri pack. The best non-camaro lap was, however, 2s down on Neal’s fastest tour.
Although interrupted by Stephen Bond’s accident ( see Racing News, page 13), the Brooks Trophy for pre-1960 Grand Prix cars was an excellent race as Barry Cannell (Cooper T51) had to work very hard to fend off a determined challenge from the four-wheel-drive Ferguson in the capable hands of Nick Adams. A rocket start set the Ferguson away and the wily Cannell only just wriggled back ahead. He then had to contend with a safety car stint as Gregor Fisken added his Ferrari Dino to the lead contest until a late spin at Woodcote.
Another race truncated by the safety car was the Derek Bell Trophy for onelitre F3 cars, but this was always going to belong to Andrew Hibberd, having his first race in his father’s ex-chris Irwin Brabham BT18. In the few racing laps the cars had, Hibberd went clear as Peter Thompson fought off Jim Blockley for second. James King, race winner a year earlier, was an early casualty after his engine grenaded on the Lavant Straight.
On the Goodwood debut for the cars, the Edwardian pack covered itself in glory in the SF Edge Trophy as a wonderful contest raged at the head of the pack of outrageous century-old machines. It all came down to a cat-andmouse contest between Duncan Pittaway’s GN Curtiss, the vast V12 Delage of circuit newcomer Mathias Sielecki and the increasingly brakeless 1916 Sunbeam Indianapolis of Julian Majzub.
Pittaway won the deciding dash to the line by less than a quarter of a second from Sielecki as Majzub chased. “You don’t often get races like that,” said a jubilant Pittaway. “That car is huge when it comes barrelling past you,” he said of the Delage.
The Daytona Cobra Coupes of friends James Cottingham and Andrew Smith easily had the legs of the rest of a classy field of pre-1966 GT cars in the Graham Hill Trophy. Unfortunately, this was another race interrupted by a safety car after Karsten Le Blanc went off heavily at Fordwater in his AC Cobra.
Will Nuthall toyed with fellow CooperBristol pilot Eddie Mcguire before rushing clear in the Parnell Cup, while Richard Meaden was the class of a typically lively Whitmore Cup for under two-litre touring cars. Mark Sumpter, racing solo in his Lotus Cortina for the first time, kept Meaden honest for the 10-minute dash, while Nick Swift came out on top of a wonderful but all too brief Mini contest with Nick Padmore, Jason Stanley and Rob Huff.
The Bruce Mclaren Trophy race was halted after two laps and not restarted after Michiel Smits flew off the track at Woodcote. At the time of the red flag, Nick Padmore, Phil Keen and Olly Bryant were limbering up for a Lola T70 Spyder slug-fest.
As the light faded, Sam Hancock wrapped up the weekend with a resounding Peter Collins Trophy win in the mighty Cunningham C4R. ■
There were plenty of talented young racers in action at Goodwood and in the historic grand prix car arena, the one to watch was Will Nuthall.
Being the son of one of the most respected preparers of historic single-seaters is a massive leg up, of course, and Will is showing true class in cars that are 40 years older than he is.
In the Parnell Cup for pre-1953 single-seaters, he took Steve Russell’s ex-bob Gerard CooperBristol to a resounding win and qualified second fastest in the Cooper T51 of John Saunders for the earlier Brooks Trophy.