OUR REPORT FROM THE DONINGTON HISTORIC FESTIVAL
DONINGTON PARK: HSCC APRIL 30-MAY 2
Calum Lockie and Michael Gans went wheel-to-wheel in 1930s Grand Prix cars in a compelling Nuvolari Trophy race, just one of the highlights of the Donington Historic Festival.
In celebration of Donington’s postwar history, the HGPCA put together a fine grid for the pair of races and the end result was a win apiece for Lockie’s Maserati 6CM and Gans at the helm of ERA R1B.
Saturday’s race ran on a damp and oily track and Gans got the upperhand as Lockie struggled even more for grip. But it was Sunday’s race that really grabbed the headlines as they battled on a dry track. Lockie got the jump off the line and Gans spent a lap or two battling with Nick Topliss in ERA R4A. Once clear, he closed down the Maserati and dived ahead only for former British GT champion Lockie to retaliate and grab the advantage back.
It was nip and tuck as they threaded through traffic, but Lockie held it by little more than half a second. “It was a very exciting race and totally safe,” said Lockie after a quality contest. “A hell of a lot of fun,” added Gans.
Andrew Smith blitzed the opening Historic F2 races to take a commanding double win in his Formula Atlantic March 79B. On Saturday he made the bold decision to go on slicks on a still damp track and it paid off in spades as the wet-tyred drivers fell away when the track continued to dry.
On Sunday, Smith was headed into the opening laps by impressive F2 debutant Dean Forward (March 782) but the contest was short-lived as Forward lost third gear and any chance of fending off Smith. Forward still held second as Chris Lillingston-Price starred by charging his Chevron B40 up to third after spinning to dead last at the Old Hairpin on the first lap.
As recovery drives go, Simon Hadfield’s virtuoso stint in the Pre1980 Endurance race was one of the best. At the head of the race, Michele Liguori (Lola T292) was gifted a big lead when Leo Voyazides (Lola T282) and Martin O’connell (Chevron B19) clashed in early battling. The Chevron was out with suspension damage and Voyazides headed for the pits with a broken wheel.
Voyazides then started the recovery from two laps down before handing over to Hadfield, who fired the Cosworth Dfv-powered Lola around in a glorious half-hour display. They were easily up to second and finished within half a minute of Liguori, who eased his pace and then stopped on the slowing down lap with a suspected loss of fuel pressure. “Half an hour of fabulous enjoyment in a superb car on a great circuit,” said Hadfield.
Richard Dutton gave his all in a mighty pursuit of the leading Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint in the U2TC race but brothers Andrew and Max Banks always had the edge over the Cortina that Neil Brown started before handing over to Dutton. David Tomlin saw off Dion Kremer in a Lotus Cortina battle for third.
Sadly, the three-hour race for the 1000km series featured only a 11-car grid at the end of Saturday afternoon and was dominated by the continuation Lola T70 Mk3bs of father and son Paul and Daniel Gibson. Paul, with Chris Ward, beat Daniel and James Littlejohn by only six seconds.
Chris Ward also won the opening round of the Historic Touring Car Challenge, sharing the JD Classics Ford Capri with Steve Soper. From a big field, Mark Smith and David Cuff led the chase in Smith’s BMW M3.
The Woodcote Trophy was an absorbing hour-long contest as Gary Pearson (Jaguar D-type) just held a reducing advantage over the Cooper-Jaguar T38 of Fred Wakeman/patrick Blakeney-edwards. The gap was under three seconds at the flag.
Colin Noble Junior made an impressive Super Touring debut with a classy victory in the opening race despite the very best efforts of defending champion Stewart Whyte. The Honda racer chased hard and was right on Noble’s bumper at the flag, but the newcomer held his nerve well under pressure. On Monday, Whyte won as Noble hit trouble and Patrick Watts bounced back from a non-finish in race one to take second in his Peugeot 406.
The Jaguar Classic Challenge kicked off a fresh season with a first major win at this level for Julian Thomas, who shared with Calum Lockie to see off a very strong field of E-types.
Two superb HRDC grids delivered some thoroughly entertaining racing and wins for Lotus Cortina hard-charger David Tomlin in the Coys Trophy and Mike and Andrew Jordan, who overcame mid-race rain and a gravelly moment to win the Touring Greats race.
In a very full weekend, more sportscar wins went to Fred Wakeman/patrick Blakeney-edwards in the Mad Jack Trophy for Pre-war Cars and Chris Ward (Lister Costin) in the Stirling Moss Trophy.
Lockie and Gans battled for wins