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The 68th running of the Bentley Drivers’ Club meeting took place at a sunny Silverstone last Saturday.
It was the 30-minute FISCAR race that provided the most scintillating entertainment of the afternoon, with a four-way battle for the lead between the Lotus Elite S2 of Robin Ellis, Mike Freeman’s Lotus Elite and the two Austin Healey 4/100s of Jonathan Abecassis and Nick Matthews in the opening laps. Following the mandatory pitstop, Ellis built a comfortable lead and went on to claim victory, with Abecassis and Freeman eventually taking the final podium positions.
It was Abecassis who had won the Bic Healey Trophy Race earlier in the day – this time from poleman Drew Cameron in his Austin Healey Speedwell Sprite. The pair duelled for the lead throughout the race and continually changed places over the course of a lap.
Despite this duel lasting until the last lap, Cameron couldn’t quite make a winning pass stick and finished second, ahead of Gordon Elwell’s Austin Healey Sebring Sprite in third position.
The Allcomers Scratch Race and Bentley Scratch Race for Post-1966 Cars was one to forget for David Rushton in his Morgan +8. Starting from second, he had looked set to challenge for the win in the early stages of the race but started to fall back after the opening laps and retired with an engine problem. The race was won by poleman David Tilley’s Hart Sports Racing. John Taylor in the Crossle 9S and David Hughes in the Ford Sierra Cosworth were second and third respectively. Tilley had also claimed another victory in the Allcomers Handicap Race.
The Bentley Handicap race proved to be poignant, with veteran member of the BDC, Peter Morley, announcing that Silverstone was to be his final race after an involvement with the club spanning 60 years. He ultimately finished seventh in his Bentley 3/41/2. His son, Clive, claimed third place in his Bentley 3-41/2 – the first time the car has raced again since a horror crash at Silverstone last year that left Morley Jr with severe injuries. Paul Forty in his Bentley MKVI Special crossed the line in first place, 30 seconds ahead of the similar machine of Stuart Worthington.
The AR Motorsport Morgan Challenge race was won comfortably by Oliver Bryant in the Morgan +8, from the similar cars of Keith Ahlers and William Plant in second and third. Ahlers and Plant enjoyed a fight in the second, culminating in Ahlers retaking the position with a well-timed move at Becketts.
The podium of the Bentley Scratch for pre-1966 Cars and
Pre-war Team Challenge
race was comprised entirely of Bentley MKVI Specials, with Michael Haig winning, despite not originally planning to start the race as a result of a qualifying session plagued by a series of issues. Paul Forty and Gerard Mccosh took second and third.
John Henry Williams won the MG T Register, AC and Morgan race in his Morgan 4/4 from the Morgan 4/4 of James Sumner in second with Bill Kirkpatrick’s MG B in third.
1 Robin Ellis (Lotus Elite S2): 2 Jonathan Abecassis (Austin Healey 100/4) +9.804s; 3 Mike Freeman (Lotus Elite); 4 Nick Matthews (Austin Healey 100/4); 5 Jim Campbell (Austin Healey 100/4); 6 Alex Quattlebaum (Leco Sport). Class winners Ellis; Abecassis; Mark Hoble (Triumph TR2); Glenn Tollet/ Rory Tollet (MG A). Fastest lap Freeman 1m13.609s (80.23 mph). Pole Abecassis. Starters 27.
1 Jonathan Abecassis (Austin Healey 100/4); 2 Drew Cameron (Austin Healey Speedwell Sprite) +0.142s; 3 Gordon Elwell (Austin Healey Sebring Sprite); 4 Nick Matthews (Austin Healey 100/4); 5 Richard Woolmer (Austin Healey Sebring Sprite); 6 Jim Mackie (Austin Healey Sprite). CW Abecassis; Cameron; Robin Pearce (AC Ace Bristol). FL Abecassis 1m13.044s (80.85mph). P Cameron. S 13.
1 David Tilley (Hart Sports Racing); 2 John Taylor (Crossle 9S) +50.191s; 3 David Hughes (Ford Sierra Cosworth); 4 Ed Mercer (Morgan +8); 5 Alan Davenport (Mallock MK18); 6 Greg Parnell (Morgan Aero 8 GTN). FL Tilley 1m02.541s (94.42mph). P Tilley. S 12.
1 Paul Forty (Bentley MKVI Special); 2 Stuart Worthington (Bentley MKVI Special) +31.538s; 3 Clive Morley (Bentley 3/41/2); 4 Richard Hudson (Bentley 3/41/2); 5 Tom Commander (Bentley MKVI Special); 6 Jock Mackinnon (Bentley 3 Litre Tourer). HW Vivian Bush (Bentley MKVI Special). FL Forty 1m15.682s (78.03mph). P Forty. S 12.
1 Oliver Bryant (Morgan +8); 2 Keith Ahlers (Morgan +8) +12.359s; 3 William Plant (Morgan +8); 4 Russell Paterson (Morgan +8), 5 Philip Goddard (Morgan +8); 6 Elliot Paterson (Morgan Roadster LWT). CW Bryant; Paterson; Tim Parson (Morgan 4/4); Steven Mcdonald (Morgan +8); John Henry Williams (Morgan 4/4); Kelvin Laidlaw (Morgan +8); Chris Bailey (Morgan +4). FL Bryant 1m02.682s (94.21mph). P Bryant. S 34. 1 Michael Haig (Bentley MKVI Special); 2 Paul Forty (Bentley MKVI Special) +2.121s; 3 Gerard Mccosh (Bentley MKVI Special); 4 Stuart Worthington (Bentley MKVI Special); 5 Clive Morley (Bentley 3/41/2); 6 Richard Hudson (Bentley 3/41/2). HW Trevor Swete (Invicta S Type). FL Haig 1m12.416s (81.55mph). P Forty. S 15.
Kajetan Kajetanowicz ended his wait for a first win of his European Rally Championship title defence with a home victory on Rally Rzeszow, the series’ first event in Poland for three years.
Kajetanowicz and co-driver Jarek Baran had to see off the challenge of Bryan Bouffier, a three-time Polish Rally champion and four-time previous winner of the asphalt rally in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains in the southeast of the country.
After Kajetanowicz won the opening street stage in Rzeszow city centre on Thursday evening, Bouffier then took the lead in his Citroen DS 3 R5 when the local hero was delayed early on the first proper stage on Friday morning by the current Polish champion Lukasz Habaj being helped out of a ditch.
Ford Fiesta R5 driver Kajetanowicz had that stage time adjusted during the afternoon to put him back into a narrow lead, and Bouffier then immediately dropped 20 seconds when he spun on the second run over Lubenia, the rally’s longest test.
Kajetanowicz increased his margin to 33.1s by the end of the day, then outpaced Bouffier by 18.2s in damp conditions on Saturday morning’s Korczyna opener. Bouffier was able to sweep the final loop of three stages in the afternoon even though he had to use chewing gum to repair a hole in his radiator after striking a cat, but Kajetanowicz finished up 46s clear.
With neither of his championship rivals Alexey Lukyanuk and Ralfs Sirmacis making the trip to Poland, a maximum score has extended Kajetanowicz’s points lead to 76 with three rounds remaining.
“I was pushing very hard,” he said. “To fight and win against Bryan is a big pleasure, he’s a very fast driver on Tarmac. It was a perfect weekend for us.”
Local driver Grzegorz Grzyb lost half a minute to a puncture on the third stage but held onto a podium place until the end in his Fiesta, three-and-a-half minutes down on the winner. He won the Polish championship section to extend his domestic points lead.
Habaj lost 2m40s in his stage two moment but posted top-three times on every single stage thereafter and charged up the order from 10th to fourth on the final day. He gained the final place after pressuring Fiesta driver Jakub Brzezinski into an off on the last stage. Fresh from a Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy podium on Rally Finland, Brzezinski had held fourth from the third stage but had to settle for fifth.
Polish drivers filled seven of the top eight places. Regular ERC competitor Tomasz Kasperczyk produced a more confident display on home ground to take sixth ahead of Wojciech Chuchala, who took his fifth ERC2 win from as many starts in his Subaru Poland-entered Impreza. Jaroslaw Koltun was eighth with fellow ERC regulars Raul Jeets and Antonin Tlustak completing the top 10.
A series of problems – including a spin, a loss of brakes and driving with the bonnet up on his Skoda – dropped Filip Nivette from fifth to 11th on the final day. David Botka ran eighth on Friday afternoon before being excluded after his Citroen was found to be underweight.
Eighteen-year-old ERC Junior driver Nikolay Gryazin took a clear win in ERC3 in his Peugeot 208 R2 after experienced local driver Tomasz Gryc rolled out of second on Saturday’s opening stage.