Action from Goodwood, Spa and Silverstone concludes another year
INCREDIBLE TO THINK that the Goodwood Revival (1998-2017) has now outlasted the original racing life of the circuit (1948-1966). Does this mean that Lord March will create a short hiatus to be followed by a Revival Revival?
The weather gods weren’t so kind to this year’s event, and the one-hour Kinrara Trophy on the Friday evening was a very wet race. Though dominated by E-types, there was an impressive collection of DB4 GTS giving chase. A see-sawing scrap between the GTS of Friedrichs/hadfield and Alexander/willmot finished in favour of the former, but not by much.
People and cars rise to the Goodwood occasion and this was amply shown in the Brooklands Trophy race for pre-war cars where the racing was more akin to the first few laps of a Grand Prix than the gentile style that might be expected. ‘Hanging it all out’ for an impressive second place was Mark Gillies in the Aston Martin 2 litre Brooklands Special. His fastest lap of 1.47 would have put the car midfield in the post-war ’50s race! Holly Mason-franchitti’s Ulster LM17 was the sole Team car in the event, while Alan Middleton, making his first appearance at Goodwood in the famous ‘Red Dragon’ Speed Model, finished a fine ninth.
In very damp and tricky conditions for the 1950s sports car race, the ex-peter Collins DB3 driven by Rob Hall took a stunning win, albeit helped by the lead Cooper being penalised for hitting Lord March’s chicane! Steve Boultbee-brooks in the Kangaroo stable DB3S was a strong fourth, while further down the order was Chris Woodgate in the white-and-blue ex-joe Lubin DB3S.
The very fast TT event was also highly attritional, with over a third of the cars not finishing. But the sole Aston in the race, the ex-graham Hill DP212, was right on the pace and finished tenth in the hands of Simon Hadfield and Wolfgang Friedrichs. It was wonderful to see this unique Aston in its natural element.
Just a week after Goodwood came the pilgrimage to Spa for the Six Hours. The one-hour race was the hors d’oeuvres and in the open grid of 60 cars was seasoned racer Nicholas King, who brought his lightweight DB4 home a superb eighth overall. The feature Six Hours race saw an equally incredible result from the DP214 replica of Wolfgang Friedrichs. With co-drivers Michael Mallock and Simon Hadfield, it finished sixth overall, the first non-gt40! The car had a trouble-free run but the pace was rapid and a reminder of just how good the DP214 was in its day: given better luck, it really could have won Le Mans in 1963…
The Masters Endurance Legends support race was a sign of things to come: Historic cars are getting newer. Karsten Le Blanc and Nigel Greensall were class winners in their GT2 Aston, which was 22 seconds a lap quicker than the fastest GT40 of the weekend. Look out for more racing for these cars in 2018.
Silverstone was the fitting location for AMOC’S season finale and the word must have got out – the paddock was full and the grids excellent. The feature race was the St John Horsfall, won by Richard Bradley’s Ulster in some style from David Ozanne’s 2 Litre Speed model. The sight of the 1934 Team Ulster sisters of John Briggs (LM15) and Paul Wright (LM16) circulating together was divine.
The GT4 Challenge race was an altogether more frantic affair and, with a grid of 38 cars, there was always going to be drama. The ten-car pile up at the first corner caused a re-start minus seven cars.
Ferraris had the legs on the day but there were no fewer than nine GT4S and Vantages to keep them on their toes. Chris Kemp was imperious in his GT4 to finish fourth overall and first in class, but the chasing pack was always close and the race was a true spectacle.
Among the throng was the recently emerged, Spa 24-winning, ex-rowan Atkinson GT4 being driven by ‘E Blackadder’ and ‘Baldrick’ [possibly not their real names – Ed], which finished a more-than-respectable 13th, having cunningly avoided the first-lap accident.