CLAS­SIC AC­TION

Ac­tion from Goodwood, Spa and Sil­ver­stone con­cludes an­other year

VANTAGE - - Contents - WORDS STEPHEN ARCHER PHO­TOG­RA­PHY GOODWOOD/NICK ED­WARDS

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.

Clockwise from above DB4S at a damp Goodwood; DP214 replica at Spa, and trin­ity of Team cars at Sil­ver­stone

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