Thruxton’s friendly atmosphere was warmly welcomed by everyone attending, whether racing on track or simply soaking up the sun on the banks. Alongside the racing, the Thruxton Historic featured side-shows including a vintage aircraft fly-in, Historic Army Flight helicopters, car club displays, the Land Rover Legends show, and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flypasts creating a real nostalgic atmosphere.
Here are the racing highlights..
In the Historic Touring Car Challenge and Tony Dron Trophy Numbers may have been down this year, but the fire-breathing spectacle of a trio of Nissan Skylines versus a brace of Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500s entertained spectators – including a record number of car club displays – on Saturday. Soloist Ric Wood reeled in and passed Andy Middlehurst (starting Jonathan Bailey’s sensational ex-Toshio Suzuki/Akira Iida ’93 works car) over the hour.
Helping to expunge memories of his fiery exit from the 2020 race, David Tomlin joined them on the podium in his well-driven Batibouw tribute liveried Sierra. Sparring partners Sean and Daniel Brown were closing in towards the end when Dan’s left front tyre punctured in Brown & Geeson’s version.
The Tony Dron Trophy Group 1 section looked to be a walkover for rally and race driver James Slaughter when Nick Sleep’s ex-Rene Metge French Championship-winning Rover Vitesse ran out of puff on lap six. Ironically, Slaughter’s Frank & Jeans Capri ground to a halt at the top of Woodham Hill in the final minutes, out of fuel.
In the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy & Stirling Moss Trophy – Driving the ex-Tom Hart/Dickie Le Strange Metcalfe Lola Mk1, the smallest car in the race with its 1216cc Coventry-Climax FWE engine, local man Ben Adams won the Stirling Moss Trophy element of Saturday’s Motor Racing Legends’ sportscar race. The local man took six laps to rise from fifth and seize the lead from Peter Ratcliff (Lister-Jaguar Knobbly). The combo was not headed thereafter.
Michael Birch and Gareth Burnett finished a strong second in the former’s ex-Team Lotus/Graham Hill two-litre Climax FPF-powered Lotus 15 having outrun Tarek Mahmoud’s Lister-Jaguar, which coach Nigel Greensall qualified on pole and finished strongly. “Ratters,” troubled by a sticking oil pressure relief valve in qualifying, nursed his car to a lapped fourth, clear of Stuart Morley, charging in Richard Hudson’s Lister-Chevrolet.
Three teams led the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy Pre-’56 contest. Rudi Friedrich (Jaguar C-type) set the early pace before Ben Eastick / Karl Jones wound Ben’s finned D-type up. But Ian Nuthall – deputising for Rick Bourne in Malcolm Paul’s ex-Mike Anthony’s two-litre Lotus-Bristol 10, devoured the larger-engined Jags and came home a splendid fifth overall and winner of the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy.
In the Jaguar Classic Challenge with Pre ’63 GT – Matt Wrigley and Rob Wainwright emerged victors of Sunday’s Jaguar Classic Challenge race as a depleted pack due to mechanical malady and illness contested the Thruxton Historic race. Nobody could have dreamed up a more bizarre script for, while it only takes two cars to make a race, three super-competitive E-types made a fabulous spectacle in the opening stanza, Andy Newall flinging Rhea Sautter’s turquoise Gotcha roadster through the chicane to stay ahead of Wrigley and Ben Adams.
Adams made his compulsory 60 second stop first, four laps before Newall and Wrigley dived in together. Sautter’s half spin at the chicane on her out lap wasn’t in the plan and enabled Wainwright – winner of the afternoon’s Jochen Rindt Memorial Trophy single-seater race, in which Wrigley finished second – to dart ahead on his first outing in Mike Wrigley’s low-drag coupe which he’d driven for the first time in qualifying.
Ironically, Rob had been signalled to re-join before the jack was lowered after a change of rear tyres, and the engine revs and chirrup of rubber as it hit the ground saw the team handed a stop and go for an unsafe release. They subsequently received another for exceeding the 60kph (36mph) pit lane speed limit, which left Wainwright chasing down Adams. As he caught the roadster approaching the chicane, Adams gyrated and clonked Wainwright’s passenger door. Both continued, but following a third stop to assess damage, Rob finished 33 seconds clear of Adams. Sautter was a lapped third, clear of Jamie Boot (E-type).
Les Goble/George Miller (Aston Martin DB4) upheld Pre-’63 GT honours after diff failure side-lined Australian visitor Robert Ingram’s Lotus Elite during the preliminaries, denying him and preparer Iain Rowley a run.
In the Sixties Touring Car Challenge with U2TC – Brothers Andrew and Maxim Banks prepare some of the finest Alfa Romeos at the family’s Alfaholics emporium and from the moment Andrew gunned their Giulia Sprint GTA away from the rolling start at the Thruxton Historic late on Suday afternoon, there was nothing Ford or BMW-mounted opposition could do but chase the Italian stallion. There is little between the Banks’ pace and Max completed their Sunday afternoon drive seven seconds clear of Neil Brown’s rorty Cortina Lotus.
When Brown’s old mate Richard Dutton’s Escort twin-cam spluttered into the pits with a flat battery just after half distance, ending an entertaining duel, Neil found himself a lap clear of young Harry Barton’s neatly-neatly-conducted [??] BMW 1800Ti. The Mini Cooper of Chris Pearson and John Johnsen couldn’t match the rest but the duo plugged away, bettering their qualifying time by a second and a half and finished sixth having enjoyed their weekend’s sport. As Andrew celebrated in parc fermé with his brother he declared, ‘what a fantastic circuit, I can’t believe I have never raced here before, I’ll definitely be back!’.
Several races from the HRDC made up the rest of the weekend, and a Midget and Sprite race. A full list of results from the weekend can be found here.
Race reports courtesy of Motor Racing Legends – Photos by Oliver Flower. For reprints or to share these images please contact Oliver first right here