With so many events on the summer, you can be forgiven for missing a few, but last weekend’s Thruxton Motorsport Celebration was a fabulous affair. One to save the date for 2020.
The events delivered on all levels, with spectacular racing from a wide variety of historic sportscars and iconic single-seaters put on a display. There were F1 demonstrations, stunts, village stalls and a WWII flypast. What more could you ask?
From a competitor point of view, we enjoyed two races and a qualifying all within Saturday and Sunday, we even managed to squeeze in a sneaky 20 minute test session on Friday afternoon. We never left the circuit all weekend having decided to camp on the infield, where there were several parties, live music and football viewing entertainment on the Saturday night. The weather was kind to us, only releasing showers on Sunday afternoon, and despite the fact we ended our race with a blown head gasket – the whole family had a great weekend.
We take a look at some of the race highlights:
The Historic Touring Car Challenge with Tony Dron Trophy set the tone early on as the Ford Sierra RS500 of Paul Mensley spat flames from the exhaust at every gear change, much to the delight of the crowd. But it was Steve Dance’s stunning fast Ford Capri (below) which lead for most of race two, until the diff burnt out, handing the race win to the second in command the Ford Capri of Ric Wood.
Inbetween the racing spectators were treated to a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flypast as two glorious WWII Spitfires and aDakota C-47 on the Sunday as well as demonstration runs from some historic icons; Lola T70 Mk38, a V8 Lola T332, a wonderful Chevrolet-powered Cooper Monaco T61 and a Formula Atlantic Chevron B49. These were followed by the throaty Reynard 89D which was raced by Marco Apicella in the 1989 Formula 3000 season.
Motor Racing Legend’s Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy and Stirling Moss Trophy followed, with the Jaguars, Listers, Aston Martins and Austin-Healeys. This race saw the Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar XK120 and the Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica competed against each other for the first time since the 1952 British Empire Trophy race on the Isle of Man.
It was a race of two halves, the final result being from Sunday’s race finishing order, with two podiums for the Stirling Moss Trophy cars (50s Sports Racers) and the Woodcote Trophy (50s Sports Cars). It was the Lola Mk1 Prototype of Billy Bellinger and Keith Ahlers who finished on top of the Sports racers, a fitting celebration as Keith celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary with his wife Susan. Peter Ratcliffe who put up a good fight for second in his Lister Knobbly, and Patrick Blakeney-Edwards came through for third in the Cooper T38 of Fred Wakeman.
In the Woodcote Trophy the red Lotus X of Ric Bourne and Malcolm Paul was spun round on the first lap of race 1, but recovered well to finish first of the Woodcoters in both races, the gorgeous Jaguar D-type of Ben Eastick and Karl Jones were second, with one of three Jaguar C-types fighting for third, ended with James Hanson and Paul Pochciol. For full report click here
Thruxton then wound the clock back even further with the HRDC ‘Coys Trophy’ for Touring Cars 1958-1966 throwing up some spectacular slip-streaming around the high-speed circuit. Here Peter Chambers converted a pole position to a race win in his Ford Lotus Cortina with the Ford Mustang of Graham Pattle and Mark Burton in second.
Sunday saw a light sprinkling of rain to add to the excitement just before the much-anticipated Sports 2000 Championship while the HRDC ‘Alfa Challenge’ for Alfa Romeo Sports, GT and Touring Cars and the HRDC ‘Allstars’ for pre-66 Sports, all got away with a drying circuit.
The Marcus 1800 GT of Alan Tice was first to the flag in the HRDC Allstars race, with the Mustang of Alex Thistlewayte finishing 2nd and David Smithies in third and in the small but super exciting grid for the U2TC it was a win for the Lotus Cortina of Andy Wolfe and Ben Tinkler who set the early pace, fighting off challenges from Neil Brown in 2nd in Race 1 and John Spiers who finished 2nd in Race 2.
Images: John Retter Photography.