Silverstone 4th May 2019 race report

Our first race of the season… provisional report. If you have further details please email me marcus@bicknell.com

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The first race of the season the newly merged Bernie’s Sports Racing & V8s at Silverstone National, and what a great day we had. The number of entries was 20 although Martin Reynolds broke a brake light switch just after scrutineering and didn’t even take the track for qualifying. Martin Stephenson with the Aston Martin didn’t make it either so he came to support his son Henry making his race debut in their immaculate white Lotus Cortina. Sam Callahan was the second rookie of the day, sharing the Taydec Mk3 with his dad Mark.

Qualifying was in dry conditions with all five Crosslés filling the top six places, Marcus Bicknell and his newly refurbished Ford Ascar Mk3 6.2L V8 the best of the big boys followed by Simon Cripps (MGB V8), Cheng Lim (RAM SC V8) and Mat Smith in the colourful TVR Chimaera and sporting a new roof. Bernard Foley had driven over from Dublin and qualified his BGB GT V8 next (10th) but his gearbox shattered a few minutes from the end of the 20 minute session laying oil round Becketts, effectively ending the session and his race weekend.

It was dry as we left the assembly area but the menacing clouds started letting out droplets within seconds and proper rain by the time we got round the back of the circuit. The safety car therefore did a second green lap to let us get used to worsening conditions. Andrew Knight was not with us as we approached the start because of continuing clutch problems; new clutch plates fitted since quallies but this time it was probably the clutch thrust bearing. As the red lights went off on the rolling start, everyone kept their distance and approximately their grid positions. The conditions remains rainy for the first half dozen laps. As the conditions improved each driver tried to find where to put the power down better. Matt found it, and then some, spinning four times on one lap. His car was handling so badly after the addition of the roof and other winter changes that he called it a day after 11 laps.

So at the end of lap 12, before the pit stops took a hold, the order was 52 (Ough), 39 (Lim), 77 (Catherwood), 68 (Cripps), 60 (Callahan), 3 (Hobbs) , 4 (Pollard), 22 (Bicknell), and 50 (de Blaby). We were allowed to stop anytime between 15 minutes after race start and 30 minutes, so it was difficult for mortals to know who was where.

Adam Chodosh lost the rear end under acceleration at Woodcote on lap 14 (his lap 9 as he had spent 4 laps in the pits at the start of the race to change to wet tyres), bending the front right of the beautiful black Corvette on the pit wall. Quick as a flash the safety car was out as marshals pushed the car to safety. So any hope of knowing the race order was out of the window. Marcus Bicknell, who had done his bit stop early, was initially behind the safety car for two laps until he was waved through. A lap later the safety car drew in and the race was underway now on lap 17 out of the eventual 31 laps (40 minutes).

Simon Cripps and Cheng Lim (the latter on his new squidgy Yokohama intermediate tyres) were the first to find some grip after the safety car let them loose and they got the better of the Crosslés. So on lap 18, as the leader board sorted itself out, it was 68 (Cripps), 39 (Lim), 52 (Ough), 77, 3, 76 (Holmes), 66 (Lambert), 84 (Samuels), and 22. The others had been lapped.

Cheng was not done yet… he took the lead from Simon on lap 23 for a moment, but there was Steve Ough, getting back on the leaders’ pace in the Crosslé. The commentators were having a field day as Steve Ough picked up some grip and came after the V8s. All three cars made a real race of it. He took the lead on lap 24 and kept it to the end. Cheng and Simon were 10 seconds behind, nose to tail. Hal Catherwood had intermittent gearbox problems and finished 4th. Mark Hobbs was 5th, Marcus Bicknell debuting the Ascar 6th, Peter Samuels 7th, Andy Lambert 8th, Rick de Blaby 9th and Charlie Holmes 10th. Fastest lap was 1:04.97 by Mark Hobbs (Crosslé 9s).

At the prize-giving the club welcomed the rookie racers Sam Callahan and Henry Stephenson. There was no official contender in the Historic class but the Lotus Cortina, even though it has not got its historic technical passport yet, clearly looks the business and finished 11th; the Historic trophy was awarded to Henry Stephenson. Class C was won by Mark Bowd in the beautiful blue GT40 (12th overall). Class B was won by Simon Cripps in his racy MGB GT V8. Class A was won by Cheng Lim who had such a storming race with Simon and Steve. Winner of the Crosslé class was Steve Ough who just managed to get back in front of the big boys and was therefore overall winner. He’s an experienced racer that Steve… he even wore his winner’s garland as he picked up the trophy. Classey.

Results and lap sheets… http://www.theresultslive.co.uk/…/silverstone-national-4th-…

Report compiled by Marcus Bicknell form the lap sheets and input from Jane Sandall and Andy Lambert’s daughters Tegan and Cass, supported by his wife Jennie.