Commander Yorke Trophy for Formula Junior; Silverstone Classic 2017 – 28th – 30th July

This year we changed the format to have Saturday as race day for both our races, to help Nick Wigley and his great team, ahead of next year’s Jubilee Tour finale with two FJ grids and double headers for both.

As always there was a full grid, but last minute withdrawals from Pat Barford with the de Sanctis, with back problems, Cameron Jackson reporting problems with his engine and Simon Jones with the Elva 100 raised the three reserves.

Thursday was paid testing: Michael Hibberd was out in Harin’s ex-Ernst and Mussa BT2. Sam Wilson was sharing the Diffey all discs 20 to offer some feedback. Geoff Underwood’s testing in the Dolphin was curtailed with gear selection problems.

Duncan had a meeting with John Pearson and representatives of the Dunlop manufacturers: good to hear that production of L-section is fully restored and there has been a jump in quality as well: R5s in 4.50 x 15 and 5.00 x15 for 500s and other earlier cars will be available again from next year.

With FFs celebrating their 50th anniversary, FJs were second out this year for qualifying; bit of a rush for poor Geoff Underwood who was in both. Soon fastest was Sam Wilson, still in his ex-Dave Charlton 20, with new discovery, Tim de Silva in father, Harin’s, BT2 next, never having seen Silverstone or the BT2 before practice!!!! Andrew Hibberd was soon to displace him with Mark Shaw next in his ex-Denny Hulme BT6 and Andrew Gartside (22) displacing Nick Fennell for 6th. Urs Müller spun, followed by daughter Arlette! Stephen Bulling in the beautiful restored Elva 300/005 seized solid on the brakes, causing some disruption to the session: fellow Delta team mate, Colin McKay was also in trouble. Andrew Thorpe’s newly restored 20 looked splendid in correct Scuderia Centre-Sud colours.

With both races on Saturday, it was an early start for FJ which retained their standing start unlike most classes, the first that US based Tim had ever experienced!! Conditions were damp, so there was plenty of action in the race, fortunately without any serious damage. Chilcott spun and stopped at Village, having touched Tim. Sam was already ahead from Andrew (22) and Nick Fennell (27), but Fennell spun at Becketts, while James Owen rotated the red Gemini  at Aintree, and early retirements were Fenichel with broken driveshaft that split the gearbox casing, Lukas Halusa with contact damage after a spin at Abbey and Geoff Underwood who broke a stub axle in the Dolphin, suffering body damage in the ensuing melee.

Third lap and Hibberd spun, so Sam Wilson was now clear.  Mark Shaw was going well whilst further back, Westie Mitchell in the De Tomaso led Urs Müller and Diffey, with the front engined Mitcham U2 in 9th and Alexis Mk 2 of Stuart Roach in 14th, both revelling in the tricky conditions. De Silva was ahead of Shaw, the latter taken by Müller and Diffey.

In mid field Andrew Beaumont spun the yellow 22, and at the back, Hans Ciers spun his 20. Fennell was now recovering and had the U2 behind him. Fennell took both Diffey and Müller, and the U2 was now ahead of Shaw, in reality there being a 9/10 car train for 4th place !!

Roger Skipp, his turn to race the Emeryson today, spun, while Tim de Silva in 11th was almost off, but then Richard Smeeton in the Wainer did spin. Ahead, Diffey was close to Fennell, the amazing U2 next, but in the end splitting Garside, going very well, and Müller.

Last lap and Andrew was lapping Ralf Emmerling and there was contact, Ralf suffering damage and Andrew spun, but fortunately recovering to keep second behind the flying Sam Wilson with Westie, keeping out of trouble, a good third in the de Tomaso. Greg Audi was 17th, ahead of Steve Jones’ T67 with 6 speed ERSA box; poor Johannes Kistler had a holed piston in his 22, but Paris lawyer, Fabrice Perruchot, making a rare appearance in his 20/22, was all smiles. Andrew Thorpe was an early casualty – “when the engine was asked for power coming out of any bend it was suffering fuel starvation. Rather than carry on and run the risk of running lean and holing a piston we decided to withdraw.”

Great racing down the field and some splendid performances.

Race conditions were dryer for R2 in prime time early afternoon, last race of the day from the National pits. Crispian Besley was a first lap casualty after a blown head gasket caused scalding water down his back just after the start, necessitating a visit to the medical centre. Andrew Hibberd just lead from Wilson, but not for long, followed by T De Silva, Westie Mitchell, Mark Shaw, Nick Fennell and Andrew Gartside. Beaumont spun. Westie was now third but Tim was ahead of him again at Copse. Katsu Kubota was going well in 10th. Of the fronts, Mitcham and Roach were 13th and 14th.
Westie and Tim went both sides of Roger’s Dexter Elva 100-DKW as they lapped him!!
Urs Müller overtook Stuart Roach for 14th, whilst Nick Finburgh, in what turned out to be his final drive in the Envoy Mk 1, retired an off song engine into the pits to avoid expense. It turned the distributor advance broke so it was running at 20˚ instead of 36 ˚. Arlette Müller stopped after contact with someone as she was not sure if the car was running well. Mark Shaw also went into the pits with damaged suspension: another lapping incident, whilst Martin Walford spun and could not restart.

Wilson was now 2.4s ahead of Hibberd, and 3.5s separated Tim from Westie. A good battle for 10th/11th raged between Lee Mowle and Mitcham. Richard Wilson spun his ex-Roy Walzer Lotus 27 on the last lap as did Greg Audi (22). A great finish by Katsu Kubota(20) put him just ahead of Diffey on the line.

Another great race by Sam Wilson from Andrew, and it was terrific to see Tim de Silva on the podium.

Almost as the flag fell, David Abbott and Mike O’Brien were working on repairs to the Shaw BT6 as it was due to fly on Monday to California  to join the World Tour for the Monterey Historics.

Duncan conducted another jolly prizegiving, with Trophies handed out by our ever present Jubilee patron, Howden Ganley. And the best presentation being awarded to Martin McHugh’s North Star Mk 1 with special commendation to Roger Dexter.

With no race on Sunday, we were grateful to those who stayed to display their cars outside the garages.