FJHRA/HSCC “Silverline” UK Championship Round 4 – Silverstone International; May 19th 2019

Contrasting weather to the bitterly cold VSCC meeting earlier in the season, the HSCC were racing on the full GP Circuit with no Historic Copse corner as the standoff between MSUK and Silverstone Circuits over safety issues continues; meanwhile our low capacity historic cars are put under unnecessary stress and the race flow is interrupted.

Newcomer George Christodoulou made a welcome appearance, many years after acquiring the second of the Phil Weng BMC Mk 2 rebuilds; first time scrutineering problems were eased by help from John Arnold. Welcome irregulars included Lotus 25 owner, Nick Fennell in his FJ equivalent, the ex-Ford France 27, Mark Pangborn, back after a year with his repaired 20B and Lurani Class D2 Champion, and Pierre Guichard in his Australian Lynx.

Qualifying was an early 9.40 am with Sam Wilson, still in his Lotus 20 and Cameron Jackson, BT2 very close on times, separated by 0.2s, each recorded on their penultimate lap, while Nick Fennell kept in the fray, with Adrian Russell, 22, 3s adrift. Mike Hibberd had still not got to the bottom of the cylinder head problems with the newly rebuilt Ex Dietrich Merkel Lola Mk2 BRJ 11, and poor Roger Dexter never got to the track with the Elva-DKW; luckily the timing issues were to be resolved before the race, and he was added to the back of the grid, having raced on the GP circuit within a year, in last year’s SC celebrations.

Unusually for Formula Junior it was a rolling start, with Wilson leading for the first lap, at the start of one of those great FJ races; Cameron Jackson largely had the upper hand until the end of what turned out to be the penultimate lap and then again Wilson was ahead into the final corners, crossing the line 0.14 s ahead when the flag was shown 30s too early. Fennell, Russell and Pangborn ran the next places as lonely races, after Mallock, as leading front engined car, had been displaced from 6th place after one lap.

4 laps in and Rudolf Ernst stopped in front of the holding area exit, his fresh engine failed, joined a lap later by Keith Pickering in the Ex Ashley-Brown Britannia.

After Rudolf’s demise there was an almighty battle between Anthony Binnington’ s 6 speed Cooper T67, young star, Niall Murray in Niall McFadden’s Front engined Elva 100 and Pierre Guichard, with the latter winning by a second but the other two separated by a mere 0.042 s, Binnington locking up at Nuffield: a true transponder length!!

Another race long battle ran between Andrew Turvey in the Ex David Baker MRP Lola 5A and Crispian Besley’s T56, joined till his retirement by Pickering, ended with Besley 0.23s in front.

Close competition continued all the way down the field, notably Aubert, De Gres and Fenichel; while at the back, places regularly swapped between Dexter, McWilliam and Christodoulou, who was well pleased with his debut.

Duncan, with the Alexis already packed up for Pau, and having been racing the Comet 500 at Oulton Park the day before, helped our Patron, Howden, distribute the prizes.