The Classic at Silverstone 2021
The Classic at Silvertone; 30th July – 1st August
It was for many the target event, the end of lockdown, the beginning of reuniting the FJ family across borders, although Covid and Post-Brexit rules limited the Continental contingent, and back at Silverstone where we’d had such an incredible finale for our 2018 Diamond Jubilee World Tour!
Well even the weather couldn’t dampen our spirits – it was without doubt, FJ at its best both on and off track with close racing, an incredible finishing rate in both races, and plenty of tea and cakes!
It was a very family spirited entry list, with no less than 4 Father-son pairings on track; Crispian and Charlie Besley, Simon and George Diffey, Martin, Lukas and Andreas Halusa, and Michael and Andrew Hibberd, not forgetting the many mechanical family duos or all the families there for the equally important moral support!
We were in our traditional slot of first out each day at 9am, meaning an early start, but also no delays, and as it turned out, some of the best of the somewhat wet weather!
A seemingly never ending stream of 57 cars poured through Garage 0 of the National Paddock out onto track for qualifying in drizzly conditions, half a lap round until they crossed the timing line at the International Paddock. At the end of lap 1 it was Cam Jackson (Brabham BT2) fastest from historic FF driver Pierre Livingston, on his debut FJ drive in the Speedsport Lotus 22, with Richard Bradley (Brabham BT2) in third. Sam Wilson was making a very welcome return in his Cooper T59 ERSA in 4th, Alex Ames (Brabham BT6) in 5th, with Chris Drake leading the Front Engined cars with an excellent 6th in his Terrier T4 Series 1. It was however to remain exactly like that…meaning anyone who hadn’t lined up early in the assembly area had no chance of a clear ‘flying lap’, as unfortunately the oil pipe came off Andreas Halusa’s ex-Jonathan Williamson Lotus 22 at Brooklands (?), first time out since its arrival from Australia, and it went unnoticed by him and he carried on until he came to a halt on track at the end of the national pit straight, necessitating the Safety Car, and a JCB in recovery, which, together with mopping up the oil, wasn’t able to be completed before the 18 min session came to an end. The result, based on only a single non-safety car lap, was a rather jumbled grid although the front rows were a good reflection of pace with Cam Jackson on pole, 2.6” faster than newcomer Pierre Livingston. The second row comprised Richard Bradley and Sam Wilson with Alex Ames and Chris Drake on row three. Usual front-runner Andrew Hibberd was one of the main losers being down in 17th.
Off they set at 08.56 onto a track that was basically dry, for a full lap and a half green flag sighting lap behind the safety car before taking up their two by two formation for the rolling start, and it was Cam through Abbey in the lead with Richard Bradley having slipped ahead of Livingston. At first it looked as though Jackson was breaking clear but at the end of the opening lap there was a four-car train of Jackson-Bradley-Livingston-Ames then a gap to Wilson. A lap later Cam made a small mistake at the last corner allowing Richard to nip ahead into Abbey, but, after running side-by-side, Cam was back in front on the run into the Luffield complex. It was a superb battle, with completely “clean” and respectful driving by all four, sadly broken up when Pierre over-cooked it at Brooklands and plummeted down the order to ninth.
Thus on lap 5 Jackson and Bradley were still nose-to-tail, then Ames 3.3” back, having been slightly delayed by Livingston’s spin, then 6.9” to a rather out-paced Sam Wilson breaking in his newly rebuild ERSA gearbox, with Andrew Hibberd up to sixth but 8.1” in arrears. Behind them it was Clive Richards, Simon Diffey, Westie Mitchell and then a recovering Livingston. After several looks, Bradley’s chance came at Club when lapping a back-marker, Jackson opted for the outside but Bradley took a tight line and they were side-by-side across the line with Bradley taking the lead at Abbey. Jackson was not, however, finished and he challenged all round the lap but a small mistake at Club cost him a second or so and allowed Bradley to establish a 1.5” margin which he held to the flag. So, after an excellent race, the finishing order was Bradley-Jackson-Ames-Wilson-Hibberd-Richards.
As far as the classes go, Jackson was running in the Invitation class, along with several others, due to not being in full compliance with the Technical regulations, thus elevating Ames etc in the E1 class. The other class winners were James Hicks (Caravelle) the only finisher in a very thin class D2, Nic Carlton-Smith, continuing his Silverline Championship form in C2, and Chris Drake (Terrier) in B2. There were no entries in classes A and B1 and the Cooper-Lancia of Robert Whitehouse was, sadly, not ready in class C1. Richard Ferris was shown as the winner of E2 in the results but this was a mis-classification, as despite his car being in that spec currently, his paperwork does not yet match.
Sunday’s race was on a very damp and slippery track. It was preceded by a one-minute silence in tribute to the marshal killed at Brands Hatch the day before. Jackson made a good start but Bradley led out of Abbey. Jackson attacked round the outside at the complex but Bradley held his line to lead down Wellington Straight with Livingston, Ames and Wilson next, in something of a repeat of Race 1’s order. The pair were wheel-to-wheel down Hanger Straight and at Stowe Bradley ran a little wide and Jackson needed no invitation to snatch the lead. Bradley then came under pressure from Livingston, whilst Wilson demoted Ames for fourth. At the end of lap 2 Livingston made a brilliant move round the outside of Bradley at Stowe to move into second. On the third tour, Livingston dropped to fourth although he was soon back to third, and Sam Wilson dropped out due to gearbox issues. So the race ran out with Cameron putting in a wonderful drive to win from Bradley, Livingston and Ames.
Tim de Silva was flying in the conditions in the family Lola Mk2 and won class B2 by 32” from Chris Drake, taking 8th overall. Nic Carlton-Smith again saw off the rest in C2 as did Hicks in D2. In Invitation Class F for early 1000cc F3 cars on Dunlop tyres, Andrew Thorpe won on both days in his Lotus 31.
By Richard Page