THE 'SPRING START' at SILVERSTONE,
13th and 14th APRIL 2002.
As I couldn't attend Silverstone because of work commitments, my friend Barry Boor kindly took over the reporting and photographic duties last weekend. Here is his report.
Silverstone in April is never the warmest place on the planet. At the VSCC meeting on Saturday 13th April it lived up to its reputation. Although the sun shone on and off all day, the wind was chilly and coats were de rigeur.
However, the excellent collection of old and not-so-old racing cars that were present warmed the hearts of the small number of hardy souls who turned up. So small was the attendance that we were directed over the bridge to park on the inside of the circuit. This is the first time I have EVER parked within the track in nearly forty years of going to Silverstone.
We watched the races that contained the 1950's cars, while drooling over the cars in the paddock while the pre-War machines were trundling around. As a result, we saw an epic battle between Philip Waker in a Lotus 16 and John Ure in an E.R.A (of all things) in the 1950's F1 race. The E.R.A. really had no right to be where it was, but it was! Trailing in its wake were numerous much younger Coopers etc but the E.R.A. was narrowly beaten into 2nd place, despite taking the lead a lap from the finish. One of the highlights of this race was the Indianapolis Roadster which ran very well in the mid-field. We had chatted to the driver in the paddock and he told us that it was something of a handful on a road circuit, being designed, of course, merely to turn left. His description included the facts that the car has virtually no suspension, only 2 gears - start and go, and the vibration through the near-horizontal steering wheel was something to behold! Add to that the huge tank of methanol just behind the driver and you have some idea of the bravery of driver John Guyatt.
The 1950's Sports Car race was won by Nick Linney in his Lister Jaguar. There were quite a few Listers there, maybe more than were ever actually built, according to one knowledgeable source! For me, the high spot of that race was the presence of a Birdcage Maserati - my favourite sports racing car. It still amazes me how quickly the little Lotuses go, mixing it with cars of a far larger capacity and it was so nice to see Win Percy driving a D Type very swiftly, too.
Overall, the best aspect of the meeting was just seeing the cars close up and being able to take the photographs that you see here. There were many memorable cars; Prince Bira's Maserati A6GCM/250, 2 L.D.S's from South Africa, all the Listers both knobbly and unknobbly and several monstrous Bentley derived racers. But for me, seeing cars that I simply was not aware of is the most exciting thing; a Fairthorpe Formula Junior car, which I am told was the only one EVER built; the Cromard Laystall (ditto) and a Neapolitan Formula Junior car called an Autosud, of which there were only ever 3, were the things that made a 400 mile round trip so worthwhile.
And that's about it! My thanks once again to Barry Boor for supplying the report and photos.
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