the Silverstone Classic
The Masters Racing Series was at the heart of the biggest historic racing festival in Britain this year, the Silverstone Classic (25-27 July) and with 57,000 visitors across three days, the event has been widely judged to be a tremendous success.
Five of the weekend's races were for Masters race categories and a mighty total entry of over 180 cars and 280 drivers made the Masters Racing Series the biggest race series promoter involved in the prestigious event.
For many fans, the Denis Hulme Trophy for World Sportscar Masters was one of the absolute highlights as a fantastic field of cars from WSM (1966-73) and the larger capacity Sports Racing Masters (pre-1966) came together to put on a fantastic 90-minute endurance race into the Saturday evening dusk. The race was run in perfect summer weather and was held in front of a large crowd and the live Motors TV audience. Victory went to the Lola T212 of father and son team Anthony and Ollie Hancock against a field that included eight Lola T70Mk3Bs, two Ford GT40s, 14 Chevrons and rare gems like the Ford F3L of John Young, the Ligier JS2 of Paul Knapfield, the Porsche 908 of Wolfgang Mathai and the Ferrari 512M of David Hart.
The James Hunt Trophy for Grand Prix Masters had a superb 28-car entry of Grand Prix cars from 1971 through to 1978 and resulted in a double win for American racer Michael Fitzgerald after two terrific battles with the similar March 761 of Peter Williams. For the fans, the races offered a chance to see some real F1 rarities, including cars from Shadow, Penske, Amon, Brabham Repco and Matra.
The Masters Gentleman Drivers GT and Sports Endurance grid put on a classic hour-long race, with AC Cobras, Jaguar E-Types and small-engined Climax 'sports endurance' cars, including the Lotus 17 of Peter Horsman and former 1970s F3 driver Jac Nellemann from Denmark. However, victory finally fell to the experienced pair of Jon Minshaw and Martin Stretton in the former's Jaguar E-Type.
On Sunday another capacity 48-car grid of pre '66 saloon cars contested the Jack Sears Trophy race for Top Hat Masters. Eventually Ulf Larsson took the chequered flag from young James Dodd in the best of 14 Ford Mustangs, with challenges from the Ford Falcons, including that of Rowan Atkinson and the rare Mercury Cyclone Comet of Richard Dodkins/Nick Whale. Meanwhile, Masters founder Ron Maydon nearly won the battle of the Mini Coopers, but lost his gears just 500 metres short of the flag!