Leading lights from the British Touring Car Championship and Endurance Racing world enjoyed a ‘busman’s holiday’ sharing historic racing cars with family and friends at the AMOC Racing meeting at Silverstone on Saturday 5 April. The first event of five meetings for 2014 organised by Aston Club Racing featured a full programme of races contested by machines spanning an incredible nine decades. Peter Dubsky had travelled from Austria to drive the oldest car at the meeting, his 1937 2 litre Aston Martin in the AMOC 1950s Sports Car Race (incorporating the Vredestein JEC Jaguar XK Challenge) whilst Kevin Norville took second place in the AMOC Intermarque Championship in the youngest, a 2013 Aston Martin GT4.
Last year’s British Touring Car Champion, Andy Jordan, shared an Austin A40 with his father, seasoned saloon car racer, Mike Jordan in the Historic Racing Drivers Club ‘Touring Greats’ race and was battling with Le Mans racer, Darren Turner who shared Desmond Smail’s similar car. All three featured in the main battles of the 45 minute race, with the duo of Neil Brown and Richard Dutton victorious in their Austin A35. Neil’s day-job is to build the Honda engines used in the BTCC and he had brought a key assistant with him - Matt Neal, who has over 500 Touring Car races and 3 championships under his belt.
Touring Car veteran, John Clark driving the Jackie Stewart car Ecurie Ecosse Tojeiro Ford GT, posed a strong challenge to Peter Snowdon, victor of the inaugural Aston Club Racing ‘Innes Ireland Cup’ in a 1961 Jaguar E Type Lightweight. The 45 minute endurance race, the first of five races planned this year, saw Clark, challenge for the lead after only nine laps having started at the back of the grid. Snowdon regained the lead after an impeccably timed pit-stop, Clark created drama, spinning off after challenging for the lead in the last third of the race, Snowdon was thrilled to take the victory with 30 seconds in hand.
Triumph TR4s took a three-way stranglehold in a closely matched first foray of “Equipe”GTS this year. Pole man, Brian White, lead until his mid-way retirement which then opened the stage to seasoned Triumph TR4 rivals, Pete Foster and John Andon. Andon drove a close battle but Foster held his nerve and drove without mistake to cross the line 3 seconds ahead.
Historic raiders unseated the modern challengers for the first half of the AMOC Intermarque Championship Race. The Aston Martin DB4 Lightweights of Melling/Dodd and Rawe intimidated modern Ferraris and GT4 Aston Martins up until the pit-stop interval. Ferrari 355 Challenge pilot, Wayne Marrs eventually reclaimed the authority he had established with pole position, finishing only 0.34 seconds ahead of Kevin Norville’s Aston Martin GT4, with Paul Brooks’ Ferrari 456 in third. A close race reaffirmed the versatility and close, friendly competition that exists within the Intermarque championship.
HRDC rookie John Spiers, nearly caused an upset in the ‘Allstars’ grid, giving seasoned TVR Griffith racer Mike Whitaker a run for his money in a very similar machine. They swapped positions several times until a safety car thwarted the momentum of the race. With five minutes left at the re-start, Spiers, despite putting in his fastest lap of the race could not reel in Whitaker who crossed the line 2.5 seconds ahead.
Darren McWhirter dominated the final race of the day in his ultra competitive 1959 Tojero Jaguar, in the AMOC ‘50s Sports Cars incorporating the Vredestein JEC Jaguar XK Challenge. He out qualified his nearest rival, Rob Newall in a 1953 Jaguar XK120 by four seconds and powered to a victory nearly two minutes ahead of second placed Austin Healey 100M racer, Mike Thorne, who had the crowd on the edge of their seats running a battle with John Burton’s Jaguar XK120 down to the wire finishing only 0.13 seconds apart after racing side by side for the penultimate lap.
Kerry Wilson, of Aston Club Racing said, “It was certainly a compliment to have so many esteemed drivers participating at our first meeting of the 2014 season. We have enjoyed a thrilling day of close and safe competition with some very special machinery, there were no major incidents, and this is a real accolade to our dedicated competitors’.