RACING BEHIND CLOSED DOORS A ‘BIG SUCCESS’
Image: Image: Richard Frankel's iconic 1921 3 Litre TT, the world’s oldest Bentley currently racing, was a welcome winner of the Bentley handicap race.
The Bentley Drivers Club’s 72nd annual race meeting at Silverstone – an institution on the British club motor-racing calendar – saw another day of fantastic racing at its very best, albeit behind closed doors, on Saturday 22 August.
Bentleys of all ages – many raced by Club members – shared the 10-race entry list with Morgans, TVRs, MGs, Jaguars, Allards, Alfa-Romeos, Alvises, Aston Martins, Lotuses, ACs, Austin Healeys, Austin Minis, Triumphs, Frazer Nashes, Fords, and many more marques besides – including an Ariel Atom.
Michael Higginbotham retained the coveted Times Trophy and his Bentley scratch race crown in his incredibly quick Mk VI Special, taking his fifth win in the 15-minute event by the comfortable margin of 24.461 seconds, and remains unbeaten since 2017.
Paul Forty took the Group B spoils and William Elbourn Snr (3/4½ Litre), who came 10th overall in the 15-car field, earned the sealed handicap honours. Ewen Getley (3/4½ Litre) was the first Vintage Bentley home in third spot. One of the race’s most thrilling battles involved 3 Litre ‘twins’ Jock Mackinnon (eighth) and Club President Duncan Wiltshire (ninth) who took the chequered flag after a race-long battle just 0.222 seconds apart.
Richard Frankel, at the wheel of his iconic 1921 3 Litre TT – the oldest Bentley in the world currently racing – took a popular victory in the Bentley handicap. He won the eight-lap encounter by 15.423 seconds from David Ratcliffe (3 Litre Speed) after being flagged off fourth in the traditional pit-lane start, making up a deficit of 1min 15 secs on David, the first starter.
New for the 2020 meeting was a BDC Pre-War race won by Chas Reynolds (Morgan Super Sports), fifth quickest in qualifying, the event attracting a healthy grid of 20 cars. The sealed handicap winner was Daniel Ghose (Alfa-Romeo 8C 2300).
Current BDC Racing Driver of the Year Oliver Llewellyn (Allard J2) dominated the 30-minute FISCAR encounter to win from pole position by 57.223 seconds.
The Morgan marque has been supporting the BDC meeting for around 50 years, with high quality racing always on the agenda. Bill Lancashire and Oliver Bryant (both Plus 8s) each won the two 20-minute Aero Racing Morgan Challenge Series races, the latter streaking through from the back of the grid, with William Plant (4/4) second on both occasions. Morgan also triumphed in the 15-minute BDC Classic Challenge with Morgan Techniques Trophy, with Richard Plant (Plus 8) claiming the spoils.
There were two Allcomers races, with Darren Dowling (TVR Sagaris), running as part of the TVRCC Challenge, winning a shortened scratch encounter, TVRs filling the top four overall places. And David Moorhouse (Austin Mini) beat Andy Shepherd (Ford Mustang) into second place to win the eight-lap handicap race.
The Club was also pleased to welcome the Aston Martin Owners Club and Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club to the meeting, the two clubs combining for the AMOC Jack Fairman, Innes Ireland and Mike Hawthorn Challenge with JEC XK race. Elke Wellhausen (Lister Jaguar Knobbly) comfortably won the half-hour event by over a minute, Jaguars filling the top four spots.
Race 1 – Bentley Scratch: 1st overall & Group A: Michael Higginbotham (Mk VI Special); Group B: Paul Forty (Mk VI Special); Sealed handicap: William Elbourn Snr (3/4½ Litre)
Race 2 – Aero Racing Morgan Challenge: Bill Lancashire (Plus 8)
Race 3 – FISCAR: Oliver Llewellyn (Allard J2)
Race 4 – Bentley Handicap: Richard Frankel (3 Litre TT)
Race 5 – BDC Classic Challenge with Morgan Techniques Trophy: Richard Plant (Morgan Plus 8)
Race 6 – Allcomers Scratch, including Bentley Group C and TVRCC Challenge: Darren Dowling (TVR Sagaris)
Race 7 – BDC Pre-War race: Chas Reynolds (Morgan Super Sports); Sealed handicap: Daniel Ghose (Alfa-Romeo 8C 2300)
Race 8 – AMOC Jack Fairman, Innes Ireland Cup & Mike Hawthorn Challenge with JEC XK: Eike Wellhausen (Lister Jaguar Knobbly)
Race 9 – Allcomers Handicap: David Moorhouse (Austin Mini)
Race 10 – Aero Racing Morgan Challenge: Oliver Bryant (Plus 8)