Monday 23 July 2012

Silverstone news


Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher won Saturday’s Celebrity Challenge race ahead of musicians AC/DC ‘frontman’ Brian Johnson and Jamiroquai’s Jay Kay at the Silverstone Classic powered by the AA event.

The annual race at the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival with its ‘Rocking and Racing’ theme raised money for the Birmingham Children’s Hospital, the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK and the RPJ Chron’s Foundation.

Other celebrities to participate included Hollywood actor Sir Patrick Stewart, Nicola Stapleton and Tony Hirst of Eastenders and Coronation Street fame, chef Heston Blumenthal, BBC Radio 1’s ‘Comedy Dave’ Dave Vitty, BBC Sport presenter Andrew Castle, Sky Sports’ Vicky Gomersall and Wolves soccer legend Steve Bull.

All were in identical race-prepared 130mph Morgan sportscars but it was Fletcher, aka Emmerdale farmer Andy Sugden, who came out on top. Starting from pole position he led all the way and also set the race’s fastest lap around the famous Silverstone Grand Prix track.

Fletcher commented: “It was really good fun. The race was harder than qualifying, but I had an amazing time and a good battle with Jay Kay before edging away. Everyone came back unscathed which was the main thing. It’s been a great day and we’ve raised awareness for three great charities.”

Runner-up Johnson said: “It was fantastic. The crowds were awesome as were the guys who loaned us these magic cars. This is the best event on the planet and, what’s more, it’s right here on our doorstep in the UK. I’ve had a wonderful time. It was terrific fun.”

Kay added: “It was brilliant although fairly full on and I had a great tussle with Tony Hirst and Brian Johnson. But I was a naughty boy for driving off the track a few times so got a small time penalty which meant I missed out on second. But I’ve had a ball.”

Silverstone Classic Celebrity Challenge (8 laps)
1. Kelvin Fletcher, 21m05.479s
2. Brian Johnson, +7.513s
3. Jay Kay, +9.246s
4. Tony Hirst, +16.861s
5. Steve Bull, +21.682s
6. Dave Vitty, +1m01.825s
7. Heston Blumenthal, +1m34.207s
8. Andrew Castle, +2m51.003s
9. Sir Patrick Stewart, +3m02.808s
10. Nicola Stepleton, +1 lap
11. Vicky Gomersall, +1 lap
Fastest lap: Fletcher, 2m34.990s

The world’s biggest classic motor racing festival, the Silverstone Classic powered by the AA and with its ‘Rocking and Racing’ theme, was in full swing on Saturday night after no fewer than 13 races packed with excitement and drama on the famous Silverstone Grand Prix circuit.

Two incredibly close opening races set the tone for the rest of the event’s opening day as capacity grids of saloon, GT, single-seater and sportscars worth millions of pounds wowed huge numbers of visitors. The action closed spectacularly with iconic Le Mans 24 Hours cars, headlights ablaze, taking the chequered flag in a twilight finish…

Jon Milicevic was the first winner of the day in Historic Formula Juniors but only after race-long rival David Methley spun in the closing stages. Michael Lyons won the first of two Peter Gethin Trophy races for thundering Formula 5000 and howling Formula 2 cars from the Seventies in a desperately close finish. Simon Hadfield led much of the race but, after a wheel-to-wheel dice, was passed by Lyons and spun. Martin Stretton then joined in to finish just yards behind Lyons at the line.

Lyons had later been on course for another victory, in the recreated Daily Express International Trophy race for Formula 1 cars, only for his Hesketh to cruelly stop while in front with just a few miles to go. This gifted victory to Bill Coombs’s Tyrrell…

Driving solo, Shaun McInerney won the 50-minute Alan Mann Trophy for under 2-litre Sixties touring cars as just two seconds covered the top three finishers.

Alex Buncombe was twice a winner – first sharing with Chris Ward in the Stirling Moss Trophy for pre-61 sportscars and then on his own in a race for Jaguar E-types. So too was the Minshaw family with brothers Jason and Jon in races for rear-engined Formula 1 Grand Prix machines and then sportscars pre-dating 1966 respectively. Another pair of brothers, Gary and John Pearson, also stood on the top step of the podium when, together, they triumphed in the RAC Woodcote Trophy encounter for pre-63 GT cars.

Philip Walker headed a Lotus 1-2-3 after nine laps of pre-1961 front-engined GP car action, while Rick Pearson got the measure of current British Touring Car star Frank Wrathall to win the first of two special Fujifilm-backed races for touring cars spanning three decades (1970-2000).

Meanwhile soap actor Kelvin Fletcher (Emmerdale) was untouchable as he led all the way from pole position to win the Classic’s annual Celebrity Challenge race for famous faces in identical Morgan sportscars. Musicians AC/DC’s Brian Johnson and Jamiroquai’s Jay Kay were next up as funds for three charities – Birmingham Children’s Hospital, the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK and the RPJ Chron’s Foundation – were raised.

Completing the day’s on-track action just as Eighties chart-topper Adam Ant – one of a number of big name musical acts to be performing at the Classic – was taking to the stage on the Silverstone infield was a stunning into-the-dark sprint event for Group C sportscars, won in style by Gareth Evans.

Another 11 races would then follow on Sunday before 2012’s Classic drew to a close (see separate report).

Podium results, Silverstone Classic, Saturday 21 July

Historic Formula Juniors (9 laps)
1. Jon Milicevic, Cooper T59, 21m18.420s
2. Sam Wilson, Cooper T59, +6.856s
3. David Methley, Brabham BT6, +12.308s
Fastest lap: Wilson, 2m20.297s (93.63mph)

Peter Gethin Trophy for F2 & F5000 (11 laps)
1. Michael Lyons, Lola T400, 21m39.553s
2. Martin Stretton, March 742, +0.144s
3. Simon Hadfield, Trojan T101, +24.735s
Fastest lap: Stretton, 1m56.266s (112.98mph)

Alan Mann Trophy for Under 2-litre Touring Cars (18 laps)
1. Shaun McInnerney, Ford Lotus Cortina, 50m30.874s
2. Leo Voyazides/Simon Hadfield, Ford Lotus Cortina, +1.401s
3. Andrew Banks/Max Banks, Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA, +2.005s
Fastest lap: Hadfield, 2m32.591s (86.08mph)

StirlingMoss Trophy for Pre-61 Sportscars (21 laps)
1. Alex Buncombe/Chris Ward, Lister Jaguar Costin, 51m32.021s
2. Graeme Dodd/James Dodd, Cooper Monaco T49, +12.039s
3. Ewan McIntyre/Jamie McIntyre, Lotus 15, +12.530s
Fastest lap: Buncombe, 2m22.974s (91.88mph)

Daily Express International Trophy for Grand Prix Masters (8 laps)
1. Bill Coombs, Tyrrell 009, 15m32.745s
2. Steve Hartley, Arrows A4, +5.388s
3. Michael Fitzgerald, Williams FW08, +14.038s
Fastest lap: Michael Lyons, Hesketh 308E, 1m53.696s (115.54mph)

HGPCA pre-66 Rear Engine Grand Prix Cars (9 laps)
1. Jason Minshaw, Brabham BT4, 21m02.114s
2. John Harper, Brabham BT4, +15.609s
3. Rod Jolley, Cooper T45/51, +18.451s
Fastest lap: Minshaw, 2m18.908s (94.56mph)

Masters ‘Gentleman Drivers’ pre-66 GT (20 laps)
1. Jon Minshaw/Martin Stretton, Jaguar E-type, 50m38.979s
2. Leo Voyazides/Simon Hadfield, AC Cobra, +7.908s
3. Pearson, Jaguar E-type, +17.679s
Fastest lap: Mike Whitaker Snr, TVR Griffith, 2m25.270s (90.42mph)

Jaguar E-type Challenge (9 laps)
1. Alex Buncombe, 21m58.232s
2. Jason Minshaw, +4.702s
3. Jon Minshaw, +7.977s
Fastest lap: Buncombe, 2m22.733s (89.89mph)

HGPCA pre-61 Front Engine Grand Prix Cars (9 laps)
1. Philip Walker, Lotus 16 368, 21m51.384s
2. Roger Wills, Lotus 16 363, +3.035s
3. Eddie McGuire, Lotus 16 362, +44.521s
Fastest lap: Walker, 2m23.910s (91.28mph)

Fujifilm Touring Car Trophy 1970-2000 (9 laps)
1. Rick Pearson, Nissan Primera, 20m17.982s
2. Frank Wrathall, Vauxhall Cavalier, +13.122s
3. Richard Hawken, Nissan Primera, +25.685s
Fastest lap: Pearson, 2m13.402s (98.47mph)

Silverstone Classic Celebrity Challenge (8 laps)
1. Kelvin Fletcher, Morgan Lightweight, 21m05.479s
2. Brian Johnson, Morgan Lightweight, +7.513s
3. Jay Kay, Morgan Lightweight, +9.246s
Fastest lap: Fletcher, 2m34.990s

Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy for pre-56 Sportscars (12 laps)
1. Gary Pearson/John Pearson, Jaguar D-type, 31m44.086s
2. John Young/Andrew Smith, Cooper Jaguar T33, +10.449s
3. Nigel Webb/Anthony Reid, Jaguar C-type, +16.659s
Fastest lap: Gary Pearson, 2m32.293s

Group C Endurance Race Cars (15 laps)
1. Gareth Evans, Mercedes C9, 31m02.729s
2. Roger Wills, Lancia LC2, +4.906s
3. Chris D’Ansembourg, Porsche 962, +38.662s
Fastest lap: Evans, 1m54.393s (114.83mph)


Biggest ever parade of Ferrari’s finest supercar

A world record 60 Ferrari F40s took to the full Silverstone Grand Prix circuit during Sunday’s Silverstone Classic powered by the AA event to mark the Italian supercar’s 25th birthday.

The phalanx of scarlet red F40s led a glittering parade of marques, models and car clubs celebrating special milestones in the sun at the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival.

On Saturday it had been the turn of hundreds of BMW’s Z1, Z3, Z4 and Z8 sportscars to lap the famous GP track as part of the UK’s first ‘Z-fest’.

The F40 was the world’s first 200mph road car when it appeared in 1987 and is still rated by many to be the finest supercar in history. It was also the legendary Enzo Ferrari’s ‘supercar swansong’ before his death in 1988.

In total more than 400 rare and exotic cars joined in today’s mouth-watering parade, notably iconic British sportscars such as TVRs, Lotus Elans, Triumph Spitfires, Austin Healeys and MGBs – 2012 is the MGB’s golden anniversary year – plus Lamborghini and Mercedes-Benz car club members.

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