The Donington Historic Festival 2014 was held 3-5 May at the 11-turn, 1.979-mile Donington Park in Leicestershire, England. The 4th annual event staged near Castle Donington saw a field of more than 300 historic racing cars challenge the national circuit.
Sunday’s Donington Historic Festival programme included the opening race of the 2014 season for the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy, which resulted in an impressive victory for the Cooper T38 of Fred Wakeman and Patrick Blakeney-Edwards. (See Donington Historics Photo Gallery)
A 30-car field of pre-1956 sports cars headed into the hour-long race and American Wakeman took early control in the very effective Jaguar-powered Cooper. Among those leading the chase should have been brothers Gary and John Pearson in their Jaguar D-type, with car owner Gary starting the race. They started on pole after qualifying four-tenths of a second ahead of the Cooper. However, an electrical problem developed and after two pit stops to try to resolve it, the car was retired after only seven laps.
Meanwhile, Wakeman was running strongly and duly handed the car over to its preparer Blakeney-Edwards to continue the good work. Carlos Monteverde had started his own Jaguar D-type and traded the lead several times with Wakeman over the opening laps. But Wakeman was equal to the challenge and, little by little, edged clear and was 14s to the good when Monteverde pitted on lap 18 of 42.
Five laps later, Wakeman handed the Cooper over to Blakeney-Edwards and with Gary Pearson now in the Jaguar, the deficit to the Cooper was 17 seconds. However, any thoughts of a battle to the flag were soon dispelled as Blakeney-Edwards largely matched Pearson’s lap times as they threaded through heavy traffic. Pearson nibbled away a little of the gap, but the winning margin was still a healthy 13 seconds at the flag. “Patrick was going very well,” acknowledged Pearson of the race winner. (See Donington Photo Gallery)
Although everyone else was at least a lap down, the contest for third was in doubt all the way to the flag as John Ure went solo in his Cooper Bristol T24/25. He was chased home by the similar car of Malcolm Harrison and Patrick Watts and a late charge by the Touring Car ace got him to within 1.3s off Ure. Five laps from the finish Watts had deposed the Ben Eastick Jaguar D-type from fourth.
The class-winning Karsten Le Blanc rounded out the top six in his Austin-Healey 100S, while class spoils also went to the Aston Martin DB3 of Mark Midgley and Chris Woodgate.