Story and photos by Simon Wright
The final round of the Historic Sports Car Club Derek Bell Trophy for Formula 5000 and Formula 2 cars took place October 17th, 2009 at the Silverstone National circuit on a cloudy but cold day.
Morning qualifying was fairly eventful under sunny skies with several cars spinning off at Beckets corner. Phil Walker lost his 1969 Lola T142 in the middle of Beckets and was narrowly missed by Mark Dwyer in his 1975 Lola T400. Gregory Thornton then spun his 1972 Surtees TS11 in the same place a few laps later.
The Lyons family had three entries in the programme, but Frank Lyons 1974 Lola T332 was scratched from the race, and he took over wife Judy’s superb 1974 Gurney Eagle driven in the past by drivers such as James Hunt, Forbes-Robinson and Lella Lombardi. Son Michael was driving the ex-Parnelli-Jones Racing 1974 Lola T400 as driven by Al Unser. The T400 had proved to be quite complex to set up in 1974 and was dropped by most teams in favour of the previous T332 model. Michael had no such problems and put his T400 on pole in a time of 54.968 seconds and an average speed of 107.34 mph. His father Frank qualified the Gurney eagle also on the front row but over half a second slower than his sons time. Top Formula 2 car was Richard Evans 1977 Chevron B40 in 3rd place on the grid.
As the cars came round to the rolling start, the Gurney Eagle of Frank Lyons was missing from the grid formation and was unfortunately a non-starter. This gave Championship leader Neil Glover in his 1971 Lola T330/332 a clear shot to try and get the lead from Michael from his second row 4th place grid slot. However, Michael Lyons lead off the line, but by the time they reached Brooklands at the end of the first lap, Neil Glover had powered his Lola into the lead, which he managed to hold or several laps. But young Michael Lyons had the bit between his teeth and once he hit the front, he was not headed again, taking victory in 15 minutes 5.589 seconds. By the end of 16 laps, his margin was 26.169 seconds or almost half a lap!
The smaller 2 litre Formula 2 cars were at a disadvantage round the 1.64 mile National circuit, which is roughly triangular in nature with the long Club Straight allowing the powerful 5 litre engines in the Formula 5000 cars to power them ahead of the smaller opposition. However, at Becketts and the complex of corners at Nuffield, the nimble Formula 2 cars were more than a match for their more powerful opposition. Best placed Formula 2 car was Darwin Smith in his 1972 March 722 who finished 4th overall and won the Formula 2 class.
After his initial lead, Neil Glover held second place for several laps, but was in a scrap with Mark Dwyer in his 1975 Lola T400. Glover then hit a problem which dropped him to 12th overall and last classified finisher. Dwyer finished second overall, but was 26.169 seconds behind Lyons at the end. Daryl Taylor, in the ex-Teddy Pilette 1974 Chevron B28 finished 3rd overall, making it three Formula 5000 cars in the podium positions.
HSCC Formula 5000 & Formula 2 Championship for Derek Bell Trophy Final Results
1. Michael Lyons – Lola T400, 15mins 5.589 seconds
2. Mark Dwyer – Lola T400, 15mins 31.758 seconds
3. Daryl Taylor – Chevron B28, 15mins 46.791 seconds
4. Darwin Smith – March 722, 15mins 47.838 seconds Formula 2 class winner
5. Gregory Thornton – Surtees TS11, 15mins 52.120 seconds.
6. Stuart Tilley – Modus M1, 15mins 18.085 seconds.
Click for HSCC F5000 and F2 Championship Results
HSCC Formula 5000 & Formula 2 Championship for Derek Bell Trophy Photo Gallery (Click image for larger picture and description)
[Source: Simon Wright]