The Vintage Sports-Car Club (VSCC) held its season opening race meeting at Silverstone Circuit on 23 April, 2011. The ‘Spring Start’ at Silverstone–also known as the GP Itala and Lanchester trophies Race Meeting–is always a popular meeting for the historic racing fraternity, but, this year’s event surpassed previous figures for entrant levels and spectators.
An estimated 6,000+ spectators enjoyed watching 11 races which had full or oversubscribed grids at VSCC Spring Start at Silverstone 2011. More than 225 drivers from the UK, Europe and US participated, with a total of 368 race entries. Many of the races were action packed and saw unbelievably close finishes.
The first event at VSCC Spring Start at Silverstone 2011 was a 30-minute Regularity Trial, in effect a Sprint, which saw Holly Mason-Franchitti driving LM17, an original Le Mans Aston Martin Ulster, the first home.
The three female racers in the first race of the day, a 5-lap scratch race for Pre-war Cars, occupied second to fourth places in the final standings. Jane Metcalfe was second in the Eccles Rapier Special, Jo Blakeney-Edwards was third in her Frazer Nash Shelsley and Annette Mason was fourth in another Le Mans Aston Martin Ulster, LM 21. The race was won by Andrew Kellock in a Fiat AC only 2.32 seconds ahead of Metcalfe.
No fewer than eight ERAs contributed to the bumper grid for the Amschel Rothschild and Patrick Lindsay Memorial Trophies Race and a 12 lap thriller ensued. Michael Steele driving his Connaught C type had snatched first place from Mark Gillies, driving ERA R3A, on the last lap but coming into the complex at Luffield, out braked himself and took to the grass allowing Gillies to collect the winner’s champagne from sponsor V12 Telecom by a 1.41 second margin.
The Fox and Nicholl Trophy Race at VSCC Spring Start at Silverstone 2011 boasted a full grid of standard and modified Pre-war Sports-Cars. Sam Stretton (Alta Sports) and last year’s winner, Richard Pilkington (Talbot T26) jostled over 8 laps, Sam stuck his neck out to snatch victory by five hundredths of a second. The Race had also attracted four Talbot 105 team cars, while the Talbot Owners’ Club celebrated the 80th Anniversary of the car at the event with a special display and lecture.
The GP Itala and Lanchester Trophies Race was re-started after Clive Temple’s stricken Amilcar blocked the track at Woodcote having shed a wheel at the start. Robin Tuluie hoped to take advantage of his pole position but he had clutch problems and had to stick to third gear only for the race. Halfway through the race he was languishing midfield but managed to re-gain third place behind Anthony Howat (Hispano/Delage) and twice previous Itala Trophy winner Geraint Owen driving his Bugatti Type 35B.
Justin Maeers got his GN Parker Special on-song to win the Silverstone Trophy Race for Pre-war Special Sports-Cars by another short margin, only 0.26 seconds ahead of David Pryke in his Riley 12/4 TT Sprite. Dougal Cawley performed heroics in his GN/Ford Special ‘Piglet’ to come from the back of the grid to third over only 8 laps.
The 1950s Sports Racing Car Race at VSCC Spring Start at Silverstone 2011 was a frantic dash over 12 laps. Barry Cannell had qualified his Willment Sports-Racing car on pole but battled throughout with Tony Bianchi in the raucous Farrellac Allard. At one point, Cannell slipped to third place complaining of a misfire but regained second place across the line, eight seconds behind Bianchi. Scotsman Tony Wood was third in his Lister Knobbly. Nick Mason drove gallantly to bring his stunning Maserati T61 home in fourth,
The Historic Grand Prix Cars Association (HGPCA) held their opening race of the year for their members racing Pre-1966 Grand Prix Cars. There was a great buzz to see the Ferguson P99 in action, but driver Stuart Rolt had to retire the car with mechanical problems. Veteran racer, John Harper won in his Brabham BT4, 8 seconds ahead of Peter Horsman in his Lotus 18/21 who also attained fastest lap of the race.
David Bennett was awarded the ‘Driver of the Day’ award by St James’s Place for his performances in his Aston Martin DB3S and Maserati A6GCM.
The next VSCC meeting is the popular Curborough Speed Trials, this coming Sunday 1 May near Lichfield in South Staffordshire. The next VSCC Race Meeting is the showcase SeeRed Vintage and Historic Racing Festival at Donington Park on 21-22 May 2011.
For more information, visit www.vscc.co.uk.
Photographer Tim Scott documented VSCC Spring Start at Silverstone 2011, offering the following 448 (!) images that he called “some of my best racing shots ever.” Also included in the photo gallery are images from the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association pre-season test at Silverstone. To see more from Tim, visit fluidimages.co.uk.
“Some of my best racing shots ever” ~~ Tim Scott
VSCC Spring Start at Silverstone 2011 – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture and description)
[Source: VSCC; photo credit: Tim Scott / Fluid Images]