Olly Bryant could scarcely believe his misfortune in the Stirling Moss Trophy at the Donington Historic Festival when his Lotus 15 repeated its late race suspension breakage of 12 months earlier. Bryant deserved more than bitter disappointment after a faultless drive but could only watch as Richard Kent swept ahead to win in his Lister Jaguar Costin.
The opening race of the season for the Stirling Moss Trophy drew a strong and good-looking grid to Donington for an hour-long race and it was Bryant who narrowly took pole as Lotus 15s filled three of the top four places on a slowly drying track in qualifying. Second slot went to the Philip Walker/Miles Griffiths car while fourth, behind Kent’s Lister, was the 15 of Justin Maeers/Charlie Martin. In the second of his three Motor Racing Legends outings of the weekend, John Spiers was fifth fastest in his Lister Knobbly.
Former rising single-seater star Kent was quick out of the blocks for the fully dry race on Sunday afternoon and battled with Bryant for the early lead. Meanwhile, Walker ran third and was one of the early pit-stoppers to hand the car over to Griffiths.
Bryant emerged from the round of pit stops with a handy margin and with 10 minutes left to run was eight seconds up on fellow soloist Kent. In turn, third-placed Griffiths was fending off the flying Lister Jaguar of Will Nuthall/Tony Wood, but a five-second track limits penalty for the Lister cost them any chance of challenging.
Just as it seemed that the order was resolved, Bryant pulled off at the chicane and climbed out of the Lotus. In a devastating replay of 2018, the rear suspension had failed with barely two laps to run. Instead, Kent took an unexpected victory when a podium had been his target in a Lister running short on brakes. “I was fortunate at the end with Olly pulling off,” he said.
The Walker/Griffiths Lotus moved up to second from Nuthall/Wood, while Maeers/Martin were fourth and the prolific Fred Wakeman/Patrick Blakeney-Edwards took fifth in the Cooper T38. Keith Ahlers and Billy Bellinger were a fine class-winning eighth in the nicely rebuilt Lola Mk1 Prototype and Guy Peeters took his class in his Lotus 11.
Words: Paul Lawrence
Photos: Dave Brassington, Jeff Bloxham, Oliver Flower.