Fred Wakeman and Patrick Blakeney-Edwards made it two wins in the Donington Historic Festival weekend by adding the Mad Jack Trophy in their Frazer Nash Super Sports. In an absorbing contest, a quick spin with brake issues cost Gareth Burnett his lead in the Alta and two broken chains left the Parker GN of early leader Justin Maeers and Charlie Martin with only third and fourth gears.
The annual Mad Jack Trophy for Pre-War sports cars had an added significance for the eight-strong Bentley contingent as it honoured the 100th birthday of the marque. However, it was the Wakeman/Blakeney-Edwards Frazer Nash to the fore in tricky qualifying conditions to head the wonderful Parker GN, a true arms and elbows aero-engined machine. Third on the grid in the non-supercharged Alta from John Ruston’s stable was Burnett, while Andrew Hall and Ben Cussons were a class-leading fourth in their Frazer Nash.
Right from the start, the top three qualifiers went clear of the rest of a wonderful 27-car field as Maeers headed Burnett and Wakeman. Burnett then sneaked ahead in traffic, but Maeers re-took the lead in typically hard-charging style. However, as the pit window opened, Maeers struggled for gears on the exit of the chicane and quickly dived for the pits.
The Parker GN has a chain for each gear and both first and second had failed, so co-driver Charlie Martin rejoined the race with only third and fourth gears. Thankfully, the six-litre Gypsy Moth engine is very torquey, so all was not lost. A little way ahead, the contest for the lead was now a straight fight between Burnett and Blakeney-Edwards and a brake-troubled Burnett lost his advantage with a quick spin.
Burnett fought back in the closing laps but was still 4s adrift at the flag as Wakeman/Blakeney-Edwards added another victory to their impressive event tally. Martin claimed third on his first time driving the Parker GN: “That was a baptism of fire! It has an amazing power delivery.”
A mighty fourth from the back of the grid went to the Morgan Super Aero of Sue Darbyshire/Ewan Cameron, while Richard Iliffe (Riley Kestrel) was quietly impressive as he took a class-winning fifth. The spectacular Matt Walton coped with an increasing lack of brakes to round out the top six in his Bentley 3/8.
Report: Paul Lawrence
Photos: Oliver Flower, Dave Brassington, Jeff Bloxham