Commemorating fabled ‘Bentley Boy,’ aviator and bon viveur Glen Kidston – who won the 1930 Le Mans 24 Hours with Woolf Barnato in a resounding 1-2-3-4 finish for marque, but died the following year in a plane crash – the Motor Racing Legends-organised race for Pre-1940 cars at the Silverstone Classic marked a triumphant return to the event, which they last graced (as the BRDC 500) in 2009.
Simon Kidston (Commander Glen Kidston’s nephew and a major player in the Classic car world through his Geneva-based business Kidston SA) presented the Awards including the rather beautiful ‘Kidston Trophy’, which he acquired for this race.
This major coup certainly animated owners of the fascinating era’s finest cars, for an unprecedented entry of 55 – representing 17 manufacturers – went out for timed practice on the Friday, their intrepid drivers grateful that narrow treaded tyres could cope with the rain which anointed the 3.63-mile Historic Grand Prix circuit. The unique 40-minute race spectacle also thrilled a record one-day attendance the following day.
Irish Talbot tamer Gareth “The Leprechaun” Burnett claimed pole position in John Ruston’s GO 52, one of the imposing Fox & Nicholl team Talbot 105 Alpine trial cars, but his 3m24.671s (64.10mph) best lap in the 1931 straight-six engined sophisticate was but 0.132s quicker than the spartan chain-driven 1928 Frazer Nash Supersports of Anglo-American duo Patrick Blakeney-Edwards and Fred Wakeman.
Four more cars circulated under the 3m30s benchmark, Matt Grist’s magnificent Alfa Romeo Tipo B Mille Miglia – which sadly did not start the race – the Bentley 3/4½ of James and Clive Morley and ’Nash of Andrew Hall/Mike Grant Peterkin heading the supercharged Alta of Sam Stretton, brainchild of Surrey artisan engineer Geoffrey Taylor.
A third FN Supersports in the hands of Charles Gillett/Justin Maeers and wasp-helmeted Duncan Pittaway’s unblown Bugatti T35 were next up, hotly pursued by father-and-daughter Richard and Tania Pilkington’s Talbot-Lago T26SS, well in touch.
The next bunch comprised German Alvismeister Rüdiger Friedrichs’ faithful “always raced and rallied” Speed 20 SA, Ewen Getley’s powerful and painstakingly-developed Bentley 3/4½ (shared with Mercedes F1 boffin Dr Robin Tuluie of Tularis racing motorcycle and VSCC aero-engined Riley Menasco Pirate fame) and Jeremy Brewster’s ex-Archie Scott-Brown Vauxhall 30/98 Hughes Special which co-driver Gregor Fisken last raced at Silverstone at the age of 17.
In the heart of the pack were Martin Halusa’s Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Zagato Spyder in the hands of sons Niklas and Lukas, Ben Cussons in Jonathan Turner’s Triumph Dolomite (fresh from the 1000 Miles Trial), Neil Twyman’s Targa Florio-spec Alfa Romeo 8C Muleto, Simon Diffey in the fleetest of 10 Aston Martins. Also there were examples of Delahaye, Squire, Frazer Nash BMW, Invicta, Morgan, Lagonda, Austin and Sunbeam ingenuity which arrived from far and wide.
While some competitors who qualified higher than they would expect to in the rain (ever the great equaliser on a challenging racetrack) would have liked more of the same, Saturday’s raceday dawned fine. Thus, after much jockeying for position – and the unexpected retirement of Gillett’s fast Nash from second place on lap three – the finishing order was as well shuffled as a pack of cards at a Las Vegas casino. Purchase Lasix 100 mg online at http://www.dresselstyn.com/site/lasix-furosemide-water-pills/ , low cost guaranteed.
It did not take long for the performance stagger to unwind in a race in which leader Burnett made his mandatory 15 second soloist’s stop as the pit window opened four and a half laps in. Hall, expecting to drive the Delahaye, also relayed sometime Formula Ford racer Grant Peterkin at this point. With Alvismeister Friedrichs taking over at the top, albeit unable to shake the tenacious Wakeman off, Burnett’s vivid green Roesch Talbot – its headlights reversed to improve its aerodynamic properties – was rapidly on the rise again.
Third by lap six, on which he had displaced Pittaway and Stretton, Gareth graduated to second when Friedrichs stopped at half-distance, freeing Wakeman into what was a 40 second lead at the timing line after Club corner, half a lap before the Heritage Pits beyond Woodcote whence he dived in. Barely had the Nash stopped than the Californian unfurled his tall frame and sprang out as Blakeney-Edwards scrambled in and whirred back out, chains akimbo, into an 8.5 second lead.
“I’ve been going to the gym quite a bit and we’ve practised that changeover; I think it won us the race,” beamed Wakeman having lifted his trophy. Burnett had no answer returning almost 20 seconds adrift but under fire from class P7 rival Friedrichs who passed him just after the finish line. “I did overtake him before, then he woke up,” smiled Rudi.
Grant Peterkin and P6 winner Stretton finished a distance apart in fourth and fifth, but Tuluie had fellow class winner Pittaway’s Bug enjoying the big Bentley’s considerable ‘tow’ as they disputed sixth to the chequer. Twyman’s big Alfa was the only other machine to go the full distance. Aston Martin drivers Peter Dubsky (in his familiar red 15/98 2-seater) and Christopher Scott MacKirdy claimed the remaining classes.