Historic motorsport competitors, car owners and preparers gathered at the Royal Automobile Club in London last Wednesday (January 21st) for Motor Racing Legends’ annual Awards Dinner. There was more than a sprinkling of names familiar to motorsport fans amongst the guests, including 1988 Le Mans winner Andy Wallace, and the impressive collection of silver-ware and other trophies presented included the actual trophy that Stirling Moss received for his first-ever GP victory, the 1955 British Grand Prix.
Keith Ahlers and Billy Bellinger drove away with that legendary cup, following a season of spirited races in the Stirling Moss Trophy which saw their nimble little 1100cc Lola Mk1 Prototype mix it with the big boys at the front of the grid to achieve some superb results, including a memorable fifth place overall at Spa. Derek Hood of series sponsor J D Classics presented the very well-deserved award.
The inaugural Brian Lister Cup – awarded by Lister Cars for the best performance by a Lister in the Stirling Moss Trophy series – had been hotly fought-over during the 2014 season. From the first race, Chris Ward and Andrew Smith put down a very clear marker, with their dark green Lister Costin taking the chequered flag at the Donington Historic Festival (and running out of fuel as they crossed the line!), and they held firm throughout. The presentation by Lister’s Laurence Whittaker was poignant, with a heartfelt tribute paid to Brian Lister, who died in December.
MRL Chairman Duncan Wiltshire reminisced with enthusiasm about the 2014 Historic Touring Car Challenge season, citing highlights such as seeing a podium consisting entirely of ex-works British Leyland cars. Tony Dron – whose long and impressive racing career included not inconsiderable success in Touring Cars in the 1970s – presented the awards, and among the class winners were two names very familiar to BTCC fans, Robb Gravett and Steve Soper. But the coveted trophy went to Richard Postins, who had his ex-works Rover TWR Vitesse straight out on the track as soon as it emerged from restoration at the start of 2014.
The trio of Fred Wakeman, Patrick Blakeney-Edwards and Michael Grant Peterkin were the proud recipients of the Pre-War Sports Cars Trophy, following a highly successful season in Wakeman’s Frazer Nash Supersports. The trophy was presented by Damien Smith, editor of Motor Sport magazine; a most appropriate presenter, as the Pre-War Sports Cars race at the 2014 Donington Historic Festival had celebrated Motor Sport’s 90th anniversary.
John Ure and Nick Wigley’s sterling efforts in the ex-Tony Crook Cooper Bristol T24/25 were rewarded with the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy, presented by the Club’s Ben Cussons. John drove solo for the first half of the season, but regular racing partner Nick was sufficiently recovered from his 2013 accident to race at the 2014 Silverstone Classic – which impressed all concerned, as he somehow also found time to organise the event itself.
The Motor Racing Legends Trophy was presented to MRL’s longest-standing entrant, Phil Champion. Phil has raced with them since the very first Pre-War Sports Cars race in 2004 and has subsequently rarely missed a race with his Frazer Nash Mille Miglia in the Woodcote Trophy and his Lotus XI in the Stirling Moss Trophy.
Billy Bellinger was called up on stage again, this time to receive the Millers Oils Preparers Trophy from Mark Berry of Millers Oils, in recognition of effort during race preparation. Duncan Wiltshire commented on this most popular win, “This is an award for the ‘unsung heroes’ of the sport. Billy’s workmanship and preparation are second to none, with cars such as the ‘giant killing’ Lola Mk1 being pushed to the limit race after race.”
Finally, Motor Racing Legends’ grids are very much a family affair, with a number of father and son, father and daughter, brother and brother etc. teams. The Traditional Oak & Timber Company Family Trophy for 2014 was presented by Neil Peskett to husband and wife team Jock and Helen Mackinnon, whose enthusiastic participation in the MRL Pre-War Sports Cars extended to them driving their Bentley 3 Litre from Edinburgh to every race (quite often with a tent in the back), racing it, and then driving it back home again! Duncan Wiltshire said that Jock and Helen “Embody the spirit of everything we aspire to in our racing.”
The 2014 Motor Racing Legends Awards:
The Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy
2014 Winners – John Ure & Nick Wigley (Cooper Bristol T24/25)
Class 1: Paul Griffin (Connaught ASLR)
Class 2: John Ure & Nick Wigley (Cooper Bristol T24/25)
Class 3: Mark Midgley & Chris Woodgate (Aston Martin DB3)
Class 3a: Karsten Le Blanc (Austin-Healey 100)
Class 4: Simon Butler, Martin Rich & Jonathan Crouch (Jaguar C-type)
Class 4a: Fred Wakeman, Patrick Blakeney-Edwards & Andrew Hall (Cooper T38)
Stirling Moss Trophy
2014 Winners – Keith Ahlers & Billy Bellinger (Lola Mk1 Prototype)
Class 1: Keith Ahlers & Billy Bellinger (Lola Mk1 Prototype)
Class 2: Stephen Bond & Keith Fell (Maserati 250S)
Class 3: Jacques Naveau & David Axisa (Lotus XI)
Class 4: Phil Champion & Sam Stretton (Lotus XI)
Class 5: Mark Piercy (Cooper Monaco)
Class 6: Chris Ward & Andrew Smith (Lister Costin)
Historic Touring Car Challenge
2014 Winner – Richard Postins (Rover SD1)
Class 1B: Anthony Robinson & Robb Gravett (Triumph Dolomite Sprint)
Class 1C: Dave Thomas (Ford Capri)
Class 2C: Steve Soper & John Young (Ford Capri)
Class 3C: Richard Postins (Rover SD1)
Pre-War Sports Car Series
2014 Winners – Fred Wakeman, Patrick Blakeney-Edwards & Mike Grant Peterkin (Frazer Nash Supersports)
Class 1: Fred Wakeman, Patrick Blakeney-Edwards & Mike Grant Peterkin (Frazer Nash Supersports)
Class 2: Ewan Getley (Bentley 3/4.5)
Class 3: Paul Chase-Gardener (Aston Martin Speed)
Class 4: Rudiger Friedrichs (Alvis Speed
The Brian Lister Cup – Winners Chris Ward & Andrew Smith
Runners-Up: Barry Wood, Tony Wood & Will Nuthall
The Motor Racing Legends Trophy – Phil Champion
The Traditional Oak & Timber Company Family Trophy – Jock & Helen Mackinnon
The Millers Oils Preparers Cup – J B Sports Engineering, Billy Bellinger