July saw the British Superbikes Championship at Snetterton with Shane”Shakey” Burns taking his first double of the season. Josh Brookes took second and Jason O’Halloran third place in both races while James Ellison who was front row for race one suffered ECU problems but looked set for a podium place in race two before crashing out with only 6 laps to go. While Bournemouth Kawasaki’s Luke Mossey and Leon Haslam both suffered crashes which had knock on effects across race day.
The newly launched LMP3 Cup undertook its Silverstone round in July for some great racing despite a small field of entries. With six cars going into the first race it was Colin Noble and Alasdair McCaig in the #79 Nielsen Racing car that took first place, with the #3 United Autosports car in second and a fantastic debut LMP3 race for Callan O Keefe who started at the back of the grid but quickly took the lead in the #72 Douglas Motorsport car.
However a 60 second penalty for being a solo driver hindered his blistering start but the 21 year old eventually finished in third place, #2 United Autosport car of Christian England and Andrew Evans despite starting on pole finished fourth, fifth going to Nielson Racings #9 car driven by Dean Gibbs and Alex Kapadia and Speedworks Motorsports Andrew Bentley and Jack Butel in sixth place. On Sunday it was United Autosports #2 and #3 cars that locked out the front of the grid in qualifying with the #3 car of Tony Wells & Matt Bell going on to take top of the podium with McCaig & Noble taking second again and another podium place for O’Keeffe.
The Silverstone Classic also took place with a huge range of on and off track action including the Celebrity Challenge race five teams were all led by motorsport experienced team captains. Anthony Reid who has had a lengthy career predominantly in Touring Cars but also British GT, led Going for Gold, SKY Sports Stars was helmed by former Formula 1 driver Rupert Keegan, Bike Legends by Touring Car driver Steve Soper, Rocking & Racing by Martin Donnelly who previously raced in Formula 1 and Formula 3000 and Screen Stars captained by Mark Blundell who has competed in Formula 1 and won the 24 Hrs of Le Mans in 1992.
It was Steve Soper for Bike Legends who took top step of the podium flanked by Martin Donnelly in second and Martin Blundell in third. Wayne Gardner the Former Motorcycle GP champ came in 4th just ahead of ex Top Gear presenter and racing driver Tiff Needell. The winning team accruing the most points were Screen Stars, the team consisting of Blundell, Vassos Alexander, Ant Anstead, Theo Paphitis, Tony Jardine and Tiff Needell. The winning team accruing the most points were Screen Stars, the team consisting of Blundell, Vassos Alexander, Ant Anstead, Theo Paphitis, Tony Jardine and Tiff Needell. And with 16 classes of track action being held at the Silverstone Classic it was a packed back to back timetable of historic racing.
Ranging from Formula Ford which celebrates its 50th anniversary with a large grid of over 50 entrants including Tiff Needell in his Lotus 69F and winner of both races Michael O Brien in the Merlyn MK20A, to the increasingly popular Group C Le Mans winning cars of the 90’s. As well as appearances by the Moto GP Legends.
At Brands Hatch in August the Team Parker Racing duo of Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr were brought closer to Championship success with a 10.5 point lead over Barwell Motorsport’s Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen.
In GT4 it was an incredible race by Macmillan AMR’s Jan Jonck and William Phillips that took a maiden win for them with David Pattison and Joe Osborne of Tolman Motorsport taking second place just ahead of HHC’s Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton.
At Rockingham in August it was a great weekend for Adrian Flux Subaru Racing with James Cole taking his maiden win, Ash Sutton taking the win in race two and leading the championship with 312 points.
Sutton also took second place in race one and team mate Jason Plato took third step of the podium in race three.In race three it was a delighted Andrew Jordan who took a trouble free victory eventually finishing just under 2 seconds ahead of Cicely Motorsports Adam Morgan.
In MotoGP it was a win for Andrea Dovizioso, also becoming the first man to win 4 races in the 2017 season.
Silverstone also saw a retirement for Marc Marquez. Maverick Vinales taking second place and Valentino Rossi in third place. While on home turf Cal Crutchlow finished fourth, Scott Redding finishing in eighth place.
September saw International GT Open’s return to Silverstone with the #54 Lexus RC F GT3 of Emil Frey Racing Lexus that took the win in race one, with a faultless run by Albert Costa and Philipp Frommenwiler at the wheel, scoring their 3rd 1st place in their maiden European season.
It was a first outing for the car in the UK as the Swiss team continue their development of the GT3 , following on from a successful outing at last years VLN Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring.
Phil Keen helmed the Lee Mowle Mercedes AMG along with fellow British GT competitor Ryan Ratcliffe.
The duo who started on the second row of the grid finished in eighth place. Riki Christadoulou and Craig Dolby in the Lamborghini Gallardo Rex of Nigel Mustill / Wessex Vehicles finished race one in thirteenth place. Also competing was British racing stalwart Johnny Mowlem alongside Ivor Dunbar who finished in 24th place overall.
Taking his 12th win of the year in the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship at Snetterton, the 17 year old secured the Championship title ahead of the series’ final round at the end of the month.
His 12 wins matching another BRDC F3 Champion, Ayrton Senna’s. Ahmed had a dominant first full season with Carlin Motorsport who have a reputation for being the team to nurture future stars, and with the likes of Daniel Ricciardo, Kevin Magnusson, Danil Kyvat, Sebastien Buemi, Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel being previous Carlin drivers that reputation is well deserved.
Silverstone played host to a packed weekend of on track action with 8 classes of racing from the likes of Formula Ford to the Fiesta Championship at the BRSCC race weekend In Britcover National Formula Ford 1600 Luke Williams was on the podium in all three races, winning the first and third and placed second in the second race.
While in the former Formula Jedi series, newly rebranded Formula 1000, it was current Championship leader Michael Watton who had amazing weekend winning all three races, and joining him on the second step of the podium in each race was Paul Butcher.
In the highly enjoyable Drayton Manor Park MG Metro Cup it was Lee Connell who took the win in the 17 lap race, finishing just over a second ahead of Mike Williams, with Andrew Ashton taking third place. While the 750 Motor Club returned to Silverstone in August for a packed programme of club level racing with Formulae ranging from Historic 750 Formula to the Bikesports Championship. Racing also included Tegiwa M3 Cup and 330 Challenge & SCC,
The Tegiwa M3 Cup is in its maiden season with Championship status, where E46 BMW M3 cars race to club level builds and costs. The MTEC Brakes BMW 330 Challenge Series sees E46 BMW 330ci with standardised parts racing, again another low cost series. Alongside the BMW’s was the Super Cooper Cup Series. The Historic 750 Formula runs a variety of historic cars ranging from Centaur’s to Austin 7’s to a JB Special. Christian Pederson took the win in his Austin 7 with Gregan Thruston in the Rawson Special in second and Ben Myall in the Gerrel MK1 in third.
In British GT the championship drew to a spectacular close at Donington with Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr taking the 2017 title in GT3 after outgoing Champs Jonny Adam and Derek Johnston passed the mantle in grand style by taking the final race win of the season.
The TF Sport Duo led from the front during free practice 2 and qualifying on Saturday and were unstoppable on Sunday finishing just under 7 seconds ahead of the sister car helmed by Jon Barnes and Mark Farmer. Parfitt Jr and Morris, perceived themselves as the underdogs for the title fight between them and Barwells Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen.
The much discussed 20 second success penalty for Morris and Parfitt from Brands became irrelevant in the end as the tide had already turned in their favour before the pit window opened. But the outcome was not as straightforward as anyone may have thought, with the two TF Sport cars in first and second place, Barwells Phil Keen in third place and with the Team Parker Racing Duo already having more than a ten point lead on Minshaw and Keen, finishing fourth under the flag was enough to secure the Championship. However the results were amended post race excluding Minshaw and Keen due to overtaking under a yellow flag. In GT4 it was no surprise that the title went to HHC’s Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton. They maintained a twenty-five point lead moving from Brands Hatch, so a second place finish was all they needed to secure the GT4 Championship. With both drivers aged only 17 they become the youngest pairing to win a British GT title.
Seb Morris has recently announced he will be quitting the championship to move into racing in Europe with a new team mate for Parfitt Jnr yet to be announced. And Barwell Motorsport recently announced they will be running three Lamborghini’s next year with 2004 champion Jonny Cocker to partner Sam De Haan and Patrick Kujala to team up with 2006 GT3 Drivers’ champion Leo Machitski, joining Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw who will remain with Barwell for 2018.
In October Ash Sutton became the 2017 British Touring Car Champion at Brands Hatch following some thrilling racing that saw Colin Turkington move from fifteenth position to first place in race two then lose all title hopes after contact with Mat Jackson took the WSR driver out of contention in race three.
On lap two of race three Mat Johnson hit the kerb then made contact with Colin Turkington causing race ending damage to the BMW and a heartbreaking end to Turkingtons championship campaign, instantly handing the championship to Ash Sutton.
An autumnal Donington park was the setting for the The Club Autosport Great 924 Race. Run as a guest race on the 750 Motor Club programme, the race organised by the Porsche Drivers Association commemorated 25 years since the first Porsche Racing Drivers Championship which began as a 924 series only. On hand but not racing was the amazing Porsche GB 924 Championship winning car that had been raced by Gordon Ramsay Racing but now belongs to classic Porsche specialist Andy Prill. Two sprint races were held with a grid of eighteen cars including entries by several past champions including Linda Warren, Alistair Kirkham and Steve Potts. Race one saw plenty of action, Richard Styrin lead from the front throughout, setting a new lap record in the process, while Jamie Calendar had to retire after just one lap with an engine misfire.
Stephen Potts and Alistair Kirkham both sustained damage after contact on the fifth lap but both carried on regardless until Potts dropped out in lap 10 and Kirkham had to retire in the closing stages. In race two the weather saw a few spins and lap times dropped but it was another great outing for the Championship. It also saw another third place for Jayson Flegg, with Geoff Hanson in second and Richard Styrin finishing his weekend off in style with another win.
Silverstone played host to the Historic Sports Car Clubs Finals meetings, where packed grids of classes from 70’s Road Sports and Historic Formula Ford to the Guards Trophy and Derek Bell Trophy wrapped up what has been a busy season, ahead of the final outing for the HSCC at the prestigious Walter Hayes Trophy meeting. There were more than twenty entries for the two Historic Formula Ford Championship races, with marques such as Merlyn, Elden and Crosslee pitted against each other.
The Classic Clubmans Championship saw a large grid of entrants in predominantly various MK’s of Mallocks but also racing was a Lola,a Royale and a Phantom. The Championship is for Pre-1981 front-engined Clubmans sports racing cars divided into 4 classes including an invitational class.Taking the race win was Alan Cook with David Wale in second and John Harrison in third place.
In 70’s Sports Cars there was a fantastic grid of over thirty cars including a Vauxhall Firenza, Lotus Europa, MG B and Marcos 1800GT. Also joining the class was 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Richard Attwood.
The 750 Motor Club took over Silverstone for their biggest event in the year, the Birketts Relay. The race which sees a maximum 70 teams race over 6 hours, attracts a sell out grid of cars from across the 750 Motor Club Formulae from Caterhams to Radicals, Minis to GT’s.This year also found the Top Gear presenters Matt Le Blanc, Chris Harris and Rory Reid entering as a team with a Mercedes 600 SEL,
Rolls Royce Silver Shadow and Bentley Turbo-R.The ‘scratch’ win went to Dobbers Brian Harvey, Thomas Harvey and John MacLeod in their Radical SR3’s who started on pole but were overtaken by Breakell’s Racing Heroes and flanked by Breakell’s Nightmare, last years winners also in Radicals, the Breakell team held their lead until the halfway point on lap 72 Dobbers took first place and held it for the rest of the race.There was a great turn out from the Armed Forces with entries by RAF Motorsport, RAF MSA and the Armed Forces Race Challenge. RAF MSA’s Chris Slator, Darren Howe, Scott Lawson, Ed McKean, Dan Smith being the Handicap winners and took the inter-services trophy.
Joining the Walter Hayes support race package for the first time was the Britcar Endurance Championship, the penultimate Britcar event of the season.
The sprint category was won by Richard Neary in the Mercedes AMG GT3, Neary proved to be more than a match for Calum Lockie in the FF Corse Ferrari 488 and the RAW Motorsports Radical which did have an 8 second lead on Neary but there was no stopping the stunning Mercedes. While in the endurance category the win went to Witt Gamski and Ross Wylie in the Ferrari 458.
The Walter Hayes Trophy which traditionally closes the racing season at Silverstone, saw packed crowds enjoying some superb racing including the British Women’s Racing Drivers Club With a large field of entries from women drivers such as Maxine Nicholls, Natalie McGloin and Sarah Milner, with an eclectic array of cars from a
Mini Cooper to a Jaguar XJS.Taking first place in the race was former Ginetta Junior champion Sarah Moore in the Ginetta G50 while in second place also in a Ginetta G50, was former Junior Saloon Car Champion and rising star in the G5 Ginetta Challenge Katie Milner.
Taking the third place on the podium was Nathalie McGloin the first female spinal injured racing driver to hold an ARDS licence in the UK and is currently competing in the Porsche Club Championship. Lifting the Walter Hayes Trophy for the first time in his career in Formula Ford was an emotional Michael Moyers, who crossed the finish line just ahead of Josh Fisher in a superb display of close, hard fought racing. BRDC British F3 driver and former British GT GT4 champion Jamie Chadwick competed across the weekend, finishing third in Race 3 encountered a problem with positioning on the grid in the Grand Final, but eventually finished in 25th place.
As our racing season drew to a close, show season began with the Lancaster Classic Motor Show’s return to Birmingham NEC with an amazing array of classic cars and bikes on show, filling 5 halls. The theme of this years show was ‘Family Ties’ and the interpretations of that theme didn’t disappoint. From nostalgic family cars to family businesses, to a display including the Williams FW08 of Keke Rosberg and Williams FW30 of Nico Rosberg.
The theme ran strong throughout the three day event.In attendance was the prestigious Silverstone Auctions, with a large selection of lots including the 1968 Jensen Interceptor Mk1 that had belonged to Eric Morecambe. Porsche Club of Great Britain were also celebrating the 40th year of the 928 and on display was the 1978 928 which has competed in various Historic Sports Car Club events this year, entered by the UK Porsche Classic centres, with 1970 Le Mans winner Richard Atwood at the wheel.
Motorcycle Live also took place at Birmingham NEC, showcasing the very best across the motorcycle industry, from manufacturers unveiling their latest machines to appearances by popular riders and celebrities.
Ducati introduced the Panigale V4 Superbike, an exciting addition, the first mass produced Ducati to be equipped with a 4-cylinder engine as such, closely related to the Desmosedici, Ducati’s MotoGP bike. The V4 issues 1103cc and can be configured to produce almost 220bhp. As the most advanced bike produced by the Italian brand, it is a highlight of the show and a must see for visitors to the show.
While Honda revealed its CBR1000R, the top spec model in the new trio of naked machines which includes the CB300R and CB125R.
Also adding to their formidable stable is Triumph with the updated Tiger 800 XC and XR, while the Tiger 1200 XC and XR range has also received significant technical updates. Also on display on the Triumph stand is the Moto2 engine that they will be supplying exclusively from 2019.
Kawasaki also introduced the Supercharged Ninja H2 SX and the new Ninja ZX-10R SE, with its electronic semi-active suspension.Norton looks ahead to the 50th anniversary of the Commando, launching new anniversary editions along with the new model.Other areas of the show include the Black Horse live stage, the platform for celebrity interviews and panel games hosted by Steve Parrish and James Witham. Joining them across the week are famous names such as Johann Zarco, Niall Mackenzie, Taylor and Tarran Mackenzie, Leon Haslam, Maria Costello, Ian Hutchinson, John McGuiness and Carl Fogarty to name but a few.
Roll on 2018 season!
Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick ©Allison Remzi