London, August 27, 2001
With the defection of title sponsor Coys to the rival Rockingham circuit for their own
historic meeting in May, the Silverstone event had rival auction house Bonhams & Brooks
to host the traditional auction, and moved the date on the calendar to the August bank
Holiday weekend. The event was billed as the ”Biggest Historic race Meeting In The
World”, with over 450 car and motorcycle entries in an eighteen race programme, the
latter’s participation being a first for a historic meeting at Silverstone. Whether the claim
could be justified is open to debate, but there was certainly a broad span of historic
machinery in the paddock and pit garages, together with numerous one make and
historic club displays, in both the infield and outfield display areas.
Because of the scale of facilities required by Formula 1 today, almost any event held at a
F1 venue looks lost in the surroundings. This is particularly noticeable in the spectator
grandstands, which never looked more than sparsely populated, despite there always
being large numbers of people in the paddock, vendor and display areas between races.
The way the programme was organised did give people plenty of time to wander around
the peripheral activities, but there was perhaps too little track activity some of the time. On
Sunday morning, where there was little apart from a couple of display runs and a
marching band, whilst on Monday morning there was no circuit activity at all.
The first morning of the event coincided with the announcement of the death of Tyrrell F1
Team founder, Ken Tyrrell, after a battle against cancer. For many years an integral part
of the F1 scene, we all mourned his passing observing a one minute silence, held in
respect of the great man at lunchtime on Saturday. Sir Jackie Stewart, whose career was
intertwined with the Tyrrell team, winning all three of his World Drivers’ Championships
with them, paid tribute to him in a moving speech at the circuit on the Monday morning,
when he performed the opening ceremony for the day.
Group C Spectacle
Another new item on the agenda was the British Empire Trophy 2 hour endurance race
on the Saturday evening for Group C cars, that ran into the dusk. This attracted a healthy
40 car entry, although only 27 took the start, some due to not having refuelling rigs. There
were a number of XJR Jaguar variants, Porsche 935, 956, 962 and 993 models, and the
lone Ferrari F 40 of John Pogson, which won the invitation class, amongst a wide
ranging field. For those who didn’t have refuelling rigs there was the consolation of being
able to run in the shorter Bob WollekTrophy race on the Monday. The main event was
won by the Hathaway/Pearson Jaguar XJR-11, with Ferrari 360 Challenge driver,
eighteen year old Nathan Kinch, winning the ”sprint” race in a Jaguar XJR-16, his car
having retired from the endurance race with gearbox problems, before he had a chance
to take the driver’s seat.
Tin Top Tussles
Some of the most exciting and close racing came in the two 40 minute touring car races,
one each day on Saturday and Sunday. It was battle royal between the Mustangs at the
front of the field, but there were close fights throughout, with some exciting spectacles,
from wheel waving Anglias and Lotus Cortinas to sideways Minis in lurid drifts. The Mini
Cooper of Barrie Williams that he shared with Norman Grimshaw, to take 3rd and 4th on
the respective days, was particularly spectacular in the hands of the former, almost
seeming to defy gravity. There was some bent panelwork at the end of the ”tin top”
escapades, but it certainly provided masses of entertainment for the crowds.
The Ferrari presence was relatively light on the competition front, although the Ferrari
Owners’ Club marquee had a good range of models on display around the perimeter,
including a 166 MM/53 Vignale Spider, a 500 Mondial, a 500 Superfast and 268 SP
sports racing model. There was also a wide selection of modern examples in the
parking area to the front of the marquee to enjoy.
In the Italy vs The Rest of the World race for pre 1959 drum brake sports cars there
should have been five examples, but the 750 Monza driven by David Franklin expired
during practise, with a pool of oil beneath its sump. This left the 250 Testa Rossa of
Carlos Monteverde as the car most likely to take the battle to the Maserati 300S models
of Burkhard von Schenk and Martin Stretton, which dominated practise, and ”The Rest of
the World”. In the race the pair of Maseratis duelled at the front of the field, leaving
everybody in their wake, with the Testa Rossa running hard in fifth. It was soon to be
elevated to third when the pair in front of him spun, unfortunately one of them caught the
right side of the Testa Rossa as it passed, flattening the front wing and gauging the body
around the door, although Carlos Monteverde continued at an unabated pace. Late race
drizzle made conditions a bit slippery on the far side of the circuit, but Martin Stretton
established his authority over Burkhard von Schenk to win, and Carlos Monteverde
survived a last lap spin to take the final podium position.
In the Italy vs The Rest of the World races for 1960s endurance cars, the ferrari presence
was solely in the hands of David Piper and his collection of cars entrusted to various
people. This meeting saw the first appearance of his 330 P that had for a long time
carried chassis number 0826, as a stand-in for the real 0826 which was also present in
365 P form. The former has engine number 0822, and now wears that number on the
chassis frame as well. Also present was his 330 P2 and 250 LM. He drove the 330 P2 ,
whilst the 250 LM was in the hands of David Franklin. Jackie Oliver in a GT 40, similar to
that which he shared with Jacky Ickx to win the 1969 Le Mans 24 Hour Race, took victory
in both races after close battles with the Lola T 70 of Colin Parry-Williams, who spun out
of the second one, allowing the Chevron B6 of Michael Schryver to fill the position. The
best of the Ferrari bunch was David Franklin who finished 5th in the first race ahead of
team boss David Piper, and 3rd in the second again leading David Piper home, to take
the class victory.
The Bonhams & Brooks Auction took place late on Saturday afternoon, with the star lot
being an ex-Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo 8C-2300, chassis # 2111027, in single
ownership for the past 42 years, which merited a supplementary catalogue. It was
certainly the star of the sold lots, achieving £1,063,000. The only Ferrari on offer was a
1972 Dino 246 GT that sold for £36,700. Bidding was very strong in the toys, models and
memorabilia section. A 2/3 scale Italytoys petrol driven 312 T2 achieved almost twice the
estimate when it sold for £5,980, a Ford Cosworth V8 DFV display engine twice the
estimate at £2,415, with most of the diverse array of items on offer going to new homes.
Overall, a wonderful gathering of cars and motorcycles, only let down by too long periods
of inactivity in a spread out programme that could have been condensed into two days.
This would have made it more economically viable for a family, perhaps deciding to go if
the weather was good, for whom it was an expensive weekend if they visited and paid at
the gate every day.