Silverstone Classic 2016

The Silverstone Classic is one of the most highly  regarded classic Motorsport events in Europe, even billing itself as the Worlds’ biggest Classic Motor Racing Festival. I had not visited Silverstone for a race day since the 1986 British Grand Prix, when I was a lad, and Nigel Mansell clinched a last gasp victory from the clutches of Nelson Piquet.

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It was with eager anticipation that I made the journey down, to cover the event for Autosportpics. I hadn’t shot at Silverstone before, so I was looking forward to being able to put my own spin on the track, and with a veritable feast of classic machinery on display, I was sure that I would come home with some great memories.

The highlight of the event (although there are many) would be having the opportunity to shoot the Group C race into a blazing sunset on Saturday evening. These phenomenal cars were the stuff of dreams when I was growing up, and I had the chance to watch them race in my youth. To relive that dream armed with a camera, was a fantastic experience, and one I shall not forget, the mix of sunset colours, glowing brake discs and the spit of exhaust flames was a heady mix.

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Another particular highlight was to see the ex Mika Hakkinen McLaren on track, being driven incredibly well, allowing the crowd to experience the game-changing sound of the Mercedes V10 engine at full chat, reverberating around the stands.

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On track racing was incredibly good, despite the huge amounts of money invested in preserving the staggering range of classic sports cars, the drivers were, to a man, driving hell for leather around the demanding Northamptonshire circuit. Notable races were the Supertourers, where Colin Noble Jr was put under immense pressure in his Vauxhall Vectra from a superbly driven Honda Accord, but managed to hold out for the race win on both occasions.

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The duel between the Matra V12 and the McLaren M8F in the Can-Am Inter Series Cup was legendary. The scream of the Matra V12 was pitted against the raw power of the 8.8litre Mclaren. I can’t find the words to describe the cacophony that these two created, but if you ever get the chance to witness these cars jousting it out on track. Take it without a second thought.

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The event attracted a good size crowd, and was incredibly well run and organised. It was a pleasure to be able to attend on behalf of Autosportpics.

Matty White

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Silverstone Classic 2016

Aske Hall Vintage Sprint 2016

After our little expedition overseas to “Spa” & “The Ring” it was time to come back down to earth with some real grass roots racing.

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Organised by Middlesbrough & District Motor Club this has to be one of the prettiest venues for a motorsport event, we were also blessed with a day of wonderful sunshine.

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A very friendly bunch with some amazing machinery straight out of the shed, motorsport at its best grassroots level, definitely one for the diary next year.

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More pictures here Aske Hall Sprint

Spa Summer Classic 2016

The whole team travelled to Spa including the new trainee Mark.  This time we had a change of plan and went from Newcastle to Amsterdam to save the journey to Hull, and overall it was a much easier trip.  We sailed out of Newcastle on the Thursday evening in glorious sunshine and were soon sipping the first of a few beverages.  After a late evening and a small gin we settled down for the night, the 0600 buzzer sounded way too soon!!  We actually arrived  nearly two hours late into Amsterdam due to thick fog, so just after ten we were on our way south to Spa- Francorchamps.

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Spa Summer Classic 2016

We arrived at the circuit at 1500hrs after checking into our accommodation at Stavelot and a bomb burst ensued with us all heading in different directions looking for the shots we missed last year.  We regrouped just after 2000hrs and headed back to the accommodation.

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Porsche ascending Eau Rouge

The following morning we set off just after breakfast to travel approx. 70 miles to The Nurburgring and the VLM endurance race.  The weather slowly deteriorated and was raining “stair rods” by the time we got there, Matty was organised as usual and hadn’t brought a coat so he was soon fitted out with a designer bin bag.

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VLM at The Ring

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We then travelled back to Spa for the evening endurance race and were blessed with a spectacular sunset.

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Spa Summer Classic 2016

and some super light trails.

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Spa Summer Classic 2016

A late finish today 2200hrs and by this time everyone was starving, so it was off to “Le Restaurant Grill Steak House” for a superb steak and an even better gin & tonic, we then headed back for a quite night at the digs with a bottle of Gin & some local brew.

Sunday was our last day at Spa and it was nice & hot apart from one cloudburst that resulted in a red flagged race, but as usual at Spa it wasn’t long before the sun was drying the track again.

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Spa Summer Classic 2016

It was with heavy heart once again we left Spa after a wonderful meeting and headed for an overnight stop in Uttrecht before sailing back to Newcastle on Monday evening.

More pictures available here  Spa Summer Classic  & VLM Nurburgring

Harewood Historic Hill Climb 2016

A final trip out before Spa for myself & David Archer to one of our favourite meetings of the year.

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An easy trip down to Harewood  of approx. 1 hour 15 mins had us drooling at some of the cars just in the car park.

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An absloute plethora of amazing historics being used as they should be.

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Supercharged MG

After a dull start to the day we were blessed with beautiful sunshine all afternoon.

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Ford Model B single seater special

 

 

Harewood British Championships Hill climb 2016

Once a popular class at Harewood, pre-94 Formula Fords have less support these days. Except, that is, from Robert Spedding and Ben Tranter who are still regular contenders in their shared Vector. Just eight of these rare machines were built in 1993 by Dutchman Wiet Huidekoper and featured the then new monoshock front suspension very similar to that pioneered by Dallara, by whom Huiderkoper was previously employed! In a close opening duel, Spedding led the first class of the day by a tenth, but later Tranter found over a second to get the final verdict.

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A strong class of Baylis and Harding Porsche Championship runners were led all the way by Tim Barber’s 911SC, who pulled clear to leave David Hilton over a second adrift in his 996 GT3.

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The Roadgoing Specialist division was expected to be a Warburton benefit, but young David had to give best to HSA contender Chris Howard-Harris who led after the first runs in his Caterham Superlight R. Unfortunately that was all that was seen of the Warbys as a broken propshaft sidelined both Allan and David, leaving Simon Jenks to grab a narrow third place from CH-H’s co-driver Lynn Gilbert.

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After Les Procter, running on his own, had lowered his own pre-72 sportsracing record in his immaculate Sebring Sprite it was the turn of the ‘B’ licence entrants in the SBD/HSA Championship class. Top runner from the HSA perspective was 2010 champion Tony Thomas, whose time in the Mazda MX5 was quick enough to take the series lead in this year’s series. The final class was for BARC Yorkshire Centre members and scored to their own unique formula. On scratch, the only single-seater in the class not surprisingly set the pace as Ed and Steve Carter took their Jedi to the one/two ahead of Richard Paterson’s Raw Striker. But it was Paterson that took award on handicap, from Richard Archbould’s Evo 6.

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As the British Championship big hitters came out for their points-scoring run-offs, Wallace Menzies was playing himself back in after his big Shelsley accident and the rebuilt Firestorm was still minus an engine cover, the correct undertray and one or two other parts. Although the understandably cautious Wallace had been bumped out of qualifying for the opening run-off by Steve Owen, he made the cut for the final shoot-out, qualifying and finishing tenth. Earlier, Deryk Young had suffered a gearbox breakage on the 4-litre Gould-Judd and struggled over the line to finish out of the points, but at least the car had survived long enough to allow his wife Sue to take the best part of a second off Sandra Tomlin’s eight-year-old Harewood ladies’ record.

Donington Historics 2016

In spite of the British weather throwing almost everything it had at it, the Donington Historic Festival presented three days of hugely exciting historic motor racing over the Bank Holiday weekend (April 30th-May 2nd).

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Classic motorsport fans were treated to a vast range of competition cars from the 1920s up to the 1990s, campaigning in a challenging range of climatic conditions ranging from torrential rain and hail to high winds and even a scattering of snow! Happily these were not constant throughout the weekend, and there was plenty of sunshine to show Donington off in all its park-like beauty; and the frequently wet track made for some very interesting racing indeed.

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The rare and valuable historic competition machines were in safe hands, however, with drivers such as Le Mans winner Jackie Oliver and Touring Car giants John Cleland, Tim Harvey and Steve Soper representing earlier generations of racers, and present-day BTCC stars Andrew Jordan, Matt Neal and Colin Turkington showing that today’s drivers are just as comfortable behind the wheel of a decades-old race car as they are battling it out in the latest works offering. Andrew Jordan and his father Mike took the chequered flag in the final contest of the meeting, steering their Austin A40 – rebadged Austin GT40 for DHF – to victory in the HRDC Touring Greats race.

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Other well-known faces spotted around the paddock included musician Chris Rea, who turned in an arresting performance in his Morris Minor ‘Police’ car, and motorsport pundit Tony Jardine, who took to the track in an E-type in the Jaguar Classic Challenge. And a familiar face to fans of 70s and 80s motor racing – Tony Dron – was on hand to present the trophies for the inaugural round of Motor Racing Legends’ Tony Dron Trophy, incorporated within MRL’s packed Historic Touring Car Challenge grid.

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The Festival saw a mass presence of pre-War sports cars in the ‘Mad Jack’ race, and the DHF debut of the Pre-80 Endurance series, which pitched Lola T292 and T282 against Chevron B19 and March 75S in a fantastic battle.   And it was also Lola vs. Chevron (though this time T70s and B8s) in the mammoth, three-hour HMRN ‘1000km’ race into dusk on the Saturday evening.

Flying Scotsman 2016

Picked Dave up from Newton Aycliffe on Friday afternoon to intercept the Rally after it left the special stages at croft, however the weather was being rather unkind to the drivers with a combination of heavy rain, then hail then snow.  We eventually gave up following the cars near Edmunbyers as we couldn’t see them through the snow blizzards.

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Ford A 

We decided to start again early on the Saturday morning to follow the cars through Northumberland and along the fantastic coastline.

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Lagonda

We picked up the cars after their short stop at Acklington Station and managed to find a few picturesque location for shots.

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Alfa Romeo

Sean Bramhall had a more interesting start to the day than he bargained for though when one of his wheels fell off. A passing local, a Mr Charlie McGowan, who competed in the 2010 Peking to Paris also happens to be a more than handy mechanic. He took Sean and his stricken Triumph back to his workshop and got the problem sorted. What a result.

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Bentley

By now the sun was shining, the sky was blue and all was well with the Rally as we sped along past Bamburgh Castle alongside Budle Bay before we pointed ourselves westwards for more regularity and navigational challenges in and around The Burns. Crews had to be on their mettle in this section.

Goodwood 74MM

Just in case you don’t know what Goodwood #74MM stands for: no worries. I did not either. It stands for the 74th edition of the Goodwood Member Meeting, an event at Lord March’s Goodwood estate that is not only about racing, but also about heritage and responsibility.

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2016 is an important year for the GT40 as it marks 50 years since the Le Mans 1-2-3 finish. Seeing such a variety of the machines line up for a race was amazing.

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The greatest contemporary flamethrower is the McLaren P1. Go back in time though, and the fire from those exhaust only get more violent.  Yet it’s only Faberge Racing’s #1 ‘74 that keeps spitting flames year after year.

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Commenting on the 74th Members Meeting, the Earl of March said, “I am very proud that we managed to pull together one of the best selections of racing cars and bikes ever at Goodwood, and despite some challenging moments, the event was a great success.”

Mid Wales Stages 2016

The opening round of the 2016 MSA British Rally Championship takes place in Newtown.  Using stages that form an integral part of Wales Rally GB, the World Rally Championship proved to be a real test to the start of everyone’s campaign.

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Elfyn Evans and Craig Parry claimed victory on the opening round of the MSA British Rally Championship for the DMACK British Rally Team. The Welsh pairing used their Ford Fiesta R5 to good effect to conquer the competition and conditions.

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It was not to be plain sailing as they were pushed all the way, after an event long battle with the Scandinavian pairing of Fredrik Ahlin and Morton Erik Abrahamsen in a similar Ford Fiesta R5. The final winning distance was a mere 17.1 seconds between the two young protagonists. Tom Cave and James Morgan finished a fine third overall making it three Fiestas on the podium.

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Treacherous icy conditions greeted the competitors on the opening two tests on Saturday evening. The darkness coupled with the tricky road surfaces was a real baptism for the crews as they challenged the grip and pushed as hard as they dared on the gravel and snow covered stages.

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The first car away was Evans with co-driver Parry sitting alongside. The Welsh pairing have come off the back of two wins in the WRC2 category in the FIA World Rally Championship and are dovetailing the full British series with their WRC commitments in 2016.

WRC 2015 – Wales Rally GB

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WRC – Wales Rally GB

Volkswagen’s Sebastien Ogier has concluded the 2015 WRC season by taking an emotional win on a typically wet and muddy Wales Rally GB, his eighth victory of the year.
There were no celebrations, however, as a mark of respect to those that lost their lives in the Paris terror attacks on Friday.

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WRC – Wales Rally GB

Ogier took the lead in the very first stage on Friday, finishing it 0.8s up on team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala. The Frenchman was then quickest again in SS2, and with Latvala crashing out, after going off into a ditch, he headed to SS3 with a 6 second lead, which he more than doubled with his third stage win in a row.

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WRC – Wales Rally GB

Meanwhile, Meeke was the only one anywhere near Ogier after Latvala’s early exit. The Citroen man put in a near-faultless run in his DS 3 WRC, posting top-three times in every test on Friday – including winning SS4 – and posting 13 top-three times in total from a possible 19.

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Hayden Paddon rounded out the top-five in his i20 WRC, 9.2s the difference, despite struggling for much of the event and never really feeling comfortable with the wet and slippery roads. He was also slowed by hydraulic problems on Friday afternoon.