Saturdays at The Classic are always very special and this year’s was one of the best in the festival’s history with 12 fiercely-fought retro races, record numbers of classic cars on display… plus a new outright lap record. It all added up to more than 15 hours of epic entertainment with reggae chart-toppers Aswad and acid jazz legends The Brand New Heavies sending everyone home happy.
The fast and furious track action kicked-off with a full capacity grid of 54 Formula Juniors and a memorable dice for victory between the two 1962 Brabham BT2s of Richard Bradley and Cameron Jackson – Bradley #81 finally took the chequered flag.
The Pre-War BRDC 500 showdown which followed featured the oldest cars on the weekend’s bill. The#11 1928 Frazer Nash shared by Fred Wakeman and Pat Blakeney-Edwards overcoming the Talbot, Bentley and Aston Martin opposition.
Later in the morning the coveted Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy for Historic Cars (Pre ’63) was won by #16 the unique 1961 Ferrari 250 GT ‘Breadvan’ of Lukas Halusa – the scarlet icon beating a number of hard-charging E-types including one raced by Martin Brundle, the well-known F1 driver turned Sky TV pundit.
After Michael Lyons – a last minute replacement for former British Grand Prix winner Johnny Herbert in the #8 1981 Ensign N180B – had won the weekend’s first Murray Walker Memorial Trophy for Masters Historic Formula One, a brief shower not only added to the afternoon’s excitement but produced some spectacular sideways racing.
HSCC Thundersports, Classic Mini Challenge, Transatlantic Trophy for Pre ’66 Touring Cars and HGPCA Pre ’66 Grand Prix Cars all producing thrilling finishes – Sam Wilson winning the last of those in the Lotus 18 raced in period by the great Jim Clark.
With the track dry once again, next up on the retro roster came the Masters Endurance Legends staged for GT and prototypes that raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in between 1995 and 2016.
Taking full advantage of the perfect conditions – and the re-introduction of the faster ‘Historic’ corner layout at Club – Rob Wheldon #116 set a new lap record for the Classic circuit format in his 2012 Lola-Judd B12/60.
Eclipsing the previous record set by Nic Minassian in the Group C Jaguar XJR14 back in 2013, Wheldon averaged a speed of more than 124mph when successfully chasing down the ex-Jacques Villeneuve Peugeot 908 #7 of Francois Perrodo.
The evening’s final two races were also for the sports racers, this time from earlier golden eras. The Yokohama Trophy for Masters Historic Sports Cars was won by #23 the Lola T70 of Alex Brundle who will team up with father Martin to contest the 60th Anniversary E-Type Challenge on Sunday.
With headlights ablaze the combined Royal Automobile Club Woodcote and Stirling Moss Trophies bought the days racing to a spectacular conclusion.
Full results from all 12 races are available from The Classic’s website:www.silverstone.co.uk/events/the-classic
More images from the event can be found: Sportscarglobal’s Silverstone Classic Galleries
Squeezed in between all the races, the famous Silverstone Grand Prix track also hosted a number of significant parades celebrating major milestones in motoring history.
These included the 50th anniversary of the Lamborghini Countach and 60th anniversary of the Jaguar E-type – the latter parade included the very first Geneva Show car revealed to the world in March 1961 and ECD 400, the roadster which Graham Hill raced to a debut victory just weeks later.
When not on parade, all these were on public display among the many thousands of classic cars exhibited by car club members. Their record turn-out being further proof of passions undiluted by months of lockdowns.
TV personality Mike Brewer was another excited to be back meeting friendly faces at The Classic – his informed and entertaining Car Clinics on the Village Green stage attracting large audiences throughout the day.
Looking ahead, Sunday’s nine-race programme starts with the second of the sold-out Historic Formula Junior grids at 9am and concludes at 5:50pm with a second of the spectacular Mini showdowns.
Other highlights include the Adrian Flux Trophy for MRL Historic Touring car Challenge and the International Trophy for Classic GT Cars (Pre ’66).
Although admission is by advance tickets only, some returned tickets are available for those not wanting to miss The Classic’s final day. Alternatively, those isolating at home or living abroad can catch all the on- and off-track thrills as they happens by tuning into the event’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/silverstoneclassic.