Donington Park England: Saturday 29 April 2023

Motor Racing Legends Historic Festival Double Header.

Everything According To Plan.

Historic Touring Car Challenge and Tony Dron Trophy for 70s and 80s Touring Cars.

A field of thirty-one cars combining everything from Lotus Cortina’s and Harry’s faithful 1965 BMW 1800 TiSA, to the type of BMW M3 launched in the early Nineties into this fifty minute race. Did someone mention ‘speed differentials’? Thirty minutes of early morning qualifying, followed by a near hour of racing mid-afternoon, all in the the dry with just a touch of blue sky, led to a high rate of attrition, with ten retirements. Harry however, having started twenty-ninth on the grid, worked his way steadily up through the field in confident manner to finish eighteenth overall at the flag, and take another class win.

The Royal Automobile Club Pall Mall Cup for Pre-66 GT and Touring Cars, Pre-63 GT and Pre-60 Sports Cars.

Our second three hour endurance race with the TVR Griffith, shared by Harry and Ollie Reuben, in seven days, meaning the guys at Retro Engineering had their work cut out making sure the ‘Griff’ was ready on time. And after a rain-soaked weekend at Snetterton, joy of joys, the forecast for Saturday’s three hour was ‘mainly dry’.

As always the opposite lay with the ultra quick Lotus Elans, seven of which joined a total grid of twenty-six cars, even so the Griffith qualified third and quickest in class. It also sounded fantastic.

Two compulsory pit stops with driver changes, plus  refuelling, and the distinct possibility of ‘safety car’ intervention without warning, puts a real emphasis on pre-race planning and strategy. Something the team, led by by Nigel and Tom Bridger are getting very good at.

Ollie set the pace, settling into a steady fourth overall, handing over to Harry at third distance. Consistency is the key word in endurance racing. Slowly class opposition fell by the wayside, including the Newall/Stahler AC Cobra, which suffered a spectacular engine failure opposite the pit lane, bringing out the safety car. Ideal then then for another driver change and a final ‘splash and dash’. During the closing stages only our car spoiled an Elan monopoly and, at the flag, Harry Barton/Ollie Reuben’s TVR Griffith flashed across the line in fourth place and class win, having covered one hundred and nineteen laps at an average speed of 77.89 mph. Time for a mild celebration.

Next on the agenda: Hockenheim in Germany.