VSCC Formula Vintage – Cadwell Park 2019

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In spite of an unfortunate clash with the massive Silverstone Classic meeting on the weekend of July 27, entries for the VSCC’s annual foray into the Lincolnshire Wolds did not seem to suffer unduly, and most of the regular protagonists were present to relish the challenges of the Cadwell Park circuit, which is always a favourite with drivers of pre-war cars.

Richard de la Roche (Cooper MkV) and Mike Fowler (Cooper MkIV) battle in F3 500s  Photos Alan Cox

The perverse English summer continued to challenge the forecasters and the day began with a torrential downpour, but happily eased off as the morning progressed.  However intermittent showers continued with no sign of sunshine to allow the track to dry out.

The opening race for 500cc Formula 3 cars promised much, with Mike Fowler leading from the lights with his Cooper Mk IV from Richard de la Roche (Cooper MkV) and by the second lap, de la Roche had taken the lead.  However, the race was red-flagged on the fourth lap when a number of cars went off and was restarted with de la Roche restoring a comfortable lead and heading Fowler to the flag.  Stuart Wright (Cooper MkXI) claimed third from Roy Wright’s Martin.

Many drivers revel in damp conditions, and none more so than those competing in the traditional race for Frazer Nash and GN cars.  Practice saw the Super Sports Nashes of Tom Waterfield and Eddie Williams well clear of the field, headed by Tony Lees (AC/GN Cognac) and Jo Blakeney Edwards (Super Sports) and this form was borne out in the race, with Waterfield giving a master-class in controlled sliding in the tricky conditions.  He stormed away from the field, including Williams, who was fighting a profound lack of grip as he struggled to match his practice form.  He was, however, secure in second with Tony Lees beating a lonely trail into third.  Waterfield’s mum, Jo Blakeney Edwards, remained in fourth, with Julian Grimwade, unable to capitalise on the superior power of his Alvis engine in the damp, succeeding in holding off the entertainingly-driven GN Dragonfly of Tom Walker.

Hamish Bibby (Morgan) the takes lead of the Vintage PVT & Historic race from Duncan Ricketts’ Parnell Challenger

The main race combined three classes for Vintage, PVT and Historic Racing Cars, categories that used to be able to support their own individual races.  The combination produced an interesting ‘Formula Libre’ historic race.  Hamish Bibby set the cat amongst the pigeons during a very slippery practice session by qualifying his Morgan Supersports racer comfortably on pole from Duncan Ricketts, the ERA-engined Parnell Challenger going from strength to strength with every outing, and the Riley-ERA of James Baxter.  Serial Cadwell winner, Fred Harper, was next up, finding the Kurtis Indycar very much out of its element in the conditions.  With only one wheel gripping at the start, the Morgan was left in the wake of the Challenger and Riley-ERA but re-passed the Riley on lap 2 and took the lead from Ricketts as he crested the Mountain on lap 3.  Once past, Bibby stroked away, while Baxter shadowed Ricketts, closing to within a couple of seconds at the flag, Baxter being full of praise for the track manners and tactics of his opponent.  Harper brought the Kurtis home in fourth from Julian Wilton, fighting for grip with his Cooper Bristol, in fifth.  Sandford Andrews took the John Holland Trophy Vintage award for sixth place with Stuart Harper’s Morgan Super Aero.

Following the success of last year’s Under 30s Handicap race at Mallory Park, another healthy grid of young VSCC members showed that there is plenty of driving talent waiting in the wings, many of whom have already featured strongly in other classes of historic racing.  Starting from scratch, Tom Waterfield (Frazer Nash Super Sports) was quickest by some margin but was unable to trounce the handicappers, coming home fifth while Louis Parkin (Frazer Nash Super Sports) made the most of his credit lap to take victory from the rapid Austin 7 Ulster of George Scholey, and the other driver benefitting from a credit lap, Jack Bond, with the oldest car in the race, the 1914/1918 Vauxhall A/D Type.

Tom Hardman proved to be the class of a very well-supported Triple M Register race, outdistancing the field with the Bellevue Special, with Harry Painter the best of the rest with his MG PA finishing clear of Tony Seber’s Wolseley Hornet Special.  The Geoghegan Trophy for Pre-war Sports Cars provided the closest race of the day, Chris Mann and his Hellé Nice-liveried Alfa Monza getting the verdict on the line after shadowing the Riley TT Sprite of Tim Kneller before pulling past on the final descent from Barn Corner.

For a fuller report and results see our September 2019 issue.

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