Lyons’ slick gamble pays off to produce dominant Masters Racing Legends win at Silverstone
Michael Lyons was the only driver to dare start on slick tyres, but his gamble paid off in full as the Lotus 91 driver danced off into the distance on a damp Silverstone circuit to dominantly claim glory in the second Masters Racing Legends race of the Silverstone Festival weekend. Behind Lyons, positions changed every lap in a hugely exciting and entertaining race, with Martin Stretton eventually coming out on top as the best of Lyons’ pursuers. Lyons and Stretton also claimed the first two spots in the post-82 class.
“I was smiling on the first lap, but when it started raining on the in-lap I was really smiling”, said a delighted Lyons. “It was hard work in the beginning, it took a while to get the tyre on, because it was wet down here but so much better out there. I knew it was going to come to me and I was looking at the clouds when I was down at this side, and said ‘Just stay away a bit longer, a bit longer…’, but it was alright.”
“We took the wrong gamble, but I’m happy with second”, said Stretton. “We had a few lairy moments, but just pleased to finish, and it’s great to be back in the car – it’s just been rebuilt.”
From ninth on the grid, Ken Tyrrell (Tyrrell 011) added a podium to his race 1 win, as the American claimed a fighting third ahead Steve Hartley whose McLaren MP4/1 survived a big spin at Stowe to be fourth while battling with Jamie Constable in the other Tyrrell 011, and Mike Cantillon (Williams FW07C) who concluded an absolute barnstormer of a race from the back of the grid.
“It was always lairy!” said Tyrrell. “But I will tell you, I am thrilled to be standing on this podium with these two, they’re such fantastic competitors. It was such fun out there.”
Fighting at the front initially, Nick Padmore (Lotus 77) still salvaged the pre-78 class win in seventh overall as his main rival Matt Wrigley dropped even further back to finish a distant tenth, while Max Werner (Hesketh 308C) claimed another third place in class in 13th overall. Miles Griffiths’ RAM March 01, meanwhile, took third in the post-82 class, with Ewen Sergison completing the pre-72 class double in his Surtees TS9B.
It had been raining on and off all through the morning, and the track was still damp when the Masters Racing Legends took to the track for their second race of the Silverstone Festival weekend. With Christophe d’Ansembourg’s Brabham BT49 on pole on the reversed grid for the first nine on the grid, and Mark Hazell’s Williams FW07B sat besides it, the field streamed into Abbey, as Michael Lyons (Lotus 91), Jamie Constable (Tyrrell 011), Matt Wrigley (Penske PC3), Nick Padmore (Lotus 77), Martin Stretton (Tyrrell 012), Steve Hartley (McLaren MP4/1) and Saturday’s winner Ken Tyrrell (Tyrrell 011) followed through. Right at the back was Mike Cantillon’s Williams FW07C after the Irishman lost his win in the first race. At the front as well as at the back, everyone was on wets but Lyons was the one to gamble on slicks.
On the Wellington Straight, soon the order changed, as Lyons stormed into the lead into Woodcote, with D’Ansembourg in second, Stretton in third and Wrigley in fourth as the biggest movers and shakers. The Hangar Straight, however, was still wet, but Lyons managed it safely through Stowe. But now Constable started pushing, and moved past a bunch of cars to clinch the lead into the second lap, but then the Tyrrell spun into the Loop! So Lyons reassumed the lead with his teammate Padmore now following his tracks. Wrigley was third but pushed hard by Hartley, with Constable up into fifth having passed Stretton.
Padmore was already looking for damp patches, as Lyons continued to lead with Padmore already sliding behind him in the slower drier corners. Hartley, meanwhile, had stormed up into third as now it was Wrigley’s turn to tumble down the order, with Constable coming back at him, as did Stretton. 11 seconds down, Tyrrell was seventh ahead of Cantillon who had secretly produced a storming run through the field, with Max Werner in the Hesketh 308C again third in class, with Kyle Tilley running in tenth.
On lap 4, Charlie Kennedy lost a wheel on his Surtees TS16 but he parked it in a safe spot, so a safety car could be avoided. At the front, Lyons had stretched his lead to seven seconds over Padmore, but Hartley was on a prowl and passed the Lotus for second. Constable and Stretton continued in fourth and fifth, both still in touch with Hartley and Padmore. Four seconds down the road, Tyrrell had taken sixth from Wrigley as now Cantillon was pushing the Penske to go past.
As Lyons continued to stream away while setting fastest laps, Hartley was coming under pressure from Stretton in the latest car to come alive, as Padmore began dropping back, also losing places to Constable and Tyrrell, the latter having closed up to the group chasing the leader. But then, Hartley went off at Stowe to hand a bunch of positions to Constable and Tyrrell, the pair of 011s swapping places as the American pulled off a brave outside move on the other Tyrrell.
Hartley had dropped down to sixth and now had Cantillon hunting him down, while at the back Paul Grant was forced to retire his March 761 with a broken wheel rim. Lyons, meanwhile, was unperturbed at the front, as the post-82 class leader now had the other quick post-82 car as his nearest rival, 15 seconds down. Behind Stretton and Tyrrell, Constable now found himself in no man’s land, as Hartley passed Padmore who on lap 7 was also forced to see Cantillon go past.
Padmore’s class rival Wrigley was a long way back now, 51 seconds down, but still in eighth and with five seconds in hands on father and son Christophe and Werner d’Ansembourg in their Brabham BT49 and Williams FW07C, young Werner d’A like Cantillon had produced a barnstormer coming from the second-to-last row on the grid to pass his father on lap 8. Behind them, Miles Griffiths ran third in the post-82 class in the RAM March 01.
As the final seconds ticked away, Lyons’ gamble had paid off in full, the Lotus 91 clinching a dominant victory as a result. Second was Stretton, both overall and in the post-82 class, with Tyrrell claiming a second podium on the weekend. Hartley took a fighting fourth from Constable and Cantillon who finished a storming drive in fifth. Padmore took his second pre-78 class win in seventh ahead of the D’Ansembourgs – Junior ahead of Senior – with Wrigley completing the top ten while taking another second place in the pre-78 class. In 11th and 13th respectively, Griffiths and Max Werner bagged their third places in the post-82 and pre-78 classes. Pre-72 class winner Ewen Sergison (Surtees TS9B) finished 20th overall.
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