Masters News

Saturday 26th August 2023

Thomas/Lockie charge to Masters Gent Drivers win at Silverstone

Julian Thomas and Calum Lockie bagged yet another Masters Gentlemen Drivers win by cornering the International Trophy for Classic GT Cars at the Silverstone Festival. Thomas fought hard with Nigel Greensall in John Spiers’ TVR Griffith, and while he finally succumbed, Lockie soon got their Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé was soon ahead of Spiers before the race was redflagged with eight minutes remaining on the clock.


“I’m exhausted, that was fantastic!”, said a delighted Thomas before Lockie spoke a few more words. “Julian drove an amazing first stint”, said Lockie. “To be honest, I just had to bring it home, and out came the red flag, unfortunately.”


“Nigel did all the hard work!”, said Spiers before handing over to his teammate. “It was a thriller”, said Greensall. “But it’s what racing’s all about, dicing and racing absolutely flat-out. It’s the purpose of racing to give it full beans!”


“I’m feeling tired…”, said a smiling Whitaker. “It’s a long way for an old man. And my son’s quicker than me, so I don’t let him in it! And mum won’t let him in, too…”


Dan Eagling absolutely crushed the CLP class opposition by coming home fourth overall in his Ginetta G4R, ahead of the Graeme & James Dodd E-type and the David & Olivier Hart Daytona Cobra that narrowly beat the Andy Priaulx/Miles Griffiths Cobra. The Phil Keen/Jon Minshaw E-type took eighth ahead of Harry Barton’s TVR Griffith while the similarly mounted John Davison rounded out the top ten after losing fifth spot through a big spin towards the end.


“I’m feeling a bit warm, actually”, said Eagling, “I had to give it my all – at the start, it’s difficult to race in the lower-class cars against the big boys. Eventually, when I got past a few I got a bit of a break, put some consistent laptimes in and get a big of a gap. The pitstop went well and obviously, when the safety car came out I was a bit concerned with all the big cars coming up behind, but it’s a shame that it went red. It would have been nice to see if I could play with Mike Whitaker a bit, but yeah, really good.”


“This man, I was trying to chase him down”, said Dawson while pointing to Eagling. “The weather wasn’t the problem, but the oil slick was. I saw it, I stayed away from it but others got caught out. But it’s just been an absolute mega weekend, and my team, my dad, has put the car together and it was just absolutely phenomenal – but we’re going to be back to beat this man next year!”


“It’s great to be up here”, said Ashton, “with 60 cars to be on the podium is just great. That makes it really special.”


“The race is bonkers out there”, said Balfe, “with all the different speeds and lines – it’s just wacky racers!”


Giles Dawson’s Lotus Elan was Eagling’s nearest rival in CLP, ahead of the similar Elan of Shaun Balfe/Thomas Ashton. A trio of Austin Healey 3000s headed the C2 class, Joseph Willmott winning the class ahead of Michael Russell and Nils-Fredrik Nyblaeus/Jeremy Welch. Meanwhile, the Turner 1650s of Luke Wos and Nikolaj Mortensen monopolised the top positions in C1.


The sun had just reappeared as the massively oversubscribed Masters Gentlemen Drivers field of 61 cars lined up for the 50-minute International Trophy for Classic GT Cars to go five-wide into the first corner! At the end of it, John Davison had completed a monster start in his TVR Griffith to lead Julian Thomas and David Hart in the Cobra Daytonas, but Thomas hit back coming out of Copse. Behind them, Mike Whitaker and Nigel Greensall – starting in the Griffith, as John Spiers had only just completed his pre-66 Formula One race – were on the move as well, Greensall moving in front going into lap 2.


Thomas continued to lead but Greensall pipped Davison for second into Copse in a very eventful few opening laps. Behind Whitaker, Phil Keen – another unexpected elite start driver – had Jon Minshaw’s Jaguar E-type up into fifth ahead of Hart Sr, while Andy Priaulx was similarly making hay in the Cobra shared with Miles Griffiths. Continuing his stunning qualifying form, Dan Eagling was eighth overall in the CLP class-leading Ginetta G4R, ahead of Graeme Dodd’s E-type and Jason Minshaw in Martin Melling’s E-type. Giles Dawson was second in the CLP class in his Lotus Elan that was now in 11th place ahead of Peter Thompson’s AC Cobra and John Pearson in the Pearsons E-type. In 17th overall, Formula Junior star Horatio Fitz-Simon was third in the CLP class in another Elan.


In C2, Joseph Willmott was doing the early running in his Austin Healey 3000, followed by the similar cars of Michael Russell and Nils-Fredrik Nyblaeus, but the Swede would still hand over to Jeremy Welch later on. In C1, Nikolaj Mortensen had for now stolen a march on fellow Turner 1650 driver Luke Wos, with Neil Fisher holding a strong third in class in the MGB.


At the front, with five laps gone, gentleman driver Thomas heroically held his professional rival Greensall at 1.4 seconds, the pair turning in similar laptimes. Whitaker was third, close to ten seconds down on the leader, with Keen snapping at the second Griffith’s heels. Davison held fifth but Eagling was now up in a startling sixth overall, having passed Priaulx, as Dodd, Thompson and Pearson rounded out the top ten, with Pearson overtaking David Hart for tenth on lap 6.


Soon, though, things were hotting up at the front, as Greensall inched closer and closer after all, and holding the Griffith in big slides through the complex, he finally made it past Thomas – who knew that Calum Lockie was still waiting to pounce during their second stint. Despite that knowledge, Thomas wasn’t giving up, enjoying the fight with Greensall just too much.


Two laps later, the pit window had opened, and Keen and Eagling were among the first to come in, followed by Harry Barton in another Griffith. Thomas then came in on lap 10 to hand over to Lockie. On the next lap, Greensall was in to swap places with John Spiers, with Whitaker the last of the leading cars to come in. Meanwhile, Lockie’s demon outlap had pulled him clear of Spiers already, the pair now split by a couple of seconds.


The pit window now closed, Lockie led Spiers, with Whitaker in third, but the lightblue TVR was chased by the remarkable Dan Eagling whose Ginetta G4R was now up in fourth. Davison was fifth but chased hard by James Dodd in the first of the E-types, with Miles Griffiths and Olivier Hart up next, ahead of Jon Minshaw and Harry Barton. In 14th overall, Dawson still held second in the CLP class while Thomas Ashton (in the Elan started by Shaun Balfe) fought Fitz-Simon over third in class, but Sam Tordoff in the Elan started by dad John was closing in fast.


In C2, Michael Russell now led the field ahead of Willmott and Welch, while Wos had turned the tables on Mortensen in C1 while Fisher in the unfavoured MGB still held third over the Mark Burnett/Scott Kendall Ogle SX1000 and the Malcolm Paul/Will Nuthall TVR Grantura.


On lap 13, however, the safety car was out with oil at Aintree that launched Davison into a big spin that dropped the Griffith driver to tenth. Meanwhile, the William & Martin Addison Jaguar E-type had crashed, and when it transpired that it would take too long to recover it, the red flag was waved and the result declared after 15 laps. Thomas and Lockie notched up another win, with Greensall/Spiers in second and Whitaker in third. Dan Eagling dominated in CLP to win the class from Dawson and Balfe/Ashton. Russell, Willmott and Nyblaeus/Welch made C2 into an Austin Healey 3000 benefit while Wos and Mortensen ran home a Turner 1-2 in C1. However, Russell’s class win was overturned by a 10-second time penalty for pitting before the pit window opened.



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