Masters News


Sunday 28th August 2022

Thomas/Lockie come through to win Silverstone’s Masters Pre-66 Touring Car race

Julian Thomas and Calum Lockie bagged their second Classic win of the weekend by coming through from sixth on the grid, as their Ford Falcon beat all their rivaling Ford Mustangs led by the Phil Quaife/James Thorpe example that ran first during the opening half of the 45-minute race.



“Oh, it was amazing, I truly enjoyed that!” said Lockie. “Julian’s stint was absolutely phenomenal, coming from sixth on the grid. After the stops I thought, this is going to tough with the elite-driver penalties, but I had a great fight with James, and managed to get through.”



“I just popped out of a Porsche Group C demo”, said Thomas, “so I was still feeling a bit heated!”



“I managed to get a good start and got us into the lead”, said Quaife, “and then this gentleman managed to keep his cool and got us a decent helping with second place.”



“I saw him closing in my mirrors”, said Thorpe about his attempts to hold back Lockie, “and I thought, he’s a professional, I’ll just try my best…”



A storming drive from Sean McInerney and Phil Keen earned them third place, as their Mustang passed the rival ‘stangs of Andy Priaulx/Alex Taylor, John Davison and Steve Soper/Henry Mann in the final two laps.



In the Cortina class, Neil Brown and Richard Dutton led every lap bar the final one, as in a thrilling finale Ben Clucas caught and passed Dutton in the Cortina started by Marcus Jewell. In 11th overall, Paddy Shovlin earned third in class while warring with the lead Minis. Among the Minis, the unrelated Smiths Aaron and Jeff fought tooth and nail until Aaron was hit with a drive-through penalty for a pit-window infringement, leaving Jeff out in front on his own. Fighting off many other quick Minis, Phil Bullen-Brown inherited third in class when the Mini of Tom Bell and Joe Ferguson faltered shortly after the stops.



Last but certainly not least on the Classic’s jampacked programme, the Masters Pre-66 Touring Cars went out for their 45-minute Adrian Flux Trophy race. Four Mustangs almost went side-by-side as they streamed through the complex, with Phil Quaife leading Steve Soper, John Davison and Andy Priaulx. Further into the opening lap, however, Soper took the lead while Priaulx demoted Davison to fourth. Two corners later, Julian Thomas in the first of the Falcons blasted past Davison as well, with Craig Davies’ Mustang moving up into sixth at the cost of Gary Pearson’s ‘stang, as American V8s monopolised the top ten.



Marcus Jewell in the lead Lotus Cortina had dropped to 11th and was soon pressured by Guy Smith’s example, with Paddy Shovlin two places further back. In the Minis, Smith (A.) held off Smith (J.) for the class lead, the pair battling in 16th and 17th overall.



At the front, Quaife soon got back at Soper who was fighting a tail-happy Mustang, and soon Thomas went through, the Falcon having already passed Davison and Priaulx. Davies was another man on the move, and soon found himself in fourth, harrying Soper’s ill-handling Mustang. With Quaife four seconds gone, Thomas broke away from Soper who led a Mustang train consisting of Davies, Priaulx, and Davison while Mike Whitaker Jr dropped away from the queue through a lairy spin at Copse. This allowed Dan Williamson’s Falcon into seventh, leading Pearson’s Mustang and Roger Wills in the Mercury Comet Cyclone.



Among the Cortinas, Neil Brown had pushed through into the lead, ahead of Guy Smith and Jewell and Shovlin, the latter two spectacularly mixing it with the two Smiths in the Minis. Behind Justin Law in the fifth Cortina, Tom Bell was third in the Mini class.



On lap 5, Davies finally managed to nip past Soper for third, as Neil Brown continued on his rise into the top ten, now up to ninth at the cost of Wills in the huge Mercury. Quaife’s lead over Thomas had now stabilised at four seconds, with Davies two seconds further back, leaving former WTCC touring car stars Soper and Priaulx to fight among themselves, the latter taking fourth on lap 7. Ten seconds behind those two, Williamson had moved up into sixth, passing Davison, who was now chased by Sean McInerney’s Mustang who had made it up into eighth.



In the Cortina class, Brown held ninth overall, now chased by Shovlin, who was still occupied by Aaron and Jeff Smith and their intra-Mini battle for their class lead. Tom Bell remained third in the Mini class.



20 minutes into the race, the pit window opened, and cars were streaming into the pits. Brown was the first to come in to hand over to Richard Dutton, and Shovlin, Aaron Smith and John Davison were among the early stoppers too. Further up front, Soper outbraked himself to cut the Maggotts and Becketts section, in the process re-passing Priaulx for fourth, leaving the multiple WTCC champion to do it all over again!



On lap 10, Davies lost it into Becketts, his Mustang stuck out on the grass, as Thomas came in to hand over to Lockie. Another casualty soon followed, as Joe Ferguson – who had just taken over from Tom Bell in the Mini – ground to a halt. One lap later, the leader came in to switch places with James Thorpe, while Priaulx was in to hand over to Alex Taylor. By now, almost everyone had done their stop.



After the stops had panned out, Thorpe led Lockie by three seconds, with Henry Mann in third in the Mustang started by Soper. Williamson was now fourth ahead of Alex Taylor who had been handicapped by Priaulx’s elite-driver pitstop time penalty. Davison chased Taylor for fifth, but closing on both of them was Phil Keen in Sean McInerney’s Mustang. Dutton led the Cortinas, while Aaron Smith had also made the top ten as the Mini class leader. Wills ran tenth, but Ben Clucas in the second-placed Cortina started by Jewell was flying, now ahead of Shovlin and Jeff Smith in the second Mini. In 19th overall, Phil Bullen-Brown had taken over third in the Mini class.



On lap 13, Williamson dropped out of the chase, coming into the pits with a loss of engine power, while at the front Thorpe continued to hold Lockie to 2.3 seconds. Mann was now a distant third, 14 seconds back, while Davison battled Taylor hard for fourth. Keen was seven seconds down on the pair of them but two seconds per lap quicker.



With five minutes remaining, Lockie gritted his teeth to inch closer and closer to Thorpe, while in the Cortina class things were getting tighter as well, Dutton trying to hold on to his lead, with Clucas closing at a rate of a second per lap. In the Mini class, however, a change had already taken place, as Aaron Smith was forced to hand the lead to Jeff Smith after being given a stop-and-go penalty for a pit-window infringement.



And then, on lap 16, Lockie pulled off the pass to move into the lead, as 23 seconds down on the leading pair, Taylor passed Mann for third while Davison had his eyes on Mann too, with Keen having closed the gap to the three of them. With just over a minute remaining, Keen got two in one go, and set off after Taylor… Meanwhile, the Cortina fight was far from over, Clucas now just three seconds away from Dutton.



At the head of the field, Lockie completed the final win to take his and Julian Thomas’s second Masters win of the weekend, with the Thorpe/Quaife Mustang a close second. Almost inevitably, Keen nicked third from Taylor who had to fight hard to keep Davison at bay. Mann finished sixth, while Clucas managed to steal the Cortina class win from Dutton. Wills was ninth ahead of the recovering Mike Whitaker Jr, with Paddy Shovlin taking third in the Cortina class in 11th overall. Jeff Smith cornered the Mini class win from Aaron Smith and Phil Bullen-Brown.



 



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