Thomas/Lockie claim International Trophy honours with hard-fought Masters Gentlemen Drivers win at Silverstone
Julian Thomas and Calum Lockie won the coveted International Trophy by being triumphant in the 80-minute Masters Gentlemen Drivers race for pre-66 GT cars at the Classic. Their Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé saw off a fierce race-long challenge from Olly Bryant’s AC Cobra to win by 4.3 seconds.
“Yeah, it was absolutely great”, said Lockie about some of the decisive moves he put on Bryant. “As I came through Farm, Olly was coming out of the pits and it was real nip-and-tuck together into Village corner, and we had a bit of a dice, and then he got ahead, and then I got back past – it was lovely clean racing, and exactly as it should be, within a few inches but not touching, just really great fun racing with him.”
“We’ve had quite a hard weekend so far”, said Thomas, “both of us had own incidents at the front of the pack, so today’s race has been a real good reward for our dogged efforts.”
“It was great fun”, said Bryant. “The Daytona on a high-speed circuit is definitely the superior equipment but it was great to mix it with them, and good battling with Julian who is driving fantastically nowadays – he’s giving Calum a run for his money, I bet! Great racing, and good to get a race in the dry for a change!”
The pole-sitting Cobra Daytona Coupé of Roy Alderslade and Andrew Jordan overcame initial setbacks to take third ahead of Mike Whitaker’s TVR Griffith and James Cottingham’s Cobra. John & Gary Pearson were a distant sixth in their Jaguar E-type while in seventh, Olivier Tancogne’s Cobra Daytona Coupé held off a late charge from the similar machine of Michael Cullen and Paddy Shovlin.
“It’s great to get a podium”, said Jordan. “It would have great to have challenged for the win, but there was some traffic out there, and the car was quite hard work, so… And I feel bad for Roy throwing him in at the deep end with dampy patches all over, but cracking to get the car’s first podium here at the Classic.”
“I was probably overcautious initially, and concerned about the damp conditions”, said Alderslade. “And when I tried to get on it I had a little spin further at the back, but as Andrew’s just said, it’s all part of the learning, and very satisfied to be up here!”
In the second fairly dryish race of the weekend, the order was switched around very quickly, with Michael Cullen storming up into the lead from the third row to move ahead of Thomas, Bryant, Cottingham and another fast starter in the form of Mike Whitaker, with pole-sitter Alderslade down in sixth. Soon, though, Thomas and Bryant pushed Cullen down to third, while Steve Jones’ Elan suffered a big hit in the midfield when it after a spin was caught by Mark Bates’ Porsche – and with the track at Copse strewn with debris, the safety car was called.
So Thomas’ Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé led from Bryant’s AC Cobra, with Whitaker’s TVR Griffith now in third ahead of Cullen’s Daytona Coupé, Cottingham’s Cobra, and James Hanson and Olivier Tancogne in two more Cobra Daytona Coupés. In eighth overall, Mike Wilds led the CLP class in Ron Maydon’s Ginetta G4R, with John Pearson’s E-type and Alderslade’s Cobra Daytona Coupé completing the top-ten during this safety-car period. In 12th, Andy Willis’ Elan was second in the CLP class, with Andrew Haddon’s example down in 20th to be third in class.
In C2, Mark Holme’s Austin Healey 3000 did the early running ahead of Keith Ahlers in the Morgan SLR, while in C1 – with favourites Mark & James Bates now out – James Thorpe in the TVR Grantura led Oli Webb’s Porsche 911. Meanwhile, another retirement included the Costas Michael/Chris Ward E-type with a lack of oil pressure while Nick Pink was in the pits with his team trying to get his Elan’s throttle cable unstuck.
The safety car was left out on the track with 32 minutes of race time remaining, but it took just seconds before the Mike & Matt Wrigley E-type and the Rob Fenn/James Barclay were seen at the side of the track – the E-type on the inside of Stowe, robbing the leaders of an overtaking opportunity. And with the top-six covered by 2.5 seconds, opportunities presented themselves on a plate.
The pit window now open, the first cars came streaming in but the leaders kept on it for the moment, as Thomas, Bryant and Whitaker looked to have made a break, with Cullen having come in to hand over to Paddy Shovlin, while Hanson had passed Cottingham for fourth. In the CLP class, Wilds still led, but Haddon had closed up by moving into 14th overall, with Willis having already come in for his mandatory stop. In C2, Holme kept ahead but Big Healey stablemates Crispin Harris and Doug Muirhead had moved into second and third, as Keith Ahlers had swapped places with Billy Bellinger in the Morgan SLR. With the TVR Granturas of James Thorpe/Phil Quaife and Malcolm Paul/Rick Bourne in early driver changes, the Oli Webb/Guy Ziser Porsche was up into the lead.
Right before Thomas came in to hand the wheel to Calum Lockie, Bryant had taken the lead, and with Whitaker also having stopped, the two were tied together in a temporary 11th and 12th, and the TVR got through when Lockie went wide out of Copse. This all played into the hands of Bryant, who now led John Pearson by 20 seconds, and Wilds by 21 seconds, before he entered the pits himself, followed by Pearson and Wilds.
Next time around, however, Lockie was back on top of things to move back ahead of Whitaker, having set fastest lap of the race in the process – and then when Bryant exited the pits, the two were side-by-side as they braked for Village. As Lockie outbraked himself, Bryant took the lead, but the Cobra Daytona Coupé was back in front before Copse. Whitaker trailed the leading duo by three seconds, with Andrew Jordan in Roy Alderslade’s Daytona Coupé making hay to pass James Cottingham for fourth. Gary Pearson in the Pearsons Jag was sixth ahead of Ron Maydon in the CLP-class-leading Ginetta. Tagcogne’s Cobra and Jonathan Mitchell’s E-type still separated Maydon from his main rival Andrew Haddon in 12th.
In C2, Holme maintained his lead but Bellinger in the SLR was lapping a second quicker, while Jeremy Welch in the Healey started by Muirhead was third, setting similar times to Holme. Phil Quaife was back in front in C1 in the Grantura shared with Thorpe, with Rick Bourne making it a TVR 1-2 with some ten minutes still remaining on the clock.
Further up the road, Lockie had eased out a 2.5-second gap over Bryant – whose boot had now dropped open, for DRS effect? – while Jordan had now usurped Whitaker for third. Cottingham and Gary Pearson were in rather lonely fourth and fifth places, with Tagcogne leading another group consisting of Maydon, Mitchell, Shovlin and Haddon, now just seven seconds – and three cars – in between the Elan and the Ginetta in the CLP class lead. And then, shock, right behind them, Andy Willis rolled his Elan out of Becketts – a horrific sight, but the car’s rollcage held, and Willis was OK.
In the dying minutes, Lockie ensured the win by leading Bryant across the line by 4.3 seconds. Jordan was third, 14 seconds down, just ahead of Whitaker and Cottingham. Pearson was left behind by 36 seconds while Tancogne and Shovlin fiercely disputed seventh until the final few metres, the Frenchman holding off the Irishman. John Davison’s TVR Griffith sneaked into the top-ten by claiming ninth ahead of the CLP-class-winning Ginetta of Mike Wilds/Ron Maydon, which at the end kept Mitchell’s E-type between itself and Haddon’s Elan. In 17th overall, the James Claridge/Gonçalo Gomes Elan came through to take third in class.
In C2, Mark Holme completed his lights-to-flag victory ahead of the Ahlers/Bellinger SLR and the Muirhead/Welch Healey, while in C1, the Thorpe/Quaife and Paul/Bourne Granturas trounced the Porsches by leading home the Sebastian Perez/George Gamble 911.
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