Silverstone combined HSCC and VSCC meeting June 2004

Silverstone’s Historic Tribute weekend had an entry list ranging in age from 1925 through to 1979. The weather forecast may not have lived up to its expectations - but the entry certainly did.

Over two days of racing, the spectators were entertained by a succession of races covering every aspect of motor sport.

Frank Sytner was Driver of the Weekend, winning both his outings in the Lola T70 entered in the Group 4 Racing, European Sports Prototype Trophy. Frank had to do battle with Nigel Hulme in a similar car but won through in both heats.

For the first time in the UK, Silverstone played host to a round of the Grand Prix Masters series. Grand Prix Masters is a new organization running a championship for F1 cars from the ‘60s and ‘70s; their plan is to divide the entry into pre- and post-1971 classes, giving the non-wing cars a race of their own. With races on both days, 16 cars took to the grid, spread over nine constructors. All the cars were immaculately prepared, making a wonderful sight (and sound) as they thundered down from the rolling start. Frank Sytner, this time in a Penske PC3, again proved the driver to beat. Peter Williams, March 761, lead for half of the first heat then Frank managed to get by and scampered off to victory. This gave him pole for Heat Two and from there on he was never challenged.

A fantastic field of historic saloons lined up on Saturday afternoon consisting of just about every model that raced in those golden days of the 1960s. There were Anglias, Minis, Imps, Cortinas, Alfa GTAs, MKII Jaguars, Mustangs and the mighty Galaxies and Falcons. It was a 45-minute race with a driver-change half-way through. The Bacon/Voyazides Falcon lead from the start and 45 minutes later they took the flag. Behind was the spectacle of three-wheeling Cortinas, Minis and Alfas, opposite locking and spinning their way to the finish.

Another race that had the crowd on the edge of their seats was Sunday’s Hawthorn Memorial Trophy. This was for pre-1955 Grand Prix cars, and for most of the race Michael Steele, Connaught C Type, swapped the lead with Barrie Baxter in the Tec-Mec 250F, “Whizzo” Williams looked on in third place. Then on the last lap Williams saw the gap he had been waiting for, shot into the lead - and took the win at the last minute.

The V.S.C.C. had arranged several races, one of the most spectacular being the Boulogne Trophy. The entry was filled with cars from 1921 to 1932. There were Bugattis, MGs and Morgans, but some of the most interesting were the GNs; all engine and wheels. Seeing these cars drifting through Woodcote on their narrow tyres was a sight to behold, not to mention the chequerboard colour schemes and external gear levers.

Stanley Mann’s 1929 Bentley 4.5 Le Mans summed up the weekend; a fabulous historic car in action, sporting the Union Flag. It was the 60th anniversary of D-Day after all.

Text & Photos - Roger Dixon