Speed Eventers Provide Silverstone Entertainment!

Last weekend a good gaggle of the speed hillclimb paddock headed to Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire to watch a number of uphill racers take part in the final stand-alone race meeting of the Historic Sports Car Club season.

Brabham F2

Some beautiful cars were on display at Silverstone, including a duo of F2 Brabhams


The hillclimbers competing included Chris Merrick (Merlyn/Guard Trophy race), Simon Durling (Elva/Guards Trophy race), Jon Waggitt (Lenham/Guards Trophy race), Sean McClurg (Lotus Elan/Guards Trophy race), Tony Bianchi (Brabham/Guards Trophy race) and of course circuit racing newby Alex Summers (Lola/Derek Bell Trophy race).

The Guards Trophy race for Sports & GT cars built upto the mid-sixties was an absolute cracker with Jon Waggitt joining a four-way scrap at the front with eventual winner Graeme Dodd (Ginetta G16), another Lenham and a Chevron B8. Unfortunately ex. GR37 driver Waggitt had to retire just a couple of laps from the end of the 20 minute race.


Former Gould GR55 Run Off winner Chris Merrick had a cracking race in his tiny little Merlyn Mk6 sports racer. With former co-driver and car preparer Tom New on the pitwall in support, the former Police Constable made a stunning start “that was a proper hillclimbers start” said Merrick afterwards, “I was past the row in front of me straight away, so I tucked in to the pitwall and kept going”. Merrick had made up 8 places by the Becketts Complex. A racelong scrap with legendary Healey exponent Denis Welch followed for 15th overall which was decided in traffic when Welch pulled out a small gap. Third in class was the result, which should have been enough to see Chris in the top 3 of the class championship when the points are totted up.


Fellow Gould, turned historic sports racer driver Simon Durling seemed to have a little bit of car trouble as he circulated in 20th overall after gaining a couple of places off of the start. Durling actually had a little bit of a scrap with former HSA Champion and ace preparer Sean McClurg in his Elan.


The other hillclimber in the race was longtime historics racer, aviator and former custodian of the ex. Fletcher Pilbeam MP62 Tony Bianchi. Having qualified on the Class SRB pole (15th overall), Bianchi had a first lap spin in the Brooklands/Luffield complex before disappearing from the fray after just 7 laps.

So, after that action it was time for the fastest race of the day, the Derek Bell Trophy event for big-banger single-seaters.

After a couple of test sessions on the Friday, Alex Summers was feeling reasonably confident of his pace in his Father’s beautiful Lola T140. That Friday test session included a complete race distance which left Alex in bits due to the heat soak inside the cockpit of the F5000 car. The oil tank is inside the tub, next to the drivers left hip while the radiator and hot water pipes all run around the footwell. With virtually no ventilation, it was a real struggle for Alex.

Alex Summers Lola T140

Alex after his race distance in testing on Friday.


The cooler conditions on Saturday, plus Fridays acclimatisation helped immensely and allowed the man who finished fourth in this years BHC to push hard throughout the race.

After a great start Alex was up to sixth early doors, before the more nimble Formula 2 cars started to reel him in. A good scrap with Rob Wainwright in a much more modern March 78B Formula Atlantic car ended in favour of the 4-cylinder car come the chequered flag.


Alex did a spectacularly good job to take sixth place in the overall order, as well as the class win and fifth fastest lap of the race as well. All this was achieved with a car which was the only chassis in the race without wings. Impressive.

It was a fantastic event, as historic racing always is, which seemed to entertain the large crowd of hillclimb spectators immensely. A great end to the season!


Alex Summers Lola T140

The beautiful Lola T140 complete with it’s somewhat misplaced ‘novice cross’!



  1. S Broadhurst says:

    Also there was the Ex Roy Lane McRae car resplendent in it’s bright orange colours..

    • James says:

      Sure was Steve.
      We are trying to get to the bottom of which car that was.
      Roy had two McRaes we believe, one was his championship car and one was restored to look like his championship car.

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