Bryant claims Yokohama Trophy honours in FIA Masters Historic Sports Car Championship round at Silverstone

Oliver Bryant (Lola T70 Mk3B) took victory in the FIA Masters Historic Sports Car Championship round at the Silverstone Classic in a race that looked like a walkover for Andrew & Max Banks in their thundering McLaren M6B. However, when the Can-Am limped into the pits on lap 17, the car stuck in third gear, Bryant took over the helm and successfully defended a two-second lead over Michael Gans in the Lola T290.

The first part of the race was all about Andrew Banks building a sizeable lead as the rest chased the McLaren M6B in vain. While Banks stormed off at the front, Andrew Kirkaldy’s Chevron B19 was the car on the move, completing two passes to run second on lap 2 as Olly Bryant and Diogo Ferrao kept on chasing the Chevron towards the pitstops. Similarly, Michael Gans made his way up, passing Gary Culver’s T70 Mk3B for fifth on lap 3. Henry Fletcher (Chevron B19) and the T70 Mk3B of Gary Pearson and Paul Gibson were next up.

Meanwhile, David Hart stormed up the order after a torrid qualifying session but on lap 7 he was forced to pit his T70 Mk3B, dropping down from ninth to 20th place. Max Smith-Hilliard in the Chevron B19 had gone in the same direction from the start, slipping down to 11th from second on the grid.

On lap 12, the leader was in the pits, Max taking over from Andrew while the team patched up the right front after unfortunate contact with Harindra De Silva’s Taydec Mk3 backmarker car, which after investigation required no further action. Third-placed Bryant followed suit on the next lap, but Andrew Kirkaldy’s team shot themselves in the foot by missing the pit window. Eventually it didn’t matter too much as the Chevron dropped down the order in the closing minutes of the race before stopping out on track, Ross Hyett at the wheel.

After the stops, Max Banks still held an 8-second lead over Bryant, who in turn was chased by Gans, with Martin Stretton in Ferrao’s Lola a further 15 seconds down the road. On lap 17, though, the McLaren crawled into the pits to retire, the car stuck in third gear, and suddenly Bryant found himself defending a modest lead over Gans. Further back, Nick Padmore in the Smith-Hilliard/Padmore had climbed up to sixth, but Fletcher and Culver in front were too far away for Padmore to gain any more places.

Bryant and Gans set similar laptimes on the way to the finish but a pass would not have helped Gans, a 5-second time penalty having been handed out to the American for a pitlane infringement. Stretton crossed the line 19 seconds in arrears, with Fletcher, Culver and Padmore further back, leading Gibson, Pearson/Pearson, Mike Donovan and Jason Wright in a gaggle of T70 Mk3Bs.

In the Bonnier class, Julian Thomas and Calum Lockie led all the way in their Chevron B8, well ahead of Greg Thornton’s similar B8. Andrew Owen’s B8 was third for most of the race, only to see the Sandy Watson/Martin O’Connell example move past in the latter stages.

Keith Ahlers and Billy Bellinger took another Hulme-class win in their Cooper Monaco King Cobra, Bellinger taking the lead from class-pole-sitting Dutchman Michiel Smits (Lola T70 Mk1 Spyder) who after a spin suddenly found himself right at the back. Ahlers and Bellinger finished a lap up on the Chris Jolly/Steve Farthing Cooper Monaco T61M and Andrew Beaumont’s McLaren M1B.

In the Siffert class, John Sheldon made up for his qualifying mishap by relieving the Ross Hyett/Nick Adams Chevron B16 from first position in class, which Hyett had held until the pitstops. With Adams dropping away towards the end, Jamie Boot’s B16 duly took second in class.