Jake Hill’s Elan takes sensational overall win in International Trophy for Classic GT Cars at Silverstone
BTCC driver Jake Hill took a spectacular victory in the International Trophy for Classic GT Cars at Silverstone, keeping his nimble Lotus Elan ahead of the more powerful cars of Michael Gans/Andy Wolfe (AC Cobra), John Spiers (TVR Griffith) and Graeme & James Dodd (Jaguar E-type).
“I’m completely over the moon”, said Hill, who was still buzzing after a great drive. “But it was hard, I lost a bit of time at the pitstops, and my windscreen was full of oil!”
On the opening lap, Olivier Hart hung on to his lead while Michael Gans nipped past Olly Bryant to take second place. On lap 2, however, Bryant pulled off at Copse, handing third place to Danny Gibson’s Cobra Daytona Coupé. As these three broke away, with young Hart opening up a small gap over Gans, runaway CLP class leader Jake Hill (Lotus Elan) moved up from seventh to fourth, passing the TVR Griffiths of John Spiers and John Davison and the E-type of Graeme Dodd. Further back, Mike Whitaker (TVR Griffith) and Roger Wills (Bizzarrini 5300 GT) fought over ninth place, chasing Julian Thomas in the E-type.
The top-ten circulated in these positions until on lap 5 a Porsche 911 was seen having rolled on its side on the start-and-finish straight. Driver Anthony Galliers-Pratt climbed out unhurt but a safety-car period was declared to recover the stricken vehicle. This lasted until lap 11 and shook up the order to no end. First, Michael Gans mistakenly entered the pits on lap 6 for his driver change but was sent out again as the pit window hadn’t opened yet. This dropped the American down to 12th place.
The next two laps, all cars poured into the pits for their mandatory stops, and after everyone had done their stop, three CLP-class cars were at the head of the field, Ron Maydon (Ginetta G4R) leading the Elans of David Tomlin and Jake Hill, followed by Spiers, Hart Sr, James Dodd, Gibson and Andy Wolfe, now in the Cobra previously pedalled by Gans. Soon, though, Hill, Dodd and Wolfe were on the move. On lap 13, Hill passed Maydon for the lead, with Dodd and Wolfe following suit. Meanwhile, Spiers, Hart, Lockie (in Thomas’ E-type), Gibson and Wills were fighting for places in Maydon’s wake.
While everyone was expecting Dodd’s E-type and Wolfe’s Cobra to gobble up Hill’s little Elan, the leader set a personal best lap time to maintain his one-second lead over the two more powerful cars. On the final lap, Wolfe did manage to pass Dodd, and set after Hill, who had to give his all to keep Wolfe at bay before stretching out enough of a lead in the twisty Becketts section to stay ahead across the line. Behind them, Spiers nipped past Dodd to claim third. Meanwhile, Gibson beat Hart Sr and Lockie for fifth
I tried at Maggotts but I thought if I do that I’ll take both of us out, so I decided against it”, said Wolfe. “This time, I yielded to the youngsters.
Hill and Maydon grabbed the top two places in the lightweight CLP class, with David Tomlin taking third, despite dropping back to 11th place overall after his short moment of glory at the front. However, when Maydon was disqualified for an infringement, Tomlin moved up a place, with Dutchman Sander van Gils in another Elan being handed third in class.
Tom Bell/Jeremy Welch (Austin Healey 3000) took C2 honours, beating rivals Keith Ahlers/Billy Bellinger in their Morgan SLR. Nigel Greensall led early on in the Healey he shared with Christiaen van Lanschot but the car faded, leaving Welch to pass Ahlers for the lead in class. The Crispin Harris/James Wilmoth Healey was third in class.
In C1, the Mark Burnett/Nick Swift Ogle SX1000 and Mark Cole/Jason Stanley MGB were the early leaders but both cars dropped out on lap 4, leaving Ryan Hooker’s MGB in temporary command. In the second part of the race, however, James Thorpe’s TVR Grantura came through to take the class win ahead of Hooker and Mark Hope in another MGB.