Thomas & Lockie bag another Masters Gentlemen Drivers win in International Trophy race at Silverstone

Julian Thomas and Calum Lockie added another victory to their already considerable season tally in Masters Gentlemen Drivers by convincingly beating the similar Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé of Dutch father-and-son duo David & Olivier Hart. Thomas passed Hart Sr on the opening lap after which the Dutchman lost ground with a contretemps with the chasing E-type of Jon Minshaw. After the stops, Lockie defended a 15-second lead to Hart Jr to bag the International Trophy for himself and Thomas.

Yes, another win, but this one feels good”, said Thomas, “as I never got on the podium at the Classic

Julian is top-level”, said Lockie. “He’s so smooth and so quick, and hands over a good car. I was pretty well flat-out all the way, and enjoyed every second of it.

“Dad got pushed off but made a great comeback”, said Hart Jr. “I tried to make the 15-second gap smaller but I had problems with the front tyres, suffering from so much understeer.”

Minshaw eventually lost out to James Dodd, father Graeme having fought Minshaw tooth and nail during their entire first stint, the two E-types often going side-by-side. In ninth overall, Andrew Haddon grabbed CLP class honours in his Lotus Elan after Steve Soper’s example stopped out on the circuit right after its pitstop. In two more Elans, Nick & Eddie Powell and Dutchman Sander van Gils took second and third in class respectively.

That was great to start with!”, said Graeme Dodd about Hart and Minshaw touching right in front of him. “I was in the front-row seat! Quite selfishly, I hoped that they would take each other out but they didn’t. James was fantastic. I mean, Jon Minshaw is a bit of an E-type legend so to beat him feels like a win to us.

Keith Ahlers and Billy Bellinger in their Morgan SLR led the C2 class all the way, beating the Austin Healey 3000s of Nils-Fredrik Nyblaeus/Jeremy Welch and Mark Holme/Nigel Greensall. In C1, the Mark Burnett/Nick Swift Ogle SX1000 stole the class win from the Rick Bourne/Malcolm Paul TVR Grantura that had led the class for almost the entire race.

On lap 1, Julian Thomas quickly grabbed the lead from David Hart, who as a result of contact with Jon Minshaw was subsequently swamped by the E-types of Minshaw, Graeme Dodd and John Pearson, before the Dutchman fought back to recapture fourth place. In front, Thomas had established an eight-second lead on the Jaguars by lap 5, while in fifth Steve Soper in the class-leading Elan held his own against the bigger cars.

John Spiers’ TVR Griffith was up next, followed by Martin Stretton in Stefan Ziegler’s E-type. Andrew Haddon’s Elan was ninth, and second in the CLP class, with Richard Cook’s AC Cobra rounding out the top ten in the opening 15 minutes.

As the pit window opened, Thomas held a lead of 14 seconds while Hart had rediscovered his pace to pass all the E-types, Dodd and Minshaw running side-by-side each and every lap, with Soper latching on to the back of them.

In the other classes, Haddon went off on lap 8 but hung on to his second place in the CLP class while Rob Fenn in third was the first to come in – not to hand over to Jake Hill but to retire. Keith Ahlers in the Morgan SLR led the C2 class ahead of Jeremy Welch in the Austin Healey 3000 shared with Alex Bell, with Nils-Fredrik Nyblaeus in third in the other Welch Motorsport Healey that Welch would take over at the stops. Rick Bourne was in front in the C1 class, his and Malcolm Paul’s TVR Grantura handsomely led Till Bechtolsheimer’s MGB and Mark Burnett in the quaint Ogle SX1000.

After the stops, Lockie in the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé taken over from Thomas still held that 14-second lead, now over Olivier Hart in the other Daytona Cobra. Ten seconds down, Minshaw now had Dodd Jr to cope with, the two E-types getting involved in more fierce battling before James Dodd prevailed – for now. Spiers’ TVR followed four seconds behind, ahead of two more E-types pedalled by Gary Pearson and Martin Stretton.

Soper having disappeared on lap 10, right after his stop, Andrew Haddon now led the CLP order, while the Nick & Eddie Powell Elan now occupied second place in class, ahead of Dutchman Sander van Gils in the bright yellow Elan. The Ahlers/Bellinger Morgan SLR – now with Bellinger at the wheel – still led the C2 class, now from Jeremy Welch in the Healey started by Nyblaeus, with Nigel Greensall closing very quickly in the Healey shared with Mark Holme. The Bourne/Paul TVR Grantura continued to dominate C1, but Nick Swift in the Ogle was closing on the TVR, having passed Bechtolsheimer for second.

At the front, Lockie and Hart Jr were setting similar laptimes, separated by some 15 seconds, the young Dutchman failing to make an impression on Lockie in the lead, who set fastest lap of the race on lap 15. As Lockie managed his lead towards the chequered flag, he added another Masters Gentlemen Drivers win to the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé shared with Thomas, even though Olivier Hart improved fastest lap of the race on the penultimate lap of the race.

James Dodd beat Jon Minshaw for third, with Spiers keeping both E-types in sight to take fifth. Over a minute down, the Pearson/Pearson E-type finished sixth, just ahead of Stretton and the Cook/Stanley AC Cobra. In ninth overall, Andrew Haddon cornered the CLP class win in his Elan, leading home the similar cars of Nick & Eddie Powell (12th overall) and Sander van Gils (17th overall).

“I didn’t go off at Vale,” said Haddon, “I got pushed off by a Cobra! Apart from that, I was just trying to keep everybody at bay. I got past Fenn fairly quickly, and didn’t see Steve all race. I guess he had a problem during the stops. The car was faultless, so top job from the team. Happy schnappy days!”

“I didn’t expect that!” said young Van Gils. “My dad showed me the P3 sign and I couldn’t believe it. Having more experience on this track now, I was able to find a rhythm. I couldn’t have gone any quicker than this.”

Bellinger completed a lights-to-flag C2 class win for himself and Keith Ahlers, while the Nyblaeus/Welch Healey managed to keep the Holme/Greensall example behind for second in class. The excitement in the closing stages came in the C1 class, Swift catching and passing Malcolm Paul for the class win.