Garland stays ahead of Wurr but Paul now leads the Championship
A feast of Morgan racing was on offer at the annual Bentley Drivers Meeting at Silverstone on Saturday 10th August including the fifth round of the Morgan Motor Company Challenge. Of the 28 competitors entered, it was particularly good to welcome once more from Germany, Christian Bock and Manfred Klingler in their Class B +8s.
The track surface was wet following early morning rain and as the practice got underway there was a succession of spinners which resulted in an almost continuous use of yellow flags. Copse seemed to hold a special attraction and Stephen Lockett was an early casualty there. It was there too that Grahame Walker's session ended, but not before he had, as usual, excelled himself in the conditions and recorded fastest lap putting himself on pole alongside Peter Garland and James Edgerton. After practice, a veritable stream of drivers was summoned before the Clerk of the Course for overtaking under the yellows. The ensuing lecture was especially hard on Stephen who had gone to his office on a quite unrelated matter and was innocent of all charges! Deemed "worst offender", Matthew Wurr was relegated to the back of the grid with a ten second penalty.
The sun was shining and the track dry when the flag fell for the start of the ten lap race. Apart from a brief moment at Copse for Tony Howard, the whole field were safely through to be led at the end of the first lap by Peter Garland, followed by James, Craig Jones and Mike Fellows. Matthew was already up to 12th having safely negotiated half the field and was setting about catching the leaders.
Grahame Walker was first of the Class B runners and Martin Kurrein was leading Class D from a very determined looking Chris Springall. Stephen Lockett was moving up the field from his lowly grid position and a great battle was developing for Class E honours, between Jack Bellinger, John Clarke and Mary Lindsay.
By lap 4 Matthew was in third and Chris Springall had passed Martin. Malcolm Paul was in 6th behind Grahame and Mark Baldwin was 9th ahead of David Rushton and James Paterson. Sadly Simon McDermott was missing having retired with mechanical problems and James Edgerton was in the pit lane with axle trouble. David James had also stopped out on the circuit and was to take no further part.
On the fifth lap, Martin made a desperate attempt to pass Chris Springall as the two came into Becketts. The resulting contact punctured Martin's tyre and put him out of the race. As this was his third encounter of the close kind during the weekend, he resigned himself to the role of spectator for the remainder of the day!
With Martin gone, the pressure was off Chris as he moved deservedly towards his Class D victory but if Simon Orebi Gann had designs on chasing his fellow Class D driver, his hopes were being dashed by the rear ends of the three cars engaged in the battle for Class E. Jack was still ahead when the rain shower came just after the halfway point but his tyres were causing him to slow letting Mary and John close up. Making good use of the conditions, Mary was behind Jack on the 7th lap only to lose it to John again by the 9th. Tony Howard's race had ended in the pits with a broken fan belt by lap eight but fortunately this was to be the last retirement. The rain had caused second placed Craig Jones to spin on the 7th lap, and as Peter Garland crossed the line for the eighth time, his pursuer in second place was Matthew.
In spite of his superb efforts, Matthew was not able to catch the flying Garland who had driven an excellent race to see off all the opposition.
In addition to Class wins for Peter Garland (A) and Chris Springall (D), Grahame Walker won Class B, Stephen Lockett Class C and Jack Bellinger Class E. With yet more changes to Silverstone this year, new lap records were set by Matthew Wurr Class A, Malcolm Paul Class B, Stephen Lockett Class C, Chris Springall Class D and John Clarke in Class E.
(c) Serena Aston