Classic Sports Car Club Winter Warm-Up – Race 1

The Classic Sports Car Club celebrates their 20th year of racing in 2023, which brings with it additional excitement and anticipation of a new year of racing. On the 26th of February, the club went to Silverstone to begin the racing season. Five categories took part in six races across the day, with the days racing beginning with the Gold Arts Magnificent 7s. This class consists of anything based on the original Lotus 7 design, and whilst Caterham is the most populous marque in this category, there is usually a sprinkling of Locost, Spire and Westfield to name a few.

On the sunny (and VERY cold) Sunday in Northampton, the Mag 7 grid was a little diminished from the usually expected turnout, due in part to the very early start in the year for the club, and also due to drivers not wanting to drive at over 100mph through sub 10 degree C air temperatures in open cars, but 17 cars took the start of their first of two races of the day. The top three cars were prepared by Caterham powerhouse BOSS racing, with the pole belonging to long-time Caterham racer Johnny Pittard. Pittard is no stranger to the front of a Caterham field, but he was joined by Team Leos boss Luke Stevens. The turbo-charged CSR at his command was the car that Luke won the national championship with in 2005, which is commonly driven by David Holroyd these days. Jonathan Edwards (not the former Olympic triple jumper) qualified 4th in his maiden voyage with the CSCC, with fellow debutants Chris Mayhew starting 6th, Jonathan Constable 12th and Stephen Trinder starting at the back.

As the rolling start drew to its conclusion, Pittard and Stevens led the field over the National start line, and the dulcet Duratec tones roared into life as the race began, the first race of the year, the fighting into the first corner…… sadly led to the first safety car of the year as three cars were not going to see the conclusion of the lap. Tim Woodman and Richard Green had come together, scattering several pieces of their cars around Copse corner, and the sole non-Caterham in the field of Michael Jacobs and Rob Olley would also be caught up in the incident, reducing the field to 14 cars.

Once the ever-vigilant Silverstone marshalls had worked their magic and the safety car signalled to the field that it was time to resume, less than nine of the starting 20 minutes remained, however even with a smaller field and a shorter race, what a spectacle the drivers put on. Pittard and Stevens enjoyed a very tense duel for the overall win, supercharged 2.3 litres for Pittard against turbo-charged 1.6 litres for Stevens, both drivers giving everything they and their cars had to put on an incredible show.

Whilst the lead pair ran off into the distance, the fighting was no less intense for numerous cars behind them. CSR Superlight pilot Bruce Wilson, who has had several top 10 Mag 7 finishes at Silverstone since he began racing the car in 2015, was locked in his own duel with Nick Starkey in his C400, with another trio battling further down the road behind them, consisting of Joshua Gollin, the Lanyon brothers’ Superlight R, and the 420R of Jolyon Kemp.

In the end, it was Pittard from Stevens for the top spot, separated by less than the time it takes to blink, Edwards scoring the best of the newcomers in 4th place, Starkey overhauled Mayhew for 5th at the flag with Wilson right behind, the Lanyons broke free of Kemp & Gollin for 8th, with Constable hot on their heels and the late-charging Martin Dolan / Gary Boon shared car at the tail of the conga line, Surhid Chatterjee a distant 13th, and Trinder in his somewhat outgunned Academy car the last finisher in 14th.

Classic Sports Car Club Winter Warm-Up – Race 4

Race 4 saw the return of the Gold Arts Magnificent 7s for their second 20 minute blast around the home of British motorsport. Of the 17 qualifiers, only 13 were seen on the second race for the Magnificent 7s, the absences being the three retirees of the first race, but also Johnny Pittard’s duelling partner up front Luke Stephens was nowhere to be found, which was a shame as a resumption of the lead battle would have been amazing to see. The three retired cars from race one, we can understand, but the reason for Stevens no reappearing was somewhat unusual. No damage to the car, no electrical fault of any kind, he had found a buyer for the car. The days racing was being used to demonstrate how competitive the car still was, and the tactic worked a treat. Whether the sale was completed trackside, only Luke knows.

The grid was formed from the finishing positions of the previous race, with a 10-place grid penalty for Pittard as the winner of the race, and with Stevens’ absence, Richard Carter had the front row to himself. Having had a comparatively lonely race 1st time around, Carter could well have faced a more challenging prospect this time.

As the yellow number 42 of Carter led the field over the line, this time the safety car would not be called up as the field swarmed through the first lap without incident, Pittard with his 2.4 litre supercharged monster was 2.5 seconds into the lead from 11th on the grid by the end of lap 1, and there he remained unchallenged until the flag, but behind him, the battles raged on. Bruce Wilson and Chris Mayhew resumed their duel from the first race, with the trio of Joshua Gollin, the Lanyon brothers and Jolyon Kemp reforming their conga line. Wilson and Mayhew swapped their positions several times in the quest for 4th, but a mistake from Kemp on lap 4 saw his conga spot taken by Johnathan Constable.

By the final flag, Pittard had secured both wins of the day, the second by over 30 seconds from Carter, who was nearly 14 seconds ahead of another superb (if a little lonely) outing by Johnathan Edwards, Wilson just managed to fend off the determined newcomer Mayhew, Lanyon was the conga champion in 6th place from Constable and Ben Salmon, Gollin had made a late mistake dropping him to 9th, with the Martin Dolan & Gary Boon car, Surheed Chatterjee and Stephen Trinder finishing a lap behind.

Magnificent Seven for Marquez!


Moto GP was back in America!

Viewers would have noted that Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) was missing from the Qualifying sessions (and indeed the race) as he took compassionate leave due to the tragic passing of his cousin Dean Berta Vinales, last weekend.

Q2 saw a surprise lap from Luca Marini (Ducati), which took him through to Q1 where he finished 9th on the grid.

But it was a third pole in a row for the other impressive Ducati rider Francesco Bagnaia. Putting in a time of 2:02.781 over Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) in second and Marc Marquez (Honda), who took last place on the front row of the grid.


It was the first time back on American soil since the pandemic struck. It should have been wonderful news but for many riders it caused some grievances – mainly due to the ever-deteriorating track conditions. It had become even more bumpy and the track surface even poorer, with visible differences in tarmacked sections. Some riders had even gone so far as to say that if the track wasn’t fixed they would not return next year.

Regardless of the track conditions, Marc Marquez was determined to win again at the Austin track. He gave himself the very best of starts, flying straight into first from third. Leading Quartararo and Alex Rins (Suzuki).

Marquez in a lead of his own. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Lap 2 of 20, saw Jorge Martin (Ducati) pass fellow Ducati rider Bagnaia and gain fastest lap in the meantime. At the other end of the pack though Takaaki Nakagami (Honda) took a tumble on turn 12, but managed to continue on into the race, finishing 17th.

Lap 3 saw Jack Miller (Ducati) pass Brad Binder (KTM) and Joan Mir (Suzuki) for a place behind teammate Bagnaia, taking fastest lap from Martin soon after. Would Miller decide to remain behind Bagnaia or try to pass?

Gaps started to appear quite early on in the race with the Spaniard out on his own from Frenchman, Quartararo, then Martin and Rins. Marquez was out to prove that he could still conquer at COTA.

The leading riders had all chosen to use hard front tyres and soft rear tyres, except the Australian Miller, who had opted to ride with two hard tyres. Was there something that Jack knew and the others didn’t? Or was he gambling on his tyres having something extra towards the end?

Lap 5 saw Johann Zarco (Ducati) leave his race early and crash out turn 1. While teammate Martin passed Rins again, after losing an earlier battle between the two. He quickly started to pull away from the Suzuki and put some pressure on Quartararo, who was still in 2nd.

Second to third. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

It was then time for Miller to make his decision and on lap 6 he passed Bagnaia. Could he use his tyres and get near to the top four? Rins was soon in his sights and Miller quickly passed him for fourth place.

With 12 laps remaining the gap grew bigger still between first and second, with Marquez constantly doing metronomic laps from Championship leader Quartararo. The gap became 1.736 seconds.

It was a disastrous weekend for Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro, after having crashed numerous times over the weekend, he crashed once more- lap 10, turn 13, ending his race early.

Also half-way through the race Bagnaia passed Rins for 5th, knowing he needed to gain some more points on Quartararo for his championship hopes to stay alive. Was it too little too late?

Meanwhile, still leading, Marquez was busy proving all the doubters wrong about his physical abilities and was still gaining a lead over Fabio. Having created a 2.930 second lead. Quartararo stated that “it tastes even better than a victory” to remain in 2nd, knowing that he still had a lead over closest championship rival, Bagnaia.

Lap 13 saw Jack be the ultimate team-player and let Pecco past for 4th place. Having the precious championship points in mind for both Ducati and Bagnaia. Perhaps he was also having tyre issues with his choice of both hard Michelins, as soon after Rins passed him for 5th.

Miller lead Bagnaia before letting him past. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Continuing to put in impressive laps, Marc was stunning audiences with his continuous lead extension, up to 3.499 seconds from Fabio.

Bagnaia had another Ducati rider in front of him by lap 17, in the form of Jorge Martin. Speculation occurred when Martin went wide and soon after Bagnaia passed him to get the last podium position. Was this a purposeful maneuver from Martin? Or just a simple mistake? Whatever the reason Bagnaia went through while Martin received a long-lap penalty for cutting turns 4 and 5.

Last Lap:

Marquez had increased his lead even further and was 4.512 seconds ahead of Quartararo, who was also 4.513 seconds ahead of the two Ducati’s of Bagnaia and Martin. Martin decided to take his long-lap penalty and came back on track behind Rins for 5th place. Becoming the top independent race finisher. Mir nudged past Miller and in doing so Enea Bastianini (Ducati) passed them both to take 6th spot.

Marquez sailed over the finish line for his 7th win at the Circuit Of The Americas and for Honda’s 450th Premier Class podium. Celebrating in style with a tribute to the late Nicky Hayden #69.

Marquez celebrates victory with team. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Marquez was certainly back on form and was impressive from lights out.

Race Results (Top Ten):


M. Marquez


F. Quartararo


F. Bagnaia


A. Rins


J. Martin


E. Bastianini


J. Miller


J. Mir


B. Binder


P. Espargaro

Even though Mir passed Miller on the last lap, the stewards demoted Mir one place for irresponsible riding (results above include this decision).

Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) also picked up the last point and set fastest lap during the last lap.

Championship Results Update:


F. Quartararo

254 points


F. Bagnaia

202 points


J. Mir

176 points


J. Miller

148 points

With only three races left until the end of the season. Could we see Quartararo wrap up his championship next time out? Will Marquez continue to improve? Or will we see another new race winner for the year?


(Featured image- Courtesy of: Moto GP Twitter page).




Dean Berta Vinales. Courtesy of: Moto GP Twitter.

Always in our thoughts: Dean Berta Vinales. Taken too young. 

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