Classic Sports Car Club Winter Warmup – Race 5 (Part 2)

The only time Alex Taylor lost the lead was during the pitstop phase, as Matt Spark was pitted later than the Tuscan, but normal service was quick to resume in the top three, with Patrick Scharfegger having handed the 3rd place Boxster over to Steve Cunniffe. Throughout the entire race, there were battles everywhere, and post-pitstop this theme was to continue. Stuart Jefcoate in his Porsche 993 was running very similar pace to Raymond Barrow in his Chevrolet Camaro, Luke Plummer in his Ginetta G20 enjoyed the company of the Charlie Fulk and Ben Richardson shared Porsche Boxster, and also making comparatively quiet progress through the field was Richard Harman in his Porsche 944 Turbo, who came 3rd in last years Silverstone meeting on the National circuit, and was looking to repeat the feat as he closed in on Cunniffe.

Tom Barley in his BMW 328i E36 had been part of the group that consisted of the Neal and Hayes cars before their pre-pitstop parlay, and during that time, the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus of Geoff Beale was also in the quartet. With the impact between Neal and Hayes separating this group, Barley and Beale continued their fighting. The Phil Seaman-tuned Talbot has been in the hands of Beale since 2012, and whilst Barley has raced several different BMWs with the CSCC since 2016, this battle wasn’t showing any signs of dispersing, and adding to the mixture was the shared Porsche 911 993 RSR of former army Major David Whelan and Aidan Farrell

The BMW 323i E21 of long-time CSCC member Matthew Irons, shared with grandson Jake Severs, was also always found in a group of cars at various stages of the race, but the BMW veteran decided last year that 2023 was to be his final season of racing, either selling the BMW at the end of the year or returning it to a road car. One of the few, if not only, Grandfather Grandson combinations look set to see the year out in fine style if this race is anything to go by.

As the flag was set to fall, Taylor remained untroubled at the top, with Spark a distant, but still well-deserved 2nd, Harman a lonely 3rd, and as usual, the fighting waged on behind them. Barrow, Plummer, the Fulk & Richardson car and Jefcoate all on near identical pace, and joining that group was David Sharp in his Lotus Elise S1, affectionally nicknamed “ee-or” (the car, not the driver). Cunniffe, Beale and Farrell were almost on top of one another in the closing stages, with Barley looking on ready to pick up any pieces. A suspected fuel leak saw the Warren McKinlay and Chris Pruden shared Boxster retire with one lap to go.

On Taylor’s last two visits to Silverstone with the Tuscan, he had won the race, and he would not be denied this time either, nearly 2 minutes ahead of Spark, who had discovered early in the race that they were down a cylinder, otherwise they were confident they could have made Taylor work harder for the win. With the Modern Classics win going to the Tuscan, it was 3rd place Harmans Porsche 944 taking the Future Classics win. Only eight cars were to finish on the lead lap, such was the incredible performance of the winning Taylor Tuscan.

Classic Sports Car Club Winter Warmup – Race 5 (Part 1)

Race 5 had a little more of a classic feel about it, with the Advantage Motorsport Future Classics catering to cars from the ’70s and ’80s, and the Modern Classics giving a home to cars from the ’90s. These two groups tend to be put together when grids are combined, and this led to another huge grid, this time with 41 cars taking to qualifying, 39 of which took to the grid. The Titanic Taylor Tuscan, in the hands of Alex Taylor, was the pole sitter in the Modern Classics division, alongside former Caterham racer Matt Sparks new car, the Porsche GT3. Taylor and Spark had come together during qualifying, but this didn’t stop the Tuscan from being two seconds faster than the Porsche. The top Future Classics car was long-time Porsche racer Tony Blake in his Tuscan Challenge five-litre monster, starting in 3rd.

Once again, the field contained an eclectic mixture of cars and engines, from a six-litre Jaguar XJS of the Coppock family to a 1.8-litre Ginetta G20 piloted by Roger Hamilton, from a newer Jaguar S-Type to a somewhat outgunned MG B Roadster, the variety of the grid perfectly demonstrates what the CSCC is all about, motorsport for all ages and almost any kind of car. With the lights out, the roars and screams sang their symphonies to signify the start of the race, but it wasn’t long before there was trouble, and it again involved Taylor’s tail, this time it was Blake that had damage (somewhat ironic as Blake offered to help with the repairs to Taylors Tuscan following qualifying). Taylor was able to continue, but the reshaped Tuscan of Blake was to retire at the end of the lap, as was the Norfolk-based fast Ford collector Martin Reynolds with his Mustang Mach 1, being brought straight through to pits and on to the trailer with electrical problems.

As Taylor was confident that his mighty Tuscan, complete with body restyling, was behaving, he would continue unchallenged up front, with Spark unable to answer but keeping his new Porsche strong in 2nd place, with a superb start from fellow former Caterham racer Patrick Scharfegger, putting his Porsche Boxster into 3rd. The podium trio didn’t have too much to worry about in the early stages of the race, but behind them, it was a busy battlefield, consisting of various-sized groups from two to six-car battles for positions all through the field.

One of the more unusual entries was the Powerbell-run Jaguar S-Type, driven by Paul Last. This is the equivalent of a pool car you would be given when you take your car to be serviced, this S-Type has been seen in the hands of several Powerbell customers. We normally see Powerbell boss Colin Philpots Jaguar XJS doing battle in this group, but sadly he was not out to play. Whilst Last didn’t live up to his name, the big cat sadly retired after three laps. The next car to park was the Porsche 911 964 of James Neal and Neil Harvey, James bringing the car into the pits at the end of lap six with significant rear left damage requiring more than “gentle persuasion” to get back into shape. Richard Hayes in his Toyota Celica GT4 turbo had some damage to the front, and with Neal marching over to Hayes to have a chat during the pit stop, it was easy to deduce the cause of the collision. Hayes was able to continue in the race, the Porsche however did not fare so well.

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