Whilst delighted to fit the Classic Sports Car Club’s visit to Thruxton into my 2023 schedule, I was grinning like Cheshire Cat when the historic section of the entry list was released, thus setting in stone a second ever trip to the UK’s fastest circuit!
With so many historic racing events these days, the luxury of reserves appearing on an entry list is something of a rarity. But that is exactly what was required for the combined Group 1 and 2 40 minute Adams & Page Swinging Sixties race where a monumental 42 cars took the start with machinery ranging from MG midget to Mustang Mach 1 and almost everything in between!
After what seemed like an inevitable early Safety car period, the race soon developed into a two car battle for victory with the more nimble Lotus Elan 26R of Anthony Hancock keeping the V8 Ford powered TVR of Jon Wolfe at bay before the mandatory pit stops.
It was roll reversal after the aforementioned stops however as Callum Lockie (taking over the TVR Tuscan hot seat) emerged in the lead. But just as we were gearing up for an almighty battle to the flag an uncharacteristic mistake from the experienced historic racer saw the TVR spinning out of contention at the complex leaving the way clear for the ultra rapid Ollie Hancock (taking over from father Anthony) to stroll to a commanding 19 second victory aboard the Swedish flag coloured Lotus.
Behind, Alex Thistlethwayte entertained onlookers by sliding his Mustang around (what appeared to be) every corner of the Hampshire circuit and looked set for a well deserved second, only to be disqualified for a safety car infringement. This left the podium positions to be filled by the Datsun 240z of Dave Cobb and remarkably the MG Midget of Connor Kay!
In fact it turned out to be an excellent coronation weekend for the Hancock father and son team as they later claimed an even more dominant victory in the 1 hour Mintex Classic K race. The highlight was however the incredible battle for second which seemed to go on for most of the race! Initially Thistlethwayte (Ford Mustang) was able to keep the chasing smaller engined cars at bay but eventually Paul Tooms (Lotus Elan) and Fabio Randaccio (TVR Griffith) were able to find a way past. Tooms looked set to make it an Elan 1-2 but a spin at the chicane followed by a late drive through penalty condemned the Lotus pilot to the final step of the podium. Randaccio meanwhile will have been over the moon with second having fought back from last after a slow get away from the grid!
Matthew Ellis would put his stamp on the Advantage Motorsports Future Classics race by building an enormous lead aboard the family Talbot Sunbeam Lotus before handing over to father Martyn. A 1 minute penalty for speeding in pit lane would however land Alex Taylor in the rotary engined Mazda RX-7 the race victory; in itself an excellent achievement following a back row grid position courtesy of air duct issues in qualifying and then having to manage high temperatures in the final stages of the race!
Elsewhere Andy Southcott aboard the MG Lenham Midget set the fastest laps of the day on his way to double victory in the JMC Racing Special Saloons and Modsports races, whilst the guesting Morgan challenge victories would go the way of Shane Kelly and John Emberson.
Always a sucker for a sixties era endurance style event, the Mintex Classic K race in late afternoon glorious sunshine was an excellent way to end proceedings. The memory of Thystlethwayte’s Mustang taking on Allard sideways in an attempt to keep Elan, Griffith and Marcos behind will long stay in the memory bank. The close proximity of viewing Thruxton’s incredible corners (Allard in particular) is just not something that can be replicated at any other UK circuit! I’ll be trying hard not to leave it another 9 years before my next visit!