Last weekend marked our annual visit to the Silverstone GP circuit, and what a weekend it was. A definitive bucket list circuit, Silverstone GP is always a highlight on our calendar, and it is guaranteed to bring with it a bumper entry list, for both our 420R and 310R grids. This year’s event was certainly no different.
Starting with our 420R championship, it was Justin Armstrong who began the weekend with the initial advantage, claiming pole position on Saturday afternoon.
As race one began, it was Armstrong who led the way, with fellow front row starter, Gary Smith in second place. Before long, the returning Jonathan Mitchell made a bid for the lead, stealing the advantage from Armstrong during the opening lap. Mitchell had been an early championship leader, however after missing both Snetterton and Mondello Park, he was keen to make amends at Silverstone.
Once ahead, Mitchell began to edge away ever so slightly, as Gary Smith locked onto the rear of Armstrong’s 420R challenger, ready to advance. With Mitchell, Armstrong and Smith three wide across the track one lap later, and 28 minutes left on the clock, the stage was set for a thrilling encounter.
With the top three occupied, behind Mark Stansfield soon found his position under threat, as the charging Anthony Barnes sailed by and into fourth place. With another reshuffle amongst the top three ahead, Barnes soon set his sights on gaining further positions.
As positions changed corner after corner, lap after lap, in true Caterham racing style, Barnes soon found himself ahead of the pack and edging out a somewhat comfortable gap, as the squabble continued behind.
After 30 minutes of racing, it was Barnes who steered his way to victory, just over five seconds ahead of nearest challenger Armstrong, with Mitchell eventually landing in third place. Andy Perry, Stansfield and Russ Olivant completed the top six.
Gary Tootell continued his dominance in the 420R Sportsman title race, claiming yet another victory, this time finishing ahead of Matt Drew and Philipp Nagel.
As race two came around the conditions had changed rather dramatically. With additional formation laps due to what can only be described as torrentially wet conditions, the stage was set for a, rather steady, Silverstone finale.
With a reverse of the top 10 finishing positions from race one forming the grid for this second outing, it was Matt Drew who started on pole position, with Tootell alongside.
As the shortened 15-minute race got underway, the tricky conditions were certainly evident, as the 420R grid tiptoed its way around the opening lap. Sadly, falling foul to the weather, Drew soon found himself pirouetting off circuit before gathering himself and resuming his race, albeit further down the order.
Tootell quickly took the mantle, before a surprising manoeuvre from Harry Senior around the outside catapulted him into the lead of the race. Seemingly unphased by the conditions, Senior began to build a defence of just over five seconds by the time the chequered flag was waved.
Behind, Armstrong and Mitchell resumed their positions from earlier, finishing second and third, respectively, whilst Tom Hayman-Joyce splashed his way to fourth place. After starting in 10th place due to the reversed grid, Barnes made his way up to fifth by the time the chequered flag fell, with Olivant and Mark Farmer just behind.
It was Ian Cowley who steered his way to the 420R Sportsman victory this time around, with Cameron Cooper and Tootell in tow.
With an influx of entries for the Silverstone GP race, it was a bustling 310R grid, with plenty of action from both races.
After qualifying in top spot ahead of race one, it was David Yates who claimed prime position at the head of the pack, while Don Henshall lined up alongside.
As the first race got underway in sunny, dry conditions, the action began immediately. Ben Winrow was quick to transfer his sixth place start to top spot, as he fought his way to the front early on. A 30-minute-long battle saw positions change lap after lap, with Winrow, Yates, Caroline Everett, Stephen Clark, David Baldwin and Henshall just some of the names battling for supremacy.
After 13 ferocious laps, it was eventually Baldwin who crossed the line mere millimetres ahead, with Clark and Winrow in second and third places, respectively. Yates narrowly missed out on a podium finish, with the top four separated by less than one second. Everett and 7 Race Series newcomer Jonathan Emms completed the top six, whilst Paul Sethi navigated his way to a strong seventh place finish.
Onto the final race and it was very different conditions on track for our drivers. As the heavens opened during the lunch break, the afternoon action was rather restrained, however spirits were certainly far from dampened.
In treacherous conditions, our 310R drivers splashed into action. Pole sitter Charles Elliott leapt to the fore, leading the way from the off. As positions changed in the opening laps, it was Rob Warner who had managed to weave his way to the head of the pack. However, the lead changed hands once more just in time for the appearance of the safety car, handing control to Yates.
As the action resumed for the final few laps, it was Yates who led the way, ahead of Winrow and Warner. When the chequered flag came into view, somewhere in the mist, it was Yates who initially claimed top spot on circuit, however after a post-race penalty of 30 seconds was added to his result, Winrow was awarded victory, whilst Warner collected his best finish to date in the 7 Race Series in second place. Clark was promoted to third place, ahead of Baldwin, Elliott and Jake Poole.
Despite the mixed conditions it was another fantastic race weekend at Silverstone. Our now annual Saturday evening paddock social event generously sponsored by Rob Goode’s ‘Good Stone Supplies Ltd’ was a huge success, once again, which really adds to the superb paddock atmosphere we pride ourselves on here in the 7 Race Series. We must also thank Duncan Greenaway and his ‘Greenaway Architecture’ practice for hosting us all for a fantastic BBQ on Friday evening.
Now we turn our attentions to the final two rounds of the season. Somehow we are heading towards the season finale, already! Our penultimate round takes place at Oulton Park on 12th August. If you have not yet booked your spot on the grid, head to our website: https://7raceseries.co.uk/track/oulton-park-international-2/