BDC Silverstone 2019
Saturday 3rd August, 2019
Silverstone Circuit, Near Towcester, NN12 8TN
Report on BDC Silverstone 2019
Celebrating Bentley’s centenary in style
The Bentley Drivers Club’s 71st annual race meeting at Silverstone – an institution on the British motor-racing calendar – once again saw another day of fantastic club racing at its very best on Saturday 3 August.
This year’s meeting was extra-special as the BDC celebrated Bentley Motors’ centenary and the occasion drew an excellent crowd to witness eight exciting races plus two stunning Bentley parades.
Bentleys of all ages – many raced by Club Members – shared the entry list with Morgans, MGs, TVRs, ACs, Aston Martins, Triumphs, Allards, Austin Healeys, Lotuses and Alfa Romeos, and many more marques besides, all tackling the testing National circuit at the historic Northamptonshire venue.
The usual exciting mix of scratch and handicap races was supplemented by events for the AR Motorsport Morgan Challenge, FISCAR (Fifties Sports Car Racing Club) & CMMC Pre-64 Challenge, BDC Sports Car Challenge & Morgan Techniques Trophy and Allcomers & TVRCC Challenge on a packed race programme (see list of race winners below).
The BDC celebrated victories for five of its Members.
Michael Higginbotham ultimately took a comfortable overall win by a margin of 48 seconds in the Bentley Scratch & Pre-War Team Challenge & Bentley Sealed Handicap race, but not before – as last year – an epic scrap with Tim Llewellyn’s mighty 8-litre 3/8 which had the crowds on the edge of their seats (main picture).
Tim had powered off the line in ‘Penny’ to initially lead before pole-sitter Michael grabbed the advantage heading into the Brooklands complex. After a thrilling scrap, Tim’s race came to a premature end, due to a water leak, two laps from the end of the 13-lap encounter having earlier set fastest lap in class.
Michael also secured the Group A honours in the 13-lap encounter, enabling him to hang on to the coveted Times Trophy which he has now won three times in a row. For good measure, he also set the overall fastest race lap.
Gerard McCosh (Mk VI Special S2) finished second overall and won Group B, while Anthony Fenwick-Wilson (Railton Light Sports Tourer) finished ninth overall and won the Pre-War Challenge prize. And Paul Carter secured the Sealed Handicap honours in his 4½ Litre as well as finishing 12th overall.
Not to be outdone, Tim Llewellyn still had reason to celebrate on the day when he swapped ‘Penny’ for the family 4½ Litre (raced earlier by son Oliver in the Bentley Scratch race) and claimed the honours in the eight-lap Bentley Handicap encounter.
Tim triumphed by a healthy 10 seconds from runner-up Paul Carter’s 4½ Litre, with another BDC Member, Matt Walton, finishing third in his 3/8 a further three seconds adrift. Simon Worthington’s extremely quick Turbo R laid down a marker by setting the fastest lap.
Elsewhere, super-quick Oliver Bryant (Morgan Plus 8) scored two impressive victories in the AR Racing Morgan Challenge Series double-header, with Keith Ahlers second on both occasions – a repeat of the results in 2018.
Less competitively, but no less impressive, was one of the day’s true highlights – a magnificent Cavalcade of Titans featuring a dozen pre-war Bentley race cars of distinction. Heading the cavalcade, and offering spectators a once-in-a-lifetime treat, was the unforgettable spectacle of the Barnato-Hassan Special, the Napier-Bentley and the Napier-Railton – an iconic trio of giants which had never before shared a race track.
Another of the day’s high spots was the traditional and popular lunchtime track parade of around 140 Members’ Bentleys, covering all production eras: Vintage, Derby and Crewe.
Off the track, aspiring racing drivers were able to follow in the wheeltracks of British hero Lewis Hamilton by testing their skills lapping the Silverstone circuit on a hi-tech Pirelli Formula 1 simulator. There was also much for Bentley buffs to check out elsewhere, including at the BDC’s Club shop, the WO Bentley Memorial Foundation garage and various traders’ stalls.
Race 1 – Bentley Scratch & Pre-War Team Challenge & Bentley Sealed Handicap: 1st overall and Group A: Michael Higginbotham (Mk VI Special); Group B: Gerard McCosh (Mk VI Special S2); Pre-War Challenge: Anthony Fenwick-Wilson (Railton Light Sports Tourer); Sealed Handicap: Paul Carter (4½ Litre)
Race 2 – AR Motorsport Morgan Challenge: Oliver Bryant (Morgan Plus 8)
Race 3 – BDC Sports Car Challenge & Morgan Techniques Trophy: Richard Plant (Morgan Plus 8)
Race 4 – Bentley Handicap: Tim Llewellyn (4½ Litre)
Race 5 – AR Motorsport Morgan Challenge: Oliver Bryant (Morgan Plus 8)
Race 6 – Barry Hopkinson Ltd Allcomers Sealed Handicap: Michael Blake (TVR Griffith)
Race 7 – FISCAR & CMMC Pre-64 Challenge: Richard Tyzack (Kellison J4R)
Race 8 – Allcomers & Group C & TVRCC Challenge: Simon Ray (ADR Sport 2)