Sensational racing in the Equipe GTS at MG LIVE! Silverstone.
RACING AT MG LIVE! SILVERSTONE. 4th – 5th June 2016.
Record 58-car grid in the Equipe GTS Race at MG Live,
Silverstone 4-5th June 2016
Adapted from the Equipe GTS Newsletter with permission from Rob Cull, John Pearson.
Words by: David Russell – Wilks and Wayne Scott
Photographs from: Mick Walker, Dickon Sidall, Peter French and Pat Arculus.
We were delighted with the turnout for our last race at MG Live; a maximum grid of 58 cars plus 1 reserve. All the team would like to say a massive thank you to all the drivers and supporters who made this event so special for us. The line up in the assembly area really was magnificent; cars the entire length of it, all beautifully prepared at arguably the most famous circuit in the UK. .
With such a huge number of entrants it was lucky that the circuit is so big. After the first lap was out of the way our drivers were able to find some space and we saw the lap times come down quickly. Robi Bernberg in the number 3 TVR Grantura and Richard Woolmer in the number 138 Turner MkII were both very fast in the early part of the session, but it was Scott Quattlebaum in the very rapid Elva Courier that was able to take pole. He was very closely followed by Mark Cole in a yellow MGB and Tom Smith also in an MGB. Less than a second separated these three cars so the afternoon race looked as though it could be very close indeed.
We saw the welcome return of Malcolm Gammons; he put in a very strong performance to take P4 on the grid ahead of Brian White in the pale blue Triumph TR4. Behind him was the red TVR of Mark Ashworth; winner of several Equipe GTS races in the past. Richard Woolmer and Robi Bernberg took seventh and eighth respectively, with John Andon in the number 6 Triumph TR4 and Brian Arculus in Triumph TR4 number 7 completing the top ten.
The Saturday afternoon race was a real delight, 58 cars streamed onto the circuit and took position, we were set for one of the most exciting races so far: Things were very close at the front in the early stages of the race; both Scott Quattlebaum (Elva) and Mark Cole (MGB) were very evenly matched, with Tom Smith (MGB) and Mark Ashworth (TVR Grantura) still very much in the running. We saw plenty of action throughout the field as several groups of cars contested the places.
An unfortunate retirement for Scott Quattlebaum on lap 9 meant that it was Cole and Tom Smith (both MGBs) who were battling for the lead, things were certainly very close between the pair but it was Mark Cole (MGB) who managed to hang on and take overall victory.
We saw a great battle between Mark Ashworth (TVR Grantura) and Richard Woolmer, Richard seemed to be able to get every last ounce of performance from the Turner MKII, but in the end the superior pace of Ashworth’s TVR secured P3.
Chris Ryan was driving the number 16 Triumph TR4 and put in another strong performance to take first in class four and P5 overall closely followed by Brain Arculus (Lotus Elite) who came home P6 overall. Chris Ryans lap times were impressive in his Triumph TR4 managing a lap of the International circuit at Silverstone in 2:38.761 with an average speed of 82.52mph.
John Andon (Triumph TR4) and Malcolm Gammons (MGB) were very close throughout the race, on this occasion it was John that triumphed in the TR4 to take seventh overall with Malcolm in eighth.
Robi Bernberg (TVR Grantura) and Pete Foster (Triumph TR4) managed to finish at the front of an amazing battle with no less than twelve other drivers to finish in the top 10.
After his retirement on Saturday Scott Quattlebaum started from near to the back of the grid for race two on Sunday. He certainly had the pace to make up some positions but would have a lot of work to do to get into the top ten. Mark Cole (MGB) and Tom Smith (MGB) both got away well, but the yellow MGB of Cole did seem to have the measure of Tom’s car in the opening laps.
It was Mark Ashworth in his TVR who challenged Cole the most after passing Smith on lap two. However Cole’s pace was just too much and he was able to stretch his lead to around 4 seconds and take the chequered flag unchallenged, with Mark
Ashworth second and Tom Smith third.
Richard Woolmer was again exceptionally quick in the Turner; he really seemed to be driving the wheels off it! He was certainly challenging Ashworth at the start of the race but again the faster pace of the TVR meant that Mark could pull clear.
Scott Quattlebaum had made tremendous progress through the field, by lap four he was already into the top 10, and possibly given more time he would have improved further, however as the chequered flag fell he was forced to make do with fifth, a great effort after starting in P40.
Another great performance from Brian Arculus in his Lotus Elite saw him take P6, his Lotus sadly not wide enough to keep Quattlebaum behind! Martin Richardson (MGB) managed to stay in front of Pete Foster (Triumph TR4) and Martin Bentley (MGB) to claim seventh. Robi Bernberg claimed the final place in the top ten after a terrific battle with at least eight other drivers who wanted to make it theirs.
There was added interest amongst the sea of MGBs and Triumph TR4s with a brace of Le Mans Spitfires run by Jigsaw Racing driven by Kevan Hadfield and Ian Smythe. The star of the show however was the Italia of Jeremy Woods, seen for the first time in full competition at Silverstone. Alistair Pugh was at the wheel for the cars first outing managing a finish down in 38th position. We look forward to following the further development of the car with appearances in more races in the future. It simply must be one of the most beautiful race cars in existence today and was a joy to see driven in anger around one of the best circuits in the world.
For more information on this race series visit: www.equipeGTS.uk