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    Silverstone Classic - July 2017.

The Silverstone Classic is an annual three-day car and race event at the UK's Silverstone circuit, home of the British Grand Prix. Over a long weekend every July, the event features a large number of historic cars in races and static displays and draws together a large number of car clubs. It is billed as ‘The World’s Biggest Classic Motor Racing Festival’. This is the second year we have had a Club stand at the event.  The price is very reasonable as if you are part of a club that has a club stand you can exhibit your car on the stand in the Club stand area for 3 days and have 2 tickets for 2 people for each of the 3 days for £15.00 each this is £99.00 for the whole weekend and gets you three days’ worth of racing which is over 24 hours’ worth, access to all the pits and when I say access you can walk in and look at the cars close up.  And 2 music concerts. The weekend started early Friday morning where we meet up with Phil Scaiffe who was the other Club Member on the stand for two days in his Cavalier Mk1 Sportshatch at Towcester McDonalds.  Phil arrived with a Fan belt issue, the car last being on the road at the 2013 NEC, so had to change it with assistance from a friend of mine Robert Foster who was attending Friday and Sunday with me. We soon headed off to Silverstone wisely going the back way through Silverstone Village.  We arrived straight into the circuit and drove right round to the tunnel near the National Pits.  We drove through that and into the trade and car Club area next to copse turn.  We had a very nice location next to all the food outlets, the trade stands, the toilets and the fair. We parked up the two car’s and setup the stand.  We then headed off for some breakfast.  I then suggested that we went on the Big Wheel (Which was Free) so Phil could get some idea of the scale of the event as not only is there the National Pits but in the afternoon action switches to the International Pits (Silverstone Wing).  Buses run regularly around the inside and outside of the circuit (all free) to take you there. We then walked through the trade stand taking in the back of the National Pits where the first qualifying was getting ready to go out.  We then had a wander around the Porsche stand (over 900 according to the show guide much more common than a Chevette or Cavalier!!)  and the Aston Martin and Ferrari stand.  Having taken in some more qualifying we had some lunch.  We meet Fred who was doing the Retro Road Run with a friend of his for the 3 days of the event.  During the lunch break, there is a parade lap of cars that have birthday celebrations this year.  (Hope to get some Cavalier Mk3’s out for next year’s event, the Mk3 is 30 Years old next year). We then headed down to the International Paddock where the 1980’s F1, Group C and Super Touring Cars are located.  We headed for the one Vauxhall Cavalier Mk3 Touring car in the event owned by Tony Absolom.  This car was used in 1996 and 1997 in the British Touring Car Championship and was the last Vauxhall Cavalier Mk3 to take part in the Championship driven at that time by Jamie Wall.  Tony stood with the car so we could take a picture of him with it.  We also had a good look around the car and chatted to his mechanics. We then we asked would we like to see the Williams-Renault FW14B Formula 1 car that Nigel Mansell won the F1 Championship in 1992 start up.  So, we took a look.  All I will say was it was rather loud.  But very spectacular when it was on the track latter on. Day 1 ended and I made my way home dropping Bob off.  We left Phil’s car on the stand as Phil was stopping at mine.  We decided not to stop for the Evening concert as by this point the weather had turned but if we had it was the Boot Leg Beatles. Day 2 arrived and this time another friend of mine Andy joined Phil and I.  We also had a spare ticket today so managed to get Simon Downs in to the event.  Also attending visiting today as a visitor was Sean Morriaty.  Fred was also here again with his Chevette HS. There was a lot more car’s on the different Club stands today.  It was this day that we noticed that people were looking at Phils Cavalier Mk1 Sportshatch and then walking to the back of the car, you could then see then read the badge on the back of the car and say word to the effect of “It’s a Cavalier”.  This went on for most of the weekend. Later in the day we headed down to the International Paddock and took some seats in a Grandstand overlooking the bottom of the track.  Over the Course of the weekend there was a Celebrity Race in Austin A30/A35’s.  Which included people such as Ant Antsted, Amy Williams and Brian Johnson (AC/DC), Brian actually rolled his car and didn’t take part in the race. We watched the track parade’s and the three TWR Jaguar XJ220C’s that took part in the 1993 Le Mans Race and won but to be latter disqualified as they ran without Catalytic Converts. The Touring Car Race was coming up so we made our way up to Luffield and Brooklands at the end of the Wellington Straight to watch the Race as we thought this was a good corner to be on.  Fred was also at this corner in his Chevette HS. The touring car race was very good Tony was up to 6ht Place out of 43 when disaster struck, running behind a Ford Mondeo, the Ford dropped oil coming into Brooklands (the famous corner where John Cleland put his Cavalier on two wheels in 1992).  Tony lost the car and spun and just managed to not hit the barrier to hard straight in front of all of us.  None of us had our cameras ready but by the time we did, Tony had spun the car around and was back on the track and heading for the pits. The weather then changed for the worse and we decided not to stop of the Tony Hadley and Dire Straights experience concerts.  Phil made his way back to Hull and Simon back home and I dropped Andy off. Day three arrived just me and Bob today and Fred on the Retro Road Run.  Bob and I took it easy today taking in more the trade stand and paddock.  Fred took part in the Track Parade today so Bob and I headed for the Woodcotte Grand Stand to take some pictures of him. Afterwards we headed down the International Paddock to see what damage Tony had on the Cavalier.  We arrived to find the front of the car and rear of the car removed and Tony and his crew working hard on the front right suspension.  We had a quick word but didn’t want to take up his time.  He did say that just before that point he had done the quickest time he had ever done in the Cavalier on this GP Circuit. We watched the Celebrity Race from the Grand Stand and also the Jaguar Challenge, mostly E-Types but a few Mk2 Jags as well. We then headed up to meet Fred and his friend at Fred’s Chevette.  It was at this point that the weather dealt another card.  This time the rain came earlier than the last few days right at the start of the Group C Sportscar race.  Bob and I headed for cover.  Then we noticed Fred back it his car, he then called to say he would collect us and we would drive to the grandstand in his Chevette HS.  Getting 4 people into a 2 door Chevette is not easy!! We were all set for the Final Touring Car race, the track by this point was drying as the sun was out.  But we were expecting some great action.  What we didn’t expect was Tony to spin again in front of us on the Luffield corner (The spot where John Cleland was taken out by Steve Soper).  Weather he was caught out by the damp or if the car was not 100 correct at the front right we don’t know.  However, he then took a trip across the grass and re-joined at Woodcotte. The Race ended, we said our Goodbyes and headed home. I’m aiming to have stand again next year so keep an eye out for the Ticket offer at the start of 2018.  Also 2018 is 30 years of the Cavalier Mk3 so if we can get a few cars at the event that would be great.  The GAZ Club from Russia were on the parade. Kevin Bricknall (602)