MGCC FISCAR FLIERS/ICONIC50s
Silverstone GP - 22nd August 2014
The FLIERS had only their second race as part of MGCCs Iconic 50s race on the Silverstone GP circuit and FISCAR helped contribute cars to three of the four classes which made up the field. Although the grid size in the mid 20s was adequate, it could certainly have been larger, but it was well balanced with some interesting cars. Put together in the end at fairly short notice by Jonathan Harmer (MGCC) and the writer, it was a pretty good first effort as far as we were both concerned. The four classes were FISCAR FLIERS, Iconic 50s, original MGA types and MG T types although a couple of cars were, with hindsight, allocated to the wrong classes.
Sadly, both Jaguar XK 120s of Colin Youle and Nick Wilkins failed to materialise, Andy Moore withdrew his MGA following the engine failure at our recent Historic Inter-Marque race at Donington and John Tewson also withdrew his Frogeye Sprite following a small electrical burnout in the wiring behind his instrument panel which couldn’t be rectified in time. This loss of 4 cars was however partly offset by the addition of two late entries namely the Healey 100/4 of Jonathan Abecassis which instantly installed him as race favourite and a very exciting FLIER newcomer, Paul Griffin in the Connaught ALSR, who because of his late entry finished up in the race programme and results in the Iconic 50 class rather than the FLIER class.
Jonathan Abecassis failed to convert pole into either a lead or a win. In his enthusiasm to overcome a poor start and recover all the lost ground in the first lap, he spun in the pack. A lot of near misses ensued but he was unable to avoid Alan Kyson’s MGA Twin Cam which retired on the spot whilst the Healey limped into retirement with both front wings and ‘rare as hen’s teeth’ grill damaged. Jonathan held his hand up afterwards and it was such a shame for both cars, and with 30 minutes to run, he clearly had the pace in the car to work his way back to the front.
This all left the MGA of Mark Ellis in the lead chased by Brian Arculus (Lotus MkIX), the fast starting Bruce Riches (Elva Mk5), Graham Coles (MGA) and Alex Quattlebaum in the LECo2 with the rest of this interesting mix of cars in pursuit. A number of the FLIERS were already making their presence felt in the top half of the field and our leading Inter-Marque car was the remaining Healey 100 of Nigel Grice who had quietly slotted into 6th, a position that he held for the first half of the race, whilst Charles Fripp, in the Gomm Jaguar, our only Chairman’s car entered, in 19th place at the end of lap 1, started to work his way forward.
By the end of lap 3, Coles had moved the MGA passed Arculus and then closed the gap to the leader, the two MGB engined cars running nose to tail for a while before Coles took the lead. By this time Quattlebaum had taken the LECo into 4th intent on getting on terms with Arculus, these two proving once again to be the quickest of the FLIERS, despite the excellent 5th place qualifying pace of Howard Maguire in the MG Playford who was consistently circulating in 7th. Charles Harmer in his MG TF retired with gearbox problems after only two laps, but his brother Jonathan, who organised this race was going great guns in his TF, although not yet leading his class. A couple of laps later we lost Stuart Dean in the lovely Dick Jacobs Special, the first FLIER to retire, with head gasket failure. Disappointingly, just 2 laps later, George Edney, also dropped out with his MG Lester, the second of the two FLIER not to make the flag. On the same lap (lap 7) Nick Ashman in the leading MG T Type also retired his TC.
Meanwhile, former leader Ellis had dropped to 5th, apparently in trouble, whilst Arculus had started to edge closer to leader Coles who then retired on lap 9. Brian had posted fastest race lap on lap 8 and was already on the tail of Coles at the time of the latter’s retirement, and assumed a comfortable lead over (by his own admission!) a tiring Quattlebaum, who was nevertheless in 2nd at this point but being caught by Riches and a resurgent Ellis. Ellis on the last lap made a demon overtake on both Riches and Quattlebaum going into Brooklands only to overcook it. He got onto the grass, lost the back end and, returning to the track at Luffield going backwards, oh so nearly collected the LECo with Riches also taking avoiding action. The result was that all three cars assumed their positions prior to this sequence of events and took the flag in 2nd, 3rd and 4th positions in the order, Quattlebaum, Riches, and Ellis.
- Tony Page, the original owner of the winning Lotus MkIX, was present at the meeting and although he had to leave the circuit before the race ended, stayed long enough to see Brian Arculus take the lead in it. Tony had driven the car successfully in the 1955 Goodwood 9 Hours, a lifetime ago!
- The Elva Mk 5 of Bruce Riches was in the Iconic 50s class rather than the FLIERS only because the car is fitted with a Coventry Climax 1220cc FWE rather than the FWA 1100cc required to comply with our regulations.
- As noted above, the Connaught ALSR was allocated to the Iconic 50s class but is in a fact a truly compliant FLIER .