Vredestien XK Jaguar Challenge
Report and pictures by Roger Gage
Nik Rochez might have finished further ahead had he not had an early spin at Luffield
First race of the season, last race of the day, and it’s Silverstone. Cold, windy and by the time the Jaguars went out on track, intermittent drizzle.
The AMOC 50s Sports Cars thirty minute race is a race within a race, with half the field our XK Jaguars and the other half an engaging mixture of Astons, Healeys, Morgans and with a Tojeiro and Cooper thrown in for good measure. In fact, it was Darren McWhirter in the Tojeiro who set fastest lap by a country mile and won the race at a canter.
Rob Newall in his XK120 FHC did a superb job to qualify in second place, half a second ahead of a tight group comprising a Healey 100M, an MGA, the Cooper and John Burton, also in an XK120 FHC. Just half a second covered all of this group of four, so we knew we were in for a close race here. Alexis Bouthillier has clearly spent the winter tuning his car and honing his driving, and the huge step forward that was the result meant that his was the third Jaguar on the grid. We also welcomed two new drivers to the series, Chris Scholey in a beautifully patinated white XK120 roadster and Marc Gordon in a nicely presented BRG XK150 FHC.
As the race started and the Tojeiro went away, Rob Newall consolidated what seemed to be a secure second place until the drizzle started ten minutes from the end, when his 120 suffered severe loss of grip and he dropped to fourth. John Burton, on the other hand, rose above his group to second and had a race long ding dong battle with a Healy, the latter eventually making the better use of limited traction out of the final bend to win the drag to the line, pushing John back to third overall.
Paul Chase Gardener in the only class A car (3.4 engine, drum brakes) drove superbly to mix in with the more advantaged Jaguars to finish one place behind Alexis and fourth of the Jaguars, whilst Nik Rochez might have finished further ahead had he not had an early spin at Luffield. David Wenman had also been well placed until he pulled off the circuit and Colin Youle was a late retirement with fuel starvation.
Alexis Bouthillier has clearly spent the winter tuning his car and honing his driving!
|Overall & Class C||John Burton||Rob Newall||Alexis Bouthillier de Beaumont|
|Class A||Paul Chase-Gardener|
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All information correct at time of publishing.