Autosport joined forces with touring car ace Anthony Reid for some classic racing, piloting a diminutive Austin A30 to class victory
Classic motorsport is a beautiful thing to spectate and a real privilege, should you be able to take part. In fact, if the recent Goodwood Revival Kinrara Trophy is anything to go by, vintage racing is considerably more entertaining than many modern series. Autosport took part in a Historic Racing Drivers Club academy race with none other than touring car legend Anthony Reid in an Austin A30, demonstrating that big fun can be derived from the smallest packages.
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Autosport’s resident racer Ben Anderson suited up for a Historic Racing Drivers Club race that encompassed classic tin-top models from the 1950s and '60s, featuring a grid consisting of fantastic machinery ranging from Alfa Romeo GTAs to a Ford Cortina and even a Jaguar Mk VII.
A popular choice was the Austin A30 and A35, both of which should probably carry a safety warning due to their handling deficiencies, with a propensity for rolling over. Regardless of the perils of racing an A30, Ben and Anthony piloted a lovingly restored example dubbed 'Galloping Gertie’.
The plucky little A30 took part in two races on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit, one with Ben flying solo, the other with a driver swap including Anthony Reid. Qualifying on pole for both races put the pair in the best possible position for victory.
Ben’s first race was far from trouble free with the need to dodge stalled cars on the grid, being sideswiped by others, and then hitting a patch of oil. Despite his trip into the gravel, Mr Anderson redeemed himself by passing two competitors at once to take victory.
Race two began with Reid in the driver’s seat. 'It’s easier to tighten the belts than loosen them’ he points out, referring to his now less-than-slender frame. Reid's wealth of sportscar experience from events like Le Mans, where driver changes are crucial, also came in handy.
As the flag dropped, Reid passed struggling cars and immediately started posting times equal to his fastest in qualifying. Two safety car periods later, and some impressive driving in-between, it was time to hit the pits for the driver change.
Practice makes perfect as was proven by a faultless driver swap — the second fastest overall. The little A30 ran inside the top six overall despite it being one of the slowest cars on track. Overheating tyres posed a problem for Anderson late on though, falling foul of the traffic in a congested multi-class race. While a few places were lost, the duo ultimately claimed class victory and fastest lap.