Historic Motorsport: Ex-F1 racer's Sierra RS500 returns to action

Iconic ex-Guy Edwards Kaliber-sponsored BTCC Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth returned to racing at the Silverstone Classic in the hands of historic racer Julian Thomas

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After 25 years in a private collection, the ex-Guy Edwards Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth returned to racing at the Silverstone Classic.

Prolific historic racer, notably in a Jaguar E-type, Julian Thomas recently bought the 1989 car from Adrian Hamilton and raced it with regular partner Calum Lockie at the weekend alongside their Jaguar E-type, Ford Falcon and Chevron B8.

The Group A car, built and run by Andy Rouse, was used in the ’89 BTCC by former F1 racer Edwards in Kaliber non-alcoholic lager colours. Rouse also raced the car at Silverstone that year and claimed a podium finish.

'I was lucky enough to work with Andy Rouse in that period and I used to see this car in his workshop and just drool over it,' said Thomas.

'I was doing some electronic work on his Toyota Carina. I used to love watching the RS500s in the day and I was a massive Andy Rouse fan. The chance to get this car was amazing and when I saw it for sale the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.

'I thought I probably couldn’t afford it, but I still had to ask! It is so original and it had not been raced for 25 years until the weekend. We’re going to slowly develop it.'

Thomas promises that the car will be raced as competitively as possible but was a first lap retirement after qualifying a highly encouraging second fastest in the Historic Touring Car Challenge.

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Smith makes racing return

Jeff Smith, the BTCC racer seriously injured at Croft in June last year, made his racing comeback in a Mini Cooper S at the Silverstone Classic.

Smith suffered his injuries during a multi-car accident in qualifying and has been in recovery for over a year. He was only cleared to race again on Friday morning and went straight to Silverstone to qualify late on Friday afternoon in the car of Scott Kendall.

'I had a concussion test on Thursday, an MRI scan Thursday evening and got my licence at noon on Friday,' said Smith. 'I’d never driven the Mini before qualifying.'

They finished 20th overall and fifth in class in the 45-minute Transatlantic Trophy race on Sunday. 'It feels good to be back and this is a good way to play myself back in,' said Smith. His future racing plans are yet to be decided.

The 100-year sabbatical

Nearly 100 years after it was last used, a rare Pope Toledo Gordon Bennett from 1904 returned to action recently at the Chateau Impney hillclimb.

Edwardian car enthusiast Hicky Hickling has rebuilt the 10-litre monster over the last 15 years.

It raced in the USA in 1904 and contested the 1905 Gordon Bennett race at Clermont-Ferrand in France. It even ran at Pikes Peak in 1907 but had not been used since the early 1920s.

'It’s been a labour of love. I bought it as a pile of bits 15 years ago and have been slowly collecting parts and rebuilding it,' said Hickling, who first drove it across the Chateau Impney paddock.

Sadler to keep on racing

Canadian race car manufacturer Bill Sadler (86) was a visitor to the Silverstone Classic but was denied the chance to race one of his 1957 Formula Junior designs due to a health issue.

Instead, Sadler offered the car to experienced historic and vintage racer Julian Majzub, who owns and races one of Sadler’s V8-powered sports-racing cars.

'I raced this car for a full season in the UK in 1958,' said Sadler. 'I was due to race but lost my licence due to a temporary medical issue. I certainly plan to carry on racing.'

Two of the 12 Sadler Formula Juniors were at Silverstone but Sadler is best known for his early 1960s sports-racers.

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Rich pickings

The Ford Anglia of Malcolm Rich and Arwel Blainey heads the new BHRC2, after four of the season’s eight events. Over 20 crews have already scored points in BHRC2, which has been created to turn the spotlight on the Category 1 (pre-1968) cars and all other up to 1600cc cars in the MSA British Historic Rally Championship.

At the mid-season break, 32 points cover the top four crews. Rich has taken the early advantage from Robin Shuttleworth/Ronnie Roughead (Ford Escort Mk1), Rikki Proffitt/Graham Wild (Porsche 911) and Bob Bean/Miles Cartwright (Lotus Cortina). The season resumes on Sunday’s Harry Flatters Rally.

Bennett returns to road

BHRC contender Steve Bennett will rally a Ford Escort on asphalt for the first time in 30 years on this weekend’s Harry Flatters Rally. Bennett says his last event in an Escort on sealed surfaces was the JJ Brown Road Rally in late 1987, which was the final event in the era of the Motoring News Rally Championship.

Trackrod Historic Cup finale details confirmed

The Trackrod Historic Cup, the final round of this year’s BHRC, will cover 57 competitive miles on Friday evening and Saturday (September 28/29). The event will again be based in the seaside town of Filey and the historic crews will tackle 12 miles in Dalby on Friday night before a further 45 miles in the Yorkshire forests on Saturday.

Historic FF leader in Ford Galaxie switch

Historic Formula Ford Championship leader Ben Mitchell raced the huge Ford Galaxie of Michael Steele in the Transatlantic Trophy race at Silverstone. 'Michael asked me to race the Galaxie and it is a lot of fun with plenty of power,' said Mitchell who drove three other cars over the weekend including a Ferrari 500TRC, a Lotus 11 and the BRM P48 Grand Prix car.

Wrigley races four cars at Classic

Mike Wrigley raced four cars at the Silverstone Classic and shared two of them with his 23-year-old son Matt. It was a first race in his Pre ‘63 GT specification Jaguar E-type for Wrigley senior in a car that had not run for a couple of seasons. They also shared his Chevron B19 but could not share his other E-type in Gentleman Drivers as Matt is too tall for the car. Instead, Matt raced their March 721G in the Masters Historic F1 races.

Father and son take five cars to Silverstone

Father and son team Keith and Stuart Roach took five of their Formula Juniors to Silverstone and each raced two cars across the four races. Stuart raced a front-engined Condor and a rear-engined Alexis, while Keith handled a front-engined Alexis and a rear-engined Condor. The fifth car, another rear-engined Alexis, was raced by Ginetta racer Keith Pickering in his historic racing debut.

Brindle debuts Cortina

Period touring car racer Adam Brindle has added the ex-Andrew Beaumont Lotus Cortina to his Triplex liveried Rover SD1 and made his debut in it in the U2TC race at the Silverstone Classic. Nigel Greensall shared the RW Racing-tended Cortina, a car he previously shared in some two-driver races with former owner Beaumont. Brindle and Greensall finished 11th on Sunday.

Facebook finds a Formula Junior

Jon Milicevic made a late change of Formula Junior car at Silverstone when he borrowed the ex-Denis Welch Merlyn Mk5/7 of John Sykes. Milicevic was due to race a Lotus but when that car was not ready, a Facebook message secured the Merlyn which Sykes delivered from Manchester in time for Milicevic to claim a podium finish in the opening race.

Pictures courtesy of Paul Lawrence

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