Battle of Britain’ Race 2 Winners !!!
Matt Nicoll-Jones on the limit…
RAF – ‘Spirit of the race award’ winners !!
The Silverstone Classic is regarded as one of the most prestigious events of the UK’s historic racing calendar and this year’s event was no exception. M & C Wilkinson had an action packed weekend in store with Matt Nicoll-Jones competing in Conor O’Brien’s E-Type in the Masters Series ‘Battle of Britain Race’, with mixed weather forecast throughout the weekend all the Team had high aspirations of challenging for overall victory at the event.
Qualifying was on Friday afternoon and sure enough as predicted the rain never stopped all day making the track treacherous to say the least. The session started under safety car so that competitors could acclimatise to the conditions. Matt was the first in the train of cars behind the safety car and once they had completed three laps the session got under way with a clear track in front of Matt he set about trying to place himself at the right end of the grid.
Ready for the start…
Sure enough on his first flying lap he set a benchmark time of 3.11.951 putting him nearly ten seconds clear of the nearest car at that point! With only a handful of laps available Matt kept pushing on his second flying lap but was unable to improve due to traffic. As the session neared its conclusion the Mini Cooper of Johnathan Lewis put in a time 0.056 seconds shy of Matt’s benchmark time. As the chequered flag fell to end the session the team watched anxiously to see if anyone could improve and move ahead of Matt. Fortunately no one was able to and Matt took pole position for race one on Saturday.
Saturday came and the forecast was good, some strong winds accompanied bright sunshine and clouds, meaning Matt would have to work hard to stay ahead of the mighty TVR Griffiths of Mike Whitaker who had qualified forth on the grid. A rolling start and straight away Mike Whitaker cleared the two Minis’ in front to then set about challenging Matt.
Lap two and they were neck and neck, as they came onto the old start finish straight the TVR’s massive power advantage showed AS Mike took the lead going into Copse corner. Try as he might Matt could not match the V8 in the dry on the straights and slowly Mike built up a gap. By the end of the race as the chequered flag fell Mike was some seventeen and a half seconds clear with Matt taking a comfortable second twenty seconds clear of the next E-Type of JD Classics driven by no less than touring car legend Steve Soper, some achievement in only a twenty minute race!!
Race 1 – Second place overall !!
Sunday’s race was the last of the weekend and again rain fell heavily all day making the day very difficult for the organisers to fit everything in to an already tight timetable. Due to the conditions the race was started like with qualifying under safety car for the first two laps.
As the safety car pulled in the race got underway and going into the first corner Abbey Matt went round the outside of Mike and into the lead at Farm. Matt pulled away by around four seconds each lap but due to the weather and the Sunday Circuit curfew at 6pm the race was cut short meaning even though we had won race two we had only recovered twelve of the seventeen and a half second gap Mike had from race one.
Even still this was an incredible achievement and drive from Matt given the conditions and he took a worthy victory in Conor O’Brien’s beautiful M & C Wilkinson built and prepared E-Type.
Race 2 – First place overall !!
Matt celebrates winning race 2 with Mike.
Following the race Matt was also awarded by the RAF Association Wings Appeal with the ‘Spirit of the race award for winning the Masters ‘Battle of Britain Race’ done in memory of Wing Commander Ken Mackenzie who flew and fought with the RAF in the Second World War and then later in his life played a major role in motorsport. Many congratulations Matt and Conor for these results and awards! All the team at M & C are immensely proud of our achievements together at the event.
RAF ‘Spirit of the race award’ in memory of Ken Mackenzie.
A history of Ken Mackenzie.
Car 8 Ken Mackenzie for the RAF racing in period…