17th-18th May 2014 - Silverstone
Smith wins on the Grand Prix Circuit
Stephen Smith was the big winner in round three of the Historic Formula 3 Championship as a 17-strong field of one-litre F3 cars took to the spectacular Silverstone Grand Prix circuit.
While Smith led from the start in glorious spring sunshine, his victory was not easy as a late charge from Steve Seaman (Brabham BT21) took him briefly ahead on the last lap before Smith wriggled back ahead to win by just half a second. Seaman had worked hard to escape from a wonderful five-car battle that raged for second place.
The HSCC’s annual International Trophy is a real highlight of the season as drivers get to tackle the high-speed sweeps of the full Grand Prix circuit. It was local racer Smith who set the qualifying pace on Sunday morning in his Chevron B15 with a best lap of 2m26.002s, to go a second clear of recent series convert Michael Scott (Brabham BT28). Jim Blockley (Brabham BT21B) and Simon Armer (March 703) were close behind, while the class for earlier cars included the unique ex-Teddy Pilette Belgica of Dutch commuter Dick Van Amsterdam.
In his first race of the season, Smith managed to get an early break and went some way clear as a mighty battle developed in his wake. It was reminiscent of the classic 1-litre F3 races at Silverstone in period as Seaman headed Armer, Blockley, Stuart Tizzard (Chevron B15C) and Scott. A little further back, another fine contest raged between Leif Bosson (Brabham BT28) and Mauro Poponcini (Cooper T76).
Into the second half of the race, Seaman had finally wriggled clear of the mighty battle and set about closing the gap to Smith. Lap by lap, the gap came down and into the final lap Seaman sensed his chance as he continued to attack. The lead changed on the final lap, but Smith retaliated and dived back ahead as they raced to the flag.
“I slowed up at the end and Steve caught me,” admitted Smith after a thrilling finish. “It was a very busy race,” added Seaman, who had raced without a working rev counter. Armer managed to grab the final place on the podium, but had Blockley right on his gearbox at the flag as a fifth of a second split them. “The March isn’t very quick in a straight-line and I being passed on the Hangar Straight,” said Armer. “But I worked my way back up in the twisty bits.”
Tizzard and Scott were close behind at the end of the wonderful battle, while Chris Holland (Brabham BT21) just beat Bosson in another close contest as Mark Witherspoon (Tecno) edged Poponcini by less than half a second. Van Amsterdam won his class and just pipped John Pearson (Chevron B15) at the flag.
Other photos; Mike Faloon