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Little Classics News: 4 August 2014
Photography: Tony Todd Photography

Classics Race in Rain and Shine at Croft Nostalgia Weekend

Croft Nostalgia Weekend

The fifth annual Croft Nostalgia Weekend revved into life on this weekend (2-3 August) with a high-octane blend of classic cars, retro racing, military magic, phenomenal fly-pasts and even a starring performance by a rock legend.

Croft is celebrating its 50th year of motor sport action in 2014, and there could be no better way to mark such a momentous milestone than with the ever-popular, BARC and HSCC-run Nostalgia Weekend – celebrating the very best of a golden era from the 1940s-to-1970s

Jaguar E-Types

The racing on-track was the traditional thrill-fest, whilst a spellbinding sideshow of World War Two machinery – with a Spitfire, Chaffee Tank and military encampment chief amongst the attractions – spectacular aerial displays from a Pitts Special and Jet Provost, a stunning array of classic cars and an mix of period music and dress meant there was never a dull moment for spectators or competitors.

Two particularly welcome visitors were Jeremy Bouckley and Graham Birrell, both of whom competed in the inaugural event held at Croft Autodrome on 3 August, 1964 – the Daily Mirror Trophy Meeting.

Indeed, Bouckley was emotionally reunited with the very same, ex Charlie Crichton-Stuart Cooper T59 that he had driven at Croft half a century ago – campaigned this weekend by current owner George Cooper in the Historic Formula Junior class.

Mini racing at CroftBirrell, meanwhile, competed in the Daily Mirror Trophy Meeting in a Ford Cortina GT – what he quips was his ‘theoretical work car’ – and long held the Northern Saloon Car Championship lap record at Croft in a Ford Escort MkI. The Scot was a dominant force in tin-tops around the popular North Yorkshire circuit in 1969, and continued to compete there until hanging up his helmet in 1971.

Out on the racetrack, the agile Lotus Seven S4 of John Pringle was the weekend’s first winner in Historic Road Sports / ‘70s Road Sports for road-legal cars, narrowly fending off the hard-charging Lotus Europa of Oliver Ford in a bumper 33-strong field.

Jonathan Milicevic made the most of his pole position advantage and a clear track ahead to sprint to an uncontested victory in his Cooper T59, with Jack Woodhouse in his Lotus 20/22 and Peter Morton’s wonderfully-titled Lightning Envoyette completing the bedraggled podium-finishers.

With the rain as ever proving to be a great leveller, the first Historic Touring Cars race of the weekend took place in conditions considerably more suited to the light and nimble Minis than the flame-spitting Mustangs. Sure enough, from seventh and ninth on the starting grid, Pete Morgan and Roger Godfrey wasted little time in working their way through to the front of the pack.

Ford Cortina at Croft

Godfrey’s green Mini overhauled Morgan’s red Mini to go on to triumph, with a quartet of Ford Lotus Cortinas following behind.

Sunday delivered a second dose of sublime racing action and on-and-off-track entertainment, from classic car collections to Routemaster buses.

AC/DC’s Brian Johnson made it two top ten finishes in as many races, hustling his Mini Cooper to eighth overall and class victory. And he clearly had a ball along the way.

“I absolutely loved the Croft Nostalgia Weekend,” enthused Johnson. “I just wish it had gone on for longer! I think I got to drive in pretty much all conditions, from blazing sunshine to rain of near-biblical proportions! It’s a tricky, fast and fabulous circuit and I’m still learning it now! I’m pleased as punch to have come away with a trophy too.

“The racing was fantastic. I think the drivers here must get fed on raw meat before they go out – they certainly don’t go easy on newcomers! I saw some of the best driving I’ve ever seen. There was one Mustang that went past me completely sideways – I would have applauded but I would probably have gone off the track!”

Full results from racing at Croft Nostalgia Weekend can be found by selecting ‘HSCC’ and then ‘Croft’ at: http://results.mstworld.com/Results



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