Grand Prix Gladiators

The full Silverstone Grand Prix circuit played host to the opening rounds in the Mini racing calendar on 18-19 March, with packed grids on both days and action right throughout the field.

With points on offer for both the main National and Winter Challenges, a highly competitive 57-car entry turned out for this BRSCC-run meeting on the 3.6604-mile track.

In Saturday afternoon’s opener the watching audience – both trackside and via livestream – were treated to a pulsating 7-car Miglia battle for overall honours, with the final nod in the top 1.3-litre class going to Jeff Smith by a narrow margin from Nick Padmore, while Richard Colburn held off Peter Hills in the up-to-1400cc Libre category.

In the newly tweaked 1000cc Se7ens, it came down to a straight fight between Mike Jordan and Spencer Wanstall. The former triumphed although the latter established a new lap record, likewise Matt Ayres having enough in hand over Frazer Hack to secure S-Class spoils, 3rd-in-class Jonathan Page also lowering the 1275cc lap record.

Sunday morning was colder and damper which led to crucial tyre choices. Those opting for wets seeing their gamble pay off, both Andrew Jordan and Aaron Smith able to pull away in the early stages as their slick-shod rivals struggled for grip on a track that barely dried over the duration.

Their duel was maintained throughout to a grandstand finish and just 0.360s the difference, while Richard Colburn reeled off a Libre double victory well among the top Miglia runners.

Joe Thompson was able to stay with the lead Se7en battle this time around, and manoeuvered himself into a winning position on the last lap as Mike Jordan slithered wide and Spencer Wanstall was delayed by a spinner.

Not far behind this trio, an excellent drive by Matt Ayres not only secured a second S-Class victory but he also remained the only unlapped car in his category, Andy Hack and Jonathan Page completing the class podium.

Another noteworthy effort came from Glen Woodbridge whose Se7en had been damaged beyond repair by a circuit recovery truck in the first race, but who was able to finish 7th in class in the second race thanks to the selfless loan of dad Paul’s own car after agreement from his fellow club racers.

Mid-April sees the next stage in the Dunlop Mini Challenges supported by Mini Spares, with a visit to Donington Park in the East Midlands on 15-16 April.






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