In these climatically challenging times, I suppose we should no longer be surprised at how rapidly weather conditions can switch from tropical heatwave to standard UK summer drizzle but why does this always seem to coincide with seriously special classic car events?
Last year it was Luftgekühlt at Bicester Heritage which in the midst of wonderfully warm and sunny Summer, transformed into Wassergekühlt! This year, we went from sweltering 38 degree heat (in London at least) to a state of excessive sogginess for Silverstone Classic. Sigh …………. where did I leave my waterproofs and underwater camera?
I last attended Kop in 2015 and I decided it was high-time for a return visit.
My drive out to Princes Risborough in the old 911 was uneventful but upon arrival misty and damp conditions meant parking in the field adjacent to the hill was bit like competing in a muddy rally stage. Walking from the car to the paddock entrance also made me realise that wellies might have been better footwear than trainers!
I knew it was my lucky day when I received a call from the Porsche Club GB office to offer me a last minute place for the “Evening with Jacky Ickx” event they had organised at Porsche Centre East London.
Upon arrival – I was chatting with Ed Pike (co-organiser with other half Nick of of PCGB London Region) and another club member over a glass of wine when a dapper gentleman wandered over and introduced himself to us with – “Hello – I’m Jacky”, before shaking each of us by the hand.
It was none other than Belgian motor racing legend – Jacky Ickx!
Question: What Do You Do On A Damp Saturday in Autumn?
Answer: Drag your now beautifully running 911 out of the garage and head out to a Historic Club Race Meeting (other classics will do if you don’t have a 911).
My 911 is now running beautifully after diligent further fettling by Steve Winter at Jaz Porsche. Consequently, I’ve been looking for reasons for a bit of a blast and a trip up to the HSCC event at Silverstone was an obvious choice.
The weather forecast was grim but knowing that Silverstone has it’s own micro-climate which defies logic and predictions of the Meteorological Office I thought sod-it, just go and see how things turn out. The clincher was the promise of a coffee, chat and inspection of a fellow DDKer’s 911 2.2S on my way back to London.
In BM/BD years gone by (Before Marriage/Before Daughter) me and my mates used to regularly attend club races at Silverstone, Donington and Brands Hatch. They were always incredibly friendly and enjoyable events with full access to the paddock, the garages and the grandstands around the track. It was great to be able to wander around chatting to drivers, owners and other enthusiasts and it was a privilege to see some lovely old motors being flung around the circuit as if the driver’s lives depended on a good finish.
I’m pleased to report that my latest visit to the AMOC event at Silverstone on Sat 5th Apr clearly shows that cheap (£10 a ticket), friendly, well organised and open access motor racing experiences can still be had.
This is in stark contrast to the increasingly remote and expensive F1 experience and even to events such as Goodwood Revival which have become a little too puffed up with their own self importance. Don’t get me wrong – there are some great cars (and bikes) at the Revival but it seems to be more dominated these days by professional/celebrity drivers rather than enthusiast/gentleman/amateur owner/drivers.
Surprisingly – the World Endurance Championship has managed to stay relatively sensible and down to earth in terms of expense – £20 a ticket for this year’s Silverstone round is very reasonable for 6 hours of full-on racing. The WEC events also maintain a good degree of roving access to the pits and open grandstands for the paying enthusiasts. Long may it remain so!
Coming back to my AMOC day out – it a was a really great if bone jarringly freezing experience.