The Classic, Silverstone celebrates the MGB
The MG Car Club were out in force at The Classic, Silverstone as the event marked 60 years of the MGB.
The UK’s largest historic motorsport festival concluded with Rick Astley bringing the curtain down after three days of incredible historic motor sport and tremendous displays of classic cars.
The move to a new date over the end-of-summer August Bank Holiday weekend proved to be a major success with record ticket sales, packed grids and more fun-fuelled off-track displays and activities than ever before. In total, more than 100,000 people attended over the three days with more families taking advantage of a long weekend at The Classic than ever before.
The ‘Best of British’ bill featured no fewer than 20 incredible retro races spanning 10 decades of motorsport history enhanced by interactive driving experiences, breath-taking extreme sports demos, crowd-pulling Formula 1 displays, race sims, stunt shows plus thousands of glittering classic cars sparkling in the sunshine.
Britain’s most celebrated sports car driver, Derek Bell, led an incredible parade of legendary Group C idols to mark the 40 years since Silverstone witnessed its first race for the cars back in 1982.
Also, in the line-up of races, was the historic Masters Endurance Series which offered a revival of the cars that raced in the early days of the LMP1, LMP2 and GT categories from the late -90s through the 00s. Amongst the line-up was the rarely seen Lola MG EX257 as campaigned at Le Mans and in the European Endurance Championship throughout the 2004 season. For this race it was Mike Newton at the wheel, and it was great to see this iconic part of MG history out on track again.
There were seemingly celebrities around every corner with Top Gear presenter turned farmer Jeremy Clarkson attending with his renowned Diddly Squat Farm Shop which had its first pop-up store at Silverstone while fellow car show presenter, Mike Brewer and Marc ‘Elvis’ Priestley, from the Discovery Channel’s globally successful Wheeler Dealers show, were sharing their passion and knowledge with the tens of thousands of enthusiasts.
Mike Brewer also spent time with the MG Car Club on Friday as he filmed the next instalment of Wheeler Dealers in which he and Elvis and rejuvenated an MGB in the car’s anniversary year. The MGB’s hand-over was filmed on the stand at The Classic before Sunday saw Mike Brewer join the MG Car Club for a track parade of MGBs to celebrate the models 60 years as the world’s most popular sports car. The parade also featured the MG Car Club’s very own Marathon Rally MGB driven by John Watson from the MGB Register.
An eclectic collection of great road and racing classics also came under the Silverstone Auctions’ hammer – the most notable lot being the unique black Ford Escort RS Turbo created specifically for the personal use of Diana, Princess of Wales which sold for an incredible £650,000. What caught our eye however was a delivery mileage rubber bumpered MGB that had been incredibly preserved to represent just how it would have been when it left the factory in Abingdon – incredible!
Elsewhere, an MGB appeared in the International Trophy for Classic GT Cars Pre’66 driven by Neil Fisher. Julian Thomas and Calum Lockie winning the fiercely fought 50-minute encounter in their 1965 Shelby American Cobra Daytona, less than two seconds clear of James Dodds in his solo driven 1965 Jaguar E-type. Sir Chris Hoy, sharing the drive with Marco Attard, was also in the mix this year contesting the International Trophy in a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.
Sunday morning’s MRL Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy and Stirling Moss Trophy was won outright by Roger Wills in his 1958 Lotus XV with the 1955 HWM shared by Fisken and Martin Stretton pipping the similarly aged Jaguar D-type of John and Gary Pearson to top honours among the Woodcote Trophy runners by a bonnet length.
Ben Mitchell then made it two out of two in the second of the HSCC Historic F2 sprints before James Cottingham and Harvey Stanley teamed up in their 1961 Jaguar E-type to take top honours in the coveted Royal Automobile Club Historic Tourist Trophy (MRL Pre ’63).
F1 fans enjoyed Lewis Hamilton’s championship winning Formula 1 cars displayed together for the very first time and, in another world exclusive, a stunning showcase of James Bond cars from the latest 007 film No Time To Die, soon to go under the hammer with Christie’s in support of various charities.
“Once again, The Classic has served up a phenomenal festival weekend to a record crowd,” confirmed a happy Nick Wigley, CEO of The Classic promoter Goose Live Events. “There really was something special for absolutely everyone to enjoy in the wonderful sunshine at Silverstone over three memorable days of entertainment both on and off the Grand Prix circuit.
“As ever, the non-stop racing has been action-packed, and the anniversary track parades equally outstanding – in many ways that’s a given. The addition of so much more family entertainment and attractions, though, has added yet another dimension to what’s now a real fun-fuelled summer bank holiday festival.”
Aside from the racing, the MG Car Club had a prime position on the infield where members who had booked through the club’s long-advertised discount code where able to park up within the circuit and be amidst the action. A wide selection of MG Car Club member’s cards was on display from the latest EVs through the MGAs and Triple M register cars.
Next year, Silverstone Classic will return to Bank Holiday weekend, so to join us, keep an eye on Safety fast and the website’s members area for news of the discount and booking code for 2023.