Birthday Boy trackside in the sun, 9/6/19
Updated: Jul 19, 2019
Sunday 9th June and its my birthday. Wife at work and number one son is still home on leave so not sure where he is or if he's sober. So, with the knowledge that this year I'm spending my birthday alone it's off to Donington Park for day 2 of Masters Classic Racing. To be fair, I was always going to this meeting but I thought I'd try and get some sympathy from you about spending my day alone.
My motorsport photography takes me to photograph all sorts of cars and bikes but I must confess that I have an absolute love of the classics. The thought of V8 Mustangs, RS500's and classic Minis had me at the gates at 7:30am opening time, and after a very wet day yesterday the forecast for today was a nice sunny day.
Ok, first up this morning is the Classic Formula Ford Championships for cars built and raced before 1982, which covers the entire history of Formula Ford. A couple of points of interest for this race is a Lotus 69 driven by Dave Lowe who is the oldest driver on the grid at 80, and Simons Jackson's Javlin which was raced by Nigel Mansell in 1977. Standing on the bank waiting for the race to start a gentleman starts a conversation with me and informs me that his son is in the race. Unfortunately I didn't get your name although I do Know your son is Simon Clews, If you ever read this then please get in touch as I have a nice picture of your son that you are very welcome to have.
Next up we have the NK GT&TC 66-81.
This is a Dutch Championship for cars from the years 1966 to 1981 and is organised by the "Vereniging Historische Auto Ten Club". All of this information may sound a mouthful and indeed it is but the fact that this outstanding collection of cars have travelled over the continent to be on the grid this weekend is amazing. I was in my petrol head heaven with this one as we had Mini Coopers & Morgan 8s from the 60s, Mk1 Ford Escorts & Porsche 911's from the 70s and a Renault 5 Alpine from the 80s.
Here we go then, heres where I get my V8 fix. I could go on and on about the V8 in any car but if you're reading this then the chances are you know why so many people love a V8. We have a total mixed bag of racers in this one and to be honest I don't understand who's racing who. No way is a mini racing against a Mustang or a Ford Falcon. Non of that really matters though because I'm here for the sight and sounds of these wonderful machines.
Remember the days when British Touring Car was King ?, well next we have the cars from that era. everything from the fire breathing Ford RS500s to the beautiful Vauxhall Cavalier. And we are treated to a wonderful Holden Commodore which was well and truly in the race but sadly not in the points as its an invitation car. The racing for this was full on and very close, and I love the fact that some of these cars are worth incredible amounts of money yet they are still used for the purpose of their creation.
Historic Sports Cars next and a spectacular line up of cars are put out on track. These cars are from an era that started to see the Big boys getting a tough time from the more nimble 2 litre sports racers. As expected the majority of cars on the grid are Lola's (7 of the 13), but we do also have two McLarens and a couple of Chevrons. The race itself was tight and took a little time to pick up the pace but as you watch these machines go around this beautiful race circuit its just doesn't matter, these are men and women doing what they love to do and people like me watching what we love to watch.
And finally we have the wonderful Mini, not the German thing that never will be a mini in anything other than name. No, here we have the real thing and probably the most iconic British car ever made (my opinion only). The SU Carburettors Pre-66 Mini race had a grid of almost 30 cars so again as expected the racing was very tight and wonderfully enjoyable. This race has my only moan of the day, it's just too long. I can only speak as a spectator and not as owners who has put money and time into their racing and would like to win a championship as a reward for their efforts. A one hour endurance race instead of a set amount of laps is just too long.
So thats it, day over, and a fantastic day was had by all. It will always sadden me that this kind of race meeting is not so well attended by the general public as they really are missing out on a great day, however for those that did show up I'm sure you went home smiling.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and please feel free to get in touch. I will end this post by asking you to support your local race circuit by paying them a visit on race day, go and see these wonderful machines and amazing people who drive them.
PS. If the Masters Historic Racing interests you then please go and see what they are all about.