The Silverstone Classic - July 2008
The Silverstone Classic was held at the end of July, attracted 41,000 spectators and had all the hallmarks of providing a bumper occasion – so what went wrong?
Well, firstly getting into the paddock was a nightmare with over-officious security marshals who really made the competitors annoyed and this problem continued all weekend. The paddock was dominated by large empty transporters, the competitors’ motorhome park was behind the pit grandstand outside the circuit with the car trailers 1½ miles from the paddock.
And then it rained heavily and some practices had to be red-flagged.
The Formula Juniors had a particularly tough time. 1st Friday practice and almost last race on Sunday. However, this did mean they remained all weekend unlike Pre-war Legends who all left on Saturday evening. The FJ were parked on Copse runway and put on a great display under marquees with no electricity.
As the weather improved so did the mood of drivers but there was still an air of ‘doom and gloom’ and much muttering.
There was plenty to see – over 40 car clubs had displays – some aircraft and marvellous flying displays, a strange mixture of Stands (one wonders whether some of the junk should be monitored) an artist doing free caricatures and a period fun fair and helter-skelter.
There were 11 races on Saturday with various demonstrations and another 11 on Sunday – it was very busy.
And the racing? – well it was a mixed bag with the usual excitement and close racing but also some driver incompetence – too many accidents and mechanical failures. e.g. the HGPCA pre-’61 GP race had 8 DNF and 4 DNS, the pre’66 GP had 10 DNF and 2 DNS. Why?
The BRDC opened their Clubhouse doors on Sunday evening for a competitors’ drinks and eats – and jolly good they were too. It was an excellent party.
Talking of the BRDC – why did some of the racing clubs not hire the Grandstand at Woodcote? The VSCC used to do so - it is not expensive and provides an excellent viewing point – would keep the sponsors happy and more importantly, keep the drivers and wives happy.
So Silverstone, how are you going to benefit from this potentially super event?
1. Why not give each Group masses of space but demand a display unimpeded by modern cars and trailers etc? After all, there’s bags of room at Silverstone.
2. Brief the paddock marshals to use their common sense.
3. Put the unpopular transporters behind the Pit Diner? They have plenty of mechanics per car and they might even be able to walk that far.
4. Persuade competitors to keep their cars on show for both days if you want the public to see them.
Monaco and Goodwood can manage proper displays so why not Silverstone?
Bring back the fun and enjoyment this event is capable of – come on Silverstone, sort out these trifling but irritating problems, advertise the event properly, don’t use pictures of replica cars in the programme and let's go racing.