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2003 Race Reports

  Silverstone, England, 24-26 May 2003

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  Gary Pearson, in the JD Classics Jaguar XJR-11, won both races from pole position, but not before much drama had unfolded at the British Racing Drivers' Club 75th Anniversary meeting. Unfortunately, things started on a rather sad note when Paul Chudecki suffered a major practice shunt on the exit of Bridge corner in Don Miles' Group 44 Jaguar XJR-5. The tub was damaged and it is unlikely the car will be seen racing again for some time.

With Pearson having set a pole time breaking the lap record, and the following four cars covered by less than a second, it looked like we were in for a real treat. Win Percy, making his Porsche racing debut in Henry Pearman's 962, put the ex-Richard Lloyd car alongside Pearson on the front row, but was forced to withdraw due to concerns over excessive tyre wear.

As the field rounded Copse on the Pace Lap, Justin Law's Jaguar XJR-10 engine cut dead with camshaft sensor failure. The start was aborted whilst the Castrol-liveried IMSA car was pushed to safety. On the restart, Chris Randall (Spice-Cosworth SE88C), Harvey Cooke (Spice-Cosworth SE88C), and John Grant (Jaguar XJR-17) were all pushed from the grid with recalcitrant batteries. "Perhaps we should look for a battery sponsor!" commented one wag. Randall and Grant started from the pit lane but Cooke, in the ex-works team car, was out.

As the lights went green, Pearson hit the front chased hard by David Mercer (Spice-Cosworth SE90C) and Nick Adams (Spice-Cosworth SE88C). They were to remain nose to tail until Mercer pitted after 10 minutes with a burnt valve seat, which he had suspected towards the end of qualifying. Adams took up the fight but could not quite get on terms, the TWR Jag maintaining a lead of 3-4 seconds. With only 5 minutes to go, the gap suddenly dropped to 1.5 seconds, but Pearson hung on to claim victory. Paul Whight, in the thundering Aston Martin AMR-1, completed the podium.

Nigel James (Spice-Cosworth SE86C) looked set for a fine 4th after working night and day since his engine failure at Spa three weeks ago. The extra mileage caused by the restart scuppered his chances when he ran out of fuel with only minutes to go. Randall charged through the field from his pit lane start coming home 5th behind Jim Graham (Porsche 962C) who had a rather lonely run. Grant was doing likewise, and forged through to 6th before the Jaguar V6 fell sick after 20 minutes.

Ian Stinton (Harrier GT1) won the Invitation category finishing 6th ahead of Henry Pearman, who substituted his Prosport LM3000 for the Jaguar XJR-11. Neil Clark in the other Harrier retired after wheel-bearing failure. Richard Bateman (Tiga-Rover GC287) took class honours once again, ahead of John Pearson (Ecosse-Cosworth C285) who pitted "Henry" with poor handling due to a flexing splitter. John Edwards (Porsche 934R) and Derek Hood (Jaguar XJR-15) rounded out the top ten.

The rather high rate of attrition in Race 1 left a depleted field for the afternoon. Once again Pearson was never headed, though his victory was more convincing despite slowing dramatically towards the finish. Adams repeated his second, followed by an excellent dice between Bob Berridge, now in the Aston Martin AMR-1, and James. The battle between the grunt of the Aston versus the nimbleness of the Spice was settled in favour of the former.

Graham once again took Class 2 honours with 5th. Cooke completed the top six with a fine drive from the back of the field winning a hard fought battle with Nick Randall, who replaced son Chris in the family Spice. Stinton and Bateman doubled their Class win tallies with Hood rounding out the finishers once again.

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Winners List

    Race 1 Race 2
  1st Overall Gary Pearson Gary Pearson
Class 1 1st Gary Pearson Gary Pearson
  2nd Nick Adams Nick Adams
Class 2 1st Jim Graham Jim Graham
Class 3 1st Chris Randall Nigel James
  2nd Nigel James Harvey Cooke
Class 4 1st Richard Bateman Richard Bateman
  2nd John Pearson  
Class 5 1st Ian Stinton Ian Stinton
  2nd John Edwards Derek Hood

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