The outright winner of the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy race at the Silverstone Classic was never in doubt, after Gary Pearson and Carlos Monteverde posted a time of 2min 32.885sec in qualifying. Driving the ex-Border Reivers Jaguar D-type, the very car in which Jim Clark first came to prominent public attention, Gary and Carlos were just over three seconds faster than Alex Buncombe and Wil Arif in their C-type. Behind them on the front row, the full field of 52 cars was of the highest quality.
Gary Pearson pulled clear immediately at the start, setting the pattern for the race. At the end of the first lap, Pearson led by the enormous margin of nine seconds while the huge crowd focused its attention on the tense battle for second place. Wil Arif was second at the end of the first lap but only by the narrowest lead over Lukas Huni’s Maserati A6 GCS, Derek Hood’s Cooper-Jaguar T33, Stephen Bond’s Lister-Bristol and Tony Wood’s RGS Atalanta.
As the close battle for second place raged in the early laps, the progress of two cars that had experienced problems in qualifying was equally electrifying. It was obvious that Fred Wakeman’s Jaguar D-type, which had lacked third gear in qualifying, was rising fast through the field after starting in 11th place on the grid. Even more impressive was the early overtaking of Nick Adams, driving single-handed in Adrian Hall’s Lotus X. Nick had started in 31st place, way back on the 16th row of the grid, but by the 6th lap he was already passing Fred Wakeman for 5th place overall.
As Pearson stroked his D-type ever further away into an unassailable lead, the contest for second became hotter than ever. Meanwhile, Nick Adams had obviously found the natural level of the Lotus when Fred Wakeman slipped back in front of him to reclaim 5th place. As half distance came up, Lukas Huni’s precision driving was keeping his Maserati in second place by the narrowest margin but it was still extraordinarily close.
In the pit stops, with driver changes in most of the cars, Ludovic Lindsay took over from Fred Wakeman and surged briefly into second place with their D-type. Carlos Monteverde replaced Gary Pearson in the leading D-type and continued to pull away from all the rest in similar style.
Nick Adams’ impressive challenge then waned noticeably as he lost power with a mysterious engine problem. As the 50-minute race drew to a close, Andrew Smith manoeuvred Derek Hood’s Cooper into that hotly contested second position, just comfortably enough ahead of Ludovic Lindsay who held on to the final podium position by mere feet from Gary Pearson.
Pearson, who had taken over the Maserati from Lukas Huni, was therefore not only the winner but also 4th in the Woodcote Trophy, a race which was marked by high quality throughout the large field. Despite the fast pace, there were only five retirements and no incidents caused by driver error.