The first Bank Holiday weekend of May was unusually sunny and with temperatures into the high twenties, the stage was set for an awesome eighth Donington Historic Festival at Donington Park Race circuit.
Race action for the assembled crowds, basking in the sunshine, was as exhilarating as hoped. The festival features 19 races across 14 grids covering 90 years of motorsport.
There was every major car brand’s racing heritage on track, including Alfa Romeo, Austin-Healey, Aston Martin, Bentley, BMW, Chevron, Ferrari, Ford, Jaguar, Lola, Lotus, MG, Morgan, Porsche and TVR.
Current British Touring Car Championship drivers Andrew Jordan, Adam Morgan and Sam Tordoff raced door handle to door handle with veterans such as, Steve Soper, Patrick Watts and John Cleland. Cleland secured second place in the Super Touring Car Challenge in his original Vauxhall Vectra, while Andrew Jordan, sharing his Austin GT40 with his father Mike, stormed to victory in the HRDC’s ‘Touring Greats’ race. Steve Soper took 3rd place in the Rover SD1 Bastos Vitesse he shared with Chris Ward in the simply massive grid line up that was the Historic Touring Car Challenge with Tony Dron Trophy. He went on to also win the U2TC Trophy for pre-66 under two-litre Touring Cars in his Ford Lotus Cortina.
British GT duo Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen were also out on track, driving to second place in a Lister Knobbly in the hard fought Stirling Moss Trophy race, while former Le Mans veteran, Ray Mallock was very, very narrowly pipped to the chequered flag in Formula Junior by Christopher Drake in the first of the two FJHRA/HSCC ‘Silverline’ front-engined Formula Junior races, but enjoyed a clear victory in the second race.
The singer Chris Rea was out in his 1957 Morris Minor Panda car – with the appropriate number 999 – and Travis drummer Neil Primrose campaigned a car in the Austin A35 Academy.
This year saw a new race at the Donington Historic Festival, named the Derek Bell Trophy grid; this race featured the earth shaking F5000 cars that Duckhams were so heavily involved with sponsoring back in period. The sound of these awesome engines spread a tremendous sound across the surrounding countryside!
Away from the track action, the visitor to this event can take a stroll through the sizeable Donington infield where a superb array of classic cars brought along by the dozens of car clubs are displayed. Porsche Club GB had its usual impressive presence, its members making the most of the incredible views of the track from their stand. Simply Mustangs UK, managed the spectacle of 270 Ford Mustangs on the Saturday.
Overhead and despite the fact that a busy modern East Midlands Airport is just a stones throw away, the Spitfire and Dakota of the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight impressed the assembled spectators.