An impressive 2016 debut at Goodwood Members Meeting in March, JD Classics were hoping for more of the same at last weekend’s Donington Historic Festival. A popular bank holiday event for many a racing enthusiast, JD Classics this year took part with six cars across three of the weekend’s races.
A clutch problem in qualifying meant the Ford Cologne Capri of saloon car driver Steve Soper and JD Classics’ resident driver Chris Ward qualified in 10th place on the grid. This was however rectified by the JD team and the Capri was soon back to its best ahead of Saturday afternoon’s race. With Steve Soper first to take the driver’s seat in the 50 minute race, it was by lap 4 that the touring car had fought its way through the field and into second place. With the pit window approaching, light rain started to fall. As Steve held station in second place and continued to maintain his chase on the front runner, the team made a tactical decision to keep him out as long as possible unless the weather deteriorated further. As the weather worsened and the pit window was coming to a close, the Capri was brought into the pits. A quick driver changeover and a new set of wet tyres later, Chris Ward and the Capri returned to the track to continue its chase. A pit lane timing monitor failure meant the team were unable to confirm his exact position during the remainder of the race, however it wasn’t long before the JD Capri was leading the field to an unrivalled victory. The distinctive Datsun 240Z ‘Big Sam’ of John Young and Andrew Smith qualified 8th overall and 1st in its class. Despite a technical problem during the race, Big Sam still managed to finish 3rd in its class.
The Austin Healey 100S of Derek Hood and John Young and the Jaguar XK120 of Steve and Josh Ward qualified with the pre-56 sportscar field of the RAC Woodcote Trophy. Within a 28 car field, the Austin Healey qualified 9th overall and 2nd in class while the XK120 qualified 3rd in its class. Sunday afternoon’s 60 minute race saw Derek Hood and Steve Ward take the first drive in the Austin Healey and XK120 respectively. With both cars running a consistent race so the pit window opened. The Austin Healey was first into the pits and another smooth changeover meant the car quickly returned to the track this time with John Young driving. Continuing to run well throughout the remainder of the race, the Austin Healey 100S finished 3rd in its class behind the leading Lotus Mk X. It was also an impressive first competitive outing for father-son duo Steve and Josh Ward driving their Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar XK120 to a credible 3rd within its class.
Last of JD Classics’ six car line-up to race was the Costin Lister of Chris Ward and Jaguar D-Type of Andrew Smith in Monday afternoon’s Stirling Moss Trophy. With the Lister and D-Type having qualified in 3rd and 15th respectively, the JD Lister proved a force to be reckoned with as Chris Ward claimed an early lead at Redgate on the first lap. From this point, the Lister remained uncatchable and continued to pull away from the field despite torrential rain making for precarious on track conditions. By the end of the 60 minute race, Chris Ward took an unrivalled victory almost a minute ahead of the second place Costin Lister of Richard Kent. The Lister Knobbly of Ian Nuthall and Tony Ward completed the all Lister podium for the Stirling Moss Trophy. The Jaguar D-Type of Andrew Smith contended with the challenging weather conditions to finish in 7th place.
Commenting on the weekend’s results, JD Classics’ Managing Director Derek Hood said: “The Donington Historic once again provided a fantastic weekend of racing with some mixed weather conditions proving a real challenge. As ever, the JD Classics team put in a world-class performance, preparing six cars to their usual exceptional high standards. Chris Ward drove superbly in very difficult track conditions to pull off two victories. We are now looking forward to hopefully continuing the momentum into the rest of the 2016 historic racing season”.