Silverstone Classic 2011: Bob Berridge Takes Mercedes C11 To Group C Victory


After Gareth Evans had completed the podium places in the first of the Group C races at Silverstone Classic Bob Berridge took the Mercedes C11 to first in the second race for the iconic specification for sportscars.

The introduction of Berridge, who had put the C11 on pole, was always guaranteed to shake up the order, the veteran sportscar driver pitched into battle with Alex Buncombe and young Japanese driver Hideki Yamamuchi, taking over the race one winning Nissan from Katsu Kubota.

Yamamuchi tried in vain to take the early lead from Berridge, diving up the inside line under braking for Brooklands on lap one, briefly assuming the lead before Berridge surged back into the lead using the more conventional line into the long right-hander at Luffield.

Though the records will show a lights-to-flag victory for Berridge, the Japanese was rarely out of striking range, a fact that makes Yamamuchi unlucky he was not able to take greater advantage of a Berridge mistake through The Loop on lap eleven. As it was the loss of momentum from running wide only saw the lead sliced to little more than half a second, but Berridge was still able to hold the lead.

After three laps harassing the rear of the silver C11 less than a second in arrears Yamamuchi's challenge for the lead finally faded in the closing laps, when he was held up by a back marker, the lead extending to over five seconds – by far the greatest it had been to that point with Yamamuchi appearing to ease off for the final laps of the race allowing Berridge to coast to victory by a slightly flattering 9.7 seconds.

The third step on the podium, and the honours in C2 went to Andy Meyrick in the Spice SE89C his father had driven the day before. The younger Meyrick had already starred in the Grand Prix Masters on the Saturday of the three day Silverstone Classic event by the time he got behind the wheel of the 1989 car, and the pace he had shown elsewhere was back in evidence in the sportscars.

Despite starting 13th, Meyrick was up to fifth by the end of the first lap, and was third at the end of lap two after passing the two Silk Cut Jaguars, passing Buncombe for at Brooklands and Gary Pearson for third with a move to the inside at Stowe further round the lap.

Meyrick's pace was undoubted and it was undoubtedly the limitations of the C2 machinery that stopped him in third place as the front two eased away to beat him by over a minute at the end of the half hour race. Still he finished a lap clear of Mike Donovan in the SE88 Spice, who again had to make do with second place in class after losing out to Calum Lockie on Saturday.

On the Prowl - Gary Pearson leads Alex Buncombe in the all-Jaguar battle

The two Silk Cut liveried Jaguars Buncombe's 1989 XJR9 and Pearson's XJR11 from the following year spent the entire race almost in formation, Buncombe staying close behind for the entire race, but never able to mount a challenge for position. The pair finished fourth and fifth the final cars clinging on to the lead lap Pearson 1:49 behind the leader, Berridge completing his final lap in 1:48.