The Mini reached its 50th birthday in 2009 and this year’s St Mary’s Trophy saloon car race was dedicated entirely to Cooper models driven by such marque legends as Rauno Aaltonen, Alec Poole, John Fitzpatrick and Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams.
As always, the St Mary’s Trophy is run in two parts with two different drivers, with the overall win going to the team that best fared in both races.
St Mary’s Trophy Part 1
GT star Oliver Gavin ran away and hid during the hugely entertaining St Mary’s Trophy opener on Saturday. In a field consisting entirely of Minis, the former British Formula 3 champion was breathtakingly quick aboard Nick Swift’s meticulously prepared Cooper S but it was the battle for second spot that enraptured.
Front row starter Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams initially held the place as pole-man Gavin made a break for it. Robin Brundle and Desiré Wilson squabbled behind them but making serious ground was works Aston Martin man Darren Turner.
Turner, the sometime touring car racer, scythed through the pack and was on astounding form through St Mary’s, passing car after car before he jumped Williams shortly before half-distance. Whizzo clung on gamely, though, as Rauno Aaltonen, Wilson, Brundle and Mini expert Bill Sollis exchanged places behind, the latter having a grassy moment in the closing stages.
First-time Revival visitor Gavin said: “This track is fantastic! I didn’t make a great start but this is a great car and I had some pointers from Nick [Swift]. You get so much enjoyment from driving this car – it’s flat out everywhere.”
Second place man Turner echoed the sentiment: “I’ve not had this much fun in a car before. I definitely want to come back here again. I really enjoyed racing with Whizzo: we were all smiles as we crossed the line.”
St Mary’s Trophy Part 1 Results (13 laps)
1. Oliver Gavin, Morris Mini Cooper S
2. Darren Turner, Austin Mini Cooper S
3. Barrie Williams, Austin Mini Cooper S
4. Rauno Aaltonen, Austin Mini Cooper S
5. Desire Wilson, Austin Mini Cooper S
Fastest Lap: Darren Turner, Austin Mini Cooper S at 1:36.345 (89.67 mph)
Nick Swift received a standing ovation following a polished drive to bag part two of the popular St Mary’s Trophy double-header. Driving the car in which Oliver Gavin claimed Saturday’s opening salvo, the engine tuning guru won by 4.6-second from Honk Kong-based Chris Livingston-Price. Swift and Graham Churchill battled in the early stages with Jason Stanley in close proximity. The warring trio became a sextet by quarter-distance as Andy Hack, Livingston-Price and Kiwi star Roger Wills tigered they way up to the lead tussle.
Swift gradually began to pull away, the second to sixth place battle raging the entire distance with Wills making the move of the race with an audacious maneuver to unseat Churchill and Livingston-Price at the kink before St Mary’s eleven minutes into the 25-minute race. He made it stick and jumped from fourth to second place. But the order never remained static, Livingston-Price and Churchill having reclaimed their respective places by the flag.
The elated victor said: “It’s a dream come true. Oliver’s win yesterday was fantastic; a real inspiration. Fantastic.”
St Mary’s Trophy Part 2 Results (16 laps)
1. Nick Swift, Morris Mini Cooper S
2. Christ Lillingston-Price, Morris Mini Cooper S
3. Graham Churchill, Austin Mini Cooper S
4. Jason Stanley, Austin Mini Cooper S
5. Roger Wills, Austin Mini Cooper S
Fastest Lap: Nick Swift, Austin Mini Cooper S at 1:35.956 (90.04 mph)