The St Mary's Trophy presented by Motul is always a crowd-pleaser. Here's our top five pick of the cars that used to do the school run in the 1960s, but not quite as sideways as they'll be when tackling Lavant corner this weekend...
The Mini is synonymous with British Saloon Car racing in the 1960s, with championship victories in 1961 for Sir John Whitmore and in 1962 for John Love, who remains the only African winner of the British tin-top series. This Mini will have an incredibly poignant pilot, with Charlie Cooper, grandson of John Cooper, at the wheel. John Cooper’s development of BMC’s entry-level car, of course, was very popular among rally drivers and circuit racers alike, and the success was such that the Cooper name remains, to this day, as the high-performance arm of BMW’s modern Mini.
The car that took ‘Gentleman’ Jack Sears to the top of the table in the inaugural British Saloon Car Championship, this Austin was an incredibly faithful servant to the eventual champion. Not only did Sears take the first championship crown, but was also the first driver to win a BSCC race, at Brands Hatch on a grey, windy Easter Monday. Winning all but one race that year, Sears was locked in a season-long duel in class with Jeff Uren’s Ford Zephyr, before going on to face Tommy Sopwith, who had won his class with an identical number of points to Sears, in a head-to-head duel in Riley One-Point-Fives.
The Riley One-Point-Five may not have grabbed the headlines in the inaugural season of the British Saloon Car Championship, at least not until the final round of the year, but it was still successful in its own right. While it is remembered as being the car of choice for the Jack Sears and Tommy Sopwith head-to-head challenge to decide the first ever BSCC champion, Les Leston took the One-Point-Five to class honours on no fewer than three occasions.
Prepared by the hugely successful Jordan Racing Team, and entered by Take That’s Howard Donald, this Cortina is very much expected to be at the sharp end of this year’s St Mary’s Trophy. With race-winning British Touring Car duo Mike and Andrew Jordan at the wheel, it boasts one of the strongest driver pairings across the entire grid. This car could very well give the Ford Cortina a first St Mary’s Trophy win since Chris Sanders and Gerry Marshall took victory back in 2001, when the race was run as a 20-lap encounter with a driver change.
Prepared by Coombs of Guildford at the start of the Swinging '60s, Peter Woodroffe campaigned this Jaguar – 4576 NK – in no fewer than five events at Goodwood in 1961 and '62. Beginning its Goodwood career at the 48th Members’ Meeting, Woodroffe came home in fourth, with 1959 BSCC champion taking the win in a GSM Delta. The Jaguar would have its day in 1962, though, winning the saloon car race at the Whitsun Meeting. After taking a third and a fifth at the 51st and 53rd Members’ Meetings respectively, Woodroffe and 4576 NK’s partnership ended with a less-than-ideal double retirement at the 59th Members’ Meeting.