Race report: St. Mary’s Trophy Part 1 – Revival 2019

16th September 2019
Nick Garton

The first race of the two-part St. Mary’s Trophy for saloons built between 1950 and 1959 produced all the thrills and spills for which touring car racing is renowned. The capacity crowd was well primed for the spectacle of miniscule Austins and vast American V8s going toe-to-toe with a host of machinery including Jaguars, Alfa Romeos and Fords in between them.


Pole position was held by the vast Studebaker Silver Hawk driven by ex-F1 star Karl Wendlinger, which dwarfed the Alfa Romeo Giulia of Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro and Austin A40 of fellow sports car ace Nicolas Minassian alongside him.

A galaxy of stars lined up behind them, including Red Bull F1 team principal Christian Horner in a Jowett Jupiter, 1984 World Rally Championship winner Stig Blomqvist in an MG YB, double British Touring Car Championship winner John Cleland in a Volvo PV544 and former Isle of Man TT winner Stuart Graham in a Jaguar Mk.I.

The race was barely underway when it was red-flagged to clear up the result of Norwegian rally ace John Haughland’s accident in his Volvo PV544. At the restart, the gigantic Ford Thunderbird of Le Mans winner and Goodwood Festival of Speed record holder Romain Dumas took off into the lead, pursued by the little Austin A35 of fellow sports car ace Marino Franchitti.

The Thunderbird’s progress was stymied by transmission failure while Franchitti was overwhelmed by the more powerful Alfa of Pirro and Wendlinger’s brawny Studebaker, which began to power off into the lead. Wendligner crossed the line in first place, with Pirro second and Minassian third, but after the race the Studebaker was disqualified for technical infringements, handing the victory to Pirro and promoting 2012 World Endurance Championship winner Marcel Fässler to third.

Photo by James Lynch.

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