The CBT Motorsport 1964 Ford Falcon finally made its maiden track appearance at the Silverstone Classic weekend 29-31 July. Organised by The Masters Historic Racing Club, the race meeting couldn’t have offered a higher profile for a race debut. The Mike Jordan-built Falcon would compete in the Big Engine Saloon Car race for pre-1966 Touring Cars and was up against a grid of nearly 40 classic saloon cars.
Steve Wood and Stuart Scott decided to test the car on the Thursday, before qualifying got under way on Friday, to iron out any possible teething issues. The car ran faultlessly during the two 30-minute sessions and even the wet conditions in the afternoon did not dampen the spirits of the team.
Qualifying took place at 1820 on Friday over a 30-minute period. Rain was forecast at some stage during qualifying so it was important to get out early and set a time before it arrived. The Jordan Racing Team crew had the Ford Falcon first into the assembly area and would be first out onto the track for qualifying. Steve was on driving duty for the weekend in the CBT American muscle car, facing some very serious competition. Mike Jordan was on BTCC duties at Snetterton over the weekend but text messages of support and technical set up were really appreciated by the team.
For the first few laps Steve dialled himself in for the task ahead. Even on the 3.63-mile Grand Prix circuit it would be critical to find space with 40 other cars all going for their perfect lap. Lap six saw the CBT Falcon record its best lap time of 2m 35.5s, which would be good enough for 13th overall and 10th in class. Steve was very aware of the quality of the competition and was delighted with 13th place on the grid with more still to come from himself and the Falcon. Ahead of Steve and, as on most Masters touring car grids, were stars like Leo Voyazides, Chris Beighton, Jason Minshaw, Robert Huff and Roger Wills. Steve and the CBT Falcon far from disgraced themselves and were looking forward to the race ahead on Sunday.
The 40-minute race would feature a rolling start and there was to be a one-minute mandatory pit stop to be taken between the 15th and 30th minute. The massive thundering grid took position behind the safety car and once the safety car pitted and the lights went out the race was on. Steve made a brilliant start which saw the CBT Falcon up to a very impressive ninth overall after the first lap.
Another place was gained on the following lap but then, on lap three, the Falcon’s rear bumper started to flap and was deemed dangerous by the race stewards. Steve was shown the black and white warning flag and had to pit immediately. The bumper was soon taped on securely but a lot of time and positions had been lost with the unscheduled pit stop; the CBT Falcon had dropped to 30th position. If Steve had been shown the warning flag a lap later then he could have made his mandatory pit stop at the same time as getting the bumper secured.
Steve battled his way back up to 25th but on lap eight the CBT Falcon made its scheduled stop and unfortunately more race positions were lost. At the end of 40 minutes racing the CBT crossed the finish line in a very respectable 19th overall and 10th in class. Steve’s fastest race lap was 2m 37.01s, which was quicker than nine of the cars that finished ahead of him on the road. The race was won by Craig Davies in a Ford Mustang followed by Roger Wills (Mercury Comet) and with Chris Beighton (Mustang) taking the final podium position.
The CBT Falcon definitely had the pace for a top-10 finish overall and both Steve and Stuart were delighted with its maiden performance. “The competition was of such a high standard that a top-10 result would have felt like a race win,” said a slightly disappointed Steve after the race.