Kidston Trophy will honor pre-war racers at 25th Silverstone Classic

Some of the cars eligible for the Kidston Trophy test at Silverstone circuit | Silverstone Classic photos
Some of the cars eligible for the Kidston Trophy test at Silverstone circuit | Silverstone Classic photos

Billed as the world’s largest vintage racing event, the Silverstone Classic celebrates its 25th anniversary July 24-26 in England with an event that will highlight the return of pre-war sports cars as a racing class with a new and special trophy.

The Kidston Trophy honors adventurer and aviator Glen Kidston. A lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy — once surviving two torpedo strikes in the same day — when not at sea Kidston was setting records on the ground, on two wheels and four, and in the sky. In 1930, Kidston and Woolf Barnato drove a Bentley Speed Six to victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Less than a year later, Kidston would die when his de Havilland Puss Moth broke up while flying through a dust storm over the Drakensberg Mountains in southern Africa.

Kidston and Barnato at Le Mans in 1930
Kidston and Barnato at Le Mans in 1930

A new trophy bearing Kidston’s name will be offered at the Silverstone Classic by Motor Racing Legends, which organizes racing series for pre-war sports cars, for historic touring cars, and the Le Mans Legend vintage race.

Attracted by the new trophy and the return of the category, 50 pre-war sports cars are expected to compete in the 40-minute race during the Silverstone Classic weekend. Among those already entered are nine 4½ -liter Le Mans-vintage Bentleys as well as three even earlier 3-liter cars.

RELATED:  Nice ice: The history of the Zamboni

The entry also includes seven Frazer-Nashes, an Invicta S Type, an Alta Sports and an Alvis Speed 20 SA that has been driven more than 150,000 miles, including three Peking-Paris rallies. Plus nine early Aston Martins, a trio of Talbot 105 “works” Fox & Nicholl team cars, an Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Zagato Spyder, Alfa Romeo 8C 2.9, Talbot T26 and 1935 Squire Short Chassis.

“We’ve been completely blown away by the entry,” Duncan Wiltshire, Motor Racing Legends chairman, said in a news release. “Clearly this is going to be a very special Silverstone Classic but, even so, the response has been really, really fabulous. The amazing grid has a lovely eclectic feel to it.”

But the race for the Kidston Trophy is just one of the events taking place during the Silverstone Classic, which a year ago drew 1,125 entries and nearly 100,000 spectators.

Pre-war racers at speed
Pre-war racers at speed

Among the other races are those for Sixties Saloons, the first round of the FIA Masters Formula One, and an event for Group C prototypes, among others.

The weekend also includes an auction, concerts, fun fair and car clinics featuring Mike Brewer of the Wheeler Dealer television show.

A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.