Bob Berridge made it two in a row when he scored victory in the fourth round of the MOTOR SPORT-supported FIA Cup for Thoroughbred Grand Prix Cars at Nurburgring on June 23.
However, in contrast to his dominant victory at Anderstorp two weeks before, the Geordie driver had to work very hard for this one with Martin Stretton (Tyrell 005) and Geoff Farmer (Tyrell 012) in very close attendance throughout the race — a mere 0.8sec covered the three cars at the end of 12 hard-fought laps.
Practice was a lottery, with both sessions affected to some degree by the showery weather which prevailed all weekend. Farmer timed it just right to go out on slicks and snatch pole with an impressive 1min 37sec lap. Berridge was just over 0.5sec adrift, and third place man, Stretton, was a further 0.29sec behind. The impressive Joaquin Folch lined up fourth, just 0.03sec behind Stretton, and German Erik Rostek made an impressive season debut in fifth place aboard his ex-Daly March 811.
When the lights turned green, Berridge almost immediately snatched the lead from Farmer as the Tyrrell pilot fumbled the change from first to second. Stretton also scrabbled past on the run down to the first corner and slotted in behind Berridge. Farmer soon recovered the ground he had lost and the three front-runners very quickly edged away from the rest of the field in an impressive high speed train.
Folch (Classic Team Lotus T87B) pulled away from Ermano Ronchi (Brabham BT49) and championship points leader Michael Schryver was quickly up to sixth place in the Lotus 72. Rostek was a very disappointed early retirement when the March’s gearbox failed.
At the front, Berridge was never allowed to relax. Time and again Stretton used the superior straightline speed of the Tyrrell to pull alongside the newer car on the main straight, only for Berridge to redress the situation by dint of his superior braking power into the Castrol Chicane. At the end of 12 hard fought and exciting laps, the three protagonists slammed across the line with Berridge just 0.4sec ahead of Stretton, who at least had the satisfaction of taking the fastest lap at 1min 35.77sec, a full 2sec quicker than his best practice lap. After the race it transpired that Stretton had been planning to pull off at the end of the first lap due to a severe vibration emanating from the Tyrrell’s gearbox. Stretton said “It was so bad that my vision was blurring going down the straights, but I wasn’t going to pull out when I was in second place, was I?” Farmer was a delighted third having regained some of last season’s form. Folch was a distant fourth, 17 seconds behind Farmer with Ronchi a further 5sec adrift in fifth place. Schryver came home sixth having survived a lurid slide out of the final corner which saw the Lotus slither to within a foot of the wall before he gathered it all up.
Berridge now leads Class C; a dearth of starters in Class B means that Schryver’s previously comfortable overall points lead has been eroded. Next stop — Donington Park. Can Berridge make it three in a row?