Wheel to wheel -- the month in historic motorsport

Hanson takes debut win in Surtees — European Historic Grand Prix: Zolder, July 2/3

James Hanson was the star of the 31st running of the European Historic Grand Prix at Zolder as he took a first and a second in Grand Prix Masters on his historic racing debut. Hanson, aboard the ex-Tim Schenken Surtees TS9B, shared the GPM wins with Peter Wuensch (Wolf WR1).  Hanson, who last competed in 2003 in the European Touring Car Championship, was racing an F1 car for the first time. The Surtees is currently for sale through his Speedmasters business and Hanson resolved that racing it would be the best form of advertising. “It’s got about 200bhp more than anything I’ve ever driven, and it’s a lovely car to drive,” he said.

Hanson led the opening race until he made a mistake and Wuensch swept ahead. After that the cars were never more than a second apart as the Wolf racer stormed to his second F1 win in the space of seven days. John Crowson battled clutch problems in his Ensign N177 to take third, half a minute adrift, while Abba Kogan had one of his best ever results with fourth place in his McLaren M23.

“I saved my new tyres for the second race and that made the difference,” said Hanson after winning in much hotter conditions on Sunday. Wuensch had to settle for second from Crowson this time around.

Like GPM, the World Sportscar Masters field suffered somewhat from running back-to-back with Dijon as André Bailly and Peter Dunn won for Lola.

The opening race was a contest between Bailly and the similar T70Mk3B of Allen Lloyd until Lloyd, who had opted for wets in tricky conditions, found his tyres going off as the track dried.

David Methley drove another mighty race to take second in his Lenham. With Bailly out with overheating and Lloyd missing the second race, Methley could have won overall, but spun back to third as Dunn’s T70 Spyder won from the Chevron B8 of Chris Sanders.


Claridge stores a first junior win   —  AMOC Formula Junior: Snetterton June 11 

A month after showing prodigious pace at Silverstone James Claridge converted that speed into a maiden Formula Junior victory at Snetterton. His Lola Mk5A went clear of the pack to win by over 10sec, although it could have been closer had Paul Smeeth not had a time-consuming spin in his Lotus 22.

While Smeeth recovered for fourth, Barry Westmoreland (Lotus 22) and Stuart Roach (Alexis Mk2) claimed the other podium steps, with Roach romping home as best of the front-engined cars. But Roach was out of luck less than 24 hours later when his gearbox failed in qualifying at Silverstone.


Dodd gets taxed but evades pack — BRDC Summer Races: Silverstone June 12 

Graeme Dodd’s learning period with the ex-Ted Williams Cooper Monaco was well and truly concluded at Silverstone. Dodd stormed to a brace of BRDC Historic Sportscar victories, but his battles with Philip Walker (Lotus15) and Julian Bronson (Lister-Chevrolet) were among the highlights of an excellent BRDC event.

Bronson set off like a rocket, but was soon having all sorts of dramas in stopping the Lister and some lurid moments into Brooklands proved just how close to the limit he was. Dodd soon pounced, but not before the three drivers had turned on a marvellous display: Bronson lost second to Walker when they went either side of a backmarker at Luffield on the final lap!  Dodd made it a double later in the day to establish himself as the new championship pace-setter.

Robin Longdon worked his Lola Mk2 ahead of the Mallock Mk2 of David Stevenson to win the front-engined Formula Junior race, while Alex Ames was able to keep his Chevron B38 out of reach of Keith White’s Ralt RT1 for Classic Formula Three spoils.

Chris Woodgate topped an excellent field of Feltham Aston Martins to win the Parnell Trophy in his DB3S, but the Peter Hanson Trophy for 1-litre F3 cars drew just five starters, with Richard Urwin’s Brabham BT28 winning convincingly.


Triple Gläsel keeps out rain —  Thoroughbred Grand Prix, Zandvoort, June 12 

Christian GIäsel completed a hat-trick of wins as the FIA Thoroughbred Grand Prix World Championship made its debut at Zandvoort. Home to the Dutch Grand Prix throughout the TGP cars’ contemporary era, the circuit drew another capacity entry as 28 cars lined up at the seaside track.

Changing weather made life tricky for the drivers, and Gläsels Brabham BT49D was beaten into Tarzan by the Arrows A4 of Hubertus Bahlsen. But Gläsel quickly reasserted himself and had built a heady lead by the time the rain increased. As the Brabham spun Bahlsen nipped ahead, but two spins cost him any chance of victory and allowed Gläsel through.

Some way back Richard Eyre completed the podium party in his Williams FW08, while Dutchman John Bosch thrilled the local fans by claiming fourth in his ex-Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari 312T3.


No missing Lincs for Hulbert’s era —  VSCC: Cadwell Park, June 12 

Mac Hulbert was the most significant winner as the Vintage Sports Car Club tackled Cadwell Park for the 29th time. Aboard ERA R4D, Hulbert romped to victory in the Shuttleworth and Nuffield Trophies race for pre-55 racing cars as R4D returned to its home county.

Such was Hulbert’s pace over modest opposition that he finished over 14sec clear of the rest of the field, which was headed by Stephen Davie’s Riley Dobbs single-seater. Brian White completed the podium finishers in his Frazer Nash BMW TT, while an emotional fourth place went to Ben Fidler’s Lagonda Rapier single-seater. Fidler earned the Len Thompson Memorial Trophy, presented by Brenda Thompson in memory of her husband, who lost his life at the 2004 event.

Earlier, White topped the Frazer Nash race, while Charles Gillett completed a good day for the marque by winning the Melville and Geoghegan Race in his Super Sports. Elsewhere, Simon Diffey clinched the 500cc Formula Three race aboard Mark Palmer’s Cooper Mk9.


Herbert walks it as Jags dominate — Le Mans Legend 2005, June 18

Johnny Herbert didn’t land a drive in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, but he still made it on to the podium at the Circuit de la Sarthe. The former Jaguar grand prix ace dusted off his Formula One overalls a few hours before the main event to score a stylish win in Nigel Webb’s D-type.

The one-hour race for sportscars dating from 1935 to ’55 attracted a mouth-watering entry topping 60 cars and began in traditional style with a Le Mans start. But sprinting is hardly Herbert’s strong point thanks to the ankle injuries dating back to his Formula 3000 crash in 1988. He almost strolled over to his mount and was last away. Sadly, the start was just for show and he was back at the front of the grid for the proper getaway on the Mulsanne. No charge from the back required.

Still, Herbert put on a great show, dicing with Willie Green (in Sir Anthony Bamford’s D-type). The pair traded the lead countless times for half an hour before the pitstops. As both were racing solo, they had to jump out and run round their cars before rejoining. Again, Herbert walked and Green was first away. But now Johnny really put the hammer down, putting on  a superb display to win by 36sec.

Jaguars dominated the top placings: Ben Eastick’s low-tail D-type was third ahead of the C-type of Julian Bronson and David Wenman.

Sir Stirling Moss should have been the first C-type driver home, but a spin at the Dunlop chicane dropped him and Nigel Webb to fifth.


Falcon beats Alfa in Italian battle — FIA Historic Touring Cars and GT: Misano, June 12 

Leo Voyazides and Andy Bacon maintained their bid for the FIA Historic Touring Car title with a convincing win at Misano. Their Ford Falcon eventually won the hour-long contest at the Italian circuit by a healthy margin, but for much of the race it had been embroiled in battle with the Alfa Romeo GTA of reigning champion Dieter-Karl Anton.

With Clay Regazzoni’s Mustang sidelined in qualifying, Voyazides and Bacon battled hard with Anton, running solo as usual in his Alfa. Sadly, a clash late in the race delayed the Alfa and left the British-driven Falcon clear of the Lotus Cortina of Bo Warmenius/Gunnar Turebrand.

In the pre-65 GTC contest, David Methley won twice in his Marcos 1800GT, but Sean Walker’s Lotus Elan 26R ‘Gold Bug’ ran second to maintain his place at the head of the championship.


Hibbert takes a Donington double — Aston Martin Owners’ Club: Donington Park, June 25/26 

Mike Hibberd took his Lotus 27 to a brace of wins as the Aston Martin Owners’ Club Formula Junior Championship continued at Donington Park. In the opening race Robin Longdon put his Lola Mk5A right onto the leader’s gearbox as Barry Westmoreland continued his good season with third in his Lotus 22.

On Sunday Hibberd did it again as Longdon dropped away to a far more distant second. To compound Hibberd’s joy, his son Andrew joined them on the podium after keeping his Lotus 22 ahead of the Lola Mk 5A of Snetterton winner James Claridge.

Elsewhere on the AMOC programme, David Taylor took the 55th running of the prestigious St John Horsfall Trophy in his Aston Martin Speed Model and Irish visitor Jackie Cochrane claimed a brace of wins in his Sunbeam Tiger.


Porsche chased by angry old Tiger — British Historic Rally Championship: Mid Wales Stages June 25/26 

Steven Smith and John Nichols moved to the head of the Armajaro MSA British Historic Rally Championship with a storming performance on the Mid Wales Stages in their Porsche 911.

While Smith topped the historic category, Jeremy Easson/Den Golding claimed the post-historic spoils and Gareth Lloyd/Ryland James triumphed in the Classic category.

After the opening two stages in Hafren and Sweet Lamb on Saturday afternoon, things had looked anything but secure for Smith: Patrick Watts and Elgan Davies had powered ahead in the Sunbeam Tiger, despite Watts being new to the classic gravel stages. “I’ve given myself a good talking to,” reckoned Smith before Sunday’s restart. Sure enough the Porsche quickly overhauled the Tiger, which still claimed second in the historics despite plunging through a fence on the penultimate stage in Cwmysgawen.

Leading overnight in post-historics were David Stokes and Ian Oakey (Escort Mkl), but Stokes was concerned that the clutch might not last until the main service on Sunday. It didn’t and they were out after two stages, leaving Easson/Golding with a clear run to victory.

Lloyd/James took their ex-Roger Clark Escort Mk2 to classic victory once they had seen off the early challenge of Martin Freestone/Chris Heyes.


Anglia in the East takes win —  HSCC: Cadwell Park, June 26 

Cadwell Park hasn’t always been kind to Ford Anglia racer Dan Cox, but it came good this time around when he romped to victory in the Historic Racing Saloon counter as the HSCC made its annual trek to Lincolnshire.

Cox, who shunted the Anglia at Cadwell in 2003, had to contend with a race-long challenge from young James Dodd. After over 20 minutes of racing the Anglia only had a quarter of a second in hand over Dodd’s Alfa Giulia.

Dodd’s father Graeme parked his Jaguar Mk2, so Les Ely claimed the final podium slot in the ex-Simon Garrad BMW 2000, while Adrian Oliver bounced back from a disastrous engine failure to win the smallest class once more in his Hillman Imp.

Back from an injury that kept him away from the Croft round a month earlier, Nelson Rowe had to contend with returning multiple champion Neil Fowler in the Historic FF1600 race. Although Rowe put his Crosslé 20F ahead in the early laps, Fowler was able to squeeze in front in his Lola 1200 and stay clear by a shade under three seconds.

After taking his Lotus Cortina to fourth in the HRSR race, Robert Hartley won a close battle of the Elva Mk7s in Classic Sports. John Monson ran him close, while Philip Nelson (Marcos 1800GT)  topped the closed cars.

Fresh from a foray to Le Mans the previous weekend,  Nigel Webb took the Jaguar XK spoils as Alan Harper (Lotus Elan) and Andy Shepherd (Lotus 7) claimed Roadsports wins. Edwin Jowsey (Brabham BT28) and Steve Maxted (Argo JM6) completed the race winners.


Mac to the max at MAC’s meeting — VSCC/MAC: Shelsley Walsh, July 3

Mac Hulbert’s bid to lower his own pre-war hill record at Shelsley Walsh will have to wait until the centenary meeting in August. Although Hulbert clearly powered ERA R4D to fastest time of the day at the vintage meeting, he was a fifth of a second adrift of his year-old record.

Hulbert really had the FTD contest to himself and ended the day nearly two seconds clear of anyone else. It was a stirring performance from Simon Taylor aboard the Stovebolt Special that took second fastest: in claiming the post-war class in the Chevrolet-powered HWM, Taylor came close to Martyn Chapman’s 1979 class record.

 Leading the chase of Hulbert in the 3-litre racing car class was Goff Tidball in ERA R14B, with a best of 36.21sec. In the unlimited racing car class Simon Williamson’s heroic handling of his 11-litre 1923 Delage produced an impressive 36.89sec.

One of the biggest cheers was reserved for Brian White, who decimated his own 3-litre sportscar record with a tremendous climb in his Frazer Nash ‘TT Replica, over six tenths of a second inside his two-year-old mark. Also in record-breaking form was David Baker in the wonderful aero-engined Piccard-Pictet, in which he bettered his brother Robin’s Edwardian record.

A bumper 1100cc racing car class was headed by Tim Whellock’s Hardy Special. A broken plug on his first run hindered Michael Fitzmaurice and kept his Austin 7 Special half a second adrift.


French Frank gets good value —  Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or: Dijon, June 25/26

Frank Sytner and Peter Wuensch shared the Grand Prix Masters spoils at a very hot Dijon, while Carlos Barbot scooped a World Sportscar Masters double in his Lola T70.

In the opening F1 race it was Sytner (Penske PC3) versus John Crowson (Ensign N177) and the matter was always in doubt as Crowson gave dogged chase. But Sytner’s experience was up to the task and he took the flag with just over a second in hand.

Crowson went into Sunday’s race determined to turn the tables and things looked good for him when Sytner was slow away. But a loose wheel soon sidelined the Ensign and instead it was Wuensch who came through to be an overjoyed first-time winner in his Wolf WR1.

Sytner also lined up for the sportscar races in his Lola 170, one of seven such cars in the field. But Barbot was in sparkling form in his T70 and fended off a determined challenge from Sytner to win twice. Irvine Laidlaw topped the 2-litre cars on Saturday in his Chevron B16, but an inspired David Methley claimed third overall on Sunday in his FVA-powered Lenham. Further down the field, Adrian Newey made his WSM debut in his Ford GT40.


Alpine passes first in divine Galicia –Rally Costa Atlantica:  Portugal, June 22-25 

With a start in Oporto, a route that ran through much of the famous territory of the old Portuguese Rally and the finish on the Rias Baixas coast of Galicia, the Rally Costa Atlantica classic had much to offer.

Forty superb classic cars took part with the final decision going to the ultra-precise Alpine A110 of Rufino López and María Albuerne by just seven seconds. Hard on their heels were José Campos and Daniel Figueroa in a Mercedes 280S, in turn closely pursued by the Lancia Stratos of Miguel Oliveira, navigated by his father, also called Miguel Oliveira.


Spice adds variety to life at the ‘Ring — Jan Wellem Pokal: Nürburgring,  June 25/26 

Nigel James and David Mercer each took a victory in the second instalment of the Group C/GTP racing season at the Nürburgring. But it was the speed of Sweden’s Jenna Brorsson, who claimed a podium finish in her debut race in a Porsche 962, that grabbed the most attention.

James fired his 962 into the lead from the start of the first race and was able to keep Mercer (Spice SE90) at bay until the dentist found his engine losing power and dropped back to a secure second. Brorsson claimed third in a most impressive Group C /GTP debut.

For race two James again made the early running, but couldn’t hold off the flying Mercer as the race headed into its closing stages. Jim Mullen (Spice GTP), fourth in race one, moved up to complete the podium finishers on Sunday.

Richard Piper continued his excellent Orwell Supersports season by bagging a brace of wins in his mighty McLaren M8F. John Grant’s similar car was the big threat to Piper, but a spin in the opening race dropped the MSA chairman behind the best 2-litre cars. Grant recovered to take second in race two, as Cosimo Turizio again headed the 2-litre pack in his Osella PA4.


Bahlsen takes the biscuit in Germany —  Thoroughbred Grand Prix Championship: Lausitz, July 2/3

Hubertus Bahlsen became the first driver other than Christian Gläsel to win a TGP race this year in the opening part of a double-header at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz in Germany. While Bahlsen’s Arrows A4 won the first race, Gläsel’s Brabham BT49D was back on top the following day.

GIäsel’s pace was never in doubt, but he was forced to quit the opening race when his engine cut out.  All was restored the following day as GIäsel romped to victory after both he and Bahlsen started from the back of the grid. They duly finished one-two as Janine Payne scored a podium finish in her Arrows A4