The opening round of the FIA European International Historic Championship was held at the Aston Martin Owners’ Club Brands Hatch race meeting on Sunday, May 21st. Sponsored by Chapman Spooner, who are Aston dealers based in Walsall, the event was run in two separate sixteen-lap parts; the first being for sports cars and the second for single- seaters.
Nineteen cars came to the grid for the sports-car race, headed by the Lister-Jaguars of David Ham and Bobby Bell. Rupert Glydon’s fleet little Lola Mk. 1 completed the front row. Bell made the best start by far and led up to Druids from Chris Drake (Lister-Jaguar), Ham and John Harper, who too was racing a Lister. Drake’s larger-engined Lister was soon overcome by both Harper and Ham and these two quickly began to make an impression on the leader. Ham really had the bit between his teeth, and after outbraking Harper at Paddock on lap io, he gained on Bell hand over fist and passed for the lead in exactly the same place on the very next tour. On the final lap Bell dropped to third when Harper cruised past to take the runner-up position. Glydon, meanwhile, recovered from his poor start to take fourth from Drake and thus break a total Lister-Jaguar domination.
The second FIA Historic race soon developed into a two horse battle for the lead between the BRM P25 of Rob Lamplough and the sleek Lotus 16 of ex-Grand Prix man Bruce Halford. The last named took the lead on the eighth lap and looked as though he would run out an easy winner until cruel luck struck on the last lap and the green car coasted across the finishing line, after the BRM, with a snapped throttle cable. Behind, Roddy McPherson was fortunate to beat the similar Cooper-Bristol of Simon Philips after Philips had executed a spin at McLaren on lap 10.
Supporting the two FIA races was a full seven event programme and the best of these events, not surprisingly, were the Classic Sports Car race, which was won by Jeffray Johnstone’s Lotus 23B from the similar models of Brian Cocks and Michael Evans and the closing Group Four Historic Sports Car Race, where Richard Pilkington’s tremendous Alfa Romeo T33/3 beat the equally suberb Lola T70 of Richard Bond. – M.C.S.