For the patriotic, the British dominance of the Monaco Grand Prix Historique was a dizzying delight, the seven victories from seven races an embarrassment of riches. For the more objective, the weekend fulfilled a cliché — the biggest winner was historic racing itself.
Martin Stretton achieved two wins, driving the Tyrrell P34 in the pre-1979 race and the C-Type Connaught in the pre-61 event, but had to work extremely hard for his success.
He was overshadowed in wet qualifying by the stunning performances of Flavien Margais, who put the ex-Howden Ganley BRM P180 and his more familiar Cooper-Bristol on pole for these races.
Unfortunately for the Frenchman, the BRM’s fuel-pump belt broke on lap one. Stretton, meanwhile was working his way up from eighth on the grid and when, after a safety car period, the engine in Trevor Reeves’ Tyrrell 008 died and F1 driver Alex Yoong found his Lotus 72 stuck in fifth, he was able to grab the lead with less than a lap to go.
His pre-1961 win was far more convincing. Stretton held off the Maseratis of Willie Green and Thomas Bscher into the first corner, and gradually pulled away from his nearest challenger, Duncan Dayton in the Lotus 16. The hugely committed Marcais finished third after a spin on the opening lap.
Best race of the day, however, was provided by the pre-1952 GP cars. Julian Bronson’s ERA won, having very gradually eased away from the Maserati 6CM of Irvine Laidlaw, who pulled off a brave outside pass of Martin Walfords ERA to come home an honourable second, complete with fastest lap. Behind this trio was the Maserati 4CL of Mark Gillies, which passed Richard Pilkington’s Talbot on the last lap after an absorbing race-long dice.
Laidlaw was again beaten into second in the pre-1959 Sportscar race, this time by David Franklin, who led from pole to flag in his Ferrari 750 Monza. Laidlaw drove his Maserati 250S with great verve to finish 15sec ahead of Rob Walton’s 300S, but was no threat to the cool, calm Franklin.
Another man who seemed in control from the moment the lights went green was Frank Sytner in the pre-1966 GP race. In his Tasman Brabham BT4, he launched past front-row men Thomas Bscher (BRM P261) and Rod Jolley (Cooper T45/51) and was even confident enough to set the fastest lap on his penultimate tour. Bscher was almost lOsec behind at the finish.
By contrast, the Formula Junior lead battle was a fantastic three-way tussle between Denis Welch’s Merlyn, Duncan Dayton’s Cooper and Michael Schryver’s Lotus. Dayton retired on the eighth lap, leaving Welch to hold off Schryver by a second.
Julian Majzub and Charles Dean had a similar battle for pre-1934 honours — until Majzub hit the Armco in his Bugatti Type 35B, allowing Dean’s T51 an easy win. DM (Turn to page 38 for main feature)