Diary: My month in racing



Pye is seduced by daintiness over muscle in Germany, and survives a Brands Hatch rainstorm to boost the image of a long-gone marque

Hockenheim: The first round of the Orwell Supersports Cup underlined why 2-litre sports prototypes have captivated me since my teens, when I first saw the lovely Gp6 machines in action.

Chevron versus Lola, with the occasional March, was the norm at home, where the BARC’s Motoring News series also drew in some fascinating oddities. But the European Championship was something else.

Abarth Osella, GRD, Toj and Sauber cars joined the fun, along with tiddlers such as AMS, Daren, Huron, Cheetah and Taydec.

The designs were deliciously different, and the competitors enjoyed a peripatetic lifestyle. The less wealthy struggled to keep their steeds going, getting to each event on start money from the last. Now the OSC championship is stronger than ever. The Can-Am/Interserie cars are incredible (the best are skilfully driven too), but the ‘two-seater F2’ cars fascinate me more.

The scream of 300bhp BMW M12/7 and Cosworth BDG powerplants in the earlier wingless ones was mesmeric as they jostled in Germany.

Kiwi Ross Maxwell and veteran Mike Catlow drove brilliantly to win a Pre-72 race apiece in Chevron B19s, but Lola T212 racer Bob Brooks’s passing manoeuvre on a pair of B19s already running abreast into a corner was a highlight of the Jim Clark Revival festival.

Catch the Orwell Supersports at Donington in September if you miss it at Brands Hatch in June.

Brands Hatch: Roger Hurst’s Lenham Hurst Racing team made a mere handful of its distinctive open sports-racers in the late ’60s, and a couple of coupés. But the marque’s profile is on the up.

Following the efforts of Dave Methley in a coupé in World Sports Car Masters, and Eddy Perk’s spyder in the works maroon and gold livery, Stuart Tizzard has now joined the fray with the P70 last raced by Peter Alderman.

South-coast estate agent, acid wit, bon viveur, powerboat racer and award-winning pantomime dame, Tizzard in fact acquired two cars (the second appears to be a period-used chassis) and has had Methley restore the complete one.

Tizzard adores the ’68 Lenham. He has also breathed new life into the HSCC’s Classic Sports Car arena by encouraging other prototype owners to compete, and reactivated the club’s Groveair Trophy for three enduro races.

I was privileged to share the Lenham at last month’s Superprix on Brands Hatch’s GP circuit, and was amazed at how much grip the 1558cc Lotus twin-cam-engined chassis offered in torrential rain!

We finished seventh, on the heels of James and Andrew Schryver’s Chevron B8, on a day when zero visibility on Pilgrim’s Drop meant that merely staying on was an achievement. Perk slid off in the river at Surtees, but it is clear that the Lenham is every bit as good as works driver Ray Calcutt told me it was in period.

I look forward to a dry run, and to seeing Pete Warren’s sister car out after a nine-year restoration! Any more hiding out there?